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2021 Events guide

Published:  20 January, 2021

James Lawrence rounds up the highlights of the coming year’s events calendar

Let’s collectively banish the memory of a truly awful year. 2021 offers the tantalising possibility of more certainty, stability and, most of all, hope.

From the trade’s perspective, this means adjusting to a post-Brexit regulatory framework, while simultaneously organising an events calendar in the context of a global pandemic. Although the vaccination timetable cannot be anticipated at this point, many of the industry’s most important stakeholders have already planned for a year of digital events. Unlike in 2020, the trade will not be caught unawares.

This is perhaps the only silver lining to have emerged from the pain and disruption caused by Covid-19. After years of inertia, businesses were suddenly forced to recognise the value of the digital space, finally catching up with other industries. Retailers managed to survive – and thrive – adapting their business models and growing their customer base as a result. Zoom became the byword for daily discussions.

Of course, few would deny that face-to-face tastings and reunions with colleagues have been sorely missed. We know that ProWein will be absent from our calendars in 2021, as will other key global events.

New Zealand Winegrowers marketing manager Chris Stroud also regrets the absence of a physical trade tasting in January 2021 – this ‘get together’ has long been an essential part of the trade’s calendar. Yet he is confident that its digital programme offers a rewarding alternative. “We recognised at an early stage that a physical event would be a challenge this year, so we made the decision to move everything online in February 2021,” says Stroud. “We aim to shine a light on many aspects of New Zealand wine during this week (8-12 February) and show that even though we can’t physically be together, we can raise the profile and celebrate New Zealand wine with our trade and media audiences.”

Embracing online

This is the ethos underpinning many of the year’s events in 2021. Corks of Evesham is just one retailer embracing the online sphere – its Virtual Wines of Spain Tasting will take place on 27 February. Participants will receive eight 50ml wine samples delivered to their door along with tasting notes ahead of the Zoom event. The number of similar digital showpieces grows by the week.

Harpers is no less ahead of the curve, having organised an exciting series of webinars and a hybrid programme of face-to-face and online tastings. These will likely be controlled audience/invite-only sessions, but the quality of debate and insight promises to be first rate. On 23 March, a Harpers webinar gives the low-down on Canadian wines – a panel session will be co-chaired by editor Andrew Catchpole and award-winning drinks writer Jamie Goode.

Later in the year, the always popular ‘Think’ events are due to take place, including Think Gin, Think Rum and Think Insights. Never let it be said that the trade is myopically fixated on the grape.

However, the 40th edition of the London Wine Fair (LWF) is intended (at this stage) to take place as a physical event (17-19 May), with Kensington Olympia once again bringing together all sections of the trade for a long-overdue bonanza of sampling, networking and socialising. Several key exhibitors have already committed to the 2021 show, including Enoitalia, Enotria, Hatch Mansfield, Les Producteurs et Vignerons de France, Morgenrot, Nyetimber, and The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, to name just a few.

“We expect to be at capacity for 2021, with a waiting list in place for 2022,” says Hannah Tovey, head of LWF.

“We are very confident that the Fair will take place in real life, and are working to a number of contingency models, which can be adapted according to the changing government guidelines. That said, it would be foolhardy not to have alternative measures in place. With this in mind we are developing a digital offering which is absolutely unrivalled in the drinks industry events arena.”

Nine months ago, Tovey’s palpable optimism would have seemed naïve – ludicrous even. Yet at the start of 2021, there are more reasons than ever to believe that the tumultuous rollercoaster of 2020 will not be repeated. It is inarguable that Covid-19 has claimed many casualties, not least our friends and colleagues in the hospitality sector. But we must also take solace in our industry’s solidarity and willingness to adapt. The pandemic has forced a re-evaluation – and a welcome spurt of innovation – which will be indispensable in the years to come. If the trade continues to build on the lessons learnt in 2020, it can emerge stronger than ever before.

