An international Chenin symposium scheduled for 2019

Wednesday November 07 2018 by Vitisphere

France boasts more than 9,000 ha of Chenin, mostly in the Loire Valley with 5,000 in Anjou-Saumur and 3,200 in Touraine, but vineyards are also found in Jasnières and the Fiefs Vendéens. Elsewhere, it is grown in Limoux, Côtes de Millau and the Dordogne.France boasts more than 9,000 ha of Chenin, mostly in the Loire Valley with 5,000 in Anjou-Saumur and 3,200 in Touraine, but vineyards are also found in Jasnières and the Fiefs Vendéens. Elsewhere, it is grown in Limoux, Côtes de Millau and the Dordogne. - Photo credit : Patrick Touchais

Is Chenin a grape variety of the future? According to the latest Sopexa research on wine trends between now and 2020, it is touted as one of the varietals that will break new ground, especially in the United States. This is enough to fuel the enthusiasm of Loire growers who are fighting to promote it. Two of Chenin’s most committed advocates from Anjou - Evelyne de Pontbriand, a winegrower in Savennières and Patrick Baudouin in Chaudefonds-sur-Layon - co-founded the Chenin Academy in 2017. “The Academy stems from the desire to create and sustain a community around Chenin after a number of events were organised in different locations, particularly with South African producers”, said Evelyne de Pontbriand.

The association is the driving force behind an international Chenin symposium, which will be held in Anjou from 1 to 3 July 2019 (https://www.cbic2019.com/). In addition to the Academy, Interloire, the wine federations of Anjou-Saumur and Touraine, Chenin producers from South Africa, the University of Stellenbosch, and Destination Angers – the town’s business tourism department - are also co-organisers of the event.

Scientific ambitions

The programme will feature conferences every morning addressing a number of themes with the objective of analysing “the challenges facing Chenin in the 21st century”. Ampelography, history, climate, landscapes, vineyard management and winery practices, markets, wine tourism and culture will also be on the agenda. “The symposium has genuine scientific ambitions”, stressed Jean-Martin Dutour, chairman of Interloire. Afternoons will be complemented by winery visits, not to mention, of course, numerous tastings focusing on all aspects of Chenin: from sparkling wines to the most concentrated sweet bottlings.

Interestingly, the first symposium should lead to more events, the plan being to replicate it in 2021 in South Africa.

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