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‘Big changes’ in sparkling wine to be discussed at symposium

Radical changes in the sparkling wine world caused by climate change and the opening up of new regions, will be one of the key discussion points at the next International Sparkling Wine Symposium this December.

New regions such as Chile, Serbia, India, and China among others are now making sparkling wine, Champagne expert Essi Avellan MW says.

As well as Avellan, who is editor of FINE Champagne Magazine and Decanter World Wine Awards regional chair for Champagne, Jan Konetzki, head sommelier at Gordon Ramsay, and viticultural consultant Dr Richard Smart will be speaking.

The two-day forum is scheduled for December 2013 at Denbies wine estate in Surrey, UK.

Discussions will cover how existing sparkling wine regions are faring, and how new ones are developing in response to both commercial and climatic pressures.

‘The sparkling wine world is going through big changes and expanding such that there are lots of traditional method wines and regions to be discovered,’ Avellan told Decanter.com, citing Chile, Serbia, India, and China among them.

‘When knowledgeable winemakers go to any corner of the world, they can achieve very good results.’

Richard Smart is particularly interested in the effect of climate change on vines. If predictions hold true, producers in traditional sparkling wine regions will suffer if temperatures rise, while areas previously considered too cool may yield quality sparkling wine.

‘The varieties used in traditional sparkling wine regions such as Champagne are among the earliest maturing, so they can be harvested with low sugar and high acidity. But in a warming climate, that won’t necessarily be the case,’ he said.

‘They either will have to harvest grapes with lower sugar, to get the same acidity, or tolerate lower acidity. There are plenty of varieties that ripen a bit later than Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and one of the interesting aspects of this is how the appellation system in Europe – which is a noose around the neck of a lot of regions – will have to be revisited.’

Written by Maggie Rosen

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