The Buyer
Find unsigned talent at Wine Paris with Wines Unearthed

Find unsigned talent at Wine Paris with Wines Unearthed

Ironically the hardest thing busy wine buyers get to do when attending major trade exhibitions is the opportunity to go and meet new producers, so busy are they with meetings with existing producers and importers. Which is where Wines Unearthed comes in. An initiative 100% focused on promoting producers seeking distribution in key markets all in one area of the show. It has become a firm fixture of the London Wine Fair and will be making its first appearance at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris in February. Here its founders, Judy Kendrick and Ana Sofia Oliveira explain how Wines Unearthed works and what to expect in Paris.

Richard Siddle
12th January 2024by Richard Siddle
posted in Conference,

There will be 33 handpicked producers on the Wines Unearthed stand at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris. Here’s how you can arrange how to meet them.

What’s the principle behind Wines Unearthed?

The principle behind this concept is to make it easy for buyers to find good quality producers who are prepared and ready to export in one place at international wine fairs, and for the producers to meet the buyers who match their export ambitions leaving all the logistics and promotion of their presence to us.

Where did the idea come from and when did you start?

Wines Unearthed has become a key part of the London Wine Fair for nearly 10 years

Ana and I were on our way back from the London Wine Fair in 2014 and we commented how many producers without distribution seemed ‘lost’ in the fair. They were scattered round the halls, often unsupported and unprepared. So we proposed an idea to Ross Carter, LWF’s director at the time, to bring all the quality unsigned producers together in an area we called Wines Unearthed, and give them more than just an exhibiting experience – to help them learn about the market, so that they were as ready to export as they possibly could be.

I had already created Esoterica at the LWF to bring all the independent importers together, so why wouldn’t it work with a bunch of quality producers too?

What do you think makes Wines Unearthed so special for buyers?

I guess the diversity of the area is what makes it so special. All top quality producers, all prepared and ready for export from many many different countries.

Over the years we have refused producers who just don’t seem organised to export. We assess their seriousness to export by looking at their online offering, their reviews and their portfolio of products. We’ve also found that facilitating the experience to producers puts them in the best mood possible and so they have more positive energy when exhibiting.

You are going to be at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris for the first time – what can visitors expect to find?

Wines Unearthed will be welcome new feature at this year’s growing Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris

Yes – we are both very excited. We will have 33 exhibitors from 12 different countries. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brasil, Chile, France, Greece, Georgia, Italy, Portugal , Scotland, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay. So visitors will definitely find diversity, all in one place, in Hall 5.1.

What’s the criteria for exhibiting?

For Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, producers have to be looking for distribution in at least three of the Top 10 visiting markets of the fair. Most of our exhibitors in Paris have exhibited with us in London, so it’s like a ‘family reunion’.

We feel our exhibitors are really part of Wines Unearthed and are proud to be, which is really a nice feeling. Of course, the objective is to allow them to make more business, but it can be done in a nice and friendly environment, that we try to create between our exhibitors who usually don’t know each other before exhibiting.

You have a spirits producer as well?

The wonderful Brave New Spirits – they were only established in 2020 and are already setting the whisky world on fire with the awards they’re wining. They are about to embark on building the largest new Scottish distillery from an independent producer for decades which is such an exciting prospect. They’re already trading in more than 25 countries, but are coming to Paris to find more distribution in Europe. They’re definitely one not to miss.

Can buyers make pre-arranged meetings with the producers?

Wines Unearthed is all about putting the right producers together with the right buyers. Picture Anthony Upton 2019©.

Yes, buyers can contact any of our producers direct by emailing – all the contact details and lots of information about them are online here.

Buyers can see which countries our exhibitors are looking for distribution – it’s all detailed on the website

Or they can pre-make meetings once they’re registered on the Vinexposium app/website. Check out the ‘visit’ page here for a tutorial on how to do this.

How are you helping the producers to prepare?

Preparing producers is a very important part of the Wines Unearthed exhibiting experience. We help all the producers to learn more about the markets they wish to export to and of course we, the Wines Unearthed team, promote direct to buyers and press.

In terms of exhibitor preparation, they each receive an up-to-date ‘Road Map to Export’ document which gives them details about the markets in which visitors to the fairs are working.

Andrew Shaw talking at one of the Wines Unearthed conference sessions at London Wine Fair designed to give exhibiting producers first hand experience from leading figures in the market on how best to do business in the trade

In London we also organise a conference the day before the fair bringing together the exhibitors and people who work in the UK market to bring it to life and prepare them for the days ahead. Another thing we organise is a BYOB dinner the night before the fairs so producers can meet each other, get to know each other, taste each other’s wines and then they feel more ‘together’ and it helps them to work as a team during the event.

Are you going to be at the London Wine Fair in 2024 as well?

Yes. I’s such a vital part of the fair now that everyone wants to visit. We’ll have exhibitor details on the Wines Unearthed website soon, and if anyone out there knows producers who’d be interested in joining us, please get in touch.

Our area at the London Wine Fair is always exciting and we hope to repeat this again in 2024, with the help of all the London Wine Fair team as well.

What developments and changes have you made to Wines Unearthed over the years to make it more effective and why?

The countries that will be taking part at Wines Unearthed at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris. Illustration by dcdesignz.co.uk

We haven’t really changed very much. The original principals of Wines Unearthed still stand – despite Covid and the propensity for online meetings we still feel and believe that good relationships and good quality business is done face-to-face.

In London the original stands are still recycled every year and just updated with the producers’ names. Every year we update the ‘Road Map to Export’ document so the producers have the latest stats and trends from the market and the newest addition is our website that we’re very pleased with – so please take a look.

The concept is strong and still has lots of potential so we are thinking about how we can develop it further.

How can buyers find Wines Unearthed at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris?

The fair is in the Paris Expo – Porte de Versailles from February 12-14. We will be in the International Hall 5.1 Stand A 077 (by the stairs going up to Halls 5.2 and 5.3). There’s a map on the visit page of the Wines Unearthed website to help you find us. But we know and feel that the Vinexposium team is really committed to help us spread the word and make sure visitors pay us a visit.

Anything else to say?

There’s lots of activity on Wines Unearthed’s social platforms (Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn @winesunearthed). You’ll find out what’s going on here and see photos and videos from our exhibitors, so you can get to know them before visiting and better prepare your visit.

See you in Paris!