The organisers of the London Wine Fair have announced that this year’s show will feature a special preview day, for the first time in the event’s 40-year history.

Coined “Welcome Back Wednesday”, the preview will take place on Wednesday, 28th April, and has been designed specifically for the on-trade to assist their preparations in advance of the full opening of their sector on 17th May, which is also the first day of the London Wine Fair.

“When the government announced its intention to fully re-open hospitality on Monday, 17th May, we very quickly realised we would need to adapt to ensure The Fair’s continued relevance to the on-trade,” says Hannah Tovey, Head of London Wine Fair. “It was immediately obvious that sommeliers would prioritise their re-opening day over everything else, but we also felt strongly that there needed to be some kind of platform for this sector to do business and share intelligence in the run up to the end of Lockdown.”

Welcome Back Wednesday will be open to those exhibitors signed up to the main event, who are specifically looking to target the on-trade, at no extra charge.

It is expected that around 20 companies will take part in this preview, focusing on the major U.K. importers and small to medium sized on-trade suppliers. Taking place at the mid-point between opening for outdoor hospitality (12th April) and indoor hospitality (17th May), the event will give the industry an opportunity to assess opening strategies and gear up for the end of Lockdown, including reviewing and renewing drinks lists.

Alongside exhibitor activities, Welcome Back Wednesday will be rich in on-trade relevant content, including a heavy-weight panel debate on the re-opening of the hospitality sector.

The London Wine Fair May event will now be structured so that each day is partially targeted to a specific sector; day one’s content will be tailored to the off-trade and international audience; day two will be focused on on-trade; and day three will have a discovery and press focus.

All exhibitors and all visitors can access the platform and arrange 121 meetings across all three days and there will be cross-sector relevant content on each day.

“The need for absolute flexibility has been paramount at every stage of working on the 2021 show,” reveals Tovey. “Balancing an event which will not only be viable, but also “must-attend”, with every twist and turn the Pandemic takes has been a challenge, but one that we have totally embraced.”