ACS 2024 Deep-dives into the future of Australian Cabernet

February 7, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Back for its fourth instalment, Coonawarra Grape and Wine Incorporated’s Australian Cabernet Symposium (ACS) returned to Coonawarra last Thursday and Friday, this time in conjunction with Wines of Western Australia. 

The triennial event invited Cabernet aficionados and key industry stakeholders to partake in two days of masterclasses, presentations, and agtech product demonstrations. For 2024, the Symposium followed the theme of ‘Supporting Cabernet Sauvignon into the Future.’

“It was a fantastic sight to see the networking and collaboration of like-minded Cabernet lovers in the room and across the two days of the symposium,” said ACS Committee Chair Dr Catherine Kidman. 

“We were particularly impressed with the calibre of presentations that ranged from groundbreaking research and innovative winery processes to reflections on how best to grow and make Cabernet.”

Day one involved presentations by nine global cabernet experts discussing their various research projects, followed by masterclasses and Q&A panels. Friday was a more hands-on affair, providing attendees the chance to see how the latest agricultural technology can enhance production processes via The Penley Agtech Field Walk experience.

“Production of premium Cabernet Sauvignon can be demanding of growers, be it timely responses to seasonal conditions, finding efficiency to counter increasing costs of production, overcoming labour shortages or substantiating ESG credentials,” said Hans Loder, Viticulturist and Vineyard Manager at Penley Estate and host of the Penley Agtech Field Walk.

“The Penley Estate Agtech Field Walk provided delegates an opportunity to consider the process of agtech adoption, from identifying the challenges, honing in on relevant tech and then talking to providers about solutions. 

“Judging by the energy on the day, it is clear that agtech has a role to play in supporting Cabernet Sauvignon into the future.”

More than just visual and oral learning, the ACS also offered an invaluable opportunity to taste through Australia’s best impressions of the world’s number one selling variety. 

“It was a real honour and treat to listen to esteemed winemakers and international experts including Phil Brodie from Te Mata and Trevor Durling from Beaulieu Vineyards, and then taste their wines in the glass,” said Catherine. 

“Finally, it was great to see the cross-generational networking from wine and viticulture students to icons of the industry across the two days. 

“It was clear that Cabernet Sauvignon will continue to have a strong and relevant role in the world of premium wine and that the future is bright.” 

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