The “Old Vine Conference” The First Series Launches March 23

A new initiative has just been launched to support the global group of winemakers and viticulturists engaged and working with the world’s oldest vines.

The “Old Vine Conference” in March is the first in a series which will take place throughout 2021, bringing industry professionals together to share knowledge, build alliances and develop new tools to preserve, protect and nurture old vine vineyards.

Leo Austin, Sarah Abbott MW and Alun Griffiths MW have launched The Old Vine Conference – a non-profit organization that seeks to highlight the work of old vine pioneers, advocate the scientific and oenological case for old vines, help build old vine wines into a recognized category amongst consumers and slow the loss of important old-vine vineyards worldwide.

The first event will take place on March 23 and 24, hosted and moderated by Tim Atkin MW, Dr Jamie Goode and Sarah Abbott MW. It is free to attend. The conference will bring together some of the most respected old vine advocates from around the world to share their experiences and views.

Speakers include:

Rosa Kruger (founder) & André Morgenthal (project manager), the South African Old Vines Project. The project grew out of a commitment to raise the living standards of vine workers through recognizing the value of their work. It has become a benchmark for the national protection, certification and marketing of old vine wines.

Faouzi Issa, co-owner and winemaker, Domaine des Tourelles, Lebanon. Faouzi has championed a return to native and regional varieties in the Bekaa Valley, using indigenous old vine Merwah and Cinsault brought to the area by Jesuits in the 1800s. His 70-year-old bush vines demonstrate immense affinity for the region’s terroir and climate and reveal a practical path forward for local winemakers.

Salvo & Simone Foti, I Vigneri, Etna – Salvo and Simone have successfully created a collective of 30 growers with a mission to preserve the ancient vineyards of Etna and Eastern Sicily. In the process they have reinvigorated a community and once again made vine growing into a realistic vocation for the region’s youth.

Elias Lopez Montero, winemaker and co-owner of Bodegas Verum, the family winery and distillery near Ciudad Real.  Elias has nurtured their ancient bush vine Airen and makes acclaimed wines in the original clay tinajas installed by his grandfather.

Following the conference, a global schedule of old vine tastings and vineyard visits will be developed, together with a crowdfunding project to support viticulture heritage sites in danger.

Sarah Abbott said: “In recent years, a group of old vine pioneers around the world have made immense efforts to preserve viticultural heritage, highlight the science of old vines and re-invigorate local communities of small growers. These are some of the most important initiatives in our industry. Our research has shown that many otherwise passionate wine lovers still don’t understand or value old vines, often dismissing the term as a marketing gimmick.”

“The result is unbalanced industry economics and the loss of irreplaceable old vines year after year. If you are passionate about heritage, science and taste, please work with us to create a new wine category and sustain the world’s most valuable old vines.”

Leo Austin said: “We can change the economics of old vines and through that change the lives of grower communities around the world. It requires us to build a credible old vine category and develop consumer demand – but it can be done. We hope to build support and together we’ll make a difference.”

To reserve https://www.oldvines.org/program-speakers

23rd March 2021 – 11:00 – 14:00 GMT

24th March 2021 – 17:00 – 20:00 GMT

 

 

Institute of Masters of Wine Webinar: Climate Change & Global Wine Trade – February 17th, 2021

The Institute of Masters of Wine is continuing its webinar series next Wednesday February 17, 2021 with a session on “The Impact of Climate Change on the Global Wine Trade.”

This webinar will examine the impact of climate change from vine to glass with leading experts climatologist Dr Greg Jones, economist Mike Veseth and CEO of Wine Intelligence Lulie Halstead sharing their views in a discussion covering the impact on growing grapes and wine quality, trade and distribution and on wine consumers. 

