Winemakers and buyers "speed-dating" at London fair

Tue May 12, 2009 11:40am EDT
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The London International Wine Fair kicked off on Tuesday with 20,000 wines on offer only to trade buyers able to trawl a world of wine under one roof.

The products of the New World nestle next to the Old at London's ExCel center where for over three days some 20,000 buyers will be on the hunt for bargains, bin ends and good gossip on harvests, prices and rivals from 1,200 exhibitors.

Will Broadfoot, marketing director for fair organizer Brintex International said that, like other industries, the wine business had also felt the pinch of the global recession. But he said that consumer thirst for wine meant a shift in trade from restaurants and bars to wine and spirits shops.

"The consumption has just moved from drinking out to drinking in," Broadfoot told Reuters.

As well as the wines, the fair will also offer industry briefings for producers on everything from how to survive the economic downturn to the use of social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to build brand awareness, develop networks and grow business.

The fair has gone into social media with a grouping of its own on Facebook and an online tasting buddy which searches under a list of categories including country, alcoholic content, variety, organic, etc...

Wine judge Christopher Weymouth, who has been involved in the wine industry for 12 years, said the fair was a must for anyone in the trade.

"You can see all your clients and contacts under one roof in three days," he said. "It's kind of like speed-dating."   Continued...