Four crises happening at once – pandemic, economic recession, climate crisis and systemic inequalities – the largest (and perhaps best) online conference we’ll probably see this year addresses all four: WineFuture 2021.
On today’s episode, Mike and Emma are joined by our esteemed guests, Pancho Campo and David Furer, the ringleaders of this auspicious conference, who give us insights on the conference itself, as well as a number of the special guests participating this year. This is an episode you don’t want to miss.
Transcript on All About WineFuture 2021
Welcome back, HTB podcast listeners. Thanks for joining us today. We have a special guest – a couple of special guests today on the podcast. We have Pancho Campo and David Furer – together they have put together a digital conference that’s coming up in a few weeks.
It’s called WineFuture 2021, and it is the largest and perhaps the best online conference that we probably see this year, having over 80 guests, some of them are pretty big news in terms of their involvement in the wine business.
So, we thought we’d have Pancho and David on the show today to discuss WineFuture, and in the interest of full disclosure, Balzac Communications is working with WineFuture 2021 to help promote it – so now you know. Welcome to the show, Pancho and David.
Thank you, Mike, and thank you, Emma.
Glad to have you both here. So, let’s start off with an easy question. What is WineFuture 2021?
If you want me to answer that, Mike, thank you for the intro, hi Emma. I would like to answer that question because I was the one who initially founded this event back in 2000 and… It took place in 2009, but we started talking about it in 2008 as a result of the economic recession that the world was going through and how it was impacting the world of wine.
I remember discussing with Kevin Riley and Robert Parker in New York the viability of organizing such a summit, a think tank, a conference, a Congress where people would get together and share ideas, but mostly solutions to what the economic recession was doing to the wine industry around the world. And it was so successful in real high in 2009 that we gather more than 50, I think it was 55, 60 speakers. It was the first time that Robert Parker was coming to an official appearance in in Europe.
And we had close to 2000 delegates from 45 to 50 different countries. The outcome was exactly what people wanted – inspiration, solutions. And then we decided to do it two years later in Hong Kong because the market was moving to Asia. Everybody thought that, you know, the future one was going to be in China, Hong Kong, Macao. We did it there, it was even bigger, it was probably one of the biggest events and my company has ever organized.
And we decided to pause it for a few years because during the economic recession, we saw that our second or our parallel event, which is the climate change leadership program, was not being getting enough attention. So, because the economy improved, we paid more attention to the climate change crisis, the climate crisis in the world of wine. But this year it was a must – 2020 was a must to revitalize WineFuture because it’s the first time in the history of humankind where four crises can’t be together.
One is not the result of the other one. All four are happening at the same time. They have a relationship between them. But the seriousness of the problem is that they are independent – coronavirus, economical recession, climate crisis and systemic inequalities. So that’s the essence, in essence, how it originated and where we are today.
So that’s great. So, we’ve got those kinds of four areas of crisis that are going to be addressed during the conference, so perhaps you can share with us a few of the speakers who are going to be there that will address these issues.
If you want, I can talk about the keynote speakers and then I’ll let Dave take the wine industry related speakers. We have four keynote speakers. Three of them are not from the world of wine because we believe that our industry has to learn from other industry, from all sectors, and they’re very relevant names. First is Irina Bokova she was the 10th Director General for UNESCO and she has participated in other events with us. So, she knows the world of wine a little bit. She was one of the keynote speakers next to President Obama in the climate change leadership in Oporto.
The other speaker is the executive director of the World Tourism Organization, Mr. Manuel Butler. And I believe that tourism, especially when tourism or tourism in general, is going through the probably the worst times ever and is the industry that has been hit the most. Now wine tourism has suffered tremendously, but it’s probably one of the areas where the industry should really put its focus. The third but not last Keynote speaker is Pau Roca, the Director General International Organization of Vine and Wine, and Francis Ford Coppola, that he’s directly related to the wine industry because he’s the owner of numerous wineries in the United States.
Great and David, any other highlights?
Definitely, yeah, in addition to a possible additional keynote speaker to be confirmed, we have, as you mentioned, over 80 confirmed speakers. You know, one of them has been working with Pancho before I started working with Pancho and 2011. That’s Greg Jones from Linfield University up in Oregon. Greg was early on board, the best to moderate as well, speak at his climate crisis session, which is opening up our second day on February 24th.
Additionally, we’re really pleased to have on board the former longtime chief Wine Buyer at Costco, Annette Alvarez-Peters , who’s going to be moderating a session on her specialty, which is off premise challenges that the entire world has faced. And she’s got a fantastic panel she’s looking at from people all over the globe to join her. And that’s something that we can say we’ve really set out to accomplish and have done so successfully, is that all our sessions – maybe not 100 percent, let’s say 95 percent of our sessions – really run the gamut of the world.
