Old Vine Conference – chimeric or critical?

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Last week, speakers from Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Portugal, South Africa and the US seated themselves in front of webcams as a network of over 300 people from 25 countries lit up. The subject was old vines. The rest of the world might well have thought we were insane.

The list of topics up for discussion would not have ameliorated this impression: disease, pruning, price of grapes, land management, irrigation, certification programmes, government policies and investment. The kind of topics that tend to dominate the driest of agricultural agendas and might put many into a state of catatonia. Instead, there was...