Stag’s Leap partners with Cirque du Soleil

Stags’ Leap Winery, one of the oldest and most storied wineries in Napa Valley, and Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, a world leader in artistic entertainment, announced last week an exclusive partnership that will see Stags’ Leap Winery featured at Cirque du Soleil’s United States Big Top Shows for one year beginning next month. The Official Wine of Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows in the United States, Stags’ Leap Winery brings more than 130 years of winemaking tradition to the circus stage.

“Stags’ Leap Winery is named after a mythical stag who eluded capture by leaping into the Palisades mountains located behind our storied winery in the Stags’ Leap District of Napa Valley,” says Brand Director Megan O’Connor. “Our stag is a symbol of courage and freedom, emboldening everyone to explore all that life has to offer in the pursuit of pleasure. I cannot think of a more perfect partner than Cirque du Soleil, whose performances have transformed live entertainment by encouraging all of us to dream the unimaginable.”

In addition to concessions serving Stags’ Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, there will be a Stags’ Leap Winery lounge, in select cities. As part of the partnership, audience members can also expect to see Stags’ Leap Winery on multimedia branding throughout each venue, as well as in collaborative social content promoted across both brands’ social media channels.

“We are excited to welcome Stags’ Leap Winery as a partner with Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows and look forward to our United States Big Top fans experiencing the premium wine offerings on-site,” says Lauren Hart, Head of Partnership Strategy at Cirque du Soleil.

For the official list of show dates and locations, please visit cirquedusoleil.com

To learn more about Stag’s Leap: stagsleap.com

North America’s Six Top Wine Regions for a Cycling Getaway

For wine lovers who love the outdoors, combining the enjoyment of wine tasting with leisurely cycling through some of North America’s most picturesque vineyard regions offers a unique and wonderful experience.

Wine regions like Napa Valley, the Finger Lakes, and Niagara are not only renowned for their exquisite wines, but they also feature some of the most bicycle-friendly routes and amenities.

Here is a guide that takes you through these areas, promising lots of adventure, indulgence, and an appreciation of these wonderful wine regions: https://shorturl.at/zL08Z

Assovini Sicilia Celebrates 25 Years

Assovini Sicilia celebrated a double anniversary this year: twenty-five years since its founding, and twenty years since the first edition of Sicilia en Primeur.

A special event was recently held in May during Sicilia en Primeur 2024, which included the preview of the latest vintage. This was a record edition with over one hundred journalists, including national and international press, ten enotours, five masterclasses, fifty-nine wineries and over three hundred labels for tasting.

Cultivating the Future, the claim chosen for this edition, takes stock of the first twenty-five years, emphasizing Assovini Sicilia’s role as a leading player and witness to the Sicilian wine renaissance.

Diego Planeta, Lucio Tasca d’Almerita and Giacomo Rallo signed the articles of association of Assovini Sicilia in 1998. Eight wineries were the first to join the association, endorsing that far-sighted, courageous, revolutionary vision, which saw associationism as a winning strategy to promote Sicily.

Twenty-five years later, the dream of the “founding fathers” to attribute cultural, promotional and storytelling value to Sicilian wine has been fully realized.

The strong wind of change and evolution continues to push the association forward, which, driven by the spirit of teamwork and system, has recently become a beacon in the wine scene, demonstrating not only that in Sicily, wine production is of quality, the managerial profile of the companies is competitive, and wine is a cultural ambassador to the world, but that the Sicily that knows how to team up is a winner.

“I am proud to represent an association that has always conveyed and promoted a contemporary image of Sicily, linked to traditions, dynamic, and elegant,” comments Mariangela Cambria, President of Assovini Sicilia. – Thanks to the courage of those who believed in associationism, defying all cultural resistance and, putting themselves on the line without protagonism, believing in teamwork, today, throughout the world, Sicily is a brand with a powerful and profound cultural value and international appeal. Assovini Sicilia was born from a vision and a plan that pushed the island towards new horizons, made it known throughout the world for its beauty and history. A story whose telling was entrusted to the narrative and symbolic power of wine. The great revolution of Assovini Sicilia was to believe in wine as a cultural product, with potential that is extraordinary and unique, before being economic.”

