The Future of Wine – November 4, London

By Hanna Halmari

The Future of Wine

Is the wine industry ready for sustainability?

A focused one-day business conference for all involved in wine’s production, distribution and…. propaganda.

Our objective is prioritising debates and discussions, clarifying some of the confusion around what sustainability means and how you put it into practice in the wine industry.

4th November 2019

The Conduit Club, Mayfair, London

Draft agenda

Opening Q&A: Climate change and key trends 
Climate change will have a significant impact on the wine industry by 2030. Weather volatility is ruining harvests today and it’s set to get worse. We’ll discuss what the models suggest the climate will look like in key regions by 2030, and what winemakers and others can do to mitigate impacts and adapt.
Speakers: Chris Foss, Leader of the Wine GB Environmental Sustainability Workgroup 
Moderator: Tobias Webb

Winemaker Q&As
In this interactive session, leading winemakers will discuss the opportunities and challenges they face in sustainability, what it means, and why it matters. Some of the talking points for discussion will include:

  • How do winemakers think climate change is affecting their work today, and what are they doing about it?
  • Certification, standards and verification: Where winemakers look for value and insight on sustainability in their vineyards
  • The financial impact of sustainability. How do you start to calculate it, fund the work, measure impact and ROI?
  • Pesticides: There is much talk about the ‘end’ of chemicals in the vineyard soon. We’ll havea frank discussion about whether this is practical, and even desirable

Basile Tesseron, CEO and winemaker, Chateau Lafon-Rochet
Tony Milanowski, Winery Manager, Rathfinny Wine Estate
Belén Iácono, Chief Agronomist, Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata 
Moderator: Tobias Webb

How will consumer and regulatory demand for transparency change the wine sector?
Producers and wine brands in places such as Bordeaux are concerned about future demand. What do younger consumers, Gen X’ers and Millenials (just coming into spending power) want from wine brands? Will sustainability be as significant as terroir, history and even the year, in future? Our group of experts will debate:

  • Ingredient labelling for wine. How will it work, and when is it coming?
  • At least one leading MW argues that ‘radical transparency’ may not be that helpful. This session will debate exactly what’s set to happen on ingredient and method disclosure in wine.
  • Young consumers and the role of sustainability: What will it take to stay relevant and desirable?

Douglas Blyde, Editor, Wine List Confidential, Drinks Columnist, Evening Standard
Tamlyn Currin, Assistant Editor,
Anna Chilton, Head of Sustainability, Linton Park Wines (Camellia plc) 
Moderator: Richard Bampfield, Master of Wine, retail wine expert 

The role of retail in driving sustainable change
Supermarkets are already influencing different parts of the wine industry, including production, in a positive way. We will discuss the views of some leading buyers and dive into their programmes.
Some of the talking points for discussion will include:

  • Is sustainability a threat or an opportunity for the wine industry? With tight margins outside super premium brands, we’ll debate whether risks can truly become opportunities
  • How can inexpensive/mass produced wines be made in a sustainable way?
  • The role of retail: How can big wine buyers support sustainability programmes up the chain?
  • Can you go ‘chemical’ free in a wine business selling at 10 euros a bottle? It may be too risky for many, given their margins. Here we shall debate what sustainable looks like when cost is a key factor

Sue Daniels, Winemaker and Senior Technologist, Marks & Spencer
Anne Jones, Partner & Category Manager, Wines, Beers and Spirits Buying, Waitrose & Partners
Edward Robinson, Wine Buyer, The Co-operative Group.
Moderator: Tobias Webb

12.45-1.30 Lunch

Certification: Green and Social – Good for people, and planet?
Certification divides winemakers like almost no other issue. Some swear it’s helped them drive sustainability and feel rewarded for it. Others say no-one knows their land like they do, and dislike a check-list approach verified by outsiders. There’s no right answer, but there’s a lot to talk about here, including:

  • Is certification helping drive up standards or does it just get in the way?
  • What is its real value? We’ll discuss whether there are just too many schemes out there, and how that can change. Should we have one global wine sustainability system?
  • Do organic and biodynamics help your wine sell, taste, and age better?
  • Biodynamics may have a new competitor in regenerative agriculture approaches from big wine brands. Do any of these different approaches actually improve wine and offer a climate ‘hedge’?
  • Are organic approaches better or worse for the environment? We will discuss.