Climate change is having an impact on wine production. Increasing temperatures affect vine phenology with reduced winter dormancy, and earlier physiological ripening. They also affect the spread of disease and pests. Climate change is leading to more frequent and more extreme, extreme weather events with increased drought conditions and wildfires in regions such as Australia, California, Spain and South Africa, spring frosts and more violent storms leading to flooding. This means greater variation in quantities of wines produced from one year to the next with increased volatility in wine prices. Climate change imperils the smooth flow of goods as transport infrastructure and ports are vulnerable. Wine consumers are increasingly concerned about climate change and are becoming more demanding in terms of wanting to know what goes into the products they buy and how they are made. This discussion will cover each of the aspects across the entire global wine supply chain.

The event will be moderated by Jane Masters MW and there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

The panel includes:

Dr Greg Jones – Chair, Evenstad Center for Wine Education / Wine Studies
Lulie Halstead – CEO Wine Intelligence
Jane Masters MW (moderator) – view MW profile
Mike Veseth – Wine Economist, Professor emeritus of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Washington)

This webinar is open to everyone, but capacity is limited. Follow this link to register.

WINEGB ANNOUNCES ITS CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES FOR 2021

WineGB has just released its 2021 calendar of activities as part of its UK market development strategy. This year there will be a strong focus on wine tourism and the retail sector, underpinned by industry values including sustainability, product excellence and innovation.

Activities kick off with a virtual three-day wine tourism conference next month. ‘Wine Tourism in the UK: the route to success’ will run 2nd – 4th March, 10 am-12 pm each day. Whilst aimed primarily at industry members, many of whom are actively engaged in wine tourism, the calibre and line up of speakers will be instructive and inspiring for anyone working within the wider tourism and hospitality industry.

English Wine Week is moving to June, taking place Saturday 19th – Sunday 27th June. Celebrating English vineyards and wines in a week that includes Summer Solstice and Midsummers Day as well as the beginning of flowering seemed a timely and seasonal move for both vineyards and the many retailers selling English wines. With the range of wines now readily accessible and reported record sales of English wines in the last year, the Week provides the perfect opportunity to team up with retailers to spread the strong message of availability, together with encouraging more people to visit the many vineyards that are open to the public (in times without lockdown restrictions). More information about how WineGB will be proposing to work with retailers will be released shortly.

There will be a separate Welsh Wine Week, scheduled to take place Friday 4th – Sunday 13th June. Supported by the Welsh Government’s Drinks Cluster, there will be a veritable toast to the growing number of vineyards across Wales. Further information will be available from https://drinkwelsh.co.uk

The pandemic last year meant that the annual WineGB Trade & Press tasting was cancelled. This year’s tasting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 7th September (subject to any restrictions of course) and promises to be the key showcase event for GB wines and the recent excellent vintages and releases.

The WineGB Awards will see judging taking place over the week of 7th June at Ashling Park Wine Estate, Sussex. Led by Co-Chairs Susie Barrie MW and Oz Clarke, the wines will go through a rigorous tasting process with the highest calibre of judges. The aim of the Awards is not only to celebrate excellence but to provide significant promotional opportunities for all the winners through an extensive social media campaign and supporting all stockists and resellers. The medal wins will be announced on Thursday 24th June (during English Wine Week). A trophy announcement and awards ceremony is planned and further details will be released in due course.

A number of dedicated social campaigns will also be rolled out over the year. Upcoming is a Valentine’s focus with a difference: #WineMyHeartAway is running in association with Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW together with Majestic and encouraging followers and industry alike across their social channels (Instagram and Twitter) to share the first time they fell in love with wine. To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, WineGB is teaming with Women in Wine London to run a series of Instagram Live interviews across that week until 15th March, featuring women from some of the many different areas of the Great British wine industry.

Comments Julia Trustram Eve, WineGB’s Marketing Manager: “Whilst last year was incredibly challenging for many of our members, the rise in retail and direct to consumer sales demonstrated that consumers are more clearly focussed on provenance, sustainability, buying from local producers – all of which our industry is proud to provide. Above all we want to set out a calendar of events and projects that focus on key consumer drivers and allows them and the trade to engage with this wonderful industry of ours, which is going through remarkable growth and bursting with confidence.

“We sincerely hope that the many tourism operations and our own trade tasting will be able to take place in person – we cannot wait to see everyone again and give the trade a chance to connect with our wines. Here’s to a great 2021.”

