Symposium sets out future for Grenache

The first ever International Grenache Symposium culminated with a clearly defined blueprint for raising the profile of this ubiquitous but unsung hero of the wine world.

grenache.jpg250 delegates from 23 countries gathered at La Verrière in the variety’s southern Rhóne heartland at the weekend for a plethora of presentations and tastings designed to pinpoint the strengths of the world’s fourth most widely-planted grape variety.

Co-chairs Steven Spurrier and Michel Bettane introduced a series of seven panels, each made up from an international field of experts who identified the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for Grenache in their specialist fields.

As panel presenters including consultant oenologist Zelma Long, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon and Pancho Campo MW summarised their views, the communication challenges posed by the multi-faceted personality of Grenache were balanced by consensus on the priorities for the road ahead.

Concluding the symposium, Michel Bettane drew up an immediate action plan for each corner of the trade. Addressing inter-professional bodies such as Inter-Rhóne and Wines of Spain first of all, he highlighted the urgent need to protect parcels of old vine Grenache currently being ripped up.

Equally high up the priority list was a plea, directed in particular towards the Old World, to help the consumer realise that Grenache plays a major role in many of their best loved wines.

Bettane called for change, saying: “Everyone who makes Grenache, from the most prestigious to the most humble, must fight to force the regulatory structures in your area to include Grenache on the back label.”

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