This is truly an international conference with the conversational language being English. There’ll be a simultaneous translation in Spanish as well for those who wish it. However, the common language and the common goals and the common problems that we all share are foundational to what WineFuture 2021 is all about. Some of the other big names you might recognize. We have Laura Catena, who is leading off our sessions with Session one, because Laura Catena is a medical doctor as well as managing director of her family firm in Argentina.
Her work being as a doctor these days in San Francisco, she is leading this esteemed panel of medical professionals, one of whom deals with ear, nose and throat issues is a Rhinologist coming out of London, my former home (Simon Gane), and also Dr. Elvis García, who is a Spanish gentleman who is associated with a small college called Harvard on both sides of the Atlantic. John Charles will have a lot to say, and we have folks from UC Davis, Leticia Chacón-Rodríguez will be speaking. She runs the wine program there and producing it as well.
Our sponsoring wines of Portugal Frederico Falcão will be joining us at our opening ceremony, as well as speaking on a on a session later on during the conference. I can continue on with so many wonderful names. I just encourage people to go to winefuture2021.com and look at our lovely images of all of our speakers and the various sessions that to which they’re going to be attending and speaking and sharing their information with you.
Thanks, David, that really is an all-star lineup. It is a who’s who of the wine business internationally. So, who should attend WineFuture 2021?
Oh, well. Well, certainly this is a professional wine business conference on an international scale. We welcome anybody who wishes to, but they have to bear in mind this is not a consumer-oriented thing, it’s going to be high level and deep dive into not only analyzing the problems and challenges, that everybody’s been facing, but more importantly, applied solutions, or solutions that are under consideration by people at very high levels and all of them business, academia, media, sales and so on. Pancho please jump in.
Yeah, one of the advantages, probably the only good advantage of this damn virus is that it has made us discover some of the benefits of the virtual world. One being, you know, what we call the democratization of the wine events or the events in general. Anybody anywhere in the world at any given time can join WineFuture. I mean, people from humble backgrounds, students with very little economic resources, people who maybe never imagined they could travel to the other part of the world, pay for an airline hotel, accommodation, and registration to these kinds of conference that used to be very expensive.
This is another market that we’re targeting – students and people that do not have the means, especially in this recession, because, you know, we have to take it at one hundred and twenty-five dollars also euros. We had an early bird of 65 euros. And, you know, there are so many organizations that are supporting the event that you can find on the website and media partners, that they know that because they’re supporting them, and their members get a special discount and they only pay sixty-five euros for attending the four days event and then they will be able to watch it on demand up to two months after the event has finished.
So, you know, anybody in the world of wine is a candidate. I think it’s the time for all of us to be united. The more people we join, the more we share our knowledge efforts, and we support each other. It’s the only way out of this one.
Yeah. You know, I just have to say, tangential to Pancho’s exact point, I don’t believe that any other conference has put together three top directors at such esteemed international wine business exhibitions, such as we have, for example, we have Stevie Kim, who runs in Vinitaly. We have Rodolphe Lameyse, who runs Vinexposium (something) Vinexpo. And we have Bastian Mingers, who’s the Project Director for Prowein , all coming together in one session.
That’s going to be moderated by fellow Californian Martin Reyes there as well. So, this is going to be I mean, for those of you who miss exhibitions and such, you’re going to hear from some of these top international players on what’s going on now and how they see the future.
I mean, there’s going to be so valuable information regarding that being shared, I’m sure. So, anybody who’s planning on participating in those shows this year or next year, it would be an important point for them to attend. But Pancho to go back to one thing you mentioned the fact that they’re going to be recorded and going to be available after the conference for two months, which is fantastic because this is an international conference and we have people attending from Europe, North America, Asia all over the place.
So, time, time differences may affect people, whether people want to attend, live or not. We encourage everybody to attend live. But if they’re not able to, at least they’ll have an opportunity to review the presentation afterwards.
So that’s one of the things that we try to schedule the conference in that time frame, that suits the majority of the world. So, it’s going to be four p.m. start in that Central European Time, Spanish time, which allows people in South America and most part of the United States East Coast to watch it live.
I mean, if you’re an early riser in California where you guys are, you can still watch it live. But in Asia, unfortunately, it’s really early in the morning. So, we made a… we decided to do this because we have partners in Australia, we have wines in New Zealand providing its CEO and also their support. We have people in Asia, we have people in China. So, we – you know it’s very important to make people understand that maybe you are in our time zone and you’re but you’re not available.