David Harvey, London Director, Raeburn Fine Wines
Alan Neil, Business Manager UK & Ireland, Yealands Wine Group (New Zealand)
Sally Evans, Owner, Chateau George 7 (Fronsac)
Moderator: Tobias Webb

2.15 – 2.35
Fair trade Q&A: The Co-operative Group and improving workers lives in South Africa
Speaker: Edward Robinson, Wine Buyer, The Co-operative Group 
Moderator: Tobias Webb

2.35-2.50 Refreshments break

In the vineyard: Soil / Biodiversity / Water:

  • Tackling topsoil degradation: Why it matters and what to do about it.
    Topsoil is of huge concern for global agriculture. Carbon content is a third of what it could be, and degradation is a massive risk. But there are ways of retaining and building good soil. This session looks at what works, what it costs and the impact it has on winemaking and vineyard health.
  • Irrigation and water management: How producers can make smarter choices?
    At least one major Rioja producer says they are more worried about water resilience than climate change right now. For water-stressed regions use, reduction and basic availability are key issues. In this session we will cover how leading producers are able to cut use, and still make great wine
  • Vine health and sustainability:
    How can vineyard managers make changes to how they work with vines to deliver healthier, more robust and resilient vines, that make great wines.

Marco Simonit, co-founder, Simonit & Sirch
Belén Iácono, Chief Agronomist, Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata
Jane Awty, Owner/Partner, Oatley Vineyard
Moderator: Tobias Webb

Packaging and marketing wine: How to manage changing expectations?

  • Bottle weight: Is it possible to get a standardised approach that cuts costs and CO2?
  • Standardisation of bottle weight might be a pipe dream at this stage, but cutting excess weight saves money and has a positive CO2 impact. We will look at the initiatives and business drivers and how it can be done without compromising customer perception and product integrity

Santiago Navarro, CEO & Co-Founder, Garçon Wines 
Richard Bampfield, MW
Anne Jones, Partner & Category Manager, Wines, Beers and Spirits Buying, Waitrose & Partners
Moderator: Tobias Webb

Closing keynote: The profit potential for the Circular Economy in wine
Speaker: Peter Lacy, Senior MD, Accenture Strategy, author of “Waste to Wealth”2.15 – 2.35

Confirmed speaker list:

Basile Tesseron, CEO, Chateau Lafon-Rochet
Alan Neil, Business Manager UK & Ireland, Yealands Wine Group (New Zealand)
Richard Bampfield, MW
Anna Chilton, Head of Sustainability, Linton Park Wines (Camellia plc)
Tamlyn Currin, Assistant Editor,
Peter Lacy, Senior MD, UK & Ireland, Accenture Strategy, Author of “Waste to Wealth”
Chris Foss, Founder of the Plumpton College Wine Division, ADVICLIM Research Group Partner and Chair of the Wine GB Environmental Sustainability Workgroup
David Harvey, Head of London Office, Raeburn Fine Wines
Anne Jones, Partner & Category Manager, Wines, Beers and Spirits Buying, Waitrose & Partners
Santiago Navarro, CEO & Co-Founder, Garçon Wines
Edward Robinson, Wine Buyer, The Co-operative Group
Belén Iácono, Chief Agronomist, Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata
Douglas Blyde, Editor, Wine List Confidential, Drinks Columnist, Evening Standard
Marco Simonit, Co-Founder, Simonit & Sirch
Tony Milanowski, Winery Manager, Rathfinny Wine Estate
Sue Daniels, Winemaker and Senior Technologist, Marks & Spencer
Jane Awty, Partner, Oatley Vineyard
Sally Evans, owner, Chateau George 7 (Fronsac)

Go to Event page Here or Register for the Event Here

About the author

Hanna Halmari

Hanna Halmari is the editor at Sustainable Wine and a project manager at Innovation Forum. Hanna specialises in sustainability research and events across various industries. She holds an MSc in international development from Kings’s College London, where she developed a strong interest in political economy and post-communist transformation. Hanna speaks Finnish, Bulgarian and English. In her spare time she is a dedicated Radio Lollipop volunteer at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, enjoys travelling, and tasting new wines.