Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
The tasting is tol be held on September 11 and 12, 2013, in the newly refurbished Olympia 2, in London.
The three generic organisations believe that by joining forces they can create an event which has greater relevance to the UK and international trade, meets the needs of importers and producers and is also cost effective. The three southern hemisphere countries traditionally held separate UK tastings during the autumn.
The Beautiful South will exhibit wines by winery, though UK importers will be grouped together "for convenience". There will be ‘seeking representation’ areas for all three countries. Further collaboration will see cross-country seminars and themed tastings. All three organisations will be bringing in guests from key European export markets, in addition to UK visitors.
Jo Wehring, UK market manager for Wines of South Africa, said: “This is a confident move by three wine-producing nations that are not afraid to stand together to meet the needs of the international trade. We are excited about the calibre of visitors we will attract by coming together and working in a way that is dynamic but has a solid strategy.”
Michael Cox, director – Europe, Wines of Chile, added: “Three southern wine countries are breaking the mould with an innovative collaboration that aims to shake up the new world order. One place, two days, three countries, countless opportunities – fortune favours the brave!”
Speaking on behalf of Argentina, Andrew Maidment, European director, said: “We are listening to the trade, who have talked for years about taking a different approach to tastings. We aim to be fresher, more exciting and also to provide an event which makes the best use of time for all involved.”
All three wine bodies have said this will not affect their relationship with London International Wine Fair.
Maidment said the two are "completely separate".
Wehring added: "The Beautiful South tasting is designed to replace our generic tastings. We will have a WOSA stand at LIWF if there is sufficient interest from producers, that’s not confirmed at this stage but we’re still talking to the industry."
Further details on the event, plus website and booking details will be launched in due course.