SYMPOSIUM ‘ACT FOR CHANGE’ ENDS ON A COLLABORATIVE NOTE

Organized by Vinexposium June 20 and 21, 2022 at the Cité du Vin, the Symposium ‘Act for Change’ gathered over 35 international experts representing 17 nationalities for a series of discussions focusing on the future of wines and spirits between now and 2030.

The event, which was held as part of Bordeaux Wine Week, ended on an optimistic note after addressing the main issues affecting the wine and spirits industry. These include changing consumer patterns, the consequences of climate change and their impact on the production and distribution of wine and spirits. Each talk addressed these issues and provided practical insight, both for industry members attending and those who joined the livestream on Vinexposium Connect, the group’s digital portal. Nine major themes were explored by industry players who view the future with pragmatism, ambition, and confidence in a world of experimentation and solutions to cope with the many challenges to come. At the close of the symposium, speakers agreed that the future of the wine industry would be collaborative, innovative and technological, where ethical practices, transparency, knowledge sharing and engagement between the large companies and winegrowers would be promoted.

Here are some observations on the panel discussions and talks:

If fine wines are to have a future, it will be close to nature

Questioned about the future of fine wines, Oliver Bernard shared his views about the changes awaiting the industry. Expressing a mix of enthusiasm and realism, the director of Domaine de Chevalier stressed the importance of reacting immediately to environmental issues, whilst reiterating his confidence in consumers and future generations in celebrating fine wines. Solutions he mentioned included the emergence of new grape varieties for appellation wines, support for estates to switch over to organic and biodynamic winegrowing and adapting vineyard management techniques.

New consumer habits and new sensory profiles

Questioned about flavour and aroma profiles in 2030, Cathy Van Zyl MW, deputy editor of Platter’s South African wine guide, stated that the South African market was in the process of transitioning to lighter wines. Whisky consultant Colin Hampden-White responded by sharing insight into changing spirits styles, which are increasingly flavourful in response to consumer expectations. Pierre Mansour, wine purchasing director for The Wine Society, stressed that 65% of consumers prioritise climate issues in their choice of wines. Many consumers are looking primarily for ‘honest wines’, showing authenticity, viewed as pure site-expressiveness. Honest wines now seem to be establishing themselves as an emerging and growing trend among consumers seeking added value. They are also asking for variety of choice, catering to their own personal consumption habits, and are turning increasingly towards wines that are drier, more unrefined in style, yet remain savoury, and also towards those that pin their environmental credentials to the mast. For spirits, the future is all about creativity, diversity, assertive tastes, and local traceability. New consumers want to be surprised, they are looking for originality and unexpected styles, which can stem either from new distillation techniques or from creative recipes with unfamiliar ingredients. Stéphanie Marchand-Marion, a lecturer at Bordeaux University studies the latest changes in flavour trends, from the consumer perspective and in terms of climate change. She concluded that wines could survive tomorrow’s climate challenges, provided a balance in their composition was found. 

Tomorrow’s packaging – where changing consumer patterns, innovation and lower CO2 emissions converge

The challenge for the packaging of the future will be to respond to the divergence between the unquestionable need to reduce the carbon footprint stemming from the manufacturing process and consumer perception of sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging. In the consumer psyche, glass remains a sustainable vessel, whereas the reality is more complex. The results of steps taken to recycle bottles are not significant, providing evidence of the discrepancy between interest shown for ecological issues and a real desire by consumers to change their habits. Lulie Halstaed, Director of Wine Intelligence – IWSR, has noticed this particularly in Australia, where 67% of wine and spirits buyers believe in climate change, but only 21% claim to act responsibly. Rob Malin, the founder of When in Rome, launched the first wine sold in a paper bottle, which emits 6 times less CO2 than a glass bottle. As a reminder, the production of glass accounts for nearly 40% of the industry’s CO2 emissions.

