Brintex said a key new element of the 2013 event, which will take place at London’s Excel from May 20-22, would be increasing exhibitors’ ability to net- work with retailers by creating a “central hub” area on the show floor to meet.
Event director James Murray said it would also return to being a UK-focused fair rather than being a platform for other markets, including the US, having last year attempted to court buyers from across the Atlantic.
He said: “There is plenty happening on the LIWF at the moment, with a view to ensuring an even better return for exhibitors and visitors alike. A lot of the focus will be on the domestic market, so I am confident OLN readers will be catered for even more in 2013.
“Key to this development has been the establishment of a dedicated UK advisory board, ensuring that content at the fair is as relevant to the domestic trade as possible.
“Exhibitor participants on the board include Codorníu, Hatch Mansfield, Wine Australia and Bibendum and they will be joined by a cross-section of our buying community, which includes Cambridge Wine Merchants and Waitrose from a retail perspective.
“The board will help to formulate and agree much of the content at the fair, but we have already allocated a sizeable area on the show floor to act as a central hub.”
Murray continued: “We attract a really strong audience of retailers to the LIWF and it is important that as many of our exhibitors have facetime with these buyers as possible.
“I am sure that the hub will not only serve as an exciting new addition to the fair but also provide us with a great net- working platform to bring buyer and seller together.”
He added exhibitor bookings were where he “would expect them to be”.
He said: “Gone are the days when everyone would sign up at the show and you were 80% full [the following year]. Agents, importers and pavilions alike often have to wait until after the harvest period before confirming their plans.
“The floorplan is filling up and bookings include Hatch Mansfield, Gonzalez Byass, Fells, Off-Piste Wines, Bancroft Wines, Louis Latour, Awin Barratt Siegel and Chateau Musar to name a few.
“International groups are also coming on stream and include pavilions from Austria, Chile, Brazil, Portugal and Argentina but traditionally many don’t confirm until the new year. An annual event such as the LIWF always takes time to pull together but progress is good.”