Chenin Blanc conference to be held in South Africa

Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape, has been selected as the global meeting point this November for a multi-disciplinary congress on Chenin Blanc, a white wine grape.

South Africa has more Chenin vines planted than the rest of the world combined; however, Chenin’s birthplace is the Loire, in France.

The right to hold the Chenin Blanc International Congress in Stellenbosch has been granted by the City of Angers.

It was a key driving force behind the first such conference, held in Angers, in 2019.

This year’s event will explore the role of the grape in a fast-changing environment and is expected to draw wine academics, climatologists, regenerative viticultural specialists, winemakers, agro-economists, trend analysts and marketers from across the world.

Its confirmation follows extensive collaboration between wine and academic bodies in France and South Africa.

It is being hosted jointly by the Academie du Chenin and Destination Angers together with South Africa’s Chenin Blanc Association and Stellenbosch University.

Several other wine bodies are also involved as partners, with support also being extended by South African Tourism.

Entitled ‘Chenin: Revealer of Place’, the congress will be held from November 1 to 3 in hybridized format with in-person and digital tickets available.

The three-day event at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) will include a range of academic and general interest presentations, as well as vineyard visits.

Delegates will be able to choose from a range of package options.

The focus will be on sustainability and innovation, with speakers and workshops focusing on three key areas: the full genome sequencing of the Chenin Blanc grape varietal to establish a scientific base for intra-varietal clone diversity; winegrowing and winemaking in the face of climate change; and responding to consumer tastes and lifestyle trends in a variety of cultures.

Many South African academics will be presenting papers.

About 50 delegates are expected from France. In addition to several other countries in Western and Eastern Europe, presenters and visitors will also be flying in from Australia and the US.

An updated version of South Africa’s Chenin Blanc aroma wheel is to be unveiled at the conference, where Zulu, Xhosa and Shona translations will also be launched.

All presentations will be available in both English and French.

South African wine body Winetech, involved in research, knowledge transfer and development, will publish all papers presented at the conference.

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