Wine producers from 30 countries have descended on Brighton for the 9th International Cool Climate Wine Symposium.
Held every four years, this is the first time the ICCWS has been held in Britain. Around 600 members of the wine trade, from Patagonia to Germany, China to Estonia, Sweden to Japan are attending the Symposium, recognised as the world's leading academic wine conference.
Topics covered include a tasting of new grape varieties suited to cooler climes with Dr José Vouillamoz (co-author of Wine Grapes), wine sensory evaluation with Oxford University’s Professor Charles Spence, and new technological trends affecting the marketing of wine with Sonoma State University's Dr Damien Wilson.
While applauding the strides made by the English wine industry over the last few years, Jancis Robinson MW called for DEFRA to reinstate funding for WineSkills Programme and to rejoin the OIV - the International Organisation of Vine and Wine - to enable the UK to participate fully in international wine research. ‘Holland, Belgium, Sweden, India and Azerbaijan are all members,’ she said, adding 'It would only take a small, five figure sum for the UK to rejoin the OIV. This is surely a great shame and it would be only sensible to remedy this.'
‘We hope to see our plantings expand from 2,000 ha to 3,000 ha and we're hoping that by 2020 this will lead to a doubling of our production up to 10 million bottles,' said the Minister of State for DEFRA, George Eustice, in his official opening address.
The next destination will be announced at the end of the conference on Saturday - three tonnes of ice, 150 wines and 20,000 glasses later.