I’d forgotten. I hadn’t been to a big wine fair for ages and the scale of the recent London Wine Fair is impressive. If you don’t know Olympia in London, the main area is a huge open hall with a wonderful old Victorian glass roof. It is massive and there must have been at least 500 exhibitors.
Interestingly, the big boys were there – some very glossy stands from countries – France, Spain, Germany, Chile, and so on – not forgetting WineGB as they are now known. And upstairs, on the wide balcony floor that runs all the way around, a section called Wines Unearthed. If I have this right, it was for wine producers from all over who are looking for a UK distributor. Good idea.
And also on the top floor, another section for very small wine sellers, those eccentric and eclectic businesses that just sell little gems. These people seemed less interested in being slick, and probably don’t have the big budgets, but isn’t that the whole charm? Just some tables, wine bottles, spittoons (yes – no drunkenness please!) and enthusiasm.
And that’s not forgetting the regular side-shows, tastings, lectures, discussions about all sorts of topics. Aimed at the public, distributors and wine makers, this was a very broad audience. It was also packed. Three days of a full hall from 10 until 6.
I shall bring you some tales soon, but suffice it to say, the interest in the topic is massive, and in the two days I was there, I didn’t see anyone fall over! There’s restraint for you.