The Realest of Real Wines

As the wheels of the Real Wine machine begin finally to wind down again for another year, we look back at what was the most successful and diverse Real Wine Fair ever.

On Sunday 7th and Monday 8th May, 173 artisan growers (with more than 50 making their Real Wine debut) from 20 countries around the world, gathered to pour over 700 organic, biodynamic and natural wines to consumers, trade and members of the press at London’s Tobacco Dock in Wapping. More than 2,000 visitors attended, some coming from as far afield as Japan, Chile, Australia and the USA.

The droves of hungry visitors were fed by a dozen street food stalls manned by some of London’s top restaurants and suppliers including Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Salt Yard, Duck Soup, Androuet Cheese, The Bread Station and The Quality Chop House, whilst those thirsty for knowledge attended fascinating seminars and masterclasses given by wine luminaries such as Jean-Pierre Frick, Carla Capalbo and Chad Stock.

“I think we’ve been here six times and it’s one of the best wine fairs in the world. There’s a great selection of growers - people who care about their wines. In the end, for me it’s about ‘true’ wines. It’s not about jobs - it’s about life. We’ve been meeting with a lot friends and customers from London. I like the styles of so many of the wines here and the food is amazing! It’s the best food you get at any wine fair.”

Dani Landi, Comando G/Dani Landi, Sierra de Gredos, Spain

There were also book-signings by Michel Tolmer (for the UK launch of his iconic Mimi, Fifi & Glouglou book in translation), Wink Lorch and Caroline Henry, and The Real Wine Shop proved its worth by selling a record amount of wine over the two days to consumers and trade alike.

The celebrations continued outside Tobacco Dock with numerous parties, gatherings and wine dinners including wine bar pop-ups and grower takeovers. This year the fair invited some of the world’s most iconic natural wine bars (Bar Brutal, Barcelona; The Four Horsemen, Brooklyn; Embla, Melbourne and Le Verre Volé, Paris) to take over the kitchens at Terroirs, Brawn, Toasted and Soif respectively.

“It’s a great chance to meet so many restaurant people and taste so many wines from literally all over the world in one spot. That’s what makes the Real Wine Fair so interesting for me. There’s a friendly relationship between all the growers, and it’s always good to share knowledge about any problems in the vineyard - like the frost that some of us were affected by. It’s really like meeting old friends.”

Judith Beck, Weingut Beck, Burgenland, Austria

Meanwhile, the Real Wine Month has continued apace, with around 280 restaurants, bars, retailers and wholesalers participating in a promotion featuring artisan wines by the glass the length and breadth of the United Kingdom (and Ireland). In addition, over fifty parallel “Real Wine” events, including tastings, masterclasses and wine dinners, have been taking place in restaurants and wine shops, and will continue to do so until the end of May.

The Real Wine Fair will return to London in 2019. / [email protected]

If you’re interested in ordering wines from any of the producers who featured at the Real Wine Fair:

Call 01483 538820 or email [email protected] (trade);
or 01483 554750, (retail) [email protected]

Imagery © HESHPHOTO 2017