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Published:  23 July, 2008

Italy's Tuscany and Spain's Castile-Len are the first wine regions to take advantage of a European Union initiative aiming to promote international joint ventures. The two regions have taken advantage of funding provided by the Joint European Venture programme to promote their wines together at a series of conferences and tastings, in Dublin, Manchester and London. The London conference, held last week, was presented by Cesare Gentile and Rudolfo Cortellini of the Italian Trade Office in London, and Manuela Calzado of EXCAL (Castile-Len's export association), and featured an overview of the two areas by Charles Metcalfe. Calzado concluded the seminar by explaining the motivation which brought the regions together: "A few years ago we started discussing the potential problems caused by New World competition - now it's a fact. We have competition from Australia, Chile and South Africa," he said, "but we have a lot to offer." He added: "This is the first collaboration between two European wine regions, and we would like to extend this to other countries, such as Portugal and Greece."