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A snapshot of wine business, research and marketing content gleaned from local and international wine media sources. Emailed Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. Click here to subscribe, for advertising inquiries, click to download our media kit.
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Announcements and Suppliers
23/11/2015: Are your wine additives the real thing?
Are you taking advantage of the inexpensive wine additives such as DAP or tartaric acid available this vintage? Not sure whether what you’re getting is the real deal? AWRI Commercial Services can give you confidence by testing wine additives for compliance with either the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) or the product’s Certificate of Analysis.
10/11/2015: 40 years of wine science education at CSU
Charles Sturt University (CSU) is celebrating 40 years of educating professionals for the wine industry with an event on Friday 27 November and Saturday 28 November. Since 1975 more than 1,000 students in the fields of viticulture, wine science and wine business have studied at CSU and its predecessor institutions, with these graduates now working in Australian and International wine industries.
9/11/2015: Wastewater treatment – dealing with vintage
Treatment of winery wastewater can be difficult over vintage due to seasonal flow and contaminant increases. This, coupled with perceived cost of treatment, can make choosing a system somewhat daunting. While there are several options for wastewater treatment, it is very site specific, and adjusting to vintage periods is often poorly understood.
Australian Wine Industry News
27/11/2015: Riverina wine board gives back
The Riverina Wine Grapes Marketing Board (WGMB) is handing back more than $450,000 to wine grape growers across the region after a bumper 2015 harvest saw the organisation in a surplus. Brian Simpson, Riverina WGMB chief executive officer, said under legislation growers are required to fund the activities of the board by paying a levy of $3.90 per tonne. “This will effectively reduce the levy back to $1.90 for the 2015 vintage,” he said.
27/11/2015: Carbon dioxide causes winegrapes to ripen earlier, decreases flavour compounds
A study into the impact of climate change on wine grape production has found increased levels of carbon dioxide cause wine grapes to ripen earlier. The wine industry is investigating how climate change will impact grape production by exposing vines in north-west Victoria to the temperature and carbon dioxide levels predicted by 2050.
27/11/2015: Treasury Wine confirms distribution shake-up
Treasury Wine Estates is midway through implementing a new distribution model under which customers will no longer be able to order wines directly from the company. Orders will now be fulfilled through wholesalers, which a company spokesperson told drinks bulletin is “part of a broader strategy to continually drive improvements in business performance”. We can confirm that this new model will not impact the level of service our sales team provide to our customers,” she said.
27/11/2015: Removing the blindfold
Riverland Wine has been invited by Wine Australia to participate in a project to improve the quality, the availability and timeliness of grape and wine industry information. As Riverland Wine members will attest, the mantra ‘know your numbers – know your risks’ has been chanted at industry meetings for years. To their credit, many have improved their knowledge and understanding of gross margins, input costs, overheads and returns.
27/11/2015: Philip Rich's top 20 wines of 2015
Australia's wine industry has some cause for celebration. After a tough decade for producers, exports rose in value in 2014/15 for the first time in eight years. Sales to the United States and Britain were up, due largely to the weaker Australian dollar. And while 95 per cent of wine exported to the US is priced below $A5 a litre, the strongest sales growth last year was to the UK, our largest market. Significantly, that was for wines priced above $10 a litre.
26/11/2015: Adam Cotterell awarded Len Evans Tutorial Dux of 2015
The Len Evans Tutorial Qantas Dux for 2015 is Adam Cotterell from Melbourne. Cotterell is the Retail Sales and Events Manager at City Wine Shop Melbourne which is obviously a training ground for the LET with a previous Dux and two scholars coming from City Wine Shop. As Dux of the 2015 course, Cotterell has now been guaranteed judging positions at two of Australia’s most premier wine shows, the Sydney Royal Wine Show and the National Wine Show in Canberra.
26/11/2015: SA grapegrowers to go into arbitration with unions over working conditions
The South Australian Wine Industry Association will follow through on a submission to the Fair Work Commission to change the modern award rate for casual employees working in the wine sector. The SA Wine Industry Association wants to halve the minimum engagement time casual employees are entitled to work, from four to two hours.
26/11/2015: Fiano best white for McLaren Vale?
