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Top speakers announced for France Summit 2013

Published:  25 September, 2013

A line-up of top speakers from all sectors of the trade is being pulled together for Harpers' inaugural France Summit, which will be held at London's St Ermin's hotel on October 22.

As well as a series of dedicated tastings and free-pour zones, the day will feature three set piece seminars and debates. These include:

  • The results of a specially commissioned Harpers survey to find out what the trade really thinks of French wines and how well they are being supplied, sourced, and sold in the UK.
  • Comprehensive trade data on how well France is performing in the UK against its competitors from Sopexa, the French food and wine marketing agency.
  • Industry debate on the most efficient way of sourcing wine from France.
  • Industry debate on how well the UK is making the most of French wine in the on and off-trades.

Key speakers lined up for the first session on sourcing wine from France include Clive Donaldson, Morrisons; Rebecca Palmer, Corney & Barrow; Raul Diaz, Jascots Wine Merchants; Alistair Morrell, The Wine Fusion; Alex Canneti, Berkmann Wine Cellars; Nik Darlington, Red Squirrel Wine; Beverly Tabbron, Hallgarten Druitt; Matthew Dickinson, Dickinson Associates; and Guy Adams, Heritage Wine.

The second industry debate looking at how different operators are marketing and selling French wine to consumers includes Hal Wilson, Cambridge Wine Merchants; Lucy Clements, Tesco; Waitrose; Direct Wines; Clive Donaldson, Morrisons; Master Sommeliers Gerard Basset, Hotel TerraVina, and Ronan Sayburn; Beverly Tabbron, Hallgarten Druitt; Richard Verney, DropWines; and wine writer Mike Matthews.

The day will also include a series of masterclasses presented by Gerard Basset and Ronan Sayburn. Basset will look at more off-beat French wine in a session called "France: the wine road less travelled".

He is also giving the trade the opportunity to quiz him about his experiences and ask questions as part of a Wine Clinic where he will look at how best to bring France alive on a wine list.

Other masterclasses include "Debunking old perceptions on quality and premium wines" by looking at both the co-operatives and Negociants.

There will be a further session on how France can deliver quality wines in the key price point area between £7 and £15.

The day will feature wines and key figures from each of the France Summit partners, which include FranceAgriMer, Vins de Loire, Les Vins de Centre Loire, Chablis, Côtes du Rhône Wines, Les Grand Chais de France, Les Producteurs Plaimont, Provence Wines, Yvon Mau and Pays d'Oc IGP.

The France Summit will also include an awards ceremony, where the winners and finalists in Harpers' first French Wine Awards will be announced, with categories including Best Supermarket for French Wines, Best Independent, Best Restaurant, Best Critic, Best Supplier/Distributor and Best Ambassador.

There is still time to register or volunteer to take part in any of the trade debates. For more information email Joanne Gibson at