Below are two short clips from the two-day WineFuture conference just ended in Rioja. The first is from Thursday, the start of the most talked-about presentation, Gary Vaynerchuk's prowling of the stage to alert the assembled wine luminaries to their need to get communicating with their customers the GaryVee way. (Expect to see a dramatic increase in wine trade tweeting.)
And then below is a quick sweep of the auditorium of Rioja Forum, the conference centre in Logroño where the main sessions were held, from the stage at the very, very end. The hall is not as full as it had been since some participants had already left, perhaps feeling that a question and answer session with, in order on the stage, Justin Howard-Sneyd MW from Waitrose, Paul Pontallier from Ch Margaux, me, wine exporter Christopher Canaan, Don St Pierre Jr of ASC in China, Robert Parker, Boston wine importer Jorge Ordoñez and Mel Dick of huge distributors Southern Wine & Spirits, was eminently missable. (See my account of the most popular controversial item on the programme, Parker;s Grenache tasting.)
I can't honestly say that we solved the wine business's problems. In fact I felt that we did not discuss its gravest ones - economic peril for so many - in enough detail. But the conference was certainly not a waste of time, and represented a huge coup on the part of Pancho Campo (seen at the microphone) and the Wine Academy of Spain team to have managed to get such a high-profile crowd together.
Apart from the entirely predictable Spanish tendency to serve food several hours too late for non-Spanish digestions, the organisation was extremely good considering the numbers and range of nationalities and needs involved.
I'll publish my tasting notes on Parker's Grenache/Garnacha tasting on Monday and will try to add some thoughts on the best spoken sessions too.