Adapting To The New World

May 16, 2020

Given that our whole world has been turned upside down since the start of this year, and almost every wine fair and exhibition around the globe has been cancelled or deferred to a small window of time towards the end of the year – here is an excellent example of an event adapting to the new world we find ourselves in:

In May last year I had the honour of attending the inaugural World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE) – Asia, in Yantai China, as a guest presenter conducting an information session on Australian wine and a tasting of Australian

wines. It was an impressive event conducted by WBWE who have been conducting the world’s largest bulk wine exhibition in Amsterdam each November for over a decade. Please see “A New Dawn Rising WBWE Asia”, Jul-Aug 2019 edition of WBM Magazine for the full article on this excellent event.

Alas, this year the WBWE Asia had to be postponed from its original May date due to the Coronavirus situation. The organisers have recently advised that the event will now proceed on July 12-13, in Yantai, however, it will be under a different format – it will be a Virtual Wine Exhibition (VWE).

It will be an online trading system through which wineries and brokers can establish direct contact with buyers and importers via the use of the modern technology of virtual online communications.

This will be achieved by the exhibitors sending their wines to China via a “maximum security system” established by the organisers. The samples will be received and then transferred to the fair by WBWE staff guaranteeing their safe and sound arrival at the venue.

The fair will be set up in much the same way as normal, with samples and promotional materials being set up at the exhibitor’s booth, however, local professional staff will represent the wineries rather than the overseas owners. This service will be augmented by having the technology available to have direct video links with the winery itself so that any queries, additional information and negotiations can be handled in real time. It will also include English/Chinese interpreters to facilitate the process.

The organisers are assuring exhibitors that they will have the attendance of Chinese importers, supermarket buyers, consultants and distribution agents, all of whom will receive comprehensive information on the exhibitors prior to the event. Thus, whilst visitors from other Asian countries are not likely to be there, as they were in large numbers last year, the volume of bulk wine that China imports (currently around one-third of the world’s trade in bulk wine – and still growing), means that wineries participation in this “virtual” event is still well and truly justified.

Let us hope that this exhibition is very successful so that in the “new world order” of less direct personal contact, especially less flying (for the environment’s sake), can serve as the model for other events to be conducted thereby ensuring the continuance of international wine sales in a safe manner. More information can be found at

Having said that, I still fervently hope that the 12th WBWE in Amsterdam goes ahead in the normal, “hands-on” manner, rather than the virtual manner on November 23-24 so that I can once again be one of the 25 international wine judges for this fantastic event and write about the exciting world of bulk wine for WBM Magazine.

Cheers and let’s keep adapting to the “new world” so as to survive and thrive in the wine business.

This Week's Wine Review:

This week I want to talk about an extremely rare wine blend that seems to have its roots way back in the 1950s. The blending of PINOT NOIR and SHIRAZ seems to have been originated in the Hunter Valley in that era, most likely by Wine Legend, Maurice O’Shea. His Mount Pleasant Pinot Shiraz from the 1950s are still (so I am told) breathtakingly beautiful wines even today if one is lucky enough (I haven’t been) to get a taste.

During the 1970s and 1980s in the rush to create bigger, bolder, single variety wines, this blend fell from favour and disappeared.

In the 21st Century, as people in the main are “over” BIG reds and are seeking lighter, more vibrant wine styles, this magical blend is starting to re-appear, as it makes a ready-to-drink wine – ideal for today’s “now society” that is bursting with bright, silky fruit flavours. A great example of “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” just like Shiraz Viognier is.

There are probably around 12-20 wines of this blend currently available and here is a particularly good one for you.  The SAINT & SCHOLAR 2018 ADELAIDE HILLS PINOT NOIR SHIRAZ, has a vivacious, bright purple/red colour, a soft, gentle, appealing bouquet of red berries with just a hint of dried herbs. The palate is simply gorgeous, silky-smooth, tasty with lovely fruit flavours and a tight but yet attractive lingering finish. Right now this wine needs decanting and to be enjoyed with richer style food. However, over time, say 2-4 years, it will evolve, round out and soften to become a superb, truly elegant, very classy, lighter-style red that will give heaps of pleasure when enjoyed on its own with good friends.

Check out this brilliant wine and the rest of the quality wine range at the SAINT & SCHOLAR website. I have liked every one of their wines that I have tasted so far.

Apart from cracking wines, these clever/creative guys have a “Pinot & Pilates” dozen pack which includes a yoga mat and access to online Pilates classes (for those stuck at home).

So do yourself a favour and try a PINOT NOIR SHIRAZ, and let me know what you think of it and also let me know who else is helping this blend make a comeback. Cheers!