India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
MUST Wine Summit: Wine Conference in Portugal a Big Success

Posted: Thursday, 22 June 2017 11:46


If you Like this article, please click

Email This Article

MUST Wine Summit: Wine Conference in Portugal a Big Success

June 22: The 3-day international conference on Wine Future, Christened as ‘MUST Fermenting Ideas’ finally developing into MUST Wine Summit held on June 7-9 in the seaside town of Cascais, near Lisbon was an extremely well-organised event with the quality of speakers, topics, arrangements and organisation impeccable and the Portuguese hospitality at its best, writes Subhash Arora who was the sole Indian present and was mesmerised with the organisation and contents

When I first received a mail about an international Wine Summit- the ‘MUST Fermenting Ideas’ to be organised near Lisbon, I was slightly confused and amused.  I knew one of the organisers Rui Falcão who is one of the important journalists of Portugal and who I had met in 2010 in South Africa as one of the fellow international judges at Michelangelo Wine Awards. I didn’t know the other organiser Paulo Salvador who is also a journalist, presenter and Executive Editor of Portuguese television channel TVI. What perplexed me was a long and impressive list of Speakers some of whom I had known personally-like Paul Symington, Felicity Carter, Jamie Goode, Miguel Cabral and Prof.Huiqin Ma or had at least heard about their expertise in different areas-like Eric Asimov and Geoff Kruth.

I was also confounded with their expectation of 1000 delegates for the Conference-something I could not fathom was feasible- not for a first conference of its kind, even with the lure of an excellent sea resort town which some claim is the best in Portugal. The registration fee did not appear to be low enough for the local stakeholders to partake in the proceedings. But the lure of the excellent speakers, interesting topics like natural wines, Madeira and fortified wines like Port, online selling, wine tourism, old and rare grape varietals, China market and the setting of an eclectic sea-side town and an opportunity to visit wineries and watch Portuguese wines from closer quarters and last but not the least- the excitement of attending a first-ever event Conference of its kind, had my juices flowing and after a few enquiries back and forth, I decided to jump into the unknown.

If I had any apprehensions at all, they were allayed when I found a suited chauffer awaiting at Lisbon airport to whisk me immediately in a comfortable Mercedes (at most such conferences and visits  one has to wait up to even 2 hours for a few others to roll out of the Arrivals) to the Hotel Palacio Estoril which has been known for the nobles staying here, especially at the time of World War 2 with a rendezvous of the spies the like of whom one sees in James Bond movies,  one of which was actually shot at this locale. I was fairly well- informed about the geography, history and other demographic factors about Portugal and especially Lisbon and Cascais (incidentally pronounced as kash-ka-ish) by the time we covered the 25 km distance in 20 minutes. The 5-star hotel incidentally is highly praiseworthy and a factor that made the Wine Summit a very pleasant experience.

The Conference started sharp on time on June 7 and continued the discipline and precision for all 3 days- organisers need to be complemented because this was all done seamlessly, without any fuss.
The Auditorium of Centro de Congressos do Estoril- a pleasant 3 –minute walk from the hotel, was very comfortable with one of the best stage backdrops ever, with excellent sound and co-ordination throughout the Conference. A huge screen at the back ensured everyone watching the Proceedings without any cricks in the neck or use of glasses. Another key highlight was that each session had a moderator whose role was not limited to asking questions only (of course, some time they had to break the ice) but encourage a healthy question-answer session. The Presentations were all in English so one could understand and be immersed in the proceedings.

Barring one or two Speakers, others were not overtly narcissists and the Presentations were quite informative and educational. There were no multiple tracks in that there was only one Speaker at a time and with 7 Speakers on each of the 3 days, not only I but a vast majority attended all the 21 Sessions with alacrity.

An interesting aspect of the organisation was a huge Living Room carved out of the huge area as one entered the venue. The huge expanse with white decor had a few tables in the center to serve lunch and two coffees with plenty of space to sit down comfortably during the short breaks. There were a few stands by the wine company sponsors pouring multiple wines including Port and Madeira for the participants to taste anytime during the breaks.

Evening Tastings on 7 and 8 June at Forte da Cruz in Estoril- Cascais, a bare 5-minute walk from the Congressos, were a big hit too. With 30 Portuguese producers showcasing their wines from different parts of Portugal it was a wine Drinkers Delight-but only Portuguese wines from Douro to Alentejo and even Algarve regions were poured. An added feature was a beautiful view of the sea and the beach in the backdrop and streaming hot snacks known as Tapas in the neighbouring Spain.

Dinners organised for Speakers and a few special invited guests like me were all set in the beach restaurants, including one at a Michelin Star Restaurant at the Fortaleza do Guincho, on the outskirts of Cascais. It was the Portuguese cuisine at its best with excellent Portuguese wines to match.

The organisers had a couple of young ladies posted outside the venue, Centro de Congressos do Estoril to guide everyone to on the first two days to guide people to Forte da Cruz. I was nervous to follow their direction since many people in clusters were walking straight rather than turning right in the pointed direction. I braved it alone however and followed their advised direction. Till I reached an underpass manned by a person in the familiar black attire, the members of staff were waiting on each side of the underpass with their identification tag, directing people to the venue. One seldom comes across such hospitality and attention to details. But the locals preferred to call it as typical Portuguese hospitality.

There were hardly any negatives in the Conference except that some local producers found it rather expensive and that they could not afford the Business Class Conference. There could have been more international presence from the participants. Although Speakers were from far and wide-including the US, Canada, South Africa and China, participants seemed to be more from the nearby European countries like UK, France, Spain and of course Portugal.  Rui Falcão confirmed thatabout 500 people had registered. For a first- time effort this would be a fabulous participation.

Several potential participants and producers from Portugal seemingly chose to sit on the fence and wait to see how the Conference evolved. If the success of the maiden MUST Wine Summit is the barometer, next year in 2018 it will certainly draw many more people from the wine industry- both from within and outside Portugal.  Hopefully, there will be some international wines also added to the bouquet; the only murmur from the international participants was that only Portuguese wines were available for tasting. This speaks volumes for the duo of Rui Falcão and Paulo Salvador for promoting Portuguese wines.

Cav. Subhash Arora

A few of the topics discussed at the Conference would be covered individually in the future editions of delWine as the space limitations would not do justice to the Presentations. For a complete list of speakers, please visit



If you Like this article please click on the Like button   


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet