The middle of May. The time in the calendar when our focus is on the London International Wine Fair. Love it, hate it, it’s something none of us can miss. And this year, I’ve been enjoying it more than ever before.
I remember my first London trade fair. Not all that long ago: I felt a bit of a fraud, crashing someone else’s party, as a guy with a website, moonlighting as a wine writer. In truth, even the established press are slightly like outsiders: the main focus of the fair is on doing deals and making business happen. At least, now, I have some level of visibility and so people are usually happy to speak to me and show me their wines.
Aside from gigs (speaking on panels, etc.) I have just been wandering round seeing what catches my eye. The fair seems a little less crowded than in previous years, which is great if you are a journalist, but not so good if you are one of the conference organizers. It makes the whole experience more relaxed, and I have enjoyed tasting some interesting wines.
Best stand? Wines of South Africa’s new concept stand. It’s just brilliantly thought out, with some wonderful wines arranged in little self-pour clusters according to different themes.
Pictured, from top to bottom: Paul Symington; The Chene Bleu team – Jean-Louis Galluchi, Laura Iverson and Nicole Rolet; Chris Blandy (Madeira); Mike Ratcliffe; Andre Morgenthal on the WOSA stand; Ruud Maasdam of Staete Landt; Ilkka Siren, finish blogger/wine writer.