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(Cancelled) Invitation to AMA: Rising Stars winemakers, 26th March 2019



Hi everyone!

It’s about time we had another AMA session, but I thought we’d shake things up and do them a bit differently this time! :smiley: So rather than chatting with a Society staff member, we’re offering you the chance to send your questions to some very exciting winemakers and representatives from estates at our Rising Stars and Hidden Gems tasting, happening next week.

The producers

We’ll be putting your questions to the following producers at Monday’s tasting:

Militza Zikatanova – Bulgaria – Villa Melnik

I was lucky enough to have dinner with Militza when I went to Bulgaria last year and not only is she tons of fun, she’s absolutely fascinating and full of knowledge about the Bulgarian wine industry. She helps run Villa Melnik with her parents - I visited in October and it’s a lovely place with gorgeous wines! You can find out more about Villa Melnik here.

Christina Wess – Austria – Weingut Rainer Wess

Christina is the daughter of Rainer Wess, and a pivotal part of the business and highly respected throughout Austria and beyond, so we’re delighted to be able to talk to her.

She and her father Rainer make incredible examples of the very on-trend grüner veltliner grape, which I know plenty of you love to drink! You can find out more about Rainer Wess and Christina here.

Sabina Salamun – Croatia – Vina Laguna

Vina Laguna, perfectly positioned on the Istrian Peninsula, has established itself as one of Croatia’s best wine growers. Part of a bigger agricultural concern called Agroluna which also makes award-winning olive oils and cheeses, Vina Laguna owns 600 hectares of vines on a variety of soil types, embracing both indigenous and international grape varieties so that malvazija, teran and borgonja vines grow alongside chardonnay, pinots blanc and grigio, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and muscat. Here’s a bit more about Vina Laguna.

Roland Szimeiszter – Roland Wines

Roland is here to represent Maurer from Serbia. Originally from Salzberg, the Maurer family moved to southern Hungary in the 19th century. Four generations of winemakers later, they’re still farming the 16 acres of land alongside a team of dedicated workers. Vines in this region can be around 100 years old and so tradition is taken very seriously. Maurer use spontaneous, natural (i.e. wild) fermentation, use minimal sulphur and do not filter the wines. Because of this, they’re often cloudy but this is not a fault – it’s simply the natural particles of the wine that so many producers choose to remove.

Julian Kirk - Nyetimber

For most English wine drinkers, Nyetimber needs no introduction, and this award-winning West Sussex estate is one of the reasons English wine (and particularly sparkling wine) is sky-rocketing in popularity and finally earning the praise it deserves. Nyetimber will be represented by the lovely Julian on the night - find out more about this excellent English sparkling wine producer here.

How it works

  1. Submit your questions for these winemakers here by noon on Friday 22nd March.
  2. I’ll head to the tasting to film interviews with the winemakers at the tasting on Monday.
  3. I’ll post the answers here on Tuesday.

It’s not like our usual AMAs - we won’t have a live Q&A session - but if you have followup questions we can try to ask them and get some answers to you!

Is anyone here planning on attending the tasting next Monday? If so, let me know - I’ll make sure I find you to say hello on the night! :smiley: We’re also holding the event on Tuesday in Cardiff and Wednesday in Milton Keynes, and there are still tickets left if you’re interested. :wink:

(I don’t think there’ll be as many winemakers/reps at these events but all the wines will be there!)


Ooh I really like the Young and Crazy from Villa Melnik … it’s like liquid Rhubarb :yum:…I’ll have to think of a few questions :+1:.


Had hoped to head to the MK event…but it clashes with 3 other events that night as it is #calendarfail


Excellent news - we’ve now added a fifth producer to the list of people we’ll be quizzing on the night. :smiley: You can see more in the introduction post above - I can’t wait to see your questions.


:grimacing: Did I misjudge this one a bit? I’m very aware we haven’t had any questions yet and the deadline is tomorrow - are you guys more of a fan of the traditional format of AMAs with just one familiar Society-staff-type person? I’m happy to hold my hands up and say we didn’t get this one right (the next one planned is much more like the others) - but on the off-chance I’m wrong, is anyone here planning on asking a question? If not, we’ll cancel this one.


I can only speak for myself - I think we usually have a little longer to think about questions, so perhaps that’s a factor? I would also say that as I don’t know the wines or producers very well (bar Nyetimber) - I honestly can’t come up with a valuable question, and don’t want to just ‘ask’ for the sake of it.

Not sure what others think, though.


Thanks, Inbar - I totally appreciate that and it makes perfect sense. We should (and would!) have had more notice this time but there were some unexpected staff absences unfortunately. What a shame - I’m really sorry we didn’t get this one right, everyone.

Let’s cancel and we’ll try it again another time - and rest assured we have lots of exciting events planned for the next couple of months so plenty of other opportunities to join in. :smiley:

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