Italian variety Fiano may be the “closest to being McLaren Vale’s white” one producer as postulated. Speaking to a group on a recent Wine Australia trip, Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga suggested that the future for the Italian variety in McLaren Vale was very strong indeed, along with other Mediterranean grapes such as Vermentino.
26/11/2015: Thomas Wines opens cellar door
Iconic Hunter Valley winemaker, Andrew Thomas of Thomas Wines, has opened a dedicated cellar door, just ahead of his 30th consecutive Hunter Valley vintage. Consumers can for the first time, taste and purchase the full range of Thomas Wines, including the popular Kiss Shiraz and Braemore Semillon, direct from the source at the cellar door, located within the Tuscany Wine Estate complex on the corner of Hermitage Road and Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin.
26/11/2015: Wine Tasmania releases 2016 wine trails guide
The 2016 edition of Tasmania's Wine Trails has been launched, providing a comprehensive guide to the island’s key cellar doors, vineyards and complementary experiences, with an expanded focus on Tasmania’s seafood offering. In launching the 2016 edition, Sheralee Davies, Wine Tasmania CEO, highlighted the continuing interest in the island’s wines, as well as the important relationship between Tasmania’s wine experience and complementary dining, food, accommodation and tourism offerings.
25/11/2015: Coping with drought forces farmers to bail out
El Nino as a hot dry phenomenon seems meaningless to Queensland farmers who have survived more than three years of drought. Now as Jenny Underwood hears warnings to 'be prepared for El Nino this summer', she feels her skin crawl. "There are areas of western and northern Queensland that have had very little rain for the past three to four years," Jenny Underwood said. "To suddenly be told, 'Be prepared it's going to get drier and hotter, we're going to call it El Nino.'
25/11/2015: A personal touch to wine microbiology
The Wine Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology Laboratory at The University of Adelaide has developed a customized solution offering fully automated sampling for yeast fermentations. Based on a Freedom EVO 200 platform, this system frees researchers from the need to manually aliquot samples day and night for up to three weeks.
25/11/2015: Between rock and a hard place
Whitey looks at the impact of energy exploration and other potential sources of contamination on the Limestone Coast's food and wine industry. For a moment Dirty Harry was in my bedroom. That edge of slumber thing where dreams dance in and out of wakefulness. There stood Clint, lightin’ up a Lucky and blowin’ the smoke off his .44. In his best ‘make my day’ voice, he half-whispered: “We believe that fracking can be safely carried out, provided there are strict environmental safeguards.” It was Premier Jay Weatherill coming out of the morning wireless.
25/11/2015: Dan Murphy’s blitzing the Aussie liquor market
According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, some 4.8 million Australian adults buy alcohol in an average seven days, spending almost $296 million between them (an average of $61 per person per week). Enjoying the largest slice of this rather substantial pie is liquor megastore Dan Murphy’s- leader not only in terms of market share, as it happens, but also in total customer numbers.
25/11/2015: SA's influential drink makers and shakers
THERE’S a lot to love about what’s poured in glasses across South Australia and the household names, rising stars and everyday people who have a positive influence on what and where we drink. Whether they’re creating, importing, championing or brewing the liquids we imbibe, these locals are at the top of their game. From fine wine to spirits, cordial to coffee and farmers tending their bovines, the movers and shakers combine passion, hard work and vision to make sure South Australians drink the good stuff now and in the future.
24/11/2015: Labour-hire middlemen make huge margins, Victorian inquiry told
CLAIMS that dodgy labour hire companies are making huge margins by supplying workers to farmers have been made on the opening day of a government inquiry. Mildura backpacker hostel owner John George told the Victorian Government inquiry into labour hire firms in Mildura today that some middlemen were making extraordinary profits. George, who runs two backpacker businesses in Mildura, told the hearings that he sourced work for backpackers staying with him in the local area. He said one such job was with a labour hire firm that needed workers for the Wentworth, NSW, vineyard of “one of the largest winemakers in Australia”.
24/11/2015: Macarthur viticulturist wins scholarship
HAVING only a one hectare (2.5 acres) vineyard has not stopped Michelle Badenhorst from dreaming big. Badenhorst, who has a background in marketing, hopes to grow the vineyard into an agritourism business that will not only produce wine but also beer and be a hospitality venue for weddings, picnics and other events.