The story of these extraordinary twenty-five years, divided into multiple themes – the evolution of the vineyard, the cultural value of wine, perception in the American market, wine tourism and the Next Generation – was the heart of the “Cultivating the Future” conference, moderated by Gioacchino Bonsignore, a Mediaset journalist, inside the monumental complex of San Domenico in Cefalù.

Bonsignore retraced the history of Assovini Sicilia through those who have supported the vision and path of the association over the years.

«It’s a bit like what happened with the Italian language: It was born in Dante’s Florence, in the fourteenth century, but the precursor is the Sicilian School of the court of the “Stupor Mundi”, Frederick II of Swabia, in the thirteenth century.

Members of Assovini Sicilia speak about history, culture and values. They are all aiming for exports: Europe confirms itself as the main export market, for 95.7% of the companies, followed by North America. «I have witnessed the Sicilian wine renaissance firsthand over the past twenty years, and writing about the wines of Sicily has given me some of the most rewarding professional moments. I am deeply convinced that the bright future of Italian wine begins here, in Sicily, in the heart of the Mediterranean” – states Monica Lerner, an American journalist and wine critic for Robert Parker Wine Advocate.

Alessio Planeta, Antonio Rallo and Alberto Tasca, sons of the original founders, took up the torch and carried forward the initial plan of teamwork that laid the foundations of the winning “wine system” of Assovini Sicilia.

«I have always been convinced that collaborating and sharing long-term objectives is the right way to create value and promote our extraordinary wine-growing contexts.
Therefore, associationism for me has been and continues to be a successful path, which fully embodies the spirit of collaboration and commitment to excellence that characterizes Sicilian wine-growing,” comments Antonio Rallo, past president of Assovini and current President of the Consortium for the Protection of Sicily DOC wines.

Alessio Planeta defines the time span and history of the Sicilian vineyard in three emblematic eras: the enchantment of the past, the fervor of the 1980s and the vitality of the new millennium. «Each stage tells a story, interwoven with numbers, trends and varieties that reflect our commitment to the future. It is not just an exercise in meditation, but a bridge to tomorrow, shaped by family experience and innovation. In a world where we export to 75 markets, operating in five different Sicilian regions, we rely on the wisdom of our predecessors, like my uncle Diego Planeta, and our vision,’ adds Alessio Planeta, CEO and President of Planeta Winery.

Not only quality production and promotion abroad, Assovini Sicilia has won the bet on wine tourism as a tool for telling the story of the territory and its historical and wine-growing heritage.

Today, 84.8 % of the member companies have implemented a series of wine tourism services in their wineries that are true wine experiences, contributing to the evolution of wine tourism services from simple wine tastings to a part of experiential tourism.
In Sicily, the wine experience is a metaphor for a land that is changing and that has managed to enhance an asset, the wine industry, capable of representing our Sicily at its best,’ commented Marcello Mangia, president and CEO of Mangia’s – Aeroviaggi and host of the Sicilia en Primeur conference.

With its roots firmly anchored in tradition and the past, Assovini Sicilia is laying the foundations for the future by continuing to follow the winning trajectory and strategy that has led the association to celebrate these first twenty-five years successfully. The wineries are preparing for the generational transition: About 78% of the member wineries have already integrated a new generation into the company management. Within the association, the ‘Next Generation’ group has been created to represent the new generations of Assovini Sicilia, young people under 40 years of age who are already operational and family members within family businesses and who, guided by the example of Assovini, are committed to creating a team that looks to the future and to the enhancement of the Sicilian wine-growing territory. Among the new group’s main areas of intervention: communication, training and promotion of the territory.
«I believe that the NextGen of our entrepreneurial families have very clearly in mind what kind of ancestors they want to be: And this is how they will transform business models, here in Sicily and in the wine industry as in all sectors and geographical areas,’ Giovanna Gregori, executive director of AIDAF – Italian Family Business, commented during the conference.
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Sicilia en Primeur, the event conceived of and organized by Assovini Sicilia since 2004, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. An itinerant event that has based its success on a winning format: combining the preview of the latest vintage wines with visits to wineries and territories, telling the story of Sicily’s historical-archaeological and landscape beauties through the stories of wine.

