London Wine Fair 2022: Exclusive survivor’s guide

Trade fair navigation
Pic: Wodgester, Wiki Commons

With summer approaching, many of the drinks industry will be looking forward to heading off to the Great Indoors this week and spending a few days away from the stresses of the real world at London Wine Fair.

But while the silence and wide open spaces of Olympia can be restful, it’s important to remember that trade fairs can also be dangerous places. Particularly for anyone wanting to achieve anything useful.

Fake Booze has put together the following London Wine Fair safety tips, to help you avoid accidents.  

Dress appropriately

The weather can change quickly at Olympia – from mindless optimism to the depths of misery in a matter of minutes. So it’s essential to come prepared for all eventualities. Red corduroys, a hat to keep off the sun as it beats down through the giant greenhouse roof and a pair of sturdy boots to kick away persistent sales reps are de rigueur.

Go equipped

The London Wine Fair might be a lot smaller than it used to be, but it’s still possible to get lost. Or at least, to lose the will to live. So always carry a map with you. Other useful items can include a torch and whistle for attracting attention should you find yourself unable to get served at a stand that’s overrun by drunk Majestic staff, and a sturdy moral compass. This will ensure you don’t lose your bearings in a seminar on natural wine and end up believing that it’s ok to drink pond water.

Plan your route

Work out where you’re going to go in advance and, ideally, inform a colleague of your route. That way, if you accidentally get stuck in an interminable seminar on e-marketing, logistics or duty changes they can come and rescue you.

Be realistic in your timings

You might expect to get through 50 stands in one day at London Wine, but it’s important that you understand this isn’t going to happen. Partly because there probably aren’t 50 stands in the first place, but also because you will spend a lot of time queuing for samples, talking to friends you haven’t seen for three years and smiling politely as a winemaker goes into minute detail about something that you lost interest in five minutes ago. As a rule of thumb, expect to taste about 20 wines in a day.

Take food

The London Wine Fair is cut off from the real world. It’s what makes it so attractive, of course. But don’t forget you are going to be away from civilisation for eight hours, and come prepared. Remember there is no food available on site. At least, none that’s edible. So always take something nutritious that won’t melt in the heat and make you look like you’ve had an accident. Energy bars are popular, though old hands swear by a small pull-along hamper of goose rillette and some baguettes.

Be fire-safe

It’s important not to start fires at a trade fair. So if you say something inflammatory on Twitter – even by mistake –  make sure to delete it quickly. Entire drinks categories have been scorched by a discarded comment that ran out of control because the proponent could no longer connect to the exhibition wi-fi.

Take your rubbish home

People often like to bring opinion formers and consultants to the Fair. Our four-egoed friends are welcome, provided they are kept under control. So if you see one churning out crap, make sure your bag their opinions and put them in the bin on the way out.

Click here to read about how the London Wine Fair is to take place in Dusseldorf from now on. Even though it isn’t.

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