The London Wine Fair was held last week at Olympia in the British capital, providing an opportunity for the English market to discover new wines to import from across the globe.
The least that can be said is that the British market likes diversity! Countless producers from countries ranging from as far afield as Spain, Rumania, Argentina and India were in attendance. The United Kingdom has clearly moved beyond the supremacy and ubiquity of French wines. Although the French wine proposition still remains popular with the English, they prefer to enjoy cheaper wines of comparable quality from elsewhere in this highly competitive market.
The level of competition is due to a number of factors. The first of these is the fluctuating Euro/Pound exchange rate which does not provide stability for importers, varying from favourable to unfavourable. The second factor is taxation between the producer country and the United Kingdom which is generally higher than in other importer countries such as Germany or the United States. Lastly, French wines are no longer considered the world’s finest, hence competition has emerged with other European or New World countries offering similar quality wines with a cheaper price tag.
Although many exhibitors agree that the fair was relatively quiet, visitor attendance was of a very high standard – visitors were professional and showed genuine interest for the wines on show.
During the event, Gilbert & Gaillard were able to meet Laurent Metge-Toppin from Château de l’Hestrange whose 2012 Crémant de Bourgogne – which won a gold medal at the Gilbert & Gaillard wine competition – was selected to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday. Kudos to France!