January 2021

Digital Events/Tastings

13 January

Justerini & Brooks En Primeur 2019 – Côte de Beaune Webinar

Join Justerini & Brooks for a Zoom webinar to discuss the 2019 vintage with representatives of three great estates from the Côte de Beaune: Caroline Lestimé from Jean-Noel Gagnard, Guillaume Lavollée from Génot-Boulanger and Stéphane Follin-Arbelet from Château de Meursault.

Time: 5-6pm

Please register online at:

14 January

Justerini & Brooks En Primeur 2019 – Côte de Nuits Webinar

Join Justerini & Brooks for a Zoom webinar to discuss the 2019 vintage with representatives of two Côte de Nuits great estates: Arthur Clair from Bruno Clair and Mathilde Grivot from Jean Grivot.

Time: 5-6pm

Please register online at:

International Trade Events

25 January – 27 January

Millésime Bio 2021: World Organic Wine Fair

In 2021, the Millésime Bio organic trade fair will run as a fully digital event, bringing together organic winemakers from all corners of the globe.

Event contact:

Event website:

February 2021

Digital Events/Tastings

8 February – 12 February

New Zealand Winegrowers Virtual Wine Week

New Zealand Winegrowers has organised a week of virtual events in February 2021, including online tastings, webinars and Instagram Lives with leading New Zealand winemakers.

Event contact:

Please register online:

9 February

Harpers Webinar – New Zealand Sustainability: Challenging the Myths Around Food Miles

Join some of the wine trade’s leading experts as they debate New Zealand’s sustainability strategy. The panel will examine how the country’s world-beating sustainable production overwhelmingly offsets the footprint of greenhouse gas emissions associated with transport, upending common misconceptions surrounding food miles from such a distant territory and making New Zealand one of the cleanest and greenest sources of wine for global buyers.

Time: 4.30-5.30 pm

Event contact:

Please register online: Webinar Registration - Zoom

24 February

SITT Spring

The Specialist Importers Trade Tasting (SITT) is an essential date in the diary. It brings together specialist importers with independent on and off-trade buyers in a fantastic celebration of esoteric grapes and wine styles. At this point, we anticipate a hybrid mixture of digital and physical content.

Event contact:

March 2021

Physical Events/Tastings

March TBC

Wines from Spain hybrid physical/online tasting

Wines from Spain will concentrate on a hybrid event for the late spring, to include smaller targeted and virtual tastings, with details to be confirmed with the trade and press in the next couple of months.

16 March

Dirty Dozen Trade Tasting – London

Twelve of the UK’s most dynamic wine importers will showcase wines that speak of their terroir during this trade tasting in central London.

Venue: Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London Bridge, SE1 9DD

Event contact:

18 March

The Wine Society Press Tasting

The Wine Society showcases its best wines and new agencies in this essential press tasting.

Venue: TBC

Event contact: Victoria Morrall -

Digital Events/Tastings

23 March

Harpers Webinar – Spotlight on Canadian wines

Join Harpers editor Andrew Catchpole and drinks writer Jamie Goode as they unravel Canada’s incredible diversity of terroirs, climates and wine styles.

Time: TBC

To register, please contact

24 March

Think Insights

Agile Media’s ‘Think’ events are designed to break down preconceptions and encourage debate, innovation and cross-category collaboration. Join us for an informative dive into the spirits market via virtual masterclasses, tastings and panel debate.

Venue/format: TBC

Event contact:

April 2021

Physical Events/Tastings

21 April

The Big Fortified Tasting

London’s only trade show dedicated exclusively to fortified wines, covering Port, sherry, Madeira and a range of other fortified styles will now take place online. 

Venue: Church House, London


Event contact: Alex Bridgeman -

Digital Events/Tastings

20 April

Think Gin

Via a hybrid mix of digital and physical content, Think Gin will deliver insights into the innovation and opportunities offered by this still booming category, along with how best to hone your portfolio.


