A cool combination: The Beautiful South tasting preview11th September, 2013 by Rupert Millar - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3
Three of the southern hemisphere’s biggest wine-producing nations: Argentina, Chile and South Africa are teaming up for a combined tasting of more than 3,000 wines.
September sees the arrival of a new and unusual tasting format in London, a collaboration between three of the southern hemisphere’s biggest wine producing nations – Argentina, Chile and South Africa.
More than 300 producers, 79 from Argentina, 84 from Chile and 167 from South Africa, as well as agents, will descend on Olympia London in west Kensington with more than 3,000 wines for the two-day event. The new approach was borne out of calls from the trade for fewer tastings (particularly where dates clashing) and for a fresh approach.
As a result, Wines of Chile, Wines of Argentina and Wines of South Africa have responded with the Beautiful South, which, as Jo Wehring, UK market manager for Wines of South Africa explains, was the seed of an idea that, “came to fruition at ProWein, where we ran a series of seminars, first with New World countries and then focusing on the southern hemisphere. Strategically, it made sense to pick up on the southern hemisphere theme and run with that.
This event positions our three countries as dynamic and forward-thinking; we’re not afraid to stand together to create a tasting that better suits the needs of the trade and our producers. It’s a confident move, achievable because we are all very active in promoting our wines in our leading export markets.”
Andres Lavados, export director for Viña Santa Rita, provides a view from the producers’ stalls. He says: “There’s a lot of common ground with these countries, but many differences, too. That gives you much to talk about. The big fairs are tiring – you need more focus – but sometimes having one country is too little. The merit of this is that you have enough scope, but enough of a focus so that it’s not overwhelming.”
There will, of course, be seminars (see box-out) covering a range of topics, including cool-climate viticulture, ageing potential and climate change. There will also be themed tables to help narrow the selection down for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of thousands of wines.
Six tables will be in play, each showcasing wines from all three countries. It is a significant feature of this tasting, very much in the spirit of co-operation, that none of the seminars and tastings are country specific, they all give equal space and time to the three participants. The first table will present “Champions of the South”, wines that have won gold medals or equivalent at international competitions.