With the 9th International Cool Climate Wine Symposium less than a week away, preparations are coming to an end, and the final touches are being added.
This time around England is hosting the Symposium in Brighton, bringing together the great and the good of wine, viticulture, and wine business to share ideas and meet with others in the wine industry.
Jamie and I have both been involved with the organisation of the programme, so we’ve both been kept busy with checking to make sure everything and everyone is all ready for our sessions.
The first symposium was in 1984, and since then a community of international wine professionals has met every four years to discuss the issues surrounding the production of wine in cool climates. These meetings have become key events, where front-line research and innovative techniques have been presented, many wines have been tasted and lasting friendships established.
The symposia has been held in many of the key cool climate areas around the world, so it is only fitting that England is hosting, as one of the newest and most dynamic wine regions of the world.
The viticultural, oenological and wine business aspects of these themes will be explored through keynote speakers, presentations, seminars, workshops, posters and tastings. Delegates will be updated on the latest developments, have the opportunity to discuss the key issues in their fields with their peers, and to meet with the leading suppliers to their industry.
So what defines cool climate?
Where the climate conspires to produce wines of finesse and elegance, often a touch lighter in alcohol, but where the viticulturist and winemaker are literally on a knife edge: will the summer ripen the grapes sufficiently? And will the winter frosts leave lasting damage to the vines?
These trials and tribulations often produce wines which edge on the cusp of ripeness, where acidity provides a refreshing backbone and an ability to evolve and grow more complex, and where minerality has a chance to shine through and not be overshadowed by ripe fruit. The conditions also provide the perfect ingredients from which to make wonderful sparkling wines.
It should be a good few days, and I know the vineyard team is looking forward to gaining an extra bit of knowledge, and rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest names in the wine world.
As far as the vineyard goes its all looking wonderful at the moment- it has to, with so many international visitors coming in the next week or so.
Budburst has been and gone, and despite a cooler week that delayed some varieties the vines are starting to even up with some nice warm days and regular rainfall.
We have a team going through at the moment shoot thinning to open up the canopy a little bit. This allows more airflow through the vines and lessens the risk of disease.
So far it’s shaping up to be a good year.