24/11/2015: Winemaker Duval Moves Back to Basics
John Duval was head winemaker at Penfolds before going solo and making wines on three continents. I grew up Morphett Vale, south of Adelaide, where we had a world-famous Suffolk sheep stud. It was mixed farming, and we coincidentally grew grapes. My father and grandfather, and generations before that, were vignerons, and Penfolds liked our Shiraz so much they took cuttings to replant some of Dr Penfold's original vineyards at McGill.
24/11/2015: Laurance on 'Champion of Change' award
Dianne Laurance, the owner and founder of Laurance Wines has said being named the inaugural Champion of Change at the Australian Women in Wine Awards is about her staff as much as it is about her own passion for the wine industry. The Australian Women in Wine Awards recognise the successes of women in the male dominated wine industry and rather than attend, Laurance chose to watch the awards via live streaming with her staff at her cellar.
24/11/2015: Variety of Oz wine impresses Wine Australia scholarship winner
UK wine drinkers should explore a wider variety of Australian wines, the winner of the 2015 winner of the Daniel Pontifex Scholarship has said. Quinby Frey, events and tasting manager for Cambridge Wine Merchants, won the scholarship earlier this year. It has enabled her to spend a week visiting the vineyards of South Australia and to travel with nine industry guests of Wine Australia to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape Festival.
23/11/2015: Peter Barry, Corrina Wright, the Pizzini family, Mark Walpole, the Chalmers: Australia’s grape pioneers
More than 5000 varieties of grape vines are grown around the world. According to Jancis Robinson, co-author of the authoritative book Wine Grapes, 1368 of these are used in commercial wine production, from the household names of Chardonnay and Shiraz to the deliciously obscure Charbono and Scuppernong. It’s an incredibly diverse array of options for the winemaker – so many flavours and characteristics to choose from.
23/11/2015: Award-winning Tasmanian sparkling wine makes history
A Tasmanian sparkling wine has made history by being named Champion Wine at the National Wine Show of Australia. It is the first time a sparkling wine has won the overall champion title, taking out the Len Evans Memorial Trophy for Champion Wine of Show. The winning drop, a 2006 House of Arras Blanc de Blanc, is a 100 per cent Chardonnay wine.
23/11/2015: Data drought has wine grapegrowers 'flying blind' on water decisions
Wine grape growers say a lack of basic business data is putting them at a disadvantage in the highly competitive water market. Growers, real estate agents and irrigation trust representatives met in South Australia's Riverland region this week, to discuss issues surrounding water availability, pricing and property values.
23/11/2015: Halliday’s Top 100 wines: the future looks bright
One abiding problem of the Australian wine market is the dearth of 30- to 40-year-old wines on restaurant wine lists or in fine wine retailers. They come up in auctions but disappear into cellars, leaving no trace. It is easier to buy a French wine of this age for birthday celebrations, but you need to have very deep pockets wherever you look. The law of supply and demand can result in Australian wines being even more expensive than their French counterparts.
23/11/2015: 'Natural wine' celebration branches out
"WHO wants some of this?!" yells a guy wearing blue denim jeans and a ripped, red flannelette. He passes a long skinny bottle of white wine with a strange-looking label over a seething mass of partiers' heads. A hand reaches up from the mob, grasping desperately for the vessel. It finally finds its way into the clutching paw and disappears.
20/11/2015: New partnership will help wine exporters access finance
Australian wine producers will better understand how they can access the finance they need to maximise their export opportunities after Wine Australia signed a partnership agreement with Efic (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation), Australia’s export credit agency. Efic operates on a commercial basis and partners with banks to provide financial support to Australian small and medium enterprise (SME) exporters and those in an export supply chain.
20/11/2015: How Australia’s winemakers are pushing new frontiers in the industry
From grape varieties with strange names to low alcohol and preservative free wines, to labels inspired by CD covers, the highly competitive Australian wine industry is constantly innovating in a bid to capture the imaginations of consumers in a nation where New Zealand sauvignon blanc is among their favourite wines.
20/11/2015: Could Australia be to thank for making Chardonnay cool again?
The question of whether the golden era of chardonnay has returned was answered last week when an Adelaide Hills chardonnay was voted Australia and New Zealand’s “Wine of the Year” breaking a four-year tradition of red wines taking out the top spot. The “Nest Egg Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2012” from Bird In Hand winery in South Australia prevailed in the nation’s largest wine evaluation process after a judging of more than 11,000 wines in 13 categories over the past 11 months.
