After two amazing years, this celebration of UK wines shows no signs of slowing down, with last year’s record-breaking statistics again set to be eclipsed as the viticulture industry continues to go from strength to strength.
The free-to-visit Vineyard and Winery Show will give growers, winemakers, the committed and the merely interested an unbeatable opportunity to check out the latest machinery, explore the newest techniques, talk to an impressive line-up of suppliers, hear the best speakers and, of course, taste some of the best home-grown wines available.
Two wine hubs will offer visitors to the show the chance to sample the very best – wines that have appeared in Vineyard Magazine as part of Matthew Jukes’ list of top UK wines or those which are either gold or silver WineGB medal winners.
The two hubs will this year be split, with sparkling wine tastings available in the John Hendry Pavilion and still on offer in the Maidstone Exhibition Hall. In total there will once again be 100 of the country’s top wines available for growers, winemakers and buyers to compare, contrast, admire and perhaps learn from.
Top wine writer, speaker and all-round expert Matthew will also once again be leading an exclusive wine tasting masterclass – virtually sold out as the magazine went to press – while new for this year is a second tasting event focusing on the up-and-coming Piwi wines and led by Volker Freytag and Sam Doncaster from Piwi experts Rebschule Freytag.
The Piwi masterclass also looks set to sell out, highlighting the interest in these new varietals and the expertise the speakers bring to understanding the topic.
The growing interest in viticulture and the draw of this industry-leading show is highlighted by the fact that exhibitor space is sold out, despite organisers Vineyard magazine making an extra 500 square metres of space available for the 2023 show in response to demand from businesses that have recognised the potential of this growing market.
It means that visitors will be able to see a huge range of machinery and equipment, from specialist tractors and bottling lines to packaging materials and labels, and talk to specialist advisers, agronomists, funders and experts of all kinds.
The 120 trade stands will offer support, knowledge, services and technical advice for everyone, from existing growers and winemakers looking to move to the next level or streamline their processes through to those who are just thinking about dipping a toe in the water.
The list of seminars, and the speakers delivering them, is equally impressive, beginning with a keynote address by Anne Jones, the John Lewis Partnership’s drinks brand experience development manager, a Trustee of the Sustainable Wine Roundtable and a WineGB sustainability ambassador.
With the event having become a high-profile industry highlight in just three years, the programme will be introduced by Nicola Bates, the incoming chief executive of WineGB.
Other speakers include Julia Trustram Eve, the organisation’s head of marketing, Ben Smith from Itasca and Bruno Estienne, CEO of Bucher Vaslin.
The popularity of the seminars, as demonstrated by the large audiences last year, has prompted the organisers to site this year’s talks in a dedicated seminar area, a large, heated marquee with seating for 200 people.
Research following last year’s show suggested that on average visitors travelled from 100 miles away on average to reach the event, highlighting its importance as a national showcase.
The show opens to the public at 9am at the start of a day that will provide a unique opportunity for networking, sourcing new suppliers, looking at the latest machinery, uncovering innovative ways of doing things, learning from the experts and tasting a drop or two of some of the best wine around.