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Wine leaders explore global connections

Leading figures from the global wine community will gather in Bordeaux, France, in June for the seventh and largest ever international symposium staged by the Institute of Masters of Wine.

The Forging Links symposium, taking place from 24 to 27 June at the Cité Mondiale du Vin, will explore the connections between all those involved in wine, from producer through to consumer, and how these can be developed to ensure a successful future for the art, science and business of wine.

This is the first time that the symposium has been held in France and it is being staged with the generous support of the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), the event’s principal sponsor. Some 300 delegates are expected to attend the symposium, making it the largest ever held by the Institute.

Forging Links has been organised by a committee of Masters of Wine under the co-chairmanship of Fiona Morrison MW and Jacques Lurton. The Master of Ceremonies during the four-day programme will be Lynne Sherriff MW, Vice Chairman of the Institute.

Dr. Josef ‘Pepi’ Schuller MW, Chairman of the Institute, said: “We are delighted with the huge interest that Forging Links has already generated amongst the global wine community and for the generous support of the CIVB, which is enabling us to stage the event in the historic wine capital of Bordeaux.

“The Forging Links symposium provides a unique, independent forum to explore the global connections which contribute to the success of the global wine industry. The programme of speeches, panel discussions, debates and tastings will address all aspects of the industry, from producer through to consumer, and how the wine community can enjoy a successful future through effective collaboration, communication and sharing its vision and goals.”

Alain Vironneau, President of CIVB explained that international connections had always been essential in Bordeaux, making it an ideal location to explore the theme today.

“The excellent reputation of Bordeaux wines is itself the clearest proof of the successful co-operation between growers and merchants. It’s the fruit of many centuries of relations between the two – a relationship that has sometimes been prickly, that has often incited strong feelings, but that has always been successful because Bordeaux wine is a commercial wine. That is to say, a wine that has been produced for centuries to satisfy a market – originally British consumers, today consumers the world over.

“It was thanks to this co-operation between the two worlds of grape-grower and merchant that we developed the classifications, notably that of 1855, and our understanding of terroir. The wine trade body in Bordeaux, the CIVB, is simply the legal manifestation of this sense of common purpose, without which the business of making and selling wine in Bordeaux would not have survived so well across the centuries,” said Mr Vironneau.

An impressive array of international speakers will take part in Forging Links. Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux and former Prime Minister of France, will deliver the opening speech of the symposium and Georges Haushalter, Vice-President of CIVB, will give a keynote speech on the theme of Forging Links: Bordeaux reaches out to the world. Sir John Hegarty, Chairman and Worldwide Creative Director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, will deliver a keynote address on the theme of external perceptions of the wine business.

High-profile speakers, representing all aspects of the international wine industry, include Alessia Antinori, Jean-Claude and Olivier Berrouet, Eduardo Chadwick, Poh Tiong Ch’ng, Jean-Bernard and Jean-Philippe Delmas, Paul Draper, Peter Gago, Margareth Henriquez, Olivier Humbrecht MW, Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Zelma Long, Egon Müller, Alvaro Palacios, Paul Pontallier, Jancis Robinson MW, Michel Rolland, Christian Seely, Miguel and Mireia Torres, and Moses Tsang.

The programme also includes a series of prestigious lunches and dinners, including a gala dinner at Château Pontet Canet, and provides delegates with the opportunity to participate in the city’s famous Bordeaux Fête le Vin festival.

For further information on the symposium programme and booking visit the official <>  website. Registration costs &euro895 (excluding French TVA) and provides access to all Symposium sessions, tastings, lunches and dinners.

For further information on the Bordeaux region, its wines and historic capital city, which will play host to Forging Links in June, visit the <>  website.

Forging Links is taking place with the generous support of the following sponsors: Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (principal supporter); Bordeaux Tourism Office; Conseil des Crus Classés de Sauternes et Barsac; Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855; the Madame Bollinger Foundation; Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux; Union des Maisons de Bordeaux; Riedel; San Pellegrino; and Greek Wine Federation.

The Institute of Masters of Wine is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting professional excellence and the highest educational standards in the global wine trade. It was founded in 1955 and today its membership comprises 279 Masters of Wine based in 22 countries. More than 240 students from 24 countries are currently studying in the Institute’s education programme for the Master of Wine qualification which is globally recognised as the highest professional achievement in the wine industry.

Held every four years, the Institute’s symposium provides an independent forum to address opportunities and challenges facing the wine industry through a programme of keynote speeches, panel discussions, debates, tastings and networking events. The Institute’s previous symposium in 2006 in Napa, USA, attracted more than 200 delegates from around the world.

1 March 2010 - Felicity Murray