By Shane Williams

Expectations are high among the 200 delegates attending Independent Brands Australia’s (IBA) annual conference in the Chilean capital of Santiago this week.

Coming together at the Grand Hyatt Santiago for a lavish reception hosted by Bacardi Lion sales director, Brad Knox, delegates said they looked forward to making new friends, learning about new ways to deal with everyday problems and investigating export opportunities for Chilean wine.

“We’re here to meet new people and see what’s happening in other states,” said Rick Barnes, who owns a Cellarbrations outlet in Cooktown and who is dealing with a new law that stops them from selling cask wine before 6:00pm to indigenous persons and has 5.5-metre crocodiles sleeping on his lawn.

“It’s all about networking. There are people here who have been coming on these IBA conferences for four years,” said IBA promotions manager – Queensland, Phil Halmarik.

“We came to learn more about their wine,” said Jean Cowley, who is from Barwon Heads IGA plus Liquor in Victoria. “Chile makes some great wines and we want to know more about them.”

“I came to bond with new people that have a common interest and have a great time,” said Charlie Dargaville of The Bottle-O in Nuhulumby, Northern Territory.

IBA Chile 2008 will see seven days of business sessions, workshops, lectures, wine tastings and elaborate lunches and dinners held at some of Santiago’s most breathtaking venues, with regular updates posted on TheShout through to May 19.  

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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