“With Sicilia en Primeur, wine becomes an instrument of narration not only of the wine heritage but also of the human and historical heritage of Sicily. Wine is the leitmotif that unites the stories of the producers with those of the territories, weaves tales, joins pieces of a unique mosaic where Sicily is an extraordinary wine-growing continent” President Mariangela Cambria concludes.

2024 Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris: The Report

The 5th Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris has turned the current economic challenges into strategic opportunities for the wine and spirits industry. This year, the event has established its credentials not only as a pivotal hub for business, but also as an influential platform, stepping up its decisive role in the business and political space globally.

2024 marks a turning point, with Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris making a sustainable economic contribution to the wine and spirits industry. Exhibitor numbers rose to 4,074, including 53% from overseas representing 48 producer countries, underscoring Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris’ enhanced appeal and international scope. Visitor attendance increased by 14% on the previous exhibition to 41,253 and included 41% international visitors from 137 countries, illustrating the event’s overall reach and growing influence.

Vinexposium’s commitment to business development was mirrored in the 30% rise in attendance by the main buyers from key markets. The top 5 nations represented after France were Italy, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. The matchmaking service also reached a new performance milestone with 10,146 appointments between producers and buyers made online.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, a place of influence

Placed under the high patronage of Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris received visits by three French ministers and 27 ambassadors, including those from the United States, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, China, New Zealand and Australia.

The 2024 Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris opening ceremony saw keynote speeches by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc Fesneau, and the Minister of State for Public Accounts, Thomas Cazenave. The collaborative tone of the opening speeches, with input by Vinexposium CEO Rodolphe Lameyse, highlighted the event’s role as a strategic space where the industry can speak with one voice, share ideas and meet current challenges while also setting its sights on a sustainable future. The significance of international trade and the collaborative efforts required to cope with geo-economic risks were also underscored.

A visit by Frank Riester, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, ended the third day by describing the event as a major exhibition for wine and spirits exports, stressing the importance of wines and spirits to France’s export trade balance. 2023 French export results were in fact announced at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris by the FEVS.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), with which Vinexposium works collaboratively, granted its patronage to the scientific sessions of the ON! programme. The event also offered a valuable opportunity for OIV, which took part for the entire three days, to meet many international industry personalities.

Even greater buzz for the ON! and OFF programmes

The ON! programme was enhanced in order to foster dialogue and provide the industry with food for thought. 126 sessions featured on the official programme, in addition to individual presentations hosted on exhibitor stands.

Paul Robinson, wine director at Robinson Wine Merchants, recounts: “As a buyer, it is my responsibility to prioritise business appointments at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, but I attended two panel discussions which I found extremely interesting. The ON! programme is one of the highlights of the exhibition”.

The OFF programme, which featured a selection of 200 restaurants and bars across the capital, encouraged attendees to continue their conversations after nightfall in a more relaxed setting.

Angelo Martelli, director at Super Buyrite, found inspiration there: “With so many appointments on stands by day, I particularly enjoyed being able to continue my business relations in the evening as part of the OFF programme. Paris truly is an ideal city for this and the selection was great. It’s that little extra that makes all the difference”.

Be Spirits, an enhanced range

In 2024, Be Spirits reached a whole new level with 26 producer countries exhibiting, an extra 47% floor spaced compared with 2023 and nearly 200 exhibitors, 54% of them new. Alongside the many French exhibitors, international attendee numbers soared by 92%.