Tomorrow’s packaging will have two roles to play: research work and the move towards more sustainable packaging will need to continue, and bottles must be used as a tool for educating consumers of wine and spirits, which are among the most highly packaged products around.

Digitalization of Wine and Spirits

Cyril Grira, Retail & Omnichannel director at Google France, has seen an acceleration in searches for wines and spirits on the Google search engine, as with ‘organic wines’ that have increased three-fold. He also points to the fact that most consumer searches focus on grape varieties, appellations, and local productions. Yet, lack of consumer knowledge on the topic (80% of searches are generic) and of visibility for small producers are barriers to industry performance. The wine industry would benefit from taking a leaf out of the fashion and beauty industries’ book, where multiple formats are used to innovate and tell stories. At the same time, the online sales outlet must connect better with the physical sales outlet. As regards the metaverse, experts expressed reservations, stressing that wine and spirits are primarily part of real-life experiences.

Winegrowing and climate change: opportunities in the face of adversity
As climate change causes upheavals, techniques and typicities across the wine regions are evolving. During the symposium, it was unanimously agreed that coping with climate change and human resilience in supporting winegrowing would be pivotal to tackling the issue. Varietal diversification, planting grape varieties in suitable locations, rootstock and balanced management were all cited as resources. Viewing the future with optimism and ambition, participants called on the industry to take leadership of climate issues and underscored the significance of a collaborative approach – one of the biggest challenges is to think collectively, as a community, so that existing solutions can be shared more effectively.

Geopolitics, wines and spirits – lessons to be learnt from crises

The war in Ukraine undermines control of global capitalism, with consequences including the risk of entering a recession and the supremacy of the dollar in international trade. A new global geo-economy is in the making. Faced with this changing situation, the ability of wine and spirits businesses to adapt must enable them to grasp new export opportunities, in regions such as Africa for instance, and strengthen their brands and their image. Compliance with local rules and protection of brands and appellations are also drivers of this success. Similarly, the impact of climate change affects the geopolitics of wine and spirits, both in the positions taken by leaders and the viability of a supply chain designed to respond to the ‘just-in-time’ logistics expected by younger generations. As Christophe Navarre, chairman of the board of Vinexposium pointed out, “The impact of climate change on winegrowing will be huge. This is a priority mission for businesses, the choice is no longer ours”.

Agro-ecology and innovation: essential bedfellows

Faced with climate challenges and the need to remain competitive in a constantly changing marketplace, agro-ecology innovations are the future. They already come in a variety of forms, from the open access ‘calculator’ for measuring carbon footprint, use of artificial intelligence for managing farms and optimising aspects such as yields – including solutions provided by Israeli company Trellis – to the introduction of regenerative techniques. Although the latter concept covers a whole galaxy of realities, relevant regulations are rapidly progressing and influencing – sometimes even restricting – winegrowing practices. From high-tech solutions to a return to basics, agro-ecology is reinventing itself at the instigation of stakeholders who aim to make it accessible to the broadest audience.

How e-commerce has upended the relationship with the consumer

Lockdown expedited online buying and revolutionised sales. Fabrice Bernard, president of Millesima, commented on how the internet piqued consumer interest about wines that they usually did not drink. E-commerce has changed buying habits, but without driving customers away from shops. This development is compelling e-commerce players to rethink the way they work by creating new technology tools such as those provided by Preferabli, which uses digital technology to help consumers make choices. “We will witness consolidation in the marketplace, but the biggest change over the next ten years will be the increasing number of businesses focusing on the customer rather than on the product. Shops are not the only place where customers can have physical interactions. Digital technology will allow the magic surrounding the product’s story to be developed faster and technology can help tell these stories”, claimed Pam Dillon, co-founder and CEO of Preferabli. The future of e-commerce seems to mesh with a competitive marketplace where customer service will make all the difference.

