SAN FRANCISCO — Wine Institute’s third international “California Wines Summit” May 15-20, 2017 presented a week of California wine tastings and experiences to 30 key wine media and trade attendees from 10 countries: Canada, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Sweden, Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland. The media/trade group tasted 500 wines from more than 50 American Viticultural Areas in California, presented by 200 vintners from across the Golden State. The 10 markets represented by the Summit guests account for more than 80 percent of California wine exports by value. U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, were $1.62 billion in 2016, a record dollar value and a 25 percent increase from five years ago.
The summit was organized by Wine Institute VP of International Marketing Linsey Gallagher to support the goal of $2 billion in wine export sales by 2020.
Click links to view photos from each day. See all folders here.
Welcome Dinner in Napa Valley:
Wine Institute’s officers shared their hospitality with a fresh, seasonal dinner reflecting the casually-elegant lifestyle of California wine country.
State Overview; Napa Valley; Paso Robles; California Cabernet Sauvignon:
After a welcome by Wine Institute President & CEO Bobby Koch and U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, followed by an overview of California wines by the numbers with Jon Fredrikson, guests met with Napa vintners and tasted a diverse selection of wines from the sub-regions of Napa. The nuances of Cabernet, California’s top red varietal, were explored in a tasting presented by sommeliers Geoff Kruth, MS, and Kelli White. The Paso Robles wine region was then featured in a tasting with 10 wineries participating.
In Sonoma; California Chardonnay; Lodi; California Pinot Noir:
Wine writer Elaine Chukan Brown presented Chardonnays from across the state with a look at the historical evolution of winemaking styles used with the variety as well as the vineyard conditions that make them possible. Pinot Noirs from across the state presented by author Karen MacNeil demonstrated regional comparisons of terroir and climate on this sensitive varietal. Ten Lodi vintners hosted guests for a broad tasting of wines from this region which produces 20 percent of the state’s wines.
California Zinfandel; Santa Barbara; California Blends:
A panel of star winemakers led by TV host Leslie Sbrocco presented a tasting of 16 iconic Zinfandels, the varietal made famous by California. Santa Barbara held a tasting of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, followed by journalist Virginie Boone and a vintner panel tasting of red blends, the third leading California wine category after Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
California Wines in a Global Context; California Coast; Cool Climate Wines:
Geoff Kruth, MS, and Matt Stamp, MS, explored California wines in a global context, and then the group traveled to the Sonoma Coast and experienced a tasting blindfolded with Karen MacNeil and special guest Hoby Wedler, Ph.D., to identify the tastes and aromas of cool climate wines.
California Sustainable Winegrowing; California Sparkling Wine; California Wine Families/Vintner Icons:
Yoga overlooking the Sonoma Coast provided a California lifestyle experience for the media/trade visitors, followed by a session on California’s world leadership in sustainable winegrowing with California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and Visit California CEO Caroline Beteta. The practice of winegrowers using natural predators for pest control was demonstrated by a falconer showing how the birds effectively scare off starlings during the grape harvest. Returning to San Francisco, guests enjoyed sparkling wines while well-known California vintners shared their family stories and experiences with their unique brand of charisma.
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