There will perhaps be more Masters of Wine than any other single event except the programmes of the Institute of Master of Wine. Leading the pack will, of course be Pancho Campo, the first Master of Wine from Spain. He is the President of the Wine Academy of Spain which had taken the initiative of organizing the first WineFuture in Rioja in 2009 which claimed to be the biggest wine conference ever held and where the current initiative was conceptualized.
Other MWs to be present as speakers or moderators, besides Pancho will include Jancis Robinson (UK), Ned Goodwyn (Japan), Debra Meiburg and Jeannie Cho Lee (Hong Kong), Lisa Parretti Brown (Singapore),Tim Atkin (UK) and Essi Avelan (Finland).
David Furer (US), an educator and director of many wine events, who frequently has dinner in Europe and breakfast in California, is co-coordinating the speakers. ‘Co-coordinating the event with fifty five speakers and moderators is like managing a full-fledged orchestra with international players from around the globe. But I am enjoying the challenge.’
Speakers include the heavyweight journalists and critics like Robert parker, Jancis Robinson, James Suckling, Steven Spurrier, Michelle Bettane, Adam Strum and Robert Joseph.
It’s the producers who are the real protagonists bringing joy to the millions with their wines and thus making the wine world go around. The star-studded cast of celebrity winemakers besides Francis Coppola, will include Angelo Gaja (Italy), Miguel Torres (Spain), Eduardo Chadwick (Chile), Cristian Seely (France, UK), Gianluca Bisol (Italy), Olivier Krug (France), Bernard de Laage (France), Dr. Tony Jordan (Australia), and Adrian Bridge (Portugal) who are a few of the front row soloists in the orchestra, who will discuss the challenges of the future and their vision on how to face them.
WFHK ‘11 will be held in AsiaWorld-Summit, Hong Kong’s largest indoor convention and hospitality hall at the AsiaWorld Expo near the airport from Nov 6-8. Justifying Hong Kong as the venue, an excited Pancho Campo who has been making several trip to the East, tells delWine, ‘Undoubtedly Hong Kong has become the wine hub of Asia and is in fact fast becoming one of the most important wine centers on this planet, thanks to China and its duty-free structure. Look at what has happened to the wine auctions. It became the top center last year. It’s only a bonus that I find Hong Kong a very cosmopolitan, vibrant and exciting global city – just like the WineFuture.’
Hong Kong has in fact become a vibrant auction center which is bound to beckon the more affluent Indian wine connoisseurs sooner or later. One of the speakers- John Kapon, CEO and Auction Director of the biggest auctioneer in Hong Kong-the US based Acker, Merrill and Condit, whom I had met at the first World Wine Symposium in Italy a couple of years ago, is more excited than ever as he talks of wine auctions and the investment opportunities. Another speaker, Simon Tam is one of the top wine experts on China and has been hired by Kapon’s competitor, Christie’s to develop the market in China in order to take a shot at becoming the number one in Hong Kong auctions.
WFHK'11 will address a wide variety of topics related to the future of the wine industry. It includes adapting to the new economies, wine as an investment, challenges and opportunities for the New World, grapes of the future, growth in Asian markets, marketing strategies, wine education, and the use of Internet etc.
Besides having the benefit of picking the brains of the eminent personalities during the three-day Summit, there will also be several guided tastings, the unique and top one being with the living legend and the most influential wine critic in the world, Robert Parker, who believes that this event will outperform the first cutting edge WineFuture Conference in Rioja in 2009. He will conduct a guided tasting 'The Magical 20' where he will showcase twenty Bordeaux wines which he considers will be the ones to watch in the near future, once the hoopla about the Bordeaux ‘en primeurs’ fades away.
Jancis Robinson will lead a tasting dedicated to the newer styles, varieties and regions. Pancho Campo will lead another tasting themed as 'The Diversity and Passion of Spanish Wines' with a virtual tour through the important Spanish wine regions- Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Jumilla, Priorat, Toro, Aragón, Penedés for Cava and Jerez for Sherry.
WFHK ’11 will also feature a Trade Show Area at the Asia World-Expo. There will be 200 tables representing more than 300 wineries from over 50 wine regions in the world. India has a great opportunity of inviting various producers-especially those who are participating in the Hong Kong Wine Show, to showcase their wines to some of the most influential and powerful journalists, importers, wine buyers, and sommeliers. India Grape Processing Board is apparently considering participation. One hopes that the Board has the visión not to miss a golden opportunity to showcase Indian wines to the right profiled people. Francis Coppola will be showcasing wines from the Rutherford, Napa- located Rubicon Estate he bought in 1975 and has now got the original historical name Ingelnook back.
With expected attendance of more than 1,500 winemakers, Masters of Wine, technical experts, importers, buyers, journalists, and sommeliers, it may not only be the biggest wine conference that offers a great learning opportunity to the Indian wine aficionados but for wine professionals as well, especially as it is being organised back to back with the Hong Kong Wine Show on 3-5 November.
6 August, 2011