Event contact:

May 2021

Physical Events

6 May

Tesco BWS Spring/Summer Press Tasting

Cube Communications has organised an extensive tasting of Tesco’s range of beer, wine and spirits.

Venue: London Bridge

Event contact: Kara Colegrave –

17 May – 19 May

London Wine Fair

After a temporary hiatus due to Covid-19, the LWF will take place in a now fully digital format from 17 and 19 May 2021. Organisers are now promising the most ‘advanced digital show of its kind' with Industry Briefings, Seminars and Masterclasses all returning via virtual breakout "rooms". 

(This entry has been amended to reflect the decision on 21 January to run a virtual only event.)

Venue: Olympia, London

Event contact:

23 May

The Real Wine Fair 2021

The Real Wine Fair is a celebration of the labour, craft and skill of small independent vinegrowers. It aims to showcase some of the world’s most talented artisan vignerons under one roof and illustrate the exciting diversity and personality of naturally-made wines.

Venue: Tobacco Dock, London


Venue contact:

Digital Events/Tastings

11 May

Think France

Bringing together the whole of France into one focused forum, Think France will include panel discussions, round tables, Meet the Winemaker interviews and amazing tastings in a fun, informative and interactive way to show the strength and breadth that France offers.

If you would be interested in taking part as an exhibitor partner contact

Visitor registration will open on 5 March

International Trade Events

29 May – 31 May

VieVinum 2021

In 2021, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board’s trade fair will take place as a physical event, bringing together leading winemakers from across Austria’s major regions. According to the organisers: “Even more professional, focused and dynamic, Vievinum 2021 will be putting safety and service first. In other words, there will be more space overall and an even greater focus on trade visitors.”

Venue: Hofburg Wien, Heldenplatz 1, 1010 Vienna

Event contact: Michael Tischler-Zimmermann –

June 2021

Physical Events/Tastings

June 14

The Wine Society Summer Press Tasting

The Wine Society showcases its best wines and new agencies in this essential press tasting.

Venue: TBC

Event contact: Victoria Morrall –

Digital Events/Tastings

8 June


With such diversity, rich heritage and wines at every price point, Italy has everything to satisfy even the most eclectic customer base. Think Italy 2021 will give wine buyers, importers and distributors the chance to experience these many facets all in the same day, combining a range of expert panel sessions, interviews and unique tastings

If you would be interested in taking part as an exhibitor partner contact

Visitor registration will open on 5 April

15 June

Think Rum

With rum continuing its ascendancy, this Think event will offer a mix of virtual and physical sessions designed to explore the category in depth, along with insights from key industry figures as to how best to harness such growing popularity.

Event contact:

September 2021

Physical Events/Tastings

7 September

Wine GB Annual Trade & Press Tasting

Celebrate the best of the UK’s growing wine industry during this press tasting of British still and sparkling wine.

Venue: RHS Lindley Hall, London


Event contact: Julia Trustram Eve –

15 September

Wines of South Africa Trade Tasting

Wines of South Africa brings together an exciting cross-section of the nation’s best winemakers during this annual UK press tasting.

Venue: TBC

Event contact: Jo Wehring –

23 September

The Wine Society Autumn Press Tasting

The Wine Society showcases its best wines and new agencies in this essential press tasting.

Venue: TBC

Event contact: Victoria Morrall –

Digital Events/Tastings

20 September – 22 September

SITT Autumn

The Specialist Importers Trade Tasting (SITT) is an essential date in the diary. It brings together specialist importers with independent on and off trade buyers in a fantastic celebration of esoteric grapes and wine styles. At this point, we anticipate a hybrid mixture of digital and physical content.

Event contact:

November 2021

Physical Events/Tastings

16 November

Taste Champagne – Trade & Media Tasting

Taste Champagne is an extensive tasting of over 290 wines created by 56 of Champagne’s best producers. The trade is invited to stroll at its own pace between houses, growers and cooperatives, tasting their cuvées and discovering stories from their chef de caves, brand ambassadors and importing agents.

