‘We want to demonstrate the power of the collective,’ said Bruce Tindale, chair of the ICCWS 2016 Planning Committee in his welcome speech to patrons, sponsors and leading members of the UK wine trade at the first Patron’s Circle event on Thursday 20 November.
‘We are a young industry, so in our short history there have been relatively few opportunities to show what we can achieve when we all work together towards a common objective,’ he said, speaking of the challenges of hosting the 9th International Cool Climate Wine Symposium.
‘Great progress’ has been made so far,’ Tindale added. ‘Confirmed speakers include four MWs and some of the most acclaimed international wine academics and experts from France, Germany, Australia, USA, China, Canada, Finland and the UK.’ Renowned writer, taster and critic Oz Clarke is the latest to join the programme. Oz will lead a tasting on English still wines on Friday, the second day of the conference.
With Jancis Robinson MW opening the symposium and Dr Jamie Goode closing proceedings, Bruce also mentioned Essi Avellan MW, co-author with Tom Stevenson of the World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine, who will lead a tasting on English sparkling wines on the first day.
Sponsorship and support from the wine industry and the UK trade is crucial to the symposium’s success, and Bruce thanked all the sponsors for their involvement. Winning further sponsorship is a key goal over the remaining 18 months. Five wineries have come on board as Winery Sponsors, and a mixture of wineries, vintners and individuals are among those who have joined the recently launched Patron’s Circle.
‘Britain’s very good at wine trading, education and writing. It’s becoming increasingly good at winemaking, and this will be an opportunity to show this,’ said guest of honour, Jancis Robinson MW, who attended both the 1988 Auckland Cool Climate Symposium and the most recent one in Tasmania.
‘If English wine is going to develop, the conference is an opportunity to put us on the global map,’ said Hush Heath founder and winery sponsor Richard Balfour Lynn. ‘I think collaboration in English wine is critical.’
‘The conference is going to be really positive for the English wine industry,’ said Liberty Wines’ Verity Milns, explaining why Liberty had joined the Patron’s Circle. ‘And of course, we work with a lot of cool climate wine producing regions.’
‘I feel the dynamism of the English wine industry,’ said Sébastien Rouillaux of major sponsor Sparflex. ‘I see it booming and expanding. Every time we launch a new product, it is the English who are the first to jump on it. They want to grow and to innovate. There really is quite a vibrant scene.’
Playing it cool
‘Cooler climate winemaking regions are our target market,’ said Tubex’s Catherine Fyfe, explaining her company’s interest in the ICCWS. ‘Where it’s harder to establish vines our tubes act like mini greenhouses, extending the growth periods in both spring and autumn.’
‘English wine is a relatively new industry, producing some fantastic wines, some of which can rival Champagne,’ said former Plumpton graduate and Patron’s Circle member, Morfudd Richards, owner of Greenberry restaurant. ‘This conference is a reflection of how far we’ve gone.’
‘Let’s make sure we deliver an occasion we are truly proud of and which reflects magnificently on our wonderful and ever-more successful industry,’ concluded Bruce, before inviting all to join him for a very English tea.
Click here to read Bruce Tindale’s speech in full.
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