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Vinexposium
/ 21 Jun, 2022
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Fine wines: what is the future?



FINDINGS #1
20 JUNE 2022

SYMPOSIUM “ACT FOR CHANGE”
FINE WINES: WHAT IS THE FUTURE?


INTRODUCTION

On 20 and 21 June 2022, international professionals and experts gathered at the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux for the second edition of the Symposium “Act for Change”. These two days of talks were organised to shed light on the major changes and impacts on the production and distribution of wines and spirits by 2030. It was an opportunity to get together and discuss, exchange ideas, and work together to better prepare ourselves for the challenges that await the wine world in the coming years. 
When asked about the future of fine wines, Oliver Bernard gave his views on the changes that await the sector. With a combination of enthusiasm and realism about the challenges ahead, the director of Domaine de Chevalier insisted on the importance of immediate action regarding environmental issues, while renewing his confidence in consumers and future generations to celebrate great wines. He feels that the fine wines of the future will be close to nature, if they are to have any future at all.

SPEAKERS

During this session, Olivier Bernard, Managing Director of Domaine de Chevalier and former chairman of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (2012-2019) answered questions by Xavier Rousset MS, restaurateur and founder of the TRADE application. 

THEME: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF FINE WINES? 

A NEW DEFINITION FOR FINE WINE, DRIVEN BY NEW INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS

A fine wine is above all a wine that does not overdo it, in which the hand of man does not go too far, so that nature can express itself. What sets a good wine apart from a fine wine is the emotion it brings. We don’t make fine wines by chance; there is great attention to detail and precision. Fine wines are capable of making us dream of another world. 
Over the last 50 years, we have seen the opening up of fine wines to the international market. Italy, Spain, Australia, Germany, South Africa and many other countries are now making their mark in the sector, and there is real demand.

I think it is possible to make fine wines anywhere in the world as long as we adapt to the vines. There’s a balance to be found; great wine needs long maturation to produce fine and elegant tannins. It is estimated that it takes a minimum of 120 days from flowering to harvest to produce a fine wine. It is important to respect this period, depending on the climate. 

(Olivier Bernard, Managing Director of Domaine de Chevalier and former chairman of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (2012-2019))

A MAJOR CHALLENGE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS EFFECTS


Nowadays, we understand the importance of putting on the brakes. As far as Bordeaux is concerned, we are lucky to be located neither too far north nor too far south. We have achieved great vintages seven years in a row; a record! So, for the moment, we could almost say that climate change is an asset for Bordeaux. But make no mistake, the worst is yet to come and we must be very vigilant. With Merlot, for example, we will have to adapt. In the coming years, I am sure we will see new grape varieties emerge.

More generally, we need to be more climate-sensitive. I am now convinced that organic and biodynamic viticulture is the way to go. And in the years to come, we will find new methods and solutions. But once again, vigilance is required and we will have to adapt.

(Olivier Bernard, Managing Director of Domaine de Chevalier and former chairman of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (2012-2019))

CHANGES IN THE MARKET, FROM CONSUMERS TO PRODUCERS

As a consumer, I like to have diversity in my wine cellar and to be able to be guided by my desires at any given moment. I think it’s the same for many wine enthusiasts, so I don’t really believe in a global standardisation of wine profiles.

Today, you might be surprised to see the price of fine wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne going up under incredible pressure. But the market is always right; high prices mean that there is a demand.

Consumers are increasingly becoming experts. I really believe that social media and current means of communication are going to demand more and more that we say what we do and do what we say. Talking isn’t enough anymore. Besides this, I believe that a great wine sold at a reasonable price will always find consumers. Of course, there may be extremes, but the world of fine wines has deep values rooted in the land and the desire of the people who make them. And I trust that consumers will realise these subtleties. This is why wine tourism is important. We need to get together, travel, meet consumers all over the world and get closer to them. It is a wonderful opportunity. I am, therefore, rather confident about the future of fine wines.

(Olivier Bernard, Managing Director of Domaine de Chevalier and former chairman of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (2012-2019))


FUTURE GENERATIONS AND FUTURE WINES

The world of fine wine is constantly changing. Today’s wines are nothing like the wines produced twenty years ago. And these same wines are nothing like their predecessors, and so on. The wine of the future will be finer, closer to nature, more respectful of the earth. We will need to pay attention to all stages of production. Some regions that have historically produced fine wines will have to adapt, but I believe in human intelligence. Solutions will be found and new methods will be tested. We have no other choice. Nevertheless, I think that experimentation can be worthwhile. All the great wine regions are where they are today because they have experimented. That is why we must do the same in the future. But first, we have to master the basics because it takes time and great care to reveal the potential of a fine wine.

At our château, I am lucky to be able to work with my sons, who have a different perspective. The new generations don’t see things the way we do, or the way previous generations did. They certainly do like wine, and they know what they want, and how. They are also more aware of a philosophy close to nature. Regarding their drinking habits, they also drink more white, more rosé, and they drink them differently. For fine wines, it’s exciting to get into this field. It is a bit of a departure from convention. We do not drink wine out of obligation, but for pleasure. For me, wine is synonymous with culture, discussions and sharing. And the new generations know this.

(Olivier Bernard, Managing Director of Domaine de Chevalier and former chairman of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (2012-2019))
 

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Vinexposium is the world's leading organizer of wine and spirits trade events with a portfolio of iconic and recognized events. The group also draws on its digital portal Vinexposium Connect to maximise the scope of its events and serve the industry’s business interests across the globe 365 days a year.
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