20/11/2015: CEO Michael Clarke ends Treasury Wines’ run of profit downgrades
Spend a cursory moment with Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Michael Clarke and you get the sense of a man in a hurry. He speaks quickly, delivering thoughts at a rapid clip and shoved through a meat grinder of eclectic accents, collected like passport stamps from his 30-year global corporate tour of starting, turning around and rescuing businesses.
20/11/2015: ASVO awards for excellence
The Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) announced the winner of its ‘awards for excellence’ on Thursday night, with an Adelaide Hills viticulturist and a Tasmania winemaker claiming the top gongs. Ben Blows is this year’s ‘viticulturist of the year’, for his work developing spray application solutions to combat Eutypa. Blows developed and trialled a practical and cost effective solution to targeting Eutypa fungicides with his own design of spray unit.
19/11/2015: $1B-plus non-tariff trade barriers must go: Winemakers
Non-tariff trade barriers cost Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies and businesses over $1 billion a year due to the complexity and inconsistencies of regulation, the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum has conservatively estimated. Tony Battaglene, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) strategy and international affairs general manager, said non-tariff barriers cost Australian wine exporters dearly and prevent others from looking at potential offshore markets as growth opportunities.
19/11/2015: Liquor law reform to open door for collaborations between producers
West Australian beer and wine producers will be able to set up cellar-door shops in places other than their own licensed premises, following an overhaul of Western Australia's liquor licensing laws. The liquor reforms coming into effect on Friday will allow off-site outlets to be established in collaboration with other beer or wine makers, in order to reduce operating costs.
19/11/2015: Producers exporting to China need to trademark
Intellectual property protection is essential for Australian producers looking to enter the Chinese market, according to the Export Council of Australia. Commercial and property lawyer Scott Bouvier works with the Export Council and producers around Australia on issues of trademark and brand protection. Bouvier, a partner at King and Wood Mallesons, said every producer who exports to China was at risk of having their brand copied.
19/11/2015: Wine show: Judge’s ‘gentle’ praise for Tassie wines
WALL to wall wines is just another day at the office for international wine judge Jane Skilton. The New Zealand judge will plough through 1660 wines over three days, 190 of them Tasmanian, at the 2015 Royal Hobart International Wine Show, which began at the Hobart Showgrounds on Monday. Because it is a blind tasting, she cannot comment on the standard of Tasmanian wines versus the rest of the world but she said the local wines she had tasted after work were impressive.
19/11/2015: Innovative wine company gets Banksia top gong
The Banksia Sustainability Awards took place at an all-day affair last week in Sydney. Building on last year’s initiative to communicate the collective wisdom generated through the program, the Banksia Foundation organised a range of presentations, including a four-minute rapid fire from each of the award finalists. The Gold Banksia was won by Kalleske Wines, a family-run business in South Australia’s Barossa Valley that has been farming and growing grapes since 1853.
18/11/2015: Climate change study points to lower yields and early ripening of grape crops
The impacts of climate change on agricultural communities, such as the Upper Hunter, have been highlighted in a new study examining pressures on the food supply chain. The research from the Climate Council of Australia indicates hotter weather is affecting the quality and availability of many foods, adding pressure to the export market.
18/11/2015: Winners of the inaugural Australian Women in Wine Awards announced
The four winners of the inaugural Australian Women in Wine Awards were announced last night via a web broadcast that was streamed to live events taking place all over Australia. Rose Kentish from Ulithorne Wines in McLaren Vale took out the winemaker of the year award at the event while Irina Santiago-Brown from McLaren Vale's Inkwell Wines was named as viticulturist of the year. Rebecca Duffy from Holm Oak Vineyard in Tasmania was awarded with owner/ operator of the year and Dianne Laurance from WA’s Laurance Wines was honoured with the workplace champion of change award.
18/11/2015: Asia-Pacific wine regulators meet to develop wine trade
More than 80 wine regulators and wine industry representatives from 17 Pacific Rim economies met in Adelaide, Australia, to work toward streamlining import-export requirements for wine. The two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Wine Regulatory Forum’s 2015 technical meeting focused on eliminating duplicative regulations to reduce the costs of cross-border wine trade, stimulate demand and increase wine exports to the region.