The future of wine and spirits in 2030 – wrapping up 

The near future will require adjustments to cope with current changes, yet also continued pragmatism, concluded Christophe Navarre, chairman of the board of Vinexposium, who stressed the positive pressure from young people for immediate action in favour of the climate. “Rolling out large-scale, practical actions involves reconciling political agendas, corporate activities, and consumer patterns. This is a complex process. For example, in supermarkets, producers who take positive action are not promoted enough. There is no doubt that this is now one of our missions”, he also pointed out in his concluding remarks at the Symposium ‘Act for Change’.

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Wines of Alentejo Announce New Sustainability Certification Program

Portugal’s Comissão Vitivinicola Regional Alentejana (CVRA) / Wines of Alentejo, confirms that four wineries in this sustainability-conscious region have met a rigorous (new set) of requirements.  This qualifies them to feature a newly created official “Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Program (WASP)” certification seal on their wines. Herdade dos Grous was the first to qualify, followed by Herdade de Coelheiros, Herdade dos Lagos and Casa Relvas. At least six more producers are expected to join in early 2022.

“Strong interest from local wineries, and their ability to meet the tough requirements, are indicative of the Alentejo region’s deep-seated commitment to sustainability. An admirer once told me that Alentejo is a small region doing the work of giants.” — WASP Coordinator João Barroso.

Certification details were unveiled in August 2020. Qualifying wineries must comply with 86% or more of 171 demanding WASP criteria at the most advanced level. Areas covered are viticulture, vinification, and social responsibility, including employee well-being and benefits for the local community. Independent verification is handled by one of four certifying agencies: Bureau Veritas, Certis, Kiwa Sativa, and SGS.

Herdade dos Grous manager and oenologist Luís Duarte comments, “As the first winery in Portugal to achieve this level of sustainability certification, we are proud to help promote the image of Portugal and, especially, Alentejo as home to some of the world’s most ecologically and socially responsible wines, bar none.” Herdade dos Grous’ highly regarded “Moon Harvested” a 100% Alicante Bouschet, is one of the first wines to sport the new logo.

WASP debuted just five years ago under the auspices of Portugal’s Comissão Vitivinícola Regional Alentejana (CVRA), aka Wines of Alentejo. Starting with an impressive 96 members at the end of 2015, that number currently stands at 483 out of a universe of 1,800 winegrowers and 260 wineries. Members represent nearly 50% of Alentejo’s vineyard area.

Under the WASP auspices, 600 individuals have received one-on-one training or attended classes. A further 1,500 have attended sustainable winegrowing workshops. Key to the program’s success is the focus on helping partners save money: a simple water and electricity monitoring plan, for example, can reduce consumption by 20% to 30%. But João Barroso is especially proud of the program’s leadership role. He is confident that not only other Portuguese regions but other areas and countries around the world will step up to the sustainability challenge.

#winesofportugal #wine #winelovers #instawine #winenews #sustainability #vinho #alentejo #portuguesewine ##dourowines #vinhoverde #ecofriendly #environment

“OIV must embrace the digital revolution to stay relevant” – Pau Roc, OIV Director General

 

Pau Roc, the Director General of OIV has alerted the global wine industry to quickly embrace the opportunities afforded by new technologies, in order to stay relevant in a fiercely competitive world.

Speaking at the recent inaugural symposium on the Digitalization of the Vine and Wine Sector, Pau Roca, Director General of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, said “digital tools and data sciences are driving the most innovative changes seen in our lifetime, transforming societies and the world economy.”

Rau Roca continued: “It is important to be mindful that these new technologies will offer invaluable opportunities – they will transform viticultural analysis. In order to remain relevant to our stakeholders, we need to expand our influence, reach new horizons and enhance cooperation amongst the main actors.”

Roca further added that the OIV needed to accept “a paradigm shift” towards embracing digital innovations.

“The next generation of OIV experts will continue this work, building on the foundations we lay today,” said Roca.

