Blog: Chris MercerOn the Floor at LIWF - Day Three

Chris Mercer | 19 May 2011

The party's almost over and I may need a caffeine drip attached to my person, but it's been a lively day three for just-drinks at the London International Wine Fair.

Actually, I'm going to rewind to the end of day two in order to mention just-drinks' State of the Nation debate. Is the UK finished? That was the question we posed yesterday. On a show of hands, and on a first-past-the-post basis, the optimists just about inched ahead among the hundred-strong audience. 

Treasury Wine Estates' general manager for the UK and Ireland, Dan Townsend, said that, in terms of prospects for making a profit, the UK has moved from being average-to-low to "Somewhere between low and not very attractive at all".

There are, however, a wide range of views on the state of things and on what can be done about it. Just this afternoon, I met with Grupo Codorniu's MD, Nick Mantella, who is more of the opinion that things have always been extremely competitive in the UK.

Plenty of people still want to be here, it seems. That includes Wines of Brasil, which is making its seventh appearance at LIWF (not its debut, as I initially thought). As of last year, the UK has become the top export market by value for Brazilian wines.

That said, a growing number of wine groups appear to be looking east, too. The seminar on Russia's wine industry (and the complicated process of getting into it) was well-attended in the briefing theatre today. 

At the show more generally, things are starting to wind down. A number of journalists are beginning to gather to chew the fat (myself excluded at this moment, I must add).

The initial reports are that numbers are flat-ish against the previous year. That said, many people on the stands here have told me that they are happy with how the show has gone.


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