The great and good of the drinks trade have gathered at the London Whine Fair to celebrate how totally fucked they are.
‘Sometimes in the day to day grind of deadlines, orders and invoices, it’s easy to lose sight of what makes the drinks industry special,’ said brand manager Mel-Ann Kholi.
‘But three days of unending gloom and pessimism have totally reminded me why I joined this business in the first place – which is to complain about profitability while drinking my body-weight in samples.
‘Make no mistake, this really is a golden age for misery.’
The views were echoed by exhibitor Chelle Scheme who has a fledgling importing business looking after ‘wines that she quite liked while on holiday in Turkey’.
‘I came here hoping to find some buyers who wanted to get rid of a few easily-sellable commercial lines and replace them with something unpronounceable and full of faults,’ she told Fake Booze. ‘But I haven’t met any.
‘It’s a terrible indictment of the closed-minded attitude in the UK wine trade.’
Ms Scheme told Fake Booze that after two days at the London Whine Fair she had poured her drinks for 16 bartenders, 25 influencers, 37 ‘consultants’, 175 bored fellow exhibitors and a manufacturer of novelty ice cubes in the shape of a phallus who she has since blocked on all social media platforms and reported to the police.
We can help
The downbeat economic climate in the UK was a key theme at this year’s show, and was subtly alluded to in Francis Jobbinson’s keynote speech, ‘Why we might as well all just give up and get a job at Amazon’.
But the show’s organisers said they had attempted to address these problems with a series of practical talks on logistics efficiency, supply-chain optimisation and creative accountancy.
‘We know that nobody will act on this stuff, because it’s incredibly boring,’ said the show’s organiser Anna Lovey.
‘But a lot of our members are suffering with sleepless nights at the moment, so these sessions are a good chance for them to catch up on some much-needed shut-eye.’
Producers, too, were pessimistic about the future.
‘Basically we have about two years to decide on a coherent plan to counter climate change,’ said Tim Pranillo from Rioja.
‘And since the DO has been implacably deadlocked for 65 years about whether it’s permissible to use the colour green on a label, I’m not optimistic about our chances.’
He was, he told Fake Booze, responding to the impending catastrophe by ‘uncorking all the good stuff in the cellar, getting roaring drunk on a daily basis and handing the problem on to my children to sort out.’
However, some exhibitors at the London Whine Fair were much more sanguine about the future.
In the special themed ‘What… They Make Wine There?’ pavilion, government officials from Moldova, Estonia and Kraplakistan were bullish.
‘Wine is a key part of our plans for the future, since it will allow me to travel the world on expenses,’ said Estonian trade representative Putitonmi Tabb.
‘We came here planning to double our sales in the UK and I am delighted to say that we have done that.
‘Next year we will sell four cases here.’
Click here to discover why Vinexpo Paris is ‘mostly about the croissants’