The international conference on spirits

On Thursday 19 and Friday 20 May 2011 Forum Aquavitae will be organising “The Future of Spirits”, international conference on global spirits markets and trends with the support of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.

University professors and researchers from all over the world will be convening at Borgo Antico San Vitale, the headquarters of the Forum Aquavitae, to discuss the technological and market situation of the world’s major distilled spirits: rum, whisky, vodka, cachaça, armagnac, brandy, pisco, aguardiente and fruit aqua vitae.

Also present of course will be grappa, the Italian distilled spirit par excellence, to which will be dedicated a whole session to assess the situation of this sector from both a technological and market viewpoint. The session dedicated to grappa will also be enhanced by a panel discussion with communication and marketing experts.


Spirits – as alcoholic drinks with minimum 15% alcohol strength by volume are called in the European Union – represent in the world a universe estimated in 20 billion litres, but volumes are very likely much higher and are almost certainly equivalent to those of wine (25 billion litres) coming second only to beer.

For Italy, third exporting country in the world, they are of great importance, not only economically, but also from a historic and cultural viewpoint.

The large category of spirits also includes distillates, distilled drinks that maintain strong ties with their areas of production, both in terms of links with tradition and the reflections on their sensorial profile of the ecosystem in which they are made.

In reading their names – Grappa, Armagnac, Cognac, Brandy, Whisky, Rum, Cachaça and so on – our mind evokes countries and rites, local costumes and gastronomic heritages. They are not therefore only an economic asset, but are made up of experiences, real doors onto an imaginary world, the salt and quality of the earth.

For the first time in Italy, researchers from all over the world have been invited to speak about this rich and complex universe. They will talk about the distillates they know best, about its origins and history, about production economics and technology, about consumption and the rules for enjoying it to the full.

The meeting will be staged in the setting of the Borgo Antico San Vitale, in the heart of Franciacorta, in the province of Brescia. The complex, which has been completely restructured, includes an experiential route, an experimental distillery, a meeting room, a sensory analysis room and a wine-bar restaurant.

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First session 9 am -1 pm

Federico Castellucci
Director of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine

Eugenio Brentari
Brescia University
The distillates industry in the world from an economic viewpoint

Sergio Moser
Mach Foundation – San Michele all’Adige Agrarian Institute
The chemical characterisation of distillates

Giorgio Sberveglieri and Isabella Concina
Brescia University
Traditional and innovative physical measures for the characterisation of distillates

Luigi Odello
Tasters’ Study Centre
Systematic nature, geography and sensorial characterisation of distillates

Angelo Baronio
Milan Catholic University
The Middle-Ages and the birth of distillates

Discussion of topics addressed

Buffet prepared by the Restaurant Due Colombe (one Michelin star) 1 pm – 2 pm

Second session 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm

Douglas Wagner Franco
Professor titular Universitade de Sao Paulo (Brasile)

Bruno Pilzer
Fondazione Mach – Istituto Agrario San Michele all’Adige
Fruit Distillates

John Piggott
University of Strathclyde Glasgow, Scotland

Douglas Wagner Franco
Professor titular Universitade de Sao Paulo (Brasile)
La Cachaça

Costantino Sirghi
Expert of the Moldavian Republic
Eastern Europe: vodka and other distillates

Discussion of topics addressed

Visit to Borgo Antico San Vitale and experiential route 5.30 pm – 7 pm
Aperitif 7.30 pm
Gala Dinner 8 pm


Third session 9 am – 12.30 pm

Antonio Emaldi
President of Assodistil

Roger Cantagrel
Institut National Interprofessional de Cognac, Francia

Alain Bertrand
Université V. Segalen Bordeaux - Faculté d’Oenologie, Francia

Luigi Gatti
Expert in the production of Brandy and spirits
The Brandy in the world

Inacio Orriols
Estación de Viticultura y Enología de Galicia, Spagna
Aguardiente de Orujo Gallega

Buffet prepared by the Restaurant Due Colombe (one Michelin star) 12.30 pm – 2 pm

Fourth session 2 pm – 5.30 pm

Mario Fregoni
Catholic Sacro Cuore University

Roberto Lovato
Director of the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE)
The importance of protecting grappa as a symbol of made in Italy

Alessandra Busnengo
Executive of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies
The new laws: considerations on production and consumption

Roberto Zironi
Udine University
Grappa technology and technological innovation

Giuseppe Delmestri
Bergamo University
Grappa seen from a marketing viewpoint

Panel discussion

Grappa - marketing, communication and consumption rites

Taking part:
Giuliano Dell’Orto, Robilant Associati Spa
Fiammenghi Roberto, Coop Italia
Luca Castelletti, Ais International Adviser and WSA member (Worldwide Sommelier Association)
Giorgio Fadda, Aibes President
Antonio Mungai, Director of Ristoranti, “Il Sole 24 Ore Group”

Cultural moments

(participants only)

19 May
Visit of Borgo Antico San Vitale and experiential route

19 May
Gala dinner in the historical complex of Borgo Antico San Vitale

19 and 20 May
Buffet prepared by the Restaurant Due Colombe (one Michelin star)

19 and 20 May
Distillates of the world - tasting

21 May (remaining guests only)
Visit to the Guido Berlucchi Cellars