18/11/2015: Aust Vintage underlying profit to rise
Profits are on the rise at the wine maker behind the McGuigan and Tempus Two labels thanks to stronger sales both within Australia and overseas. Australian Vintage is forecasting net profit this financial year to come in about 10 per cent above the $7.1 million, before one off items, it made in 2013/14. The wine maker's chairman, Richard Davis, told shareholders that in the four months to October 2015, sales to both domestic and export markets were stronger.
18/11/2015: Tasmanian Rieslings to line up against Eden and Clare Valleys’ finest
The Wine & Viticulture Journal is inviting Tasmanian wineries making Riesling to enter its forthcoming tasting and pit their Rieslings against the top wines from the publication’s recent Clare and Eden Valley Riesling tasting. Producers have until close of business next Wednesday (25 November) to contact Wine & Viticulture Journal editor Sonya Logan expressing their interest in submitting a wine to the tasting ([email protected]), which was prompted by Tasmanian winemaker Paul Smart, aka Vineyard Paul, who threw down the gauntlet in a tweet.
17/11/2015: Wineglass ceiling: how women still struggle for share of the action
Back in 2012, former psychologist and public relations professional Jane Thomson founded the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society, dedicated to supporting and promoting the role of women in the Australian wine industry. A highlight among the society’s initiatives — which have included wine tours and tastings for women, and even an evening of matching wines and designer shoes — will be the inaugural Australian Women in Wine Awards next Tuesday evening.
17/11/2015: New independent Chair for WGGA
Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) has officially announced the appointment of Jo Andrew as Independent Chair of the organisation. The decision was made to appoint an independent Chair following the retirement of long-standing Chair and South Australian representative Vic Patrick. “We felt we needed someone with a fresh perspective and experience in leading an organisation through a period of significant challenge and change."
17/11/2015: Using Instagram to market your winery
Instagram, the social platform once reserved for bearded hipsters and wellness bloggers, has taken the online world by storm in recent years, racking up an impressive 300 million active users since its 2010 launch. A shift in trends has seen popular social media move into a more visual space, providing a huge growth potential for the mobile-only platform, which is made up entirely of images and short videos.
17/11/2015: Wine Australia sets record attendance at ProWine China
A large presence from Wine Australia has helped set a new record for the number of Australian wineries exhibiting at the third annual ProWine China event in Shanghai this week. The significant Australian attendance was anchored by a large stand co-ordinated by Wine Australia regional manager Willa Yang and her team based in China.
17/11/2015: Most Australians aren’t drinking wine at the right temperature
In a recent IPSOS study conducted by Taylors Wines, 8 out of 10 Australians are drinking their red wine ‘at room temperature’. While this may seem like normal behaviour, the warm Australian climate is actually having a negative impact on the flavour of Shiraz, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. The temperature of an average Aussie home, particularly in summer, ranges between 22°C-24°C, and according to industry experts, including the Court of Master Sommeliers, serving a red wine at this temperature robs it of its finesse and flavour.
16/11/2015: Wine exports up, including international door-to-door sales, as Australian dollar loses value
The value of the Australian dollar has been declining over the past 12 months, increasing opportunities in export markets. The Wine Australia export report for the 12 months to June showed exports rose overall in value and volume by five per cent. It is the first time export value has risen on a financial year basis since 2006-07.
16/11/2015: Australian growers worried by early onset of dry weather
Hot weather across Australia is causing anxiety to wine growers, due to the rising cost of irrigation and the increased risk of fire. This year has seen an early, hot spring across the country, and one of the strongest El Nino systems ever declared, according to the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). This weather system is one of the most important climate drivers in Australia and is typified by reduced rainfall, warmer temperatures, a shift in temperature extremes and increased risk of frost.
16/11/2015: Woolworths, Coles private label plonk angers wine industry
In a nondescript building in Sydney's trendy Surry Hills a team of market researchers and brand developers are designing dozens of bottles of wine. They've used focus groups to work out exactly why you like the wines you do – even if you don't have a clue. Sales data from hundreds of stores tells them which flavours are catching attention and which labels are most likely to lead to a sale. It might be the wine you like has a little extra residual sugar, maybe a bit more tannin, or a little less oak.
