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Posted: Monday, 07 September 2020 23:55

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OIV: GWC joins International Organisation of Vine and Wine as Observer

Sep 07: Whereas Indian wineries- barring Sula have been giving low priority to wine tourism due to financial constraints, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) of which India is also a member, has accepted the Great Wine Capitals Global Network (GWC) as an observer, underlying its importance in increasing wine consumption through awareness and tourism and organised a joint virtual welcome meeting on September 2, reports Subhash Arora

The President of the OIV, Regina Vanderlinde, addressed the opening speech expressing her desire for a fruitful feedback relationship between the two entities: “As an inter-governmental organisation of a scientific and technical nature, OIV provides a comprehensive overview of the global state of the vine and wine sector. It works to harmonise practices, supports the evolution of the sector as it faces contemporary challenges, such as digitalisation, climate change or wine tourism, thanks to its large network of international experts. And it relies on its observers to bring up the very concrete aspects of the field.’ More of a monologue to propagate the objectives of OIV, it nevertheless set the ball rolling for the interaction between OIV and GWC which joined the prestigious UN-styled organisation on grapes and wines, in January this year.

Each observer, through the specific nature of its activity, contributes to providing the OIV with food for thought. They represent direct contact with the stake-holders of the sector. . It had been keen on inviting India as an observer but Subhash Arora had lobbied with them to accept it as a full member nation and catalysed them to accept India through a consensus by the OIV General Assembly and a decree signed by the then President of India, Shrimati Pratibha Patil in 2013.

Welcoming GWC as an Observer, Paul Roca, Director General of OIV, said it was a step towards the promotion of wine tourism at a global level, aligned with the 2020-24 organisations strategic plan of OIV. He and Catherine Leparmentier, Managing Director of GWC, shared their respective structure and advantages that this collaboration would generate.

Three speakers from GWC and its President, Jacques Faurens, provided participants with an insight into different member cities of GWC. He spoke of the importance of creating such a network of knowledge and experience. “The extraordinary times the world is going through nowadays make us even more determined to work together to design a favourable future for the vine and wine industry”, he said.

Peter Gago, Chief Winemaker of Penfolds, explained that the key element of the network was to build on each other’s experience to share information and learnings between members: by focusing on how to adapt businesses, particularly in a virtual world, or on common challenges such as bushfires for California and Australia.

Linda Reiff, president and CEO of the Napa Valley Vintners had sent in a recorded presentation in which she outlined the benefits of the collaboration between Napa and OIV through GWC. ‘It is only by sharing information, data, ideas and best practices that we can overcome challenges. Being an observer at the OIV is particularly important for Napa Valley since the United States is not a member of the OIV.’ She confided.

Tim Harris from Cape Town referred to the 2018 drought crisis in Cape Town, “Our first call in dealing with the crisis was to our colleagues in California, which we knew have been through similar droughts, the same as with the Australians. By learning with them we have realised how we could engineer behaviour change in water usage in the Cape. It resulted in almost 60% reduction in water usage per person and the encouraging thing is that much of it has been maintained”.

Webinar on Wine Tourism

The first achievement of this Joint collaboration is coming up with the common organisation of a webinar on the “Perspectives for wine tourism in the context of Covid-19” on September 22nd at 5pm CEST where invited speakers from around the world will assess the impact of COVID-19 on wine tourism, and discuss innovative solutions as well as some collective strategies that shall be adopted. On this occasion, Catherine Leparmentier, Managing Director of GWC, will focus on organising and managing outdoor experiences with a focus on Bordeaux perspectives. Registrations to this webinar will soon be opened and will be detailed in the Comment Section in this Article on Indian Wine Academy.


Created in 1924 and re-founded in 2001, the OIV is an intergovernmental organisation of a scientific and technical nature of recognised competence for its works concerning vines, wine, wine-based beverages, table grapes, raisins and other vine-based products. The organisation, based in Paris, is made up of 47 Member states (including India currently) and 14 observers.  

Founded in 1999, GWC is a network of 11 major global cities in both the northern and southern hemisphere- Adelaide, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Cape Town, Lausanne, Mainz, Mendoza, Porto, San Francisco, Valparaiso and Verona. It aims to encourage travel, education and business exchanges between the prestigious wine regions.

Perhaps Nashik would consider joining and representing India one day?! They have not made proper use of the membership in OIV. Perhaps wine tourism is an area closer to horizon for the wine producers and the government bodies which are not too enthused about wine or wine tourism at the current time.

Subhash Arora


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