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French Wine Growers’ Fair

by Krista
French wine growers fair

Date of Last Visit: Sunday, November 22

The Victims: Chris, Evelien, and baby Seona

The Damage: £10 and seven bottles of French wine.

The Background: I really dig Twitter. There I was Saturday evening, trying to make plans for Sunday when I get this Direct Message on Twitter from a guy I've met once, and it was months ago. He's telling me that if I hated the Wine Show, I'll love the French Wine Growers' Fair.

So I make plans to go and convince Chris & Evelien to meet me there.

The Entrance: This is a low tech show. Lots of producers, standing around with lots of boxes. There is no slick marketing here. And I like the show just for that. I wander around aimlessly for a bit when I'm stopped by a lovely woman at Villa Dondona. (They don't have a Web site.) She tells me all about their winery and we talk about Mondovino, only one of my favorite movies ever. I buy some wine. (Which comes with a convenient trolley to get it home.)

The Marketing: Totally sucks. There is no one here. That being said, there were too many people at The Wine Show, so in that sense, it's good. But I feel bad for the producers. They've come all this way. Plus, they were expecting distributors. Industry people. All they got was me, Chris & Evelien, and an eight-month old.

The Food: There isn't anything nice, I haven't eaten since 8 a.m., and it's 4:30 p.m. I leave Chris & Evelien and go to Pizza Express. Would some crackers really have killed them?

My Suggestions
1. Up the admission price to keep the riffraff out. But make part of the price redeemable on wine. So for example, if tickets were £35, I could redeem £25 of that on wine. It's nice keeping the event small, but you don't want it to be a drink-a-thon.
2. Invite more industry people. Distributors. Restaurateurs. Journalists. Where were they?
3. Invite the London wine bloggers. And the restaurant bloggers. And the food bloggers in general. Particular on Day 1 if you're looking for a little publicity via word of mouth.

The Verdict
: I had a good time. But I'm not sure the producers did. I'll keep an eye out for this next year, but there's got to be a better way.

Coming Up: Spanish in Holloway, Canteen at Royal Festival Hall…

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Alex November 25, 2008 - 9:36 am

Most importantly – don’t hold the event on the same weekend as the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter.

You have to have a serious marketing budget to compete with an established and widely publicised event like Decanter – and there’s no excuse for not knowing it’s on as the events are advertised months in advance. I had my tickets for Decanter a good month or so before I knew about this event.

Douglas November 25, 2008 - 9:45 am

Professionally, I have noticed that compared to the French, the Italians are doing their absolute most to showcase what they are up to at the moment, gastronomically speaking. There are so many events, where they are generous with their time, samples, information and invitations whilst the French appear to be standing still. The wine fair you went to looks like an example of this. And if you would like a guiding hand next time, please don’t forget me – I spend my life drinking, after all.

American in London November 25, 2008 - 12:09 pm

Hey Krista – I had a few flyers come through my mail slot for this French Wine Growers’ Fair, but Sunday was so cold and rainy that I didn’t feel like going out. So maybe the weather was a factor, too.

Also, I was at Canteen Royal Festival Hall on Sunday night. What a coincidence. : ) I liked it better than the Spitalfields location, mostly bc you didn’t have to share those long communal tables (I’m so anti social). But the food seemed more uneven than it did at the Spitalfields location. Looking forward to your post.

Krista November 26, 2008 - 3:57 pm

Alex…excellent point. I’ll be on the lookout for Decanter next year.

Douglas…sorry! Should definitely have called you.

Alice…I was at Canteen Monday night, before Ferran. It was good. But just good. And that Fast Menu they have? Not fast. More to come in the next day or so.

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