For years the BNIC has strictly regulated every aspect of cognac production but now the wind of change maybe starting to blow. Recently we have seen the production of cognac finished in sherry and bourbon casks. The appellation permits finishing as long as the cask previously contained wine or wine distillate … not sure how bourbon fits in to this? One producer discovered that cognac was once aged in a variety of woods including chestnut, acacia, mulberry and wild cherry. His experiments in wood finishing were successful and in keeping with the BNIC rules named his range ‘eau-de-vie de vin’. Another of the big houses is asking about the prospect of introducing new grape varieties to the Cognac region as they could be more resistant to disease in the face of global warming. Reacting to climate change surely is an area where change should be embraced? A spokesman said that BNIC members are very focussed on the role of innovation but without losing the tradition and high quality of cognac. To maintain the high quality any changes must be discussed at length. “Sometimes we feel like we are a bit in the past, but I guess that’s one of the strengths of the Cognac Appellation”. Long term management in the face of current changes is the challenge facing every organisation today but cognac must surely guard against joining the ‘innovation race’.