Further information – visit https://www.winegb.co.uk/trade/

Wine Australia is launching a new global 24/7 virtual platform

Wine Australia is launching an (always-on) 24/7 virtual platform “Australian Wine Connect” in March which will bring the global wine community together to experience and explore Australia’s wine scene.

The interactive platform will be a go-to resource for Australian wine over the next twelve months. Featuring wineries from across 65 regions; connecting winemakers, buyers, importers, distributors, media, educators and more; and offering a diverse program of engaging events and experiences.

Australian Wine Connect will create a bold new world of opportunities for Australian wineries to promote their products across the UK, Europe, the US, Canada and Asian markets.

Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said, “We’re proud to bring this same spirit of innovation to the way we do business and have been working hard to develop a valuable opportunity for Australian wineries to continue marketing and selling their wines overseas this year”.

“Australian Wine Connect has been designed to offer similar benefits to an international trade show, however it also enables wineries to reach and engage with multiple markets across the globe and it will be live and offering various virtual business opportunities for a full twelve months,” he said.

Clark said it will allow buyers from across the world to network and meet producers, discover new wines, link up with distributors and enable sales conversations. It will also offer ongoing live thought-leadership sessions, tasting sessions, variety and regional explorations to showcase the people, places and processes that make Australian wine unique.

Australian Wine Connect will go live on 31 March 2021 and registrations for the virtual showcase are now open to Australian wineries. Eligible wineries can apply for the Wine Export Grant to help cover the cost of participation.

The Australian wine community is renowned for its creativity in the pursuit of creating the most diverse and distinctive wines in the world.

The multi-faceted platform will host virtual events and collaboration tools to help wineries stay up to date in market and will promote Australian wine in a new and exciting way to raise awareness and increase demand amongst an international trade audience.

For further details, click here

Wine Not? American Airlines Launches Flagship Cellars, an at-home Wine Experience

Each year, a dedicated team of wine experts carefully reviews 2,000 bottles to select wines that will join the award-winning American Airlines wine program. For the first time you can enjoy these premium wines by having them delivered straight to their door with American’s new Flagship® Cellars at-home wine experience.

American Airlines has built a reputation for its thoughtful selection of award-winning wines that represent unique regions and flavors from around the world. “Flagship Cellars” is a wine passport to the world with flexible wine subscriptions or build-your-own case options. The curated collection features exclusive ultra-premium wines at a lower price and with AAdvantage® mileage benefits.

“For wine lovers around the world, wine provides a deeper connection to the places they enjoy visiting,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American. “We created Flagship Cellars to provide more ways for customers to enjoy our Flagship wine even if they aren’t flying in one of our premium cabins.”

How the Flagship Cellars wine experience works:

American Airlines will hand-pick wines from its Flagship wine collection, chosen by an award-winning master sommelier exclusively for American.

Anyone 21 years or older can select their wine preferences at vinesse.com/flagshipcellars.

Customers can select from curated collections of mixed wines, build their own custom box, or purchase a monthly wine subscription that includes three prestigious wines for $99.99 USD, which includes delivery.

Subscriptions may be for a limited time (while supplies last) and can be canceled at any time. The introductory offer includes an extra complimentary bottle of wine. Program and availability limitations on orders vary by state.

In addition, members of the American Airlines AAdvantage® loyalty program can earn two miles per dollar spent on every order when they provide their AAdvantage number during checkout (excluding taxes, shipping and fees). Not an AAdvantage member? Join for free at aa.com/loyalty/enrollment/enroll.

Wines considered for the American Airlines wine program undergo a thorough process. Twice a year, the wine experts identify top selections based on their notes and historical data on what has been most popular with customers around the world. The team meets with its award-winning master sommelier to blind taste wines before presenting final options to a variety of American team members to solicit feedback and identify which wines are best suited for onboard and in lounges.

American has more Global Traveler Wines on the Wing awards than any other U.S. carrier, including four first-place wins in the past year. Since 2015, American has been the top airline for first- and business-class wines in North America.