The hall designed for spirits, no/lows, beers and ciders attracted buyers and mixologists from across the globe. The robust programme of debates and masterclasses aimed at deciphering markets, exploring the most revolutionary products and responding jointly to the business issues of the future attracted a full house.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2024 ends, but ushers in the next 12 months

Until the next Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris from 10 to 12 February 2025, the industry is invited to Hong Kong from 28 to 30 May for Vinexpo Asia, New York on 24 and 25 June for Vinexpo America, Mumbai on 16 and 17 September for Vinexpo India, and Amsterdam on 25 and 26 November for the World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE).

Taste-Driven AI Algorithms Enhance Wine Selections

For wine enthusiasts, choosing a bottle of wine can be challenging when scanning unfamiliar labels, while shopping. Questions that come to mind: What does it taste like? What was the last one I bought that tasted so good? Vivino, Hello Vino, Wine Searcher and other apps let wine buyers scan labels to get information about the wine and read reviews of others. These apps have been built from artificially intelligent algorithms.

Using taste or other sensory inputs as data sources is entirely new.

Now, scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the University of Copenhagen and Caltech have shown that you can add a new parameter to the algorithms that makes it easier to find a precise match for your own taste buds: Namely, people’s impressions of flavour.

“We have demonstrated that, by feeding an algorithm with data consisting of people’s flavour impressions, the algorithm can make more accurate predictions of what kind of wine we individually prefer,” says Thoranna Bender, a graduate student at DTU who conducted the study under the auspices of the Pioneer Centre for AI at the University of Copenhagen.

More accurate predictions of people’s favourite wines
The researchers held wine tastings during which 256 participants were asked to arrange shot-sized cups of different wines on a piece of A3 paper based upon which wines they thought tasted most similarly. The greater the distance between the cups, the greater the difference in their flavour. The method is widely used in consumer tests. The researchers then digitized the points on the sheets of paper by photographing them.

The data collected from the wine tastings was then combined with hundreds of thousands of wine labels and user reviews provided to the researchers by Vivino, a global wine app and marketplace. Next, the researchers developed an algorithm based on the enormous data set.

“The dimension of flavour that we created in the model provides us with information about which wines are similar in taste and which are not. So, for example, I can stand with my favourite bottle of wine and say: I would like to know which wine is most similar to it in taste – or both in taste and price,” says Thoranna Bender.

Professor and co-author Serge Belongie from the Department of Computer Science, who heads the Pioneer Centre for AI at the University of Copenhagen, adds:

“We can see that when the algorithm combines the data from wine labels and reviews with the data from the wine tastings, it makes more accurate predictions of people’s wine preferences than when it only uses the traditional types of data in the form of images and text. So, teaching machines to use human sensory experiences results in better algorithms that benefit the user.”

Thoranna Bender points out that the researchers’ method can easily be transferred to other types of food and drink as well:

“We’ve chosen wine as a case, but the same method can just as well be applied to beer and coffee. For example, the approach can be used to recommend products and perhaps even food recipes to people. And if we can better understand the taste similarities in food, we can also use it in the healthcare sector to put together meals that meet with the tastes and nutritional needs of patients. It might even be used to develop foods tailored to different taste profiles.”
The researchers have published their data on an open server and can be used at no cost.

“We hope that someone out there will want to build upon our data. I’ve already fielded requests from people who have additional data that they would like to include in our dataset. I think that’s really cool,” concludes Thoranna Bender.

Key Facts:
1. Wine apps are using AI algorithms to assist users in selecting wines based on labels and reviews.
2. Researchers integrated people’s flavor impressions into the algorithms for more accurate wine recommendations.
3. This approach can be extended to beer, coffee, and personalized food recommendations, benefiting various industries.

Source: Neuroscience News