Isabelle Legeron MW, organiser of London’s forthcoming RAW wine fair, has spoken out about rumours of rivalry between her and Real Wine Fair organiser Doug Wregg of Les Caves de Pyrène, saying: “Our split wasn’t acrimonious – everything has been blown out of proportion.” As reported on the drinks business, having both helped start up The Natural Wine Fair in London Bridge last year, both Legeron and Wregg are hosting their own natural wine fairs this year, at the same time.
Legeron’s RAW is being held at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane on May 20-21, while Wregg’s Real Wine Fair takes place at Victoria House in Holborn on May 20-22. “We decided the best way to move forward was to call it quits and organise two separate events. It’s a shame they’re both at the same time, hopefully that won’t happen next year,” Legeron said.
“It’s not an ideal situation, it would have been great to do a second Natural Wine Fair like last year. The fact that there are two fairs has got people talking and generated a lot of interest in both, but the rivalry has been exaggerated. I’m looking forward to the speculation on blogs and Twitter calming down so we can both get on with our jobs of organising our respective fairs,” she added.
Wregg agrees that the reaction to the news on blogs and Twitter has been counterproductive: “There has been some nasty blogging going on, trying to drive a wedge into something that should be really positive. Growers are confused by who is issuing the propaganda,” he said, adding, “I’m desperate that both events are successful because it will show there’s great traction with natural wines.”
Both agree that there is space for two natural wine fairs in London: “A natural split has occurred, with Les Caves de Pyrène growers going with the Real Wine Fair. A few producers want to be at both, but it has mainly been an easy decision where to go.
“300 producers would have been too many for one show anyway,” said Legeron, who admitted that she doesn’t know when an official definition for natural wine will be decided, despite it being desperately needed. Progress will be made this year but there won’t be a concrete definition for a while, if ever,” she said.
As to whether she and Wregg will ever join forces again, Legeron is unsure: “Let’s get this first fair out of the way and then we’ll have to see. There will probably be two fairs again next year, just hopefully not at the same time.” Both events, planned to coincide with the London Interntional Wine Fair on 22-24 May, will feature around 150 growers, with each devoting a day to consumers.