This year’s mid-May, virtual London Wine Fair is to get an additional ‘preview’ day on 28 April with a particular focus on the UK hospitality sector.
Like the main exhibition, which runs from 17- 19 May, the preview day will be 100% digital, and there will be wines available to taste for the registered attendees.
Called ‘Welcome Back Wednesday’, the preview will take place on Wednesday, 28 April, and has been designed specifically for the on-trade to assist their preparations in advance of the full opening of their sector on 17 May.
Welcome Back Wednesday will be open to those exhibitors who have already signed up to the main event, and will be held at no extra charge.
The organisers of the exhibition expect around 20 companies to take part in the mini preview, which is focusing on the major UK importers and small to medium sized on-trade suppliers.
The extra day will also be available to all London Wine Fair ticket holders at no additional cost.
Welcome Back Wednesday has been timed to take place at the mid-point between opening for outdoor and indoor hospitality and has been organised to give the industry an opportunity to assess opening strategies and gear up for the end of lockdown, with on-trade specific content during the day, such as a panel debate on the re-opening of the hospitality sector.
Speaking about the reason for adding this extra day’s content, head of London Wine Fair, Hannah Tovey said, “When the government announced its intention to fully re-open hospitality on Monday, 17 May, we very quickly realised we would need to adapt to ensure the fair’s continued relevance to the on-trade.”
She added, “It was immediately obvious that sommeliers would prioritise their re-opening day over everything else, but we also felt strongly that there needed to be some kind of platform for this sector to do business and share intelligence in the run up to the end of lockdown.”
Meanwhile, the London Wine Fair May event will now be structured so that each day is partially targeted to a specific sector; day one’s content will be tailored to the off-trade and international audience; day two will be focused on on-trade; and day three will have a discovery and press focus.
All exhibitors and all visitors can access the platform and arrange 121 meetings across all three days and there will be cross-sector relevant content on each day.
According to the London Wine Fair, since the 100% digital announcement back in January, the response from existing exhibitors has been extremely positive.
Returning exhibitors currently include: ABS Wine Agencies; Enotria & Coe; Graft Wine; Hatch Mansfield; Sud de France, which will run its annual Top 100; ViniPortugal; Wines of Greece and the W.S.E.T.
A number of companies and generic bodies will be at The Fair for the first time this year, including: SustainableWineSolutions; and Wines in India, through to individual producers including Weingut Gindorf in the Mosel to Château Loudenne in Bordeaux.
Tickets, which will cost £25, will give access to both Welcome Back Wednesday and the three days in May, as well as access to the virtual exhibitor stands, sampling platform and recorded content for three months.