The historic city of Coimbra recently hosted the fourth edition of the Wine Future conference from November 7 to 9, bringing together a diverse array of experts and leaders from the global wine industry. This year’s conference, held at the Convento de São Francisco, marked a pivotal moment for the industry, focusing on innovative solutions to its most pressing challenges.
This edition, themed “Breaking Barriers” was coorganized by ViniPortugal, through the Wines of Portugal brand, and Chrand Events. The three-day event, one of the world’s largest wine conferences, welcomed hundreds of visitors from 40 countries.
Frederico Falcão, President of ViniPortugal, praised the event as a crucial platform for discussing important issues surrounding our industry. “This was a world-class event, where some of the most influential names in the international and national wine sector debated topics such as the challenge of educating younger generations to consume wine in moderation, digital marketing, sustainability, among many other points that made us think over the course of the three days. It was very gratifying to see that those who visited us left with new lessons that they can apply to their businesses and activities,” Falcão remarked.
One of the key learning points from the event was the urgency of finding new ways to communicate with existing and potential consumers, moving away from the more formal and prescribed language often used around wine to a more inclusive and welcoming lexicon. One of the highlights was keynote speaker Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, who gave a particularly inspiring speech highlighting the importance of turning customers into fans.
The conference also highlighted the critical need for equity and inclusion in the wine industry’s marketing efforts. Experts across various fields discussed strategies for reaching and engaging with diverse consumer demographics, emphasizing the importance of cultural sensitivity and inclusiveness in expanding the industry’s reach and impact.
Laura Catena from Catena Zapata winery expressed her enthusiasm for the conference. “I was very impressed by the quality of the people who attended the event, the topics of discussion and the amount of business I was able to do,” she enthused.
An impressive array of wine tastings was a key feature of the conference, with 485 participants sampling 36 of the world’s finest wines. These tastings highlighted the best of Portugal, alongside innovative and classic wines from around the globe, including a special focus on Madeira and Port wines, utilizing over 6,200 glasses.
Pancho Campo from Chrand Events reflected on the conference’s success, noting the excellent presentations and tastings in a beautiful venue. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this edition, with the excellent presentations and the magnificent tastings in a beautiful venue. I’m convinced that we’ve once again made an impact on the Portuguese and international wine community,” Campo noted.
The event also provided an opportunity for 36 organizations, including Wines of Portugal and various international wineries, to showcase their products and services, further underlining the conference’s role as a hub for industry networking and collaboration.
Looking forward, the Wine Future series continues with its next edition, Green Wine Future 2024, scheduled to take place in Miami in collaboration with Florida International University. This 10th edition will focus on sustainability in the wine industry, addressing critical issues like climate change, environmental impact, and renewable energy.