Marco Cervellera, oenologist at the Fattoria La Vialla in Italy, has participated in the Enoforum Wine Technology Conference since its foundation in 2000. Twenty years ago, no more than 100 people attended the event. Today, Enoforum is proud to be the largest scientific and technological conference on wine in the whole of Europe. It brings together traders and suppliers, university researchers, as well as winegrowers, wine producers and wineries of all sizes. Enoforum will visit the United States for the first time in 2021.
Fattoria La Vialla is a family business with vineyards in Lombardy, Marche and Sicily, all certified organic and biodynamic. The style of the wines is strictly in accordance with the terroir, explains Servella. The first rule is therefore to respect the soil and its fertility.
Zerveller participated in Enoforum as a speaker and member of the public, stating that his main objective in participating each year is to discuss the latest scientific information with his colleagues in the wine industry.
Being biodynamic and respecting nature does not mean that we leave everything to chance. Accurate scientific knowledge is needed to anticipate potentially dangerous phenomena, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, said Mr. Servella. In fact, he added, we need to learn more because often a chemical intervention (such as SO2) cannot be used.
Just like at a traditional fair, visitors can meet and greet a number of suppliers and vendors at a joint event. But the Enoforum site is not a day full of seminars or an event space where salespeople rush to attract potential customers’ attention. The aim is rather to inform the public in the wine industry about the science behind these products and innovations.
Simply put, it is a collaboration between suppliers, researchers and producers – without it we (the wine industry) cannot innovate, says Gianni Trioli, inventor and president of Vinidea at Enoforum.
Indeed, what distinguishes the wine trade event from all the others is the cooperation between these three players in the sector. Whether it is an educational seminar, a product demonstration or a wine tasting, nothing is presented without the expert input of a scientific researcher and, in many cases, an expert (whether a winemaker or a cellar master) who can explain the pros and cons of the product, the technique or the scientific breakthrough in question.
The Enoforum is ideal for companies that want to present a new product or technology, because there are many potential customers in the audience. But at the same time they have to scientifically justify and detail the results, exposing themselves – very openly – to possible criticism, said Serveller.
It’s also very good for research institutes, he continues. They have the opportunity to present their research and communicate immediately with the potential end-users of their research, so that they can expand or adapt their research in subsequent phases based on the observations and practical implications reported by Enoforum participants.
Jose Santos, President and CEO of Enartis, worked for Enoforum for several years in various international locations – Italy, Spain, Portugal – before moving to the United States in 2010. Now, as a regular participant in wine technology symposia in the United States, Santos argues that the current model of these national exhibitions is outdated. Most technical conferences in the United States do not include input from industry suppliers. We invite sponsors, but when we ask for opportunities to speak, we are treated as if we were selling snake oil, he said. This was the case for European events, such as the Enoforum, and consequently most conferences have disappeared.
By recognising the contribution of suppliers such as Enartis to the development of the wine industry and offering a scientific perspective on their innovations, visitors have the opportunity to discover the tools at their disposal. Enoforum allows… to contextualize the scientific aspect of the new instrument, with immediate practical application. This allows us to present the scientific, technical and practical aspects of the products we sell in one go, says Santos.
The two-day conference, scheduled for the 5th and 6th. Scheduled for May 2021 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, it will follow the same format as the American conference. Although the exact programme is still under development, in the past there have been no less than 70 different exhibitions from which visitors can choose.
On Enoforum 2019 I swallowed all the discussions, according to Santos. I got to the point that one day I missed lunch because there were so many interesting lectures.
Trioli, Cerweller and Santos also point out that the shape and size of Enoforum is very relaxed and non-restrictive. There are no VIP tickets and all visitors and participants, regardless of the size of the wine production or the company, are equally invited to events that match their specific interests. As Mr Santos pointed out, the wine industry is not limited to high quality wines and wineries. Indeed, larger and less glamorous wines are the driving force behind the industry.
Registration for Enoforum USA is scheduled for February 2021. More information can be found here: www.enforumusa.com