16/11/2015: A truly captive audience on Sydney Harbour island for winemakers
It provides the ultimate in a captive audience. A group of 37 small-to-medium winemakers are taking matters into their own hands on a small island in Sydney Harbour just a five-minute kayak ride across the pristine waters from one of Sydney's most prestigious residential enclaves, Darling Point. Clark Island, which takes less than 10 minutes to walk around and is largely natural bushland, provides the backdrop for a push by a group of wine companies to expand the reach of their brands to a different clientele. For many of them the ability to bypass the powerful liquor chains run by Woolworths and Coles is a godsend.
16/11/2015: Old vines for premium wines, says Wine Australia
Home to some of the oldest vines in the world, Australia needs to keep telling the fascinating stories of its proud heritage, according to a panel of experts at Wine Australia’s Old Vines seminar in London recently. Hosted by wine journalist Sarah Ahmed and featuring Wynns Head Winemaker Sue Hodder, journalist Jamie Goode and Hewitson Winemaker Dean Hewitson, the seminar explored Australia’s old vines through 15 premium wines.
13/11/2015: Winemaking Tasmania planning a series of new vineyards
Tasmania's biggest contract winemaker Winemaking Tasmania is planning a significant vineyard development to shore up supply and enhance Tasmania's wine brand. Winemaking Tasmania's chief winemaker Julian Alcorso said a 30 hectare vineyard was in the planning stage and it was expected to be the first a series of developments. He said one of the biggest issues being faced was sourcing enough grapes for clients who either did not grow their own grapes or who needed to supplement their supply.
13/11/2015: TWE sales in Asia jump again as CEO polishes local gems
Treasury Wine Estates' chief executive Mike Clarke says sales in Asia have accelerated even faster over the past few weeks as flagship brand Penfolds and Wolf Blass deliver strong gains. He now wants to replicate their reinvigoration by revving up a cluster of 13 smaller brands he calls "gems". Clarke has set up a new internal structure whereby 13 regional brands, including Saltram, Leo Buring, Seppelt, Coldstream Hills and Devil's Lair, will be managed under one roof by a specialist team rather than in "silos".
13/11/2015: Changes to wine scheme slammed
Plans to convert investor’s wine scheme units into listed shares have been abandoned after strong opposition from the scheme’s investors around the country. The manager of the wine scheme Cabonne is currently involved with the Central Highlands Wine Grape projects and has held six investors meetings’ around Australia to explain the deal, but received a frosty reception from investors in most capital cities.
13/11/2015: Trans-Pacific trade deal another step closer
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has welcomed release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty information. Tony Battaglene, WFA international affairs general manager, said the TPP promises to level the playing field for Australian wine exports into the 12 signatory economies which last year accounted for 45 per cent of Australia’s total wine exports – or around $837 million out of the total $1.9 billion in total wine exported in 2014.
13/11/2015: Intoxication: the business of wine and weed
As Australia edges toward relaxing its laws around medicinal marijuana, Philip White finds some links between wine and cannabis. On October 2, 1729, Benjamin Franklin and a mate bought The Pennsylvania Gazette and set about building it into the equivalent of the New York Times of its day. Their first issue devoted most of its front page to the promotion of hemp, “by naturalists call’d Cannabis… ”
12/11/2015: Treasury Wine names Noel Meehan as new CFO
Treasury Wine Estates has appointed former Orica finance chief Noel Meehan as its chief financial officer. Meehan will take up the position on January 1, replacing outgoing chief financial officer Tony Reeves. The position involves leading TWE’s global finance and information technology functions as the company next year integrates its acquisition of Diageo’s US and UK wine businesses, Treasury Wine (TWE) said.
12/11/2015: Myth busted – how China trade deal will really affect Australian agriculture
Agriculture has been touted as a big winner in the China Australia Free Trade Agreement but a closer look at the deal shows it is unlikely to have much influence on the national economy. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia's head of industrials, food, beverage and agriculture, Peter McGregor, said there was plenty of reasons to get excited about the prospects for dairy, beef and wine industries. The tariffs for these products will be slashed from 20 to 25 per cent to zero in coming years. But Agriculture makes up about 8 per cent of Australia's total exports to China, he said. Of that 8 per cent, about 20 per cent is dairy, beef and wine.
