The Italian Trade Commission-organised event at the hotel included a Masterclass from wine writer John Wilson.
Most of the producers sought representation here and had targeted the fair at Irish wine importers both large and small.
These days many individual wine retailers import directly through their own efforts or through joining retail buying groups. This can be a worthwhile exercise for such groups which tend not to stray beyond Europe in their search due to sheer logistical/cost considerations.
These individuals and groups tend to import wine styles that aren’t going to show up in the multiples, thus achieving a Point Of Difference in their outlets, plus individuals in a group-buying scheme can avail of the cost benefits of being part of a decent-sized purchase order for the exporting/producing company. So it was considered a worthwhile exercise to introduce these individuals and groups to the wine offerings available from non-mainstream suppliers.
“With the healthy wine market here it made sense for Italy to court this market which is ripe for development,” explained the event’s co-ordinator Jean Smullen, “A nine million case market makes a good target for them and as the Italian Trade Commission deals with different markets, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from their London fair, so costs can be kept down while enabling them to market to two countries.
“Here in Ireland, people have moved away from the more traditional grape varieties – especially the younger generation which fuelled the boom in craft beers and who’ve been made more aware of the potential for different tastes in wine. A lot of the importing companies are aware of this and want something different, so would seek a fairly good order at the right price from these producers.”
Thirty producers from the Campania, Calabria, Publia and Sicilia regions of Southern Italy took part in the event which moved on to London two days later.