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Edinburgh gets its own wine festival

Edinburgh, already host to dozens of gala events including the world-renowned Edinburgh International Festival, is to get its own wine festival.

The Edinburgh International Wine Festival launches next month. It aims to build on the Scottish capital’s long-standing position as one of Europe’s leading importers of fine French wine.

Hotel owner James Thomson, one of the founders of the festival, which is sponsored by broadsheet Scotland on Sunday, said he hoped it would give rise to an annual two-day event incorporating wine workshops and tastings.

‘I have always had a great passion for wine, and I hope the festival will grow and establish itself over the next few years and contribute to the local economy, as well as enhancing Edinburgh’s fine reputation as the festival city.’

Scotland has a distinguished history of drinking and buying fine wine. More than 800 years ago, the ports of Leith and Glasgow shipped claret from lands belonging to Henry II’s wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, in Bordeaux.

Its influence was increased several centuries later when Napoleon Bonaparte blockaded the English fleet while allowing wines to be shipped from Bordeaux to Scotland.

Festival organiser Ash Gupta said, ‘I have always realised that there’s a huge enthusiasm for and knowledge about wine in this city, based on Edinburgh’s historic links with France. Growing up in the city exposes you to opportunities to learn about wine that I don’t think one would find elsewhere in Britain.’

Another founder, Edinburgh wine merchant Adrian Laird Craig said he wants to rekindle a rivalry that has been going on for decades.

‘We want to take a leading claret, white Burgundy and French sweet wine, and pit them against their New World cousins.’

A longer version of this article first appeared in Scotland on Sunday

Written by William Lyons

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