If you are looking forward to getting a new tasting diary in your Christmas stocking here’s a new date and event to look forward to, which also won’t take up too much space as it is only three letters long: VIN. A new tasting event being organised by Business France on February 2 that promises to be a one stop shop opportunity to explore and discover gems from all regions of France from producers already in the UK and many who are looking to sell their wines here for the first time. Here’s what to expect.
The new VIN tasting will will bring over 45 French producers and UK importers together at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls near Victoria. Click here to find out more.
Business France’s new VIN tasting has been set up to give buyers the chance to taste wines from every corner of France that aren’t yet on the market, but potentially should be, and wines which are already here and ready to be sold across the country. Here organisers, Pandora Mistry and Claire Prothon, who help lead Business France’s wine and spirits trade agency in the UK, set out what we can expect from this new event.
So what is VIN?
It is an opportunity to discover unrepresented producers, to search out wines that have thus far eluded the UK’s wine trade, to meet importers who can have your next best seller in your stockroom within a few days.
Isn’t the UK market already choc-a-bloc with French wines?
Claire Prothon: Pandora and I are well placed to know that France still has a serious amount to offer the UK wine scene, and we wanted to organise a tasting that shows off the breadth of what the country is producing these days. French winemakers are on top of a lot of the key trends and exciting wines are coming out every year.
Pandora Mistry: What’s great about the UK market as, no matter how saturated people say it is, there’s always room for a new, great wine. This tasting will be a unique opportunity to try wines seeking UK representation and talk with the producers, but also meet importers who have wines ready to go on the market, so it’s great both for long- and short-term business opportunities
Where do you think France now sits in terms of offering quality and value for money?
Prothon: Prices are going up for wines across the board, what with supply chain costs and what not, so if anything, we really need to hone in on quality now more than ever.
Mistry: Exactly. In terms of bang for your buck, France has plenty to be found, especially if you look to alternative regions. France holds a key position at the quality end of the UK market, and if people are watching their spend, I think it’s likely that on occasion they’ll treat themselves to a bottle they know they’ll love rather than choosing a cheaper product.
How have you chosen the producers that are going to be taking part in VIN?
Mistry: We’re aware the UK isn’t an easy market, and we didn’t want to waste anyone’s time, so we’ve interviewed each of the producers to make sure they know what it really means to export to the UK. All of them have some experience or understanding of how difficult it is. We’ve also picked producers from different regions, whose wines we think really have something to offer the UK market. That said we’ve chosen to work with dynamic producers who don’t just have the wines to succeed, but also the personality. They’re ready and raring to go.
Prothon: Yes, and the same goes for the UK importers who’ll be showcasing their wines. They’re all specialised in French wines, so seemed like a natural fit to bring extra value for anyone attending. It’s their passion which speaks for itself.
Where do you see the main trends coming from in France?
Prothon: Whatever the trend in wine, there’ll be a French winemaker near the top. The country’s winemakers love to experiment and get the very best out of their grapes. That’s why you’ll find so many organic wines, biodynamic wines, orange wines, low intervention wines, new blends. French winemakers have also really shifted their ways of working recently to adapt to climate change: moving harvest dates, changing intervention methods, adapting blends, and it’s led to some surprising discoveries. There’s still so much left untapped. We’ll be proving this at VIN through an excellent tasting selection, but also through masterclasses and pop-up events throughout the day.
Mistry: You always hear people saying that France keeps the best stuff for itself, but maybe if you come to VIN you’ll find something to talk about.
In one sentence: why should buyers go to VIN in 2023?
Mistry: France still has the edge over other countries in terms of quality and remains a favourite with a key category of consumer.
Prothon: There’s still untapped talent to come out of France, the variety of different producers and importers at the tasting makes it worthwhile – it’s a tasting that ticks all the boxes.