5-6 December 2021

Book now (Use code ALIVE10 for a $10 US Discount)

RAW WINE Alive is a new two-day virtual festival of ideas for the world of wine and a ground-breaking education about plants, what makes them tick, how they go about their business, and what, as people who care for them, we can do to help them thrive.
Why plants?!
Plants are at the very roots of what we do in the wine world,”
Isabelle Legeron MW
Thanks to centuries of human-centric learning, most people, even those of us who work with plants on a daily basis, suffer what is known as ‘plant blindness’. Plants are at the very roots of what we do in the wine world, and the environments they inhabit are fundamental to their well-being and to the wines that they go on to produce. Plant blindness really matters to what we do, it’s just that most of us aren’t even aware that we’re not seeing properly. Alive! is our attempt to try to help our industry as a whole (both conventional and natural) open its eyes and look at things from a new perspective.
What can festival-goers expect?
Our host of expert speakers will help you get under the skin of plants and see the world from their perspective. Honestly, the answers are breath-taking. Talks will take place across five main stages, so there’s a place for everyone to feel inspired…
Welcome to the Big Ideas stage. Tune in for thought-provoking discussions with leaders in their fields – including an environmentalist, plant physiologist and neurobiologist, herbalist and even a philosopher – about topics with far-reaching implications. For example, do we really understand the full scale of what nature does for us? Are plants cognitive entities? And why are fungi so integral to making wine?
Tune into the three Stories From The Field stages of Austria, Chile and South Africa for talks that dig deeper into the world of wine, by daily practitioners from each country. Explore some of the questions yet unasked about natural wine, learn its history, discover how beautiful wines can be made at scale and hear how good growing isn’t about following a recipe, but listening to your gut.
Grab a glass and pull up a comfy chair for the We Dig Wine stage, where you can watch conversations between personalities from the wine and food world and the growers and makers of their favourite tipple. It’s a great way to take a deep dive into a specific wine and the world it came from, with speakers including an award-winning sommelier, a journalist and author, culinary explorer and travel blogger, magazine editors and directors, and even a podcaster!
We’re incredibly excited about the line-up and about the fact that Alive! is digital. It means we can connect with and share the knowledge of these incredible men and women with thousands of wine drinkers across the world. And even if you can’t watch live, all talks will be available for ticket holders to enjoy after the event as well. So join us! You can discover the full line up and details of each talk using the above link to find out more.

Learn, Explore, Be Inspired

Our line-up is positively thrilling, with some of the most avant-garde voices in the plant world joining us over the two days of the festival.

Speakers are experts in their fields, including viticulturists, environmentalists, science journalists, microbiologists, plant neurobiologists, and even a philosopher – famed for his work on the ‘un-nerving of intelligence’ – working on issues at the intersection of plant biology and cognitive science. Alive! is avant-garde, innovative, even a little mind-blowing, and is sure to get you seeing wine, and particularly the plants and their environments that produce it, in a whole new light.

Our Stages

The talks are spread across various stages to help you navigate your way through the scheduled talks. Explore each stage for more information.

  • BIG IDEAS – This is the realm of breath-taking thoughts, being talked about by those who work at the forefront of what they do. They are originators, researchers and story-tellers, and they’re all worth listening to. Tip – where relevant, buy their book, read it and come armed with questions for each live Q&A.
  • STORIES FROM THE FIELD – This is where you get to hear from those who put the big ideas into practice on a daily basis. Join growers & makers from the RAW WINE community, as well as a collection of other viticulture experts, and find out just what it means to work in such a way that you promote life from grape to glass. Featuring contributions from AUSTRIACHILE & SOUTH AFRICA.
  • WE DIG WINE – These bite-size conversations between personalities from the wine & food world & the growers/makers of their favourite tipple, are the perfect way to get down & dirty with a specific wine and the natural world from whence it came.


See below for a taster, or click on each stage & explore.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Tony Juniper CBE (one of the UK’s foremost environmentalists, who chairs Natural England and used to head up Friends of the Earth) is going to talk about why and how money really does grow on trees;

Prof. Paco Calvo (from the Minimal Intelligence Lab at the University of Murcia) will be discussing his jaw-dropping work on plant cognition and intelligence;

Prof. Liz Van Volkenburgh (from the Plant Growth Lab at the University of Washington) will be talking plant physiology, why she thinks plants are so amazing and sharing some of her extraordinary work on Plant Signalling & Behaviour (aka Plant Neurobiology);

Alessandra Viola (science journalist and co-author of Stefano Mancuso’s Brilliant Green) will be talking about the history of plant sciences – how & why we see them as we do – as well as her brand new, eye-opening book on the Rights of Plants;

Prof. David R. Montgomery (geomorphologist & author) and Anne Biklé (biologist, avid gardener & author) will talk us through their research into soils, which gave birth to their fascinating trilogy of books Dirt – The Erosion of CivilisationsThe Hidden Half of Nature and Growing a Revolution that have been described as “stunningly clever”, “compelling” and stories that “we cannot afford to ignore” by the likes of the Financial Times, New Scientist and Nature.

… with contributions from growers & makers, including Louis-Antoine LuytMacarena del Río of Macatho, Leo Erazo of A los Viñateros Bravos, Stephanie & Eduard Tscheppe-Eselböck of Gut Oggau, Ewald Werlitsch of Weingut Werlitsch, Franz Strohmeier of Strohmeier, Sepp Muster of Muster & Maria Koppitsch of Alex & Maria Koppitsch.

Monday, 6 December 2021

Merlin Sheldrake (mycologist & author) will be talking all things mushroom – sharing stories and findings from his recently published book Entangled Life to explain the fundamental role that fungi play in our lives as well as the lives of plants;

Prof. Suzanne Simard (forest ecologist & author of the recently published Finding the Mother Tree, whose academic research inspired James Cameron’s creation of the Tree of Souls in Avatar) will be sharing stories from her lifetime spent among trees as well as results of her revolutionary research that has upended what we know about forests and the underground networks of plants;

Nicolas Joly (wine grower from the Loire, world-famous biodynamics practitioner, founder of La Renaissance des Appellations & author) will be explaining how biodynamics can help build plant resilience in the face of climate change;

Julie McIntyre (medical herbalist & author) will be talking us through ‘phytoirrationalism’, or how to become sensitive to the communication of plants in much the same way as indigenous peoples do. The talk will include a practical session to help us experience a little of her world;

VinNatur (grower association) & their agronomic research partner Vitenova, will be sharing results and conclusions to their 10-year vineyard research project monitoring insect populations, flora, fauna & soil biodiversity, as well as practical examples of why organics simply isn’t enough;

Hiroki Fukuoka (farmer & grandson of the luminary Masanobu Fukuoka, author of the seminal The One-Straw Revolution) will be talking about their ground-breaking farm, sharing memories of his grandfather and expounding on the Fukuoka no-farming farming philosophy;

Claude & Lydia Bourguignon (soil microbiologists) will talk us though why soil life is critical to terroir, using their work in Chile as a case study.

…as well as Pedro Parra (terroir consultant) on why “rocks matter most”; Rosa Kruger (viticulturist & old vine conservationist) on what makes old vines just so special; and contributions from growers & makers, including Luca Hodgkinson of Wildmakers, Alessio Zenato of Hacienda San Juan, Jose Miguel Sotomayor of Wildmakers, Luiz Antonio de Gracia Allegretti of Clos Santa Ana, Craig Hawkins of Testalonga, Werner Michlits of Meinklang, Claus Preisinger & Martin Lichtenberger & Adriana González of Lichtenberger González.


5-6 December 2021

Book now (Use code ALIVE10 for a $10 US Discount)