In its 24th year, the Unified Wine Symposium in California is the premier wine and vine show in the USA, writes Mark Crumpton of Erben. Organised by the American Journal of Viticulture and Oenology, with UC Davies, the symposium boasts over 600 suppliers and a range of new products plus leading talks with a naturally strong focus on the California Wine market. Some of the key topics I managed to attend were optimisation of red, white and sparkling from harvest to bottle, as well as colour management and tannin development in red wine. Although the wines of California are a far stretch from our own cool climate viticulture and sparkling wine production, it was great to hear new ideas and concepts on winemaking by both winemakers and scientists.

Smoke taint was an underlying theme of the symposium due to the terrible fires across the region in harvest 2017. Interestingly, one of the biggest threats to the Californian region discussed wasn’t the droughts and fires, but rather the rise of Washington state wines, their diversity and cool climate possibilities as this catchy wine concept is utilised in wine markets. This is something to take away that the favourable trend to cool climate markets is growing and that the UK wine market is in a strong position with this market trend. Two days wasn’t enough to see all the exhibitors and talks so I will definitely be travelling back next year for a little longer and hopefully get to see some wineries around the state of California.