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Experts share knowledge for successful wine business

Those passionate about creating the best possible cool climate wines have the chance to hear from some of the world’s leading experts at the Sixth International Cool Climate Symposium in Christchurch from 5–10 February 2006. Jo Jalfon reports about the Symposium in the February 2006 issue of The Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker. Keynote speakers will address morning sessions while afternoon sessions, led by international panels, will be more interactive. The key themes are managing viticulture and oenology for quality and sustainable resources, new technologies for cool climate wine production, marketing cool climate wines in an international environment and forging new frontiers. The symposium will also address the business side of winegrowing through a keynote session and focus sessions. One of the key note speakers is Robert Nicholson, principal of International Wine Associates based in California (IWA). Nicholson has a wide variety of experience in wine industry corporate management and studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux. Before establishing IWA, he was vice president of Christian Brothers Winery in California. Nicholson’s presentation at ICCS 2006 is entitled ‘The market niche for cool climate wine styles — a hot ticket”. Also on the speaker list is Paul Dolan whose life changed with one taste of a grape in 1987 when he tasted a test block of organically farmed Sauvignon Blanc and the same grape variety conventionally farmed next door. As winemaker (and, later, president) at Fetzer Vinyards in California’s Mendocino County, Dolan chose to make a difference in how the winery grew grapes and how the company did business. In his 27 years at Fetzer, he oversaw its transition from a small family-owned winery to an employee- based organisation selling wine across the globe. Today Dolan is a partner in Parducci Wine Cellars and several other vineyard and winery ventures. He serves on the boards of the Wine Institute and Business for Social Responsibility, and is a founder of Wine Vision. He participated in President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Business, and chaired the California Sustainable Alliance Board. Other international speakers include Justin Morris, who is currently a Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Director of the Institute of Food Science and Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Morris directed his academic research toward developing processing, handling, and mechanical harvesting and utilisation systems for fruits and vegetables, finally concentrating on grapes, and evaluating each variable’s influence on final product quality. Morris has published over 365 research and popular (trade) articles, 28 book chapters and one textbook. He has received numerous prestigious awards for his research work in viticulture and enology and his leadership in the food industry. Morris' years of research have culminated in the development of a total system for the mechanisation of grape vineyards patented in 2002. The system is suited to at least 12 different trellising systems used worldwide, incorporating equipment, timing and methods to mechanise cultural operations such as pruning, shoot positioning, fruit thinning, canopy management and harvesting. Morris' recent research activity includes testing and refining this system in commercial vineyards in California and assessing its value in reducing production costs while maintaining grape quality. [OXBO International signed a license agreement with the University of Arkansas and is currently manufacturing and marketing this system through its West Coast outlets.] Also speaking will be Professor Denis Dubourdieu, an international winemaking consultant with a worldwide reputation. He is based in Bordeaux where he presides over Denis Dubourdieu Domaines while also working at the University of Oenology. His topic at the symposium will be ‘Grape to wine flavour management for cool climate wine styles’. One of New Zealand’s ‘best kept secrets’, Professor Warren Moran from the University of Auckland, will also address the symposium. Professor Moran has undertaken considerable work in appellations for the French wine industry and his address is aptly named ‘Crafting terroir – people in cool climates, soils and markets’. He will also lead a focus session called 'Cool climate claims: making meanings from vineyard to table'. Other speakers include well-known Australian Richard Smart from Smart Viticulture, Brian Croser from Tapanappa Wines Pty Ltd, Michael Trought from the Marlborough Wine Research Centre, Laura Nicolau from the University of Auckland, Michael MacKenzie from Champagne Jacquesson in France and Robert Nicholson from International Wine Associates based in California, USA. The organising committee has put together a range of social events including a welcome reception, chill-out Wednesday, symposium dinner and regional wine tastings around the Otago and Marlborough wine festivals which take place either side of the symposium week. There is also a partner’s program and separate tours to other wine regions around New Zealand and Tasmania as well as a full range of accommodation options. The Sixth International Cool Climate Symposium is an international event and occurs every four years. New Zealand last played host nearly two decades ago and since then a wealth of information on cool climate wines has become available making the 2006 event extremely timely. The theme for the 2006 symposium is ‘Wine Growing for the Future’ and the organisers are confident it is highly relevant to anyone involved in cool climate wines from viticulturists and oenologists to researchers and marketing managers. For further information visit and online registrations www.iccs2006.org.nz.

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