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The first edition

Views from all angles…


Once upon a time there were two journalists, both fond of wine, who sat down to chat in a town in the far west of Europe, with a bottle of Madeira between them. In fact, they spent several hours together, and there were most likely further bottles on the table… But from this encounter we know one thing for certain: an idea was born there, one that subsequently fermented for more than a year. Until last week, when the idea became reality in the three-day wine-conference MUST – Fermenting Ideas.

Must Sprecher Paul Symington©Must
Port wine specialist Paul Symington is answering the questions of participants ©MUST Fermenting Ideas 2017

First Edition

Discussions concerning grape varieties and so-called ‘natural’ wines met here with strategic considerations of marketing, with ‘big data’ and with the influence of fashion on the world of wine. The conference provided an exchange of ideas, an opportunity to develop these ideas, and in so doing to help the future of the fine wine world take one giant step forward into the future. But it was not only onstage that things were coming to a boil: lively exchanges among the attendees were equally important – controversial issues, difficult questions and animated discussions made the first edition of this conference into an event that one could in all honesty only ever call ‘unique’.

Between and after the presentations, participants continued addressing the matters at hand – whether lunching together or at the evening get-together ‘Wine-Sunset By The Sea’, with its breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean: it was all about networking, discussion, laughter, pleasure and conviviality.

The stars of the wine scene

They came from all over the world: winemakers, sommeliers, restaurateurs, tourism directors, wine merchants and importers – they all poured in to the  seaside town of Cascais, to talk it all over with the big-league stars of the wine scene: Jamie Goode, Alice Feiring, Eric Asimov, Victor de la Serna, José Vouillamoz, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, Michelle Bouffard, Natalia Velikova, Matthew Jukes, Paul Symington, Felicity Carter, Lulie Halstead, Geoff Kruth, Cathy Huyghe, Stephen Li, Paz Levinson, Nicholas Oakes, Huiqin Ma and Rui Falcão.

And one fact cannot help but occur to the attentive observer: there were many women on the stage, as well as in the audience. Dare we characterise this as ‘progress’ in the masculine-dominated world of wine? And why is this so? In short, to paraphrase the words of Canada’s Prime Minister: ‘Because it‘s 2017’! And thus, Must – Fermenting Ideas becomes part of the future.

And why, for goodness sakes, in Portugal? The plan of promoters Falcão and Salvador, to invite wine pros from all over the world to experience their homeland and the marvellously beautiful Atlantic coast of Cascais and Estoril met with resounding success. There is hardly any other country currently better suited than Portugal to claim pride of place in matters of tourism and development. The Portuguese economy is growing vibrantly, and tourists are coming from all over the world to Oporto and Lisbon, as well as to the various wineproducing regions. Not for nothing is the new slogan of the Portuguese Tourism Authority: Don’t skip Portugal – Don’t skip new ideas!

Anybody who unfortunately missed the summit can get an idea of what it was all about from the opening and closing videos. And finally the good news:

We are already working on the 2018 edition of MUST-Fermenting Ideas!

MUST – Fermenting Ideas conference took place 7-9 June in Cascais. The charming coastal town Cascais provided an idyllic and picturesque setting for this summit meeting.

Additional information are available here:


PICTURES (downloadable)