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London Wine Fair
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London Wine Fair

Four of the Tanners Team were lucky enough to attend the London Wine Fair 2024, one of the most prestigious events in the calendar for those working in wine. An unmissable opportunity to meet producers from around the world, attend training sessions and taste a plethora of wines, hear about their day in London…

Thomas Corbett - Welshpool Branch Manager

Visiting the London Wine Fair 2024 is an exhilarating experience for wine enthusiasts, professionals, and novices alike. It’s the UK’s answer to the continental wine fairs, an event that is a cornerstone of the global wine industry. The atmosphere was vibrant from the moment we arrived, bursting with the hum of conversations and the clinking of glasses. Attendees filled Kensington Olympia from all over the world getting the chance to immerse themselves in a diverse range of tastings, masterclasses and networking opportunities amongst the joy of exploring the new and spectacular.

To be offered the chance to visit the fair is to gain a unique opportunity to explore original (some excellent Loire producers and closer to home, a honey wine!) and rare wines (the superb Vin de Constance and a Cognac from 1942!). It was a chance to engage directly with producers and wine distributors, learning about the latest trends and innovations in viticulture and winemaking. My highlights included the Innovation Zone, where talks on cutting-edge technologies, the state of the GB Wine industries and discussions on sustainable practices in our trade were presented and the Discovery Zone, dedicated to uncovering emerging regions and lesser-known varietals from classic countries.

Amy McCudden – Web Marketing & Content Assistant

Tanners tote bag in hand, it was time to hit the big smoke for the 2024 London Wine Fair. Leaving a bright sunny Shrewsbury, I hit London under a cover of cloud and rain, but that wasn’t going to dampen the day. Upon entry, you get a map and tasting glass and then it’s away you go…explore, taste and meet some incredible people in the wine trade.

As soon as I entered the huge glass-covered exhibition centre, the buzz was electrifying and a visual feast for the eyes. From sustainable packaging to wine literature, masterclasses and wine producers from around the world, it was an unmissable opportunity to learn and taste, as well as put my WSET Level 3 Wines certificate into full practice.

From tasting Ukrainian vodka to French Sparkling Orange wine and discussing the local Shropshire wine scene with WinesGB CEO Nicola Bates, my day was jam-packed. It was a delight to see some familiar faces and having my Tanners tote bag certainly helped kickstart conversations with new connections. I was even spotted by one of our Commercial Director partners - ‘Ooh Tanners, don’t move’  - and then taken into a tasting of Cramele Recaş wines from Romania, who produce our crowd-pleasing Paparuda range.

And, being the whisky lady of Tanners, I had to round the day off with a masterclass ‘Whisky: Now & The Future’ with Sukhinder Singh and Oliver Chilton from Elixir Distillers. Tasting six whiskies, including peated and non-peated, it was an eye-opening hour talking about historic and modern styles of whisky, as well as exploring the global scene of this much-loved drink.

Tom Manley – Wine Sales Advisor, Shrewsbury Cellar Shop

Waking up at 5am for the 7am train to London is much easier knowing you have the London Wine Fair to greet you. Held in the exposition hall at Kensington Olympia, the array of wines from the classical regions of France and Spain to the more adventurous wines of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia is overwhelming. With a long list of grape varieties to try (the Sylvaner from Franken was my pick of the day) the London Wine Fair has something for everyone, as well as wines to push you out of your comfort zone. As brilliant as being able to taste a wide variety of wines is, the best part is getting to meet the passionate people behind them who have flown in from around the world from countries including the Czech Republic, Uruguay, and Japan. With a selection of Brandies and Sakes also available there is little risk of the palate getting bored. But every palate needs time to recharge and there is ample opportunity to do so with the multiple talks dotted throughout the day, some were focused on regions such as Tuscany and others on grape varietals such as how Riesling varies between regions. A personal thank you to Mentzendorff for putting the wonderful Klein Constantia Vin de Constance out to taste.

Rachel Huber – Wine Sales Advisor, Chester Shop

My recent trip to the London Wine Fair can be described as an amass of wines varying in style, production methods and evolving philosophies. The only way to navigate this sea of wine was to take full advantage of the wine experts, producers and suppliers, each providing invaluable insights into the world of wine.

The coveted 1% of Swiss imported wine, the first Ukrainian AC, sweet wines older than I am, the increase of innovative Greek wines on the horizon and critic-selected “best wines” are just a few encounters I was able to learn about and sample.

One experience that stood out was the opportunity to explore a producer’s full range of wines which Tanners selects from. This tasting highlighted their approach to winemaking and ideals of what wine should be, which opened a different perspective on the wine world.

The merits of traditional methodology and topography in old-world winemaking were clearly demonstrated by the revered bottles supplied by Hatch Mansfield.

The ancient and modern world rivalry created real excitement for the day. Conventional winemaking may be understood as ripe grapes being delicately plucked, fermented and often aged in oak barrels, this creates the classic ‘wine-like’ flavours we are so accustomed to and enthralled by. The mass of Georgian producers offering samples of their wines demonstrated how modern this practice appears. The ‘ancient’ or ‘true-traditional’ technique for Georgia is to bury Qvevri (unique clay amphora pots) underground, toss in the grapes and allow the indigenous yeast to get to work. This natural fermentation and further ageing in the cool clay underground is an 8000-year-old methodology. This practice allowed me to sample wine of an entirely different base structure – similar to what our ancestors may have produced - with distinct flavours that cannot be equalled by conventional winemaking techniques.

It was a pleasure to learn about and sample tradition, innovation and culture emerging through the wine world today.



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