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Day One at de Prowein House

Published:  16 March, 2015

Getting on the 10am Easy Jet flight from Gatwick to Dusseldorf yesterday morning was a bit like joining the Wine Trade Sunday School outing. The pull of Prowein has been building vastly over the last few years and it was good to see so many interested parties on the plane.

Prowein is vast and attracts nearly 50,000 trade visitors who are charged the princely fee of €70 for the privilege of attending over the period. There are just under 5,000 exhibitors from 47 countries, who are also charged for entrance despite paying for their stands. The only free tickets go to the 1,000 journalists, trying to get one of these passes is harder than getting a ticket for the Rugby World Cup Final.

Room rates have also been racked up with basic 'Travel Lodge' accommodation costing €400 plus a night.

However once you have parted with your money this is the place to be, everything is run efficiently, held just outside the centre of town with easy access and well set out. Yesterday was spent in the Non European Pavilion, where you have of course South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile etc and 2 other non European countries; England ( Farrage would be delighted) and Greece (have Germany decided to throw Greece out of Europe overnight).

Prowein's stature is highlighted by the amount of winemakers in attendance and this was certainly apparent in the Non European Pavilion. It makes an efficient use of your time to be able to meet and reacquaint with so many of the Worlds very best winemakers.

Highlights of the day's tasting included meeting one of the UK's top winemakers' Emma Rice from Hattingley Valley, and trying her exhilarating layered and textured Kings Cuvée Sparkling wine, Emma who was inspired into the wine business after trying Krug 1979, certainly seems to have put some Krugness into her Kings Cuvee, a stunning barrel aged wine. From South Africa a loud cheer must also go to Simonsig MCC 2010, a very fine great value Sparkling that had all the finesse of vintage champagne.

I was really pleased to have come across Razvan Macici, Cellar Master at Nederburg Wines, despite having been to South Africa twice in the last 12 months had not come across these wines, his Gewurtztraminer was a seamless delicate wine with a scattering of rose petals, Turkish delight nuances and named The Beautiful Lady, this wine was certainly a beauty. The closest Gewurtztraminer to my favourite, the World Class Vinoptima from New Zealand.

From New Zealand it was great to catch up with Elephant Hill with their Francophile style wines, delicate restrained and showing great elegance. The New Zealand stand was a hub of activity with numerous sell out masterclasses.

Over to Australia and the Wine Australia team have built a lovely open plan tasting area, with plenty of room to sit and talk to winemakers whilst also enjoying Wine Australia's trade mark food and wine matching. Highlights included the Reds from Langmeil in the Barossa. These wines were controlled, delicate and silky smooth, restrained being the key theme.

Today I go into the unknown and visit the 2 Pavilions dedicated to Germany, sadly when I was at school we were taught Latin so my grasp of the German language is zero, but am looking forward to explore not only the two traditional highlights from Germany; Riesling and Pinot Noir but look further afield.

Prowein also knows how to organise masterclasses, and each day's programme is packed with these, one I have signed up to is Japan's Sakura Awards Prentation. In Japan some 46% of Sommeliers are female and 60% of wine experts are female, this is Japan's biggest Wine competition and judged solely by Japanese women, but the Awards are open to wines from all over the world, which appeal to women and match food.

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