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A taste of what's to come: key speakers plan presentations for the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium in the United Kingdom.

In May, the ninth International Cool Climate Wine Symposium kicks off in the United Kingdom town of Brighton. More than 40 eminent speakers from around the world will share the latest research and innovations for cool-climate viticulture and winemaking. In advance of ICCWS 2016, we spoke to three keynote speakers to gain insight about the content they will share.

Professor Cornelis van Leeuwen of Bordeaux Sciences Agro is a renowned specialist on climate's effect on the expression of terroir, particularly relating to the aromatic potential of grapes in wine. He will make his presentation, "Managing Climate-Based Variability," on May 26, the first day of the symposium.

"The climate is currently changing, resulting in higher temperatures and increased water deficits," Van Leeuwen says. "These changes do not always have a negative impact on wine quality, but they almost always change the style of wine produced. Adapting to a changing climate implies using modified plant material and management techniques."

Van Leeuwen will examine the effects of the major climatic viticultural resources: namely temperature, water, light and carbon dioxide. Temperature is a major factor in wine typicity, and temperature variability among and within winegrowing regions is partly responsible for diversity in wine styles.

Temperature variability at the regional and vineyard scale can be managed by the choice of grapevine variety, Van Leeuwen says. Ideally, grape ripening should happen at the end of the growing season, avoiding both too-warm and too-cool conditions. At the micro-scale, temperature can be controlled though canopy management and trunk height.

"Light is another very important resource that provides the energy for photosynthesis and stimulates the synthesis of phenolic compounds," Van Leeuwen says. "Light interception by the leaves and grapes can be manipulated through vine density and canopy management.

"Carbon dioxide is very uniformly distributed over the globe, although its rate is steadily increasing due to human activities," he says. Carbon dioxide enters the leaves through the stomata, and because stomatal closure is controlled by water, the amount of gas that vines obtain from the atmosphere is very much related to vine water status.

Vine water status depends on soil type (soil water-holding capacity) and climate (rainfall and potential evapotranspiration) parameters, and it has major implications on yield, quality and wine style. Water status can be managed through the choice of plant material (grapevine variety and rootstock), canopy management (leaf area per hectare), soil selection (with emphasis on soil water-holding capacity) and irrigation.

Wine style in relation to climate can also be managed through winemaking techniques--a topic that will be explored by Dr. Monika Christmann, head of the Institute for Oenology at Geisenheim University in Germany and president of the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine). Christmann will share some of the latest findings May 27 during "Optimizing Cool-Climate Wine Styles," the first plenary session.

Christmann argues that wine production is facing various challenges around the globe, relating to specific climatic and legal situations in different wine-producing areas. Traditional viticultural and enological practices in cool-climate areas are often unable to deal with the impact of these situations and therefore need to be adjusted.

The development and implementation of new techniques in the wine industry are very important to address problems such as high levels of Botrytis, insufficient nutrient supply in must, low levels of acidity, high concentration of sugar, sunburn and off-flavors caused by insects, fungi or environmental impact.

While investigating new growing and winemaking techniques, consumer protection and consumer expectation cannot be neglected. Christmann states, "Due to increasing global competition, only products that fit the 'taste' of consumers will survive in the market.

"At the same time, consumers are more and more aware of health concerns and therefore are very conscious about any kind of residues in products they will eat and drink. This will automatically lead to more physical (as opposed to chemical) techniques and will make some traditional practices questionable.

"While newcomers in the family of wine-producing countries are less bound to traditional thinking, the 'Old World' has established very strict rules and laws, which are not easily changed due to traditional roots. This has a great potential for conflicts in the international market. The OIV is reacting to these challenges and adopting various new technologies dealing with these problematic issues."

Professor Dr. Huiqin Ma from China Agricultural University in Beijing will open the third day of ICCWS 2016 with "Wine Production in Challenging Climates." She will focus on omics (including genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic studies) and big data to gain a better understanding of grape quality in cool climates.

Dr. Ma states, "High quality and sustainable grape production are crucial for a successful wine industry.

"Cool-climate wine regions are challenged by climate change and the consumer's ever-increasing demands on wine quality. The final berry component of a given cultivar/clone differs with different soils, water availability during the year, rootstocks, yield, canopy management and many other factors. Like wine quality, grape berry quality reflects a sophisticated developmental process."

Dr. Ma will outline how, for the first time in history, omics are providing powerful tools to understand quality in wine grapes. "Understanding the expression plasticity of grapevines and berries in response to environmental conditions and viticultural practices could provide a new platform for understanding terroir and vintage, with a focus on the grapes themselves," she says.

"Big data from omic studies will help us face the challenge of global warming and the subsequent increase in biotic and abiotic stresses. We have reason to believe that, with efforts from different laboratories in cool-climate regions and rapidly decreasing costs, omics will not only provide us with new information on grape-quality formation, but also with the chance to engage in a viticulture for berry quality that better meets the requirements of today's wine industry."

Tickets for the 2016 International Cool Climate Wine Symposium are available from priced at 600 [pounds sterling] (about $900) plus tax for the three days.

Caption: International Cool Climate Wine Symposium patrons Julia Trustram-Eve and Bruce Tindale from High Clandon Cuvee attend the Patrons Circle Drinks event.

Caption: The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium will be held May 26-28 in Brighton, England.


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Comment:A taste of what's to come: key speakers plan presentations for the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium in the United Kingdom.(GRAPEGROWING: PRACTICAL WINERY & VINEYARD)
Author:White, Bryony
Publication:Wines & Vines
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2016
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