Monday, February 2, 2009

Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

Wine Industry Event, January 27-30th.

I had the chance to attend the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium last week in Sacramento, California.

It was a great event which I throughly enjoyed.

I went as a representative of Infowine an online Journal of Viticulture and Enology ( Working for a journal gives you the chance to really meet tons of interesting people from all around the world.

This years event was generally focused on the current world situation and on sustainability efforts which are clearly growing and spreading in the United States. Everyone seems to be talking about going "green".

Having gotten my M.Sc in Viticulture and Enology in Italy, I was surprised that I had up until now heard very little about "green" movements. Indeed in Europe there is not such an organized and cooperative sustainability movement. Many vine and wine producers in Europe often consciously make efforts to run their operations to lower costs and environmental impacts and many practice integrated management systems, however not in the name of sustainability. There is not a common outlook or word used to define has been happening in Europe. Or perhaps I am out of the loop, I am of course generalizing for Europe in general, and do not know the real situation in each individual European country. You have your organic producers, biodynamic producers, those who apply a few environmental friendly tactics and many others, however many follow their own personal ideologies rather than any fixed rules.

It seems that there is already a common view implanted in most vine and wine producers, and that is that everything has an impact, and that if there are methods which can reduce this impact then it is important that at least some be integrated. I think that most people are conscious and prepared to at least make minimal effort.

Indeed it is still important that wine industry professionals be informed and educated about these current discussion. In the end, as for most people the faster and easier it is for them to get information and apply it the better it is. In other words organizations and movements are essential to get people moving. More effort and more input is not appealing to most. Facilitating the task of implementing sustainable practice is necessary to be able to see results.

How do you get people to change? That's easy... Show them how it will benefit them first and then show them the big picture.

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