You’re busy. You have commitments. You will be able to watch the recorded sessions.
Fantastic. And then finally, this – the conference not only will be offering all these sessions and such, but the proceeds, some of the proceeds from the conference will actually go towards three NGOs from around the world to benefit them. So, can we talk about that?
David, you want to take on that and I’ll speak about the auction?
Happily, you bet, yeah, our three NGOs were selected for different means and different ways.
First of all, it was important that they reflect the international standing of the conference, and so proud to say they come from three different continents. First, I have to say that the Porto Protocol, which we helped to initiate a couple of years back with our Climate Change Leadership Conference in the Porto that Pancho and I both directed, that was very important that they take part in this and they happily did as well. Pancho’s Work in South Africa has brought to us SOS Cape Town, an organization that looks after mostly issues with water, going to people who are in disadvantaged or difficult situations there, but they do other interesting work, too.
And lastly, in your neck of the woods there, Mike, we have North Bay Jobs with Justice, who we are pairing with these other two to help bring attention and perhaps to bring together the plight of workers wishing to be treated fairly, as well as owners in other wine businesses who wish to engage with them and create some solutions to share problems that both businesses and individual workers have.
And also, we’re running we’re running a silent auction to help raise funds for these three NGOs. Part of the proceedings will go to them. And 100% of what we get out of the auction, will go to them as well. And it’s a silent auction. Today we open the page on the website, and I hope that from tomorrow, the next day, we will start listing the different lots. We have donations from [inaudible] to Chateau Chauvin, Georg Breuer, González Díaz, Taylor’s Port and you just have to bid silently, and if you are awarded that bid, you know, we will, we will ship it to you. And it’s for a good cause. Oh, there’s two magnums – three magnums of Opus One donated by David Pearson’s private collection.
And the prize is… Yeah, the prizes are coming in. Eduardo Chadwick famous Sommelier from Chile has made a donation. We have a case of Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas 2005, which is probably one of the greatest port wines [inaudible]. So, yeah, we’re very proud of being able to organize this, and we’re very happy to be having a very good response for our sponsors. Even if you’re not involved in the event, we decided with David that, you know, if you just want to contribute and get a little bit of exposure by donating a case of your wines, it will be welcome.
Which is… These are these are all great causes, and the silent auction sounds amazing. I’ll definitely be bidding. So, any final thoughts regarding WineFuture, as we mentioned, as you mentioned previously, it’s hundred twenty-five euro. Which honestly, for the quality of the content is a steal. And if and if you are a member of any of the partnership organizations, then you might be able to get it for 65 euro, which is almost free. Please do join us for that. Any closing thoughts Pancho and David?
Yeah, sure. I mean, I cannot emphasize enough how important that in these times of difficulty all around the world. I mean, you guys have heard the news – Portugal had to ask for help from different European countries because their budgets are completely collapsed. Spain is not doing much better.
I myself, I’m a victim of the coronavirus, as you guys know. I just came out of the hospital today. It’s not a hoax. It’s not a conspiracy theory. It does happen. And, you know, today I really got scared, so, it’s damned. If we as the wine industry can show leadership by all coming together, sharing our experience, our solutions, and our inspiration. For, you know, just telling people that we’re all together, we’re looking after them, I think is a great cause. On top of the great cause, which is uniting the whole wine industry worldwide. We’re going to raise funds for three NGOs.
I think we should all try to make an effort and come together. And want to thank you, Mike, and Emma, for your support, and yeah, thank you so much.
Yeah, it really does sound amazing. I’m here listening to you all in complete aw of the scope of what this is going to be. And I really hope that a lot of people can take advantage of it.
Thanks. You know, the value of this is unparalleled. I mean, imagine having to put airplanes for transportation, hotels, et cetera, et cetera. I know that many businesses have had cutbacks in marketing budgets, et cetera, et cetera. That’s totally understandable, but when you look at it, the 150 bucks that this is going to cost people is a pittance – compared to the value you’re going to get. Four days, four hours each day. Experts, many of them entertaining… and a little bit of entertainment as well, by the way, we have scattered throughout the conference.
So, it’s going to be a little bit of lightness amongst all the weighty issues that will be looked at. So, it’s an incredible opportunity, great value, and it’s got to be checked out again. Your entry fee will also allow you access for I believe it’s two months exclusive access before we give it a general release – or at least edited general release to the greater world, so this information is going to be a very key move in your businesses forward and everybody should come check it out.
Thank you, Pancho and David. So, the URL again to register is WineFuture2021.com. Please go there, register for the conference, it’s going to be amazing. Thanks again David and Pancho, for being on the show.
Thanks to you, Mike, and Emma, thank you so much.