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Iiiiiiiiiit's showtime!

Published:  23 July, 2008

Under the stewardship of Tim Etchells - managing director of consumer exhibitions and, for 15 years, the man behind the BBC Good Food Show - The Wine Show London landed on the streets of Islington and seemingly conjured 12,000 visitors with a profile that could have been plucked straight from a marketing director's head: relatively young, relatively affluent and relatively interested. Although most exhibitors were disappointed about the level of sales, they welcomed the chance to sample to the type of person that is very hard to reach', as a spokesperson for Brown Brothers put it.

Lisa, 22

I think it's been very good, although you have to ask the pourers questions if you want to learn anything; otherwise they just pour without explaining what the wines are all about. I think it's good value: we got a two-for-one deal online, so it only cost us 7.50 each. The only problem is that all the seminars and talks have been pre-booked, and we got here too late to go to anything. If I'd paid the full 15 I would have been a bit disappointed. I'd say I've got a better appreciation of the different wine styles after coming here.

Coming back next year? Maybe - if they put on more seminars.

Dominic, 28

I've really enjoyed it, and I've learnt so much. Although, to be honest, I still find it a bit overwhelming. And at times I feel I've been tasting just for the sake of it rather than learning anything. The Jacob's Creek stand was a surprise. I never knew they had reserve wines, and I've always just seen them as a corner-shop wine'. Their stand was very well done. We also did a lounge with the experts' with Matt Skinner, who was great. I'd never heard of him before, and he was refreshingly young and enthusiastic, although it didn't last very long [15 minutes]. If I come back next year I'd like to see it have a bit more structure, since the stands didn't seem to have any order to them. I also think the food is disappointing for a wine show.

Coming back next year? Probably, if it's in the same place.

Matt, 28

It's been really good. I've come with my girlfriend Kirsty [23], and we've had a lovely time. We did a wine walk' with Oz Clarke, which was brilliant - I really like his style. I don't know much about wine but he made it really simple, and it was great to be able to ask him questions and taste alongside him. That was definitely the highlight. We also did a wine talk' with Matt Skinner, who was also good, but it was more intimidating because there were a few boffins in the audience. Overall, I think it's excellent value for money, and it's a great place to bring your girlfriend.

Coming back next year? Definitely.

Hugh, 40

I've had a good time. There's a good selection of wines from around the world, although I would have liked to see more from Italy, since that's a country I'm very keen on. Saying that, I suppose it's made me look at wines from countries I wouldn't normally choose, like Argentina and New Zealand. I think my favourite wine of the show was from Argentina [Marta's Vinyard Malbec]. The only problem is that it's suddenly got very busy [4pm on Saturday], but I kind of like that because it makes it a bit less serious.

Coming back next year? If I'm around.

Joyce, 49

It's been excellent. We've tried some wines that we would never be able to afford to drink every day, like some of the Burgundies and New Zealand Pinot Noirs - I've really got into Pinot Noirs recently. We also did a wine talk' on German wine with Charles Metcalfe. He was very good at presenting, although I didn't like the wines very much. The only bad thing I can think of is that the food is terrible and there are not many options. Also I would like to see more seats: it's difficult to stand up all day tasting without sitting down every now and then!

Coming back next year? Definitely.

Sam, 27

It's been quite good. I like the stands where you can taste a lot of different wines, like the big Chilean stand and the award one [International Wine Challenge]. Some things were not so great, though, like the bit upstairs [Vin Direct]. It was all a bit complicated, and they didn't seem that keen to talk to us. I much preferred the stands were they talked to you about the wines, but by the afternoon the crowds were so great that you lost the intimacy with stallholders that was so enjoyable earlier in the day. The highlight was probably the wines from New Zealand, since that's where I'm from and they are usually a bit expensive for me to drink everyday.

Coming back next year? Possibly.