London Wine Fair reports on quality driven show


The London Wine Fair organisers have reported on the 2024 show, which took place at Olympia from 20th to 22nd May this week. The goal for 2024 was to build on the success of last year’s show, investing heavily in improving visitor quality as a key objective. Total (net) visitors for 2024 were 9,243, which is 8% down on 2023. The breakdown of the visitor audience was almost identical to 2023, with 31% from the on-trade (31% in 2023) and 22% from off-trade (21% in 2023).

Although the number of visitors was slightly down, quality was most definitely up. This was reflected in the success of the online Essential Planner; 41% of all attendees engaged with this, compared to just 12% last year. This was corroborated by exhibitors, many of whom have reported on the high quality of the audience. The visitor to exhibitor ratio – a significant figure for the events industry – was extremely strong, with 2024 delivering 23 visitors to each exhibitor, around four times that of The Fair’s larger competitors.

Exhibitor numbers were fairly static compared to 2023, with 401 companies attending the show, (417 in 2023). These included major players, such as Hatch Mansfield, Felix Solis, ABS and Mentzendorff, which returned after an absence of 12 years. Other leading companies returning included: Buckingham Schenk; Freixenet Copestick; Hillebrand Gori UK; Lanchester Wines; and Origin Wine. Generic pavilions showcased producers from the key producing areas over three days; with a greater presence from Rest of World producers; New Zealand and South Africa organised Pop Up tastings on days one and two respectively; South Africa returning after a six year absence. The US was presented by New York Wines – at The Fair for the first time – and a contingent from California. Japan was present for the first time, with a country pavilion, with a focus on sake.

Commenting on the 2024 show, Head of Fair, Hannah Tovey said: “We are extremely pleased with the 2024 edition of LWF, especially given the industry is experiencing some of the toughest trading conditions in recent memory. Despite these challenging times, we have had overwhelmingly positive exhibitor feedback, thanks to delivering a truly excellent and innovative event, which has reinforced London Wine Fair as unmissable for the serious players. The energy at Olympia from those participating was palpable. Business was being done with everyone from the national multiples to Michelin star restaurants, regional wholesalers and independent retailers. Of course, we would like to see more of the leading UK agents back on the Trading Floor; this is something our industry leaders have vocalised too as essential in restoring the UK wine industry to robust health. We are already working hard to achieve this for 2025.”

London Wine Fair 2025 will take place at Olympia from 19th to 21st May.

Comments from the exhibitors

"The WSTA is hard-wired to support and enjoy a London Wine Fair that attracts the UK wine community in droves - as happened again this year. We like seeing so many members - and would-be members! - in the capital city of the world's second largest wine importer. Those we saw talked about strong footfall, high quality conversation and plans for next year - when we will know who has formed the next government and whether new Ministers see sense and maintain the wine easement."
Miles Beale, CEO, WSTA

“It’s been a really, really good three days. As good as last year, better probably. We’ve enlarged our stand; we knew we didn’t have enough space, and actually we’ve filled it, so it has been amazing. We would have been really cramped if we hadn’t had the extra square footage. We’ve had a great mix of people: independents; national retail; national on-trade; fine wine merchants; travel retail. And I continue to be amazed that some of our competitors aren’t here.”
Patrick McGrath MW, CEO, Hatch Mansfield

“The Fair has been a huge success again for us at Beyond Wines. We had so many important meetings at The Fair, with more customers and trade luminaries than I can count. We have seen all the major buyers over the last three days, including from: Tesco; Aldi; Sainsbury; Waitrose; Morrisons; Matthew Clark; Molson Coors; Mitchells and Butlers; and LWC Drinks to name just a few. And it is testament to London Wine Fair that they were all gathered in one place over the three days. Why more companies don’t exhibit is beyond me.”
Alex Green, Sales and Marketing Director, & Matthew Johnson, Commercial Director, Beyond Wines Ltd. & Liquid Diamond Wine

“We have hugely enjoyed the overall vibe of the fair and been delighted by the response to our stand which both showcased our portfolio and created an educational platform. We were very keen to show who we are and make new friends while having time to enjoy existing ones. I think we have fully accomplished this. Lots to build on for the future.”
Justin Liddle, Managing Director, Mentzendorff

“This year’s London Wine Fair has been exceptional. We have had an amazing amount of real quality customers to our stand. Added to which, The Fair has a real sense of innovation and excitement.”
Robin Copestick, Managing Director, Freixenet Copestick

"Wines of South Africa returned to the London Wine Fair for the first time in several years, exhibiting for one day at the Pop-Up area. We had 14 tables in the zone, which was positioned in a great spot near the entrance. It is fair to say that the Wines of South Africa Pop Up was buzzing for the entire day. We were busier than we would ever have expected to be. We saw top buyers, trade and journalists. London is still such a hub for European wine business and this was a great opportunity to showcase all that South Africa can offer."
Jo Wehring, Market Manager, Wines of South Africa

“We have had a fantastic London Wine Fair. We’ve been coming here since I set up the company in the UK 11 years ago now, and I have to say this year, particularly Andrew had a new personal best for the most number of meetings at a London Wine Fair. So we are thrilled to bits. It has been a great Fair.”
Richard Cochrane, Managing Director, Felix Solis UK

"It was excellent to be back at the London Wine Fair this year, celebrating our 50th Anniversary. The fair had a great energy, and it also saw us host our first Masterclass Session which was a wonderful success. The organisation and help from the London Wine Fair team made it a very smooth and highly enjoyable event for us, with lots of great discussions with visitors coming to try our portfolio of wines on the stand. Overall a fantastic industry event for the Buckingham Schenk Family.”
Craig Durham - Managing Director, Buckingham Schenk Family

“The show was a great success for Everflyht. If everything pays off from the leads we have got from the show, in the next 3-6 months we will have sold all the wine that we haven’t yet released!”
Luke Spalding, General Manager, Everflyht

“Exhibiting at London Wine Fair has been an incredible opportunity to showcase the exceptional wines we exclusively represent in the UK. The positive response and enthusiasm from visitors truly reflect the quality and uniqueness of our portfolio. Having been exhibiting for a few years now, we are happy and the feedback is always very positive.”
Ben Carfagnini, Managing Director at Friarwood

“We met lots of really interesting people and some great contacts. It was a nice way to land our new Nannette’s Rosé campaign. A great show and for us, it was about quality over quantity.”
Fergus Elias, Head Winemaker, Balfour Winery

"The London Wine Fair Pop Up is a great addition to the Show. New Zealand Wine was delighted to take a space again this year at the Pop Up which provided us with an opportunity to showcase a large and diverse selection of wines to a keen and interested audience! We had a very busy day on Monday and the feedback from the high number of visitors was very positive!"
Chris Stroud, Marketing Manager, Europe New Zealand Winegrowers

“The show has been great for us this year. It’s been really focused; we’ve seen plenty of decision makers and it’s been a brilliant platform for us to promote the brand. We felt we had a good share of voice within the Fair.”
Simon Rollings, CEO, The Canned Wine Company

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