Olly Wehring

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By: Olly Wehring - 16 May 2006 13:48

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Greetings from day one of three here at ExCel in London. The show has got off to a great start, with a terrific atmosphere throughout, and we’ve got the ideal viewpoint – upstairs at the press centre. The throngs are swarming and the wine is flowing, and we can see it all.

So far, we’ve attended a seminar looking at promoting French wine to consumers, we’ve had a one-to-one chat with Foster’s Wine Estates’ MD, Jamie Odell, and I'm about to talk to the CEO of Constellation Europe, Jon Moramarco.

Among the many familiar faces I’ve bumped into so far today has been John McLaren, the head of the California Wine Institute here in the UK. John is counting down the days until California overtakes France as the most popular wine region in the UK. “I’ve got the Champagne ready,” he tells me, adding that he thinks the overtaking manoeuvre is set to take place in the first quarter of next year.

“I’m not sure to celebrate with Champagne or Californian sparkling wine,” he tells me.

A pleasant dilemma, then, John.

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