The London International Wines and Spirits Fair: A Diary

lwf8.jpg 2007 was the largest LIWSF ever staged with approximately a 50/50 split between Old and New World producers. With over 40 seminars, briefings, debates and tutored tastings plus an exceptionally wide range of international wines and spirits were staged under one roof, the show had something of interest for a vast cross section of the industry.

It provided a rich opportunity for importers, buyers and consumers to get acquainted with not just the great names, but a surprising number of small, quality driven estates. “We estimate that there are over 6,000 intriguing and interesting wines to discover,” noted Marketing Director Will Broadfoot.

Indeed, LIWSF had a great deal more on offer than pure networking. We found it a great place to develop market and product knowledge. Some of the world’s leading winemakers were there to share their experience. If you focus on the regions and subjects that interest you and know what’s on offer beforehand, it can prove to be a very productive experience.
New Zealand’s oldest winery, Te Mata Estate from Hawkes Bay, opened this year’s LIWSF seminars with a 10 vintage vertical tasting, spanning 25 years of its flagship Cabernet/Merlot blend, Coleraine, exclusively for the Circle of Wine Writers, presented by John Buck and Peter Cowley.
Among the other interesting seminars was one on the importance of the closure method on oxygen management and post-bottling wine evolution. Seminar attendees at the invitation-only event witnessed a never-before-seen demonstration of the Oxo Luminescence (new oxygen transfer rate – OTR– measurement technology) with two MW guided tastings examining different OTR and consistency levels in wine.
With rosé increasing in popularity, LIWSF 2007 also offered an excellent opportunity for both the on and off trade to taste these wines with the Nukork Top 100 Rosé tasting which showcased the best rosé from around the world.
Throughout the Fair, Riedel, the world-renowned manufacturer of wine-specific glassware organized one-to-one “Glass Masterclasses” to demonstrate the incredible difference the shape of a glass makes to our perception of wines. For the first time at the show Riedel also ran demonstrations of how decanting can improve the taste and enjoyment of a wine. There was also a free prize draw to win £1000 of Riedel glassware. (If only we were so lucky…!)
Going beyond wine related events and seminars there was also plenty to interest Spirits industry representatives. Located in the heart of the Spirits Quarter, which has doubled in size since last year, were a series of tastings on the first two days that included Neil Mathieson’s Cognac versus Armagnac tasting, to mention just one.
A seminar I enjoyed particularly and the panel discussion that followed was on the vexed question of terroir. Hearing the experts and other informed commentators on this controversial topic was very illuminating. Most interesting of all, however, was the seminar on China, which underscored for me the many parallels as well as differences between our two emerging markets. In many respects China is a bigger and more developed wine consuming market than India. The seminar was entitled, “How to be Successful in China, presenting the facts, exploding the myths, and profiling the new consumer.”
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that this was our first visit to the Fair and it was everything we expected and more. There was a lot that we saw and so much that we missed, but every year builds on the previous one and we hope to return. For people in the wine and spirits industry or hospitality trade, it should not be missed and is well worth a visit to look for new suppliers, niche labels, fresh ideas and business opportunities.
In conclusion we can say with Will Broadfoot that LIWSF 2007, being strictly trade-only and focused purely on building better business for all, was “key to all those who prosper from the industry”.
From Reva K. Singh at LIWSF, the London International Wines and Spirits Fair, London, UK.

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