Wines from Spain has announced it will postpone its annual trade tasting in London.
The event, which was meant to take place at London’s Sky Garden on 31 March, will be moved to a later date.
More than 60 leading importers and exporters were due to present their Spanish wine portfolios to the British trade including a selection of the latest vintages and releases available to the UK market.
Fernando Muñoz, director at Wines from Spain, said the industry body had been monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK and in Spain in the run-up to the end of the month.
“Whilst following government advice, we spent the last couple of weeks speaking with partners to assess the impact the outbreak would have on our event and what measures we could put in place in order to mitigate risks and deliver a safe, successful event for all,” he said.
Events such as these are crucial for wine businesses looking to export their products and dramatically increase sales. Exporters seeking distribution were set to showcase around 1,000 wines from 300 wineries from across Spain’s 71 D.O.s, to importers and retail buyers in search of new producers.
Moñoz said that, as the situation in continental Europe had worsened over the past few days, with new restrictions on travel, and individual companies’ stricter guidelines to staff, the group concluded “it would be impossible for us” to go ahead as planned at the end of March.
“Whilst it is the current position of the UK government to allow public gatherings, we have made the decision to postpone the Wines from Spain Annual Tasting on March 31st.
“Our priority is to act responsibly and put the safety of our exhibitors, visitors and staff first. We also want to deliver a successful event for all. We will be working with venues and all partners to find suitable, alternative dates for the event.’
The Wines from Spain annual trade tasting is the latest event in the drinks industry calendar to be pushed back thanks to widespread anxiety over the spread of coronavirus.
The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux decided to suspend its en primeur programme this morning, which was also due to take place at the end of this month.
French president Emmanuel Macron announced schools and universities would be closed on Thursday night (12 March), and called for the suspension of all but the most vital gatherings and even calling up medical students and recently retired doctors and nurses to help in hospitals and medical centres.
In Spain, the historic home of Rioja is the latest area of Europe to face quarantine. The virus broke out in the village of Haro, part of Rioja Alta, and was traced to a funeral held in the neighbouring city of Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque country two weeks ago.
Arguably the biggest event in the drinks trade calendar. ProWein was cancelled altogether. On Thursday 5 March, Messe Düsseldorf, the organiser of ProWein, has revealed that the show will not take place this year. The group plan to host the event as scheduled in 2021.