The symposium brought together leading experts from the academia, governments, international organizations and the private sector from different countries: Dr Adriaan Oelofse the Research, Development & Innovation Manager at WINETECH who spoke about the concept of smart vineyards, the professor expert in Artificial intelligence Dr. Bernard Chen from the University of Arkansas, professor at the Comillas Pontifical University and Blockchain expert Dr.Javier Ibañez, Mr. Fabián Torres who is a Principal Consultant at SICPA and also an expert in Digital Transformation and Guidance, and Mr Olivier Oram, expert in Blockchain and founder of Chainvine, a business that helps to reduce the cost of trust in moving wine all over and around the world.

 

#wineindustry #winetrade #wine #instawine #winesymposium #oiv #digitalmarketing #digitalinnovation #vin #vine #vineyards #OIV #smartvineyards #winenews

The Wine Scholar Guild launches a new sensory wine project

The Wine Scholar Guild (WSG) has unveiled a new way to assess wine that takes a deep dive into “personality,” and “terroir signature” of wine using sensory language and neuroscience.

The WSG initiative, entitled The Architecture of Taste Research Project (ATRP), involves non-traditional methods of assessment including universal criteria such as sensory perception, perceived energy and emotions to evaluate wine.

The Project Leader Julien Camus and his team took into account how language formats individual thought and collective culture and noted how olfactory notes may speak more about the genetic background, the experience and the culture of a person applying them than about a specific molecule within the wine itself.

“We need to pay more attention to the global intuitive signals our bodies give us. If we put our sole focus on wine’s structural components, we may miss the bigger message,” said WSG president, founder, and leader of the Architecture of Taste research project Julien Camus.

“Our current research is very encouraging. When using our assessment grid, certain sets of descriptors correspond to certain terroirs. There are patterns that are statistically significant,” added Camus.

The oenological research’s next phase of the study will involve sensory analysis experiments, blind-panel tastings, statistical analyses, and an expanded set of assessment criteria to encompass salinity, bitterness, umami and minerality – each within the context of how the body responds to stimuli.

The WSG has put together a multi-disciplinary, advisory committee of professionals to oversee the ATRP. Members of the committee include: Gabriel Lepousez, neuroscientist; Benoît Marsan, wine chemist; Marc-André Selosse, botanist and mycologist; Thibault Boulay, historian and vigneron; Clémence Corbière, historian and sommelière; Pascaline Lepeltier MOF, restaurateur and wine writer; Andrew Jefford, journalist and author; and Lisa M. Airey, CWE, wine educator.

The first large-scale panel tasting using the WSG’s new ATRP tasting grid will take place in Alsace sometime this month (September 2021).

 

#wine #winenews #instawine #winetasting #winescholarguild #wineeducation #WSG #ArchitectureofTaste #terroir #winedescriptions #olfactory #blindtasting #winelovers

Wine News: Light-to-moderate wine drinking can lower heart attack risk

A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Medicine has found that light-to-moderate wine drinking can be beneficial to your health, including those with heart disease.

According to the study, entitled ‘Association of alcohol consumption with morbidity and mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease’, patients with heart disease who drank six grams of alcohol per day (on average) were associated with a 50 % risk reduction of heart attack, stroke, and even death.

Even those who averaged eight grams of alcohol consumption per day would see a 27% reduction in death risk compared with those who did not drink, the study found.

Vinepair states that in the United States, an average pour contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Comprising assessment of over 48,000 patients with heart disease, the research found that, while even increased alcohol consumption up to 62 grams per day was not associated with a heightened risk of heart attack, “non-drinking patients should not be encouraged to take up light drinking because of well-known adverse effects on other health outcomes, such as cancers.”

“Our findings suggest that people with CVD (cardiovascular disease) may not need to stop drinking in order to prevent additional heart attacks, strokes or angina, but that they may wish to consider lowering their weekly alcohol intake,” study co-author Chengyi Ding said, per Reuters.

She did note once again however that “Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing other illnesses.”

Study – https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-021-02040-2

 

#winenews #wine #winelovers #ww #winewednesday #winescience #instawine #winestagram #winetasting #winetime #redwine #whitewine #rosewine #wineinmoderation