Wine suppliers that do not exhibit at the London Wine Fair will now be charged £60 a day if they wish to attend.

Exhibitors have often complained in recent years of paying for stands and then seeing their competitors – who are not exhibiting – swoop in and conduct meetings with buyers at the venue.

Hannah Tovey, head of the London Wine Fair, said: “The decision to charge a small section of visitors is something we have considered very carefully, and we feel it is the right thing to do.

“We have listened to our exhibitors – particularly the UK agents – who feel their significant investment in the show is being undermined when other non-exhibiting agents subsequently attend, often en-masse and with the specific intention of doing business or benefitting from the valuable, high-level networking opportunities.

“I want to stress that all members of the trade are welcome, and we are not introducing this charge as a deterrent; rather it is about protecting our exhibitors and their investment and underlining the inherent value of attending the show.

“In the context of rising venue and supplier costs it represents the most even-handed way to continue with a more sustainable and equitable LWF for the whole trade to benefit from. UK importers or agents not exhibiting but legitimately attending in a buying capacity, will be most welcome and offered a free pass as our guests.

“As a corporate partner of The Benevolent we are delighted to have agreed with them that 10% of all ticket revenue will be donated to the charity as part of our ongoing partnership with this vital industry life line.”

Buyers will receive specific badges allowing them to attend for free, while a guest badge will go to others working in retail or the on-trade, plus Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, marketers and students, and there is now a press badge for journalists.

Others will be charged £60 for one day or £120 for all three days.

The London Wine Fair 2019 will take place from May 20-22.