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Wine Show London is 30% bigger for 2006

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd
The 2006 edition of The Wine Show London - which with its first event established itself as the most important consumer event in the wine trade calendar - will be 30% larger than last year, with a host of new exhibitors signed up for the four-day event (26-29 October).

Tim Etchells, managing director of organiser Consumer Exhibitions, also promised a host of new features and improvements, with a major focus for the 2006 event on persuading visitors to buy more while actually at the show. I didn't want to do the same event again,' said Etchells, I want the people who came last year to come again and say that it is better this time.'

Changes to last year's format include slight changes to the opening times; a new how to taste wine' theatre in conjunction with the WSET; better food provision; cheaper home delivery costs for those who can't take wine home easily; and a slight increase in cost for consumers.

Visitor numbers are expected to increase from just over 11,000 to 15,000 or more', according to show director Vicki Thomas.

What I'm most excited about are the new exhibitors we have signed up. All the major generics have signed up this year, with Wines of South Africa and Wine Australia taking significant space,' said Thomas.

Other first-time exhibitors include major industry players such as Constellation, United Wineries, Kumala, Brand Phoenix and Thierry's - along with a host of niche producers and distributors.

We also have a significant retail presence this year,' said Etchells, which is very encouraging, with Majestic and Oddbins confirmed, and another multiple very close. What we didn't want was the retail stands to look like supermarket aisles, but we are very pleased with the plans we've seen so far.'

The most ambitious stand this year is probably that being put together by Sopexa: The French Wine Experience'. It inhabits the space previously inhabited by Vin Direct - a collection of disinterested French producers selling their wines for delivery at home which was arguably the least successful part of the show last year and did nothing to improve France's image in the eyes of the interested, but not expert, consumers.

This year the French Wine Experience is a collection of different scenes - such as a BBQ in the garden or a girls' night in - with a collection of French wines suitable for each one chosen available to buy as a mixed case.

A major focus for Etchells and Thomas this year is to increase the amount of wine sold at the actual event. As Etchell's says: Some people did quite well but others didn't. The show is more than just about selling wine, of course, but there's no harm in making it easier to take wine home and signposting that better as well.

The case delivery charge will drop from 10 a case to probably somewhere just over a fiver. That's about the level where I think it's much easier for a visitor to accept. Although I'm keen not to subsidise it.'

The one thing Etchell's doesn't want to change is the type of visitor the show attracted. We were very happy with that. It was basically 25- to 45-year-olds of various backgrounds - from young couples from down the road to older people on a day trip from the home counties.'

That's why Etchell's says he's staying at The Business Design Centre this year, even though the extra space means it's now full (with 90% of the space and all of the main floor already sold). I would consider moving it in future, he says, but not to Olympia, it's not a good space for a show like this and Hammersmith is uninspiring if people want to go out after the show's finished.'

After losing a significant amount' on last year's show, Etchell's is hoping to claw back some of that this year', partly through the increased space sold and partly through the increase in ticket prices and a reduced number of freebies.