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My View: LIWF offers balanced, diverse selection

Published:  18 January, 2007

James (Letters, Harpers, January 11) will be disappointed to learn that none of his suggestions are to be adopted at the 2008 London International Wine Fair.

His description of the fair as a "party for juggerenaut brands" is inaccurate. The national pavilions -mostly made up of boutique, small and medium-sized wineries - account for 900 of the 1,300 stands. The top brands take up less than 10% of wines available for tasting. We are proud to offer such a balanced, diverse view of the global wine trade.

Wynne-James' idea that 65% of the hall should be a "centralised blind tasting for all wines, regardless of domain, but sectioned by price" is ludicrous. Splitting 10,000+ wines into eight price points, without offering any clue as to what they are, would serve no purpose. Without winemakers or sales staff on hand, business would be impossible.

It is also impractical to organise stands on the outer perimeter by country in A-to-Z order. Many UK agents import wine from several different countries: they would have to build and staff stands in several different country zones.

The LIWF team works continually to improve the fair, and spends the time in between events listening to exhibitors and visitors. To describe it as a "bun fight" is insulting to the thousands of exhibitors, journalists and visitors that make this a world-class event.

James Murray is exhibition director at the London International Wine Fair