Venue: The Royal Horticultural Halls – Lindley Hall, SW1P 2PB

Event contact: Jody Rolfe –

Chris Stroud

Marketing manager (Europe) New Zealand Winegrowers – New Zealand annual trade tasting

New Zealand remains one of the UK’s most loved wine categories – how did the market fare in 2020?

New Zealand’s global exports have recently surpassed NZ$2bn and the UK is one of our most important markets. New Zealand wines performed strongly in the UK in 2020, as the stay-at-home occasions increased and people felt confident in the quality and value that New Zealand wine delivers. Indeed, recent figures show strong value and volume growth ahead of the market and so yes, we are very pleased with our performance overall.

Can you tell us more about the digital events you have planned in February 2021?

We normally hold our Annual Trade Tasting in January, however, we made the decision to move everything online and we have created a Virtual New Zealand wine week running from 8 – 12 February. As well as the UK and Ireland, we are working with our colleagues in the USA and Canada to present a wide ranging programme including tastings, discussions, and online activities. Highlights include a Sustainability webinar with Harpers, Instagram Lives with winery figures, winemaker discussions on a range of topics and the opportunity for trade and media to participate in online tastings.

Q&A: Hannah Tovey, h
ead of London Wine Fair

(This Q&A took place before the decision was made by organisers on 21 January to run a virtual only event.)

At this stage, how confident are you that the LWF will take place in 2021?

The LWF is confirmed to take place at Olympia from 17-19 May. Since we had to cancel the 2020 show, we have been working hard behind the scenes on delivering a Covid-19-compliant event for 2021. There have been several necessary changes to make sure it is safe, while ensuring we retain the buzz of an event which is such an integral part of the drinks industry calendar. For example, live visitor numbers will be somewhat reduced – which will effectively mean an extremely focused, high end audience – and the floor plan will be adapted to facilitate social distancing. We will be working with Olympia to ensure all the logistics surrounding glass washing, spittoons, and hand sanitising stations will be in place.

What can you tell us about the proposed format?

We are absolutely committed to delivering the best show possible. While we know the live event will need to be on a reduced scale to allow for the appropriate distancing, we are preparing for all eventualities. We are working to government guidelines, and are set up to be very flexible so we can adapt as restrictions are lifted, which we fully expect. We have every reason to be confident – the findings from the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) pilot event has been declared “extremely safe” by the government, which has given confidence to the entire events industry. AEO guidelines allow up to 4,000 people at an event right now (as of December 2020), and it is fully expected to be more relaxed by May. Moreover, with the vaccination programme now well underway in the UK, the virus should be much more under control by May. It is also worth bearing in mind that the LWF has a much smaller international audience than the larger European shows, so will be far less affected by any travel restrictions between countries. Many of our exhibitors have already committed to the 2021 show – we already have a waiting list in place for 2022.



In 2021, the world’s leading marketplace for organic wine, Millésime Bio will run as a fully digital event, bringing together organic winemakers from all corners of the globe.

Event contact:


In its digital format, Millésime Bio remains open strictly to trade professionals and will be accessible via a dedicated online platform. From their digital stands, exhibitors will be able to present their estates via digital tools such as videos, links to their websites, access to digital technical sheets, medals and awards. Visitors will be able to use search engines to help them navigate the event and explore the show’s digital aisles. During those three days, meetings between exhibitors and visitors will be facilitated by instant messaging or video conferencing. As was already the case last year, visitors will also have the possibility of organising their visit and planning their business meetings ahead of the event.

  • Nearly 1,000 exhibitors, 16 countries represented
  • More than 150 new or newly certified exhibitors
  • Hall dedicated to the award-winners of the Challenge Millésime Bio 2021 contest
  • Appointment booking, exchange of information, live chat or video conferencing
  • Search engine by appellation, type of product or company name with favourites system
  • Virtual visit of the exhibitors’ stands: video presentation of the company, photos of the bottles, technical data sheets, new products, etc.
  • Live conferences
  • Networking area