It marked the end of the fair’s 12-year stint at Excel in east London – it returns to its spiritual home at Kensington Olympia next year – and suppliers said they enjoyed giving it a strong send-off.
Andrew Steel, co-founder and director of Connoisseur Estates, said: “We are delighted with it – we phoned hundreds of independents and many came along.
“There’s been negativity from people about the fair and that hasn’t helped anyone in the wine trade, so we have been delighted to support it.
“I’m glad it’s moving back to Olympia – I’ve always recommended that – but this fair has been great for targeting the independent and specialist market.”
Patrick McGrath MW, managing director at Hatch Mansfield, said: “You have got to support the UK trade. We all have a responsibility and I hope some who decided not to exhibit this year will come back next time.
“The Brintex boys have done a very good job of listening to people and taking on points.”
Next year’s fair will see the event rebranded the London Wine Fair 2014 to highlight its repositioning as a national wine fair for the UK market.
Cheaper stand rates, more initiatives for independent retailers and greater use of modern technology to make the show more relevant and focused are all designed to attract people that have not attended in recent years.
Show director Ross Carter believes the big names that will return in 2014 include Mentzendorff, Liberty, Bibendum, Enotria, Hallgarten Druitt and Ehrmanns.
For now the ones that attended this year offered a raft of positive feedback.
Dan Townsend, general manager UK and western Europe at Treasury Wine Estates, said: “We have found it truly valuable seeing an excellent range of customers and we are really looking forward to next year and all the exciting plans ahead.”
Bill Rolfe, owner of 10 International, said: “It was the best show ever – great to have such good focus on attendees, and we have had many words of support from our customers and suppliers. We are already looking forward to 2014.”
Pippa Woods, managing director of Seckford Agencies, said: “It has been fantastic, the best fair ever for us. We are here for the independents and we have seen a lot of key customers.”
Robin Copestick, managing director at Copestick Murray, said: “It has been brilliant. The quality has been the best ever and we are extremely happy.”
Influential members of the trade agreed, with The Benevolent’s chief executive David Cox saying: “I think it has had a good atmosphere. It has felt more intimate and busier and I am pleased with the quality of visitors and the chance to connect with them. I am so pleased that Brintex has supported us with such a premium site – it has really worked for us. I look forward to Olympia next year.”
Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, added: “The UK is one of the world’s largest wine markets and the LIWF is a great way to showcase why wine is such an important economic and social contributor to the UK. The WSTA valued the opportunity to meet with so many of our members and those involved with the trade more generally at LIWF 2013. We look forward to next year's event at Olympia."
Brintex said he move to a Monday proved successful with over 4,000 visitors attending on that day, and early indications are that this will be repeated next year.
Carter said: “There is no doubt that 2013 has been the most challenging show to date and it is no secret that there were setbacks earlier this year when a handful of key exhibitors pulled out.
“Having said that, many companies who did exhibit reported a very rewarding Fair and a good number of companies who have not had a presence over the last three years have either committed to, or made positive comments about, a return next year. We could feel the renewed energy and optimism over the last three days and a sense of excitement over the return to Olympia next year."
Olympia has had a £30million investment in recent years, giving improved logistics, floor space and air-cooling. The London Wine Fair will run from Monday, June 2, to Wednesday, June 4.