Saturday, 31 May 2014

Vinoble 2014

Having just returned from Vinoble, I feel in an optimistic mood. The show has been very successful with a large number of international visitors, from the wine and catering trade to the press and television. Everyone in Jerez has really made an effort, and it shows. As far as I could see, everything ran very smoothly. I came away thinking it is not about the price of Sherry, but its value, which is immense. It brings with it such a long tradition and exciting culture - and perhaps slightly overshadowed quite a few of the international wines present.

With the world looking on, after the cancellation of 2012, and Jerez being European City of Wine, things had to go well. Lots of bodegueros were on hand, and/or their oenologists or salespeople, the Consejo president Beltran Domecq was there, as was director Cesar Saldana. He pointed out that in the 4 years since the last Vinoble, Sherry has become fashionable again, and now is the perfect moment to reinforce its status. He also said that this is a unique forum for "noble" wines, sweet and fortified, which have somehow survived, and put quality before fashion. And the exciting thing is that people flocked to taste them. And no wonder!

Naturally, in its very heartland, Sherry was most obvious, but there were all kinds of interesting wines from Germany, Hungary, the USA, Italy, Georgia, France, Portugal, to name a few, and other Spanish wines from the Canaries, Montilla, Huelva... You could have had a really interesting visit without even trying a single Sherry. But that would have been a sin! Then there were olive oils, local (and superb) Payoyo cheese...

Everything was organised with very little time, and insufficient money, with lots of people and organisations involved, but it all seemed to go pretty well, especially with the addition of food in the form of Gastrovinoble with top chefs. Lessons have been learned. More time will be allowed next time. There is a real will for this event to take place again in 2016. And not just for Sherry. But that is not the end of it for now...

On Monday 2nd June there will be another whopping boost to Sherry's fortunes with the International Sherry Week celebrations. This event, organised as World Sherry Day for the first time last year,  and again with too little time, was a great success. This year there are no fewer than 6 times the number of events, and it lasts for a week. It is lovely to see just how many people want Sherry to succeed again. I should point out that World Sherry Day and International Sherry Week are two different things. It is the latter which is happening now. A week of Sherry will always be better than a day!

Let us hope that finally people stop saying that Sherry is SUCH amazing value but don't buy it. Let us hope that people get out there and enjoy this treasure with all sorts of food, and let us hope that - as good wine should - it brings people together, and that Sherry will, at last turn the corner and be recognised for what it is.


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