The 2nd Old Vine Conference Takes Place Online June 30-July 1, 2021

The second Old Vine Conference is set to take place online June 30 to July 1, 2021, with a special focus on genetics and heritage.

The event is free to attend and includes global speakers from the world of wine, including Bolivia, Australia, Argentina and France.

The Old Vine Conference is a non-profit organization seeking 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 and slow the loss of important old-vine vineyards worldwide.

Speakers at this second event include Dr Dylan Grigg, old vine researcher and founder at Meristem Viticulture from Australia; Dr Laura Catena, Catena Zapata from Argentina; Brigitte Chevalier, owner and winemaker at Domaine de Cébène in France; Nayan Gowda, winemaker and consultant to Jardin Oculto in Bolivia; Jean-Philippe Roby from the Bordeaux Sciences Agro and Institute of Vine and Wine Scientific Institute of Bordeaux and Katie Jones from Domaine Jones.

The event will be hosted and moderated by Jane Anson, Sarah Abbott MW, and Tim Atkin MW and will focus on the work that producers and viticulturalists are doing to safeguard old vines around the world.

“We are delighted to have such an exciting lineup of speakers for our second virtual conference,” said Sarah Abbott MW.

“Since our first event in March, we have been contacted by passionate winemakers and old vines experts from around the world who want to engage with our initiative. This shows that there is a real need to harness this passion and turn it into real actions that can help secure the future of old vines around the world.

Registration: https://www.oldvines.org/

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“Tastry” uses Chemistry + AI to Analyze Wine and Generate Flavor Profiles

A California startup that taught a computer to “taste” wine is using technology to help winemakers improve their wines and attract new customers.

Founder Katerina Axelsson says Tastry uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze “tens of thousands of wines a year,” generating vast reams of data to help winemakers and retailers target their products more effectively.

Ms Axelsson formed her idea as a chemistry student working at a winery, where she noticed “idiosyncrasies” in how wine was evaluated. A 100,000-gallon tank of wine would be divided in two and sold to two different brands, where it would end up in different bottles, sold at different prices and receive different scores from critics, she states

She began analyzing wine samples, identifying thousands of compounds. Using AI, she could see how these compounds interacted with each other, creating the wine’s flavor profile. She then took that profile and used machine learning to compare its flavor, aroma, texture and color with other wines in the database.

The method allowed Axelsson to develop a wine recommendation app, which was launched on screens in the wine aisles of retailers in 2019. Through a quiz, consumers could input their flavor preferences, and the software would recommend a suitable wine with 80-90% accuracy at the first attempt, she says, rising to 95% with additional input form the user. Tastry’s system now powers its BottleBird wine recommendation app.

Tastry has also begun working directly with winemakers in the United States. Brands pay to have their bottle analyzed “and in exchange they would have access to what we call an insights dashboard, where they can identify how their wine is perceived in their market of opportunity, on a store, local or regional level,” says Axelsson.

One client is O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, one of the largest wine producers in California. To produce some blends, it combines wine from “upwards of 30 different tanks” to create the desired flavor profile, according to Marty Spate, vice president of winemaking and winegrowing.

The company is using Tastry’s AI to “streamline” the blending process by suggesting which tanks to use. “[Tastry is] not a replacement for the modern winemaking team,” he says, however, “that data can be pretty powerful.”

But in an industry steeped in artisan tradition, there are some critics of its algorithmic approach.  “It’s like having a computer analyze a piece of art,” says Ronan Sayburn, master sommelier and head of wine at 67 Pall Mall, a private members club for wine lovers in London.

“I don’t know how keen people would be on following what a computer tells them to drink, based on what they had previously,” he says. “I think part of the appeal of wine is forming your own opinions.”

Sayburn concedes technology can be useful to the amateur, for recommending serving temperature, aeration time and food pairings. “But when it comes to something which is a very emotive subject, I think there’s got to be human contact,” he argues.

Axelsson agrees that Tastry is not a substitute for a sommelier. But she says the scalability of her product makes it possible to analyze more wines per year than a human could ever taste.

Her company will start offering services in Europe later this year in collaboration with an online retailer, and is already thinking beyond wine, having conducted tests for beers, spirits, coffee and fragrances.

In the meantime, she’s happy to spend time winning over the naysayers.

“It takes time to educate any industry about AI and its benefits,” she says. “But if the use case is there and the value proposition is there, I think it’s just a matter of time before people really embrace it.”

Source :CNN Business London

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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

 

 

The INAO approved six new grape varieties in Bordeaux

The Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO) has officially approved the use of six new varieties in Bordeaux, which were first proposed in 2019.

The French agricultural governing body has approved the use of four new red varieties, as follows: Arinarnoa, Castets, Marselan and Touriga Nacional, and two white varieties: Alvarinho and Liliorila; with plantings authorized for 2021.

The varieties were put forward by winemakers in the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs (not Pauillac and Margaux ) in the summer of 2019, as a potential means of dealing with different growth cycles and ripening periods, in the face of a changing climate.

Scientists in Bordeaux looked at fifty-two varieties for potential future use before settling on the final six which were considered particularly suitable for their ability to handle hydric stress and for being later ripening.

When plantings begin, the new varieties will be limited to just 5% of an estate’s total surface area and no more than 10% of the blend in either red or white.

These new varieties will sit alongside the already permitted varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Carménère, Petit Verdot for red – and Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Muscadelle, Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Merlot Blanc and Mauzac for white.

San Pedro is launching a new wine brand to support (Glaciares Chilenos) Patagonian Glaciers

 

Chile’s Viña San Pedro is launching a new sustainable, organic wine brand called “South Cause” which will raise money to support Glaciares Chilenos, an NGO that aims to conserve Patagonian glaciers.

San Pedro, which is part of the VSPT group is launching the new wine brand in Europe, North America, and north Asia by the end of the year.

Labeled “South Cause” the new brand comprises four different wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, a red blend, Sauvignon Blanc, and a rosé, all targeted towards millennials and the younger generation of wine drinkers.

Rodrigo Romero, vice-president of global marketing for VSPT, described the new wine label as an “activist brand”, and he states:

“So far most of the things we have done have been in-house. We heard about Glaciares Chilenos and thought maybe we could have a role in this. And what better way to do it than create a new brand that stands for this sentiment. It proves it’s not an after-thought. It’s a range of quality wines that also embrace the cause.”

The wines are certified organic and vegan, will be released in eco-friendly packaging, which is either made from recycled materials or is itself recyclable.

VSPT has recently pledged to reduce the quantity and weight of its bottles and packaging so that 100% are separable, reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2030.

Sales of “South Cause” wines, will be priced between US$12-$15 per bottle, depending on the market, and will directly benefit Glaciares Chilenos.

VSPT has signed an agreement with the NGO which will see it give the organization a set lump sum each year to fund its scientific research and educational campaigns. The NGO will also receive a variable amount of money each year, based on sales of the wine.

Glaciers act as climate regulators, reflecting between 45% and 80% of the sun’s light, helping to cool the earth’s temperature. Glacier-melt causes sea levels to rise, leading to flooding and the loss of land. In the last six years, Chile’s glaciers have decreased by 8%, the equivalent of 1,800 Olympic-sized pools.

Glaciares Chilenos is dedicated to the preservation of Chile’s Patagonian ice fields, which represent 82% of the glaciers found in South America. The issue is particularly pressing given that 70% of the Chilean population is supplied with water originating from mountainous areas and the glacier refill zone.