Getting to Know ProWein

ProWein

enjoying Tattinger 2006 Comte in the Champagne Lounge at Prowein with (from left) Tanja Klein, Essi Avellan, Mikael Falkman – the man for all seasons, he was a hilarious and wonderful host, me, Madeleine Stenwreth

Last year the organizers of Prowein saw me deliver a seminar at Texsom and afterwards invited me to attend their event in Germany this month. As a result, I’ve just returned from the three day event in Dusseldorf having tasted wines literally from all over the world while there. It was my first time at Prowein as well as my first visit to Germany, and I’m so grateful for the incredible opportunity.

Prowein proves to be a truly global wine forum with wineries from every wine producing country in the world represented. The tasting opportunity, and chance to connect with representatives of the world’s wineries as a result is unparalleled. At the same time there are seminars going in depth on everything from sustainability, to the growing conditions of a particular region, to regional expressions of specific varieties, to the history of a place. Seminars occur in two fashions. Prowein has a dedicated educational space they call the Prowein Forum with rooms devoted to master class level discussions on specific topics. Regions and educators compete to present in this space as it attracts high-level wine professionals from all over the world and every aspect of the wine industry. At the same time, regions and wineries are also able to offer seminars in their own wine fair floor space and many create special areas in their booths for this purpose. It’s incredible to walk the floor and find some of the most respected wine experts in the world giving talks all over Prowein. There were at least ten halls showcasing wine, while mixed into them was also a special section called Same but Different dedicated to regionally specific spirits and craft beers. With these the idea was to show off aspects of the drinks world that also carry that sort of regional specificity we associate with wine.

The event serves multiple interests with importers from all over the world finding new wineries to represent, wine students from sommeliers getting certified to WSET and Master of Wine hopefuls attending to taste-study for their exams, and even restaurants securing specific wines for their wine lists. I also spoke with several people working on books who use Prowein to add to the research they have already done. They are able to taste through a sizeable selection of wines and meet with the producers they might not be able to in person otherwise. The event offers them the opportunity to be comprehensive in their research in a way it is difficult to cover trying to go to each individual winery.

While there I was able to attend two different seminars – one on sustainability and another on terroir of champagne – as well as deliver a seminar with my dear friend Madeleine Stenwreth. New Zealand Winegrowers asked us to present a master class in the Prowein Forum looking at regional expression of Pinot Noir. It was a fun opportunity to present with dear Madeleine, and to share insight into the unique character of that place, New Zealand, we have each spent so much time studying. Afterwards we celebrated by walking over to the Champagne Lounge – a brilliant idea Prowein instituted six years ago with a beautifully lit, fresh tulip accented, white countertops space devoted entirely to the best of Champagne – then gave each other mini-tasting seminars on wines from some of the regions in which we’ve each specialized.

At Prowein I tried to taste as widely as possible. With the enormity of the event it is impossible to taste everything, or even a wine from every country. So, I let myself be rather spontaneous and amorphous about my approach on the first day so as to acclimate to the size of the fair and really get to know the lay of the land, and then was a bit more planned the second day. The third day I hurried to a few places I had hoped to visit and hadn’t fit in previously before departing on two days of winery visits in Germany. The one other thing that should be mentioned is how many people from all over the world attend. Though I traveled to Prowein on my own the entire time there was spent bumping into people literally from all over the world of wine. There is no loneliness at Prowein. There were even far more people I would have liked to see and didn’t manage to bump into.

Honestly, I couldn’t be more impressed with my time at Prowein. Enormous thanks to the Prowein team for including me this year. Thank you too to the New Zealand Winegrowers for including me in their seminar in the Prowein Forum.

Here’s a look at my time at Prowein via the Instagram collection I posted while there.

Just 5% of total global vineyard acreage is grown organically with a total of 360,000 ha organically farmed worldwide. France grows 9% of its vineyards organically. New Zealand 10%. Spain has 11% grown organically, which is the highest proportion of organic viticulture of one country in the world. Attending a Prowein seminar on sustainability hosted by Gonzales Byass. (Interestingly, China is rarely brought into these conversations currently but today China has a total area of vineyards farmed organically almost as large as Spain’s organically farmed vineyard area. It is unclear what portion of the country’s total vineyard area is but even so, do not be surprised when China starts becoming one of the drivers in the conversation on organic wine.) #germany #spain #prowein #wine @prowein_tradefair @gonzalezbyassus

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“What is the relationship between sustainability and quality? […] It is not just about soil but about life, not about the specifics or details [of your specific vineyard or place] but about how you articulate them together. All this situation [in your site] together makes a very unique matrix, what we admire but [as a culture making wine around the world these last 100 years] have not been able to understand very well. […] The question is, how can you transform the life of the current generation through a process of fermentation into the life of your next generation, your next crop. You begin to have a relation of different layers of other organisms that live in the vineyard. It is a balance of adaptability [to the site], ancient wisdom, and ageability [both in terms of the vineyard itself being long lived, and the wine in the bottle also being long lived].” – Rodrigo Soto of Veramonte, Ritual, and Neyen in Chile. Sustainability seminar hosted by Gonzales Byass at Prowein. #germany #chile #prowein #wine @prowein_tradefair @gonzalezbyassus @veramontewines @ritualwines

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