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Anyone interested in taking part in next June’s Big Wine Festival in Reading can get an idea of what to expect at a trade Taster event also to be held in Reading on September 15.
The organisers behind the Big Wine Festival, which claims it will be the biggest wine consumer event of its kind anywhere in the world attracting a potential 120,000 over its four days, is opening its doors early to give prospective exhibitors and sponsors the chance to see what the festival will have to offer.
To be held at Reading’s Royal Berkshire Conference Centre on September 15 the Taster event will showcase the different aspects of the festival including a walkthrough of its World of Wine, featuring not only the wines from all the key wine producing countries in specially designed two floor marquees, but music and other acts that reflect the culture of the nations represented.
Olivia Ocana, head of the The Big Wine Festival, told Harpers: “This is a sneak preview, if you like, of what to expect. There has been nothing of this type before that plugs the gap between a big music festival and the food and wine shows we see around the country.”
The Big Wine Festival itself is set to take part between June 7-10 at the Kings Meadow Parkland, Reading. It will combine big name music acts, with the likes of Burt Bacharach and Jools Holland being approached to perform in a separate 5,000 seat arena, with the chance to understand more about the world of wine in what Ocana describes as a “relaxed, laid back and friendly” setting.
It will also include a premium food offer with standalone restaurants at each of the World of Wine zones featuring chefs and cuisines from all the main wine making countries.
Those attending the Taster event will also get the chance to see and test the new cashless technology, which is seen as a big point of difference for the Big Wine Festival.
The specially designed wristband technology, which visitors will use to pay for everything at the event, will be able to give visitors a print out of all the wines they sampled and details of all the suppliers and retailers where they can then go and buy them after the event.
Equally exhibitors will be able to be at the show at a profit, by selling wine direct to consumers and then using the special wristband technology to get a full breakdown of the people who bought their wine, down to their name, age and address.
It will also enable retailers and exhibitors the chance to gain insights into visitors’ preferences and spending habits through a tracker held within the visitor’s wristband, that monitors the wines people buy and what they think of them.
The same system will also allow exhibitors to make a profit by selling wine direct to consumers by scanning barcodes over the wristband and debiting visitors personal registration accounts, similar to the Oyster card payment system.
It will also feature aspects of its planned education zone for the festival which will offer general consumer wine advice in three key areas: wine interests covering issues such as how to buy wine for a dinner party; wine investment looking at how to get the most out of buying wines; and Taste the Vines which will offer masterclasses around key grape varieties.
Other plans include a rose garden as a backdrop for Champagne producers, a Vintage section where visitors can sample fine wines and spirits with different tasting sessions ranging from £20 to £130, and a Havana Club concept with a more nightlife feel for the evening sessions.
Ocana added: “It is my dream to allow people who love wine to come to an event that allows them to learn more about wine in a relaxed, informal way in a wonderful outdoor environment. I don’t have a trade background so can come at this from a consumer’s perspective.”
The Taster event is split into two sessions – morning 9.30am to 1pm and the afternoon 2pm to 5.30pm.
Ocana is looking to attract generics, individual producers, agencies, major retailers and merchants. Stands start at £2,000 for a three by two metre area complete with storage, power and lighting.
The Big Wine Festival will take a 10% commission on all sales on exhibitor stands and for a further 5% commission suppliers can gain access to the consumer spending data.
Ocana hopes to take the Big Wine Festival to Sydney in 2014 and California in 2015.
Story by Richard Siddle
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review