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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

Clarion Events has teamed up with the Academy of Food and Wine to launch a new breed' of consumer wine fair, The London Wine Festival (LWF). Running at the National Hall, Olympia from 24-27 July, the LWF hopes to attract over 12,000 paying customers. Described as a massive wine bar with entertainment and food', the festival will feature wines based on the seven main grape varieties' - Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Adam Brown, the show director, said the event was designed for quaffers rather than sniffers' and will be inclusive, not exclusive'. Harry Putt, managing director of the Academy of Food and Wine, responsible for all the wines at the LWF, told Harpers: I am using three suppliers for the event: Hallgarten, Vintage Roots and Morris & Verdin. It will feature 300 wines, with an organic section and 10 wines to try from each of the featured grape varieties. We will also have a Connoisseur's bar, featuring fine wines.' Visitors will also be able to buy the wines which they try. Tickets for the event will cost 5 on Thursday and Friday, and 7 on Saturday and Sunday. On arrival, customers will pay a refundable 3 for a glass and then purchase glasses of wine as they go round. A taster' ticket offers five glasses of wine for 10. Marketing manager Nicola Campbell refuted suggestions that with five weeks to go there was not enough time to attract the number of visitors hoped for. We are doing viral marketing, have the website up and running and are doing a lot of PR work with the local press and radio,' she said.