12/11/2015: Winemakers show off labels inspired by chickens, vegetarianism
TWO WINE MAKERS from the same region in Australia swung into town early in November, both showing off a fondness for agriculture, and first-generation know-how. The pair showed off their wares at a lunch in Makati’s Wine Depot with seven wines from Adam Mark’s Bress winery, and Mark Matthew’s Mount Macleod and Caledonia Australis Wines, all made in the region of Victoria.
12/11/2015: Seppetlsfield launches new wine experiences on royal visit
Seppeltsfield unveiled a new suite of tourism experiences within its renowned 1878 Centennial Cellar, following a Royal visit Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The Royals visited Seppeltsfield as part of a single day visit to the Barossa and Adelaide, stopping at the 164 year old winery for a taste of South Australian regional wine, food and art culture. Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed to the Barossa as the first official destination of their Australian visit.
12/11/2015: WINE101x: Innovative online course wins two national awards
A groundbreaking course offered by the University of Adelaide has recently taken out the Government, Education and Non-profit category of the 2015 South Australian Interactive Media Excellence awards as well as the Best Wine Educator award from Wine Communicators of Australia. The massive online open course (MOOC) called World of Wine: From Grape to Glass was developed by Kerry Wilkinson, Paul Grbin, Cassandra Collins and David Jeffery.
11/11/2015: Wine Communicator Award winners named
Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA) announced the nine winners of its Wine Communicator Awards at an event held last night. Richard Smart, long-time contributor to the Wine & Viticulture Journal and The Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine, took out the award for best trade or technical wine writer while Tyson Stelzer was awarded both the wine communicator of the year and digital communicator of the year awards.
11/11/2015: Macedon Ranges wineries escape unscathed after Lancefield bushfires
WINERIES in the Macedon Ranges have escaped unscathed from the bushfire that tore through their region last month. The blaze came close to the edge of some vineyards, but there was no damage or smoke taint in grapes, giving Macedon’s biggest wine festival the go ahead. Llew Knight from Granite Hills Winery at Baynton said the Lancefield fire was near his vineyard but his grapes were not affected.
11/11/2015: Australian Prosecco selling like hotcakes
A “Prosecco” from Western Australia that aims to go head-to-head with the Italian sparkler has just been released and is already selling well, its maker has reported. een to capitalise on the runaway success of Italian sparkler Prosecco, sales of which are booming all over the world, WA winemaker Larry Cherubino has launched his own Australian “Prosecco”.
11/11/2015: 2015 AAVWS award results
The Grapegrower & Winemaker were media sponsors of this year’s Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS). This year’s winners have been announced after a series of events held in Mildura over the weekend. Aiming to provide an alternative to the mainstream wine shows, the AAVWS stands as a dedicated forum for emerging wine varieties and attracts more than 700 entries from across Australia and New Zealand. More than 500 medals were handed out through the event, with 82 Golds, 146 Silver and 298 Bronze.
11/11/2015: WFA announces new leadership team
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia held its 26th annual general meeting this week and appointed its Board for the 2015-16 year. Tony D’Aloisio AM continues as President of the Federation and says the organisation has been relentless in its work with government this year to help market Australian wine to the world. “We can grow market share and reform the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate so it can continue to support our wine communities,” Mr D’Aloisio said.
11/11/2015: Joanna Andrew appointed as WGGA chair
Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) announced Joanna Andrew as its new chair at an AGM held yesterday. Taking over from Vic Patrick, who served in the position for the past five years, Andrews is set to commence the role this month when Patrick retires. Brian Walsh, Chair of Wine Australia, congratulated Vic Patrick on his outstanding contribution to the Australian grape and wine community over the years.
10/11/2015: Australian Pinot Noir stands among best in world at SIPNOT
The sixteenth annual Stonier International Pinot Noir Tasting (SIPNOT) has highlighted the impressive standard of Australian Pinot Noirs which shone alongside some of the world’s finest contemporaries from Burgundy, Oregon, Sonoma and Central Otago. Held in October at ZINC Federation Square, SIPNOT showed local Pinots from Mount Mary, Shadowfax, Stonier and Home Hill alongside benchmark international examples.
10/11/2015: The X-factor
Xanthe Hatcher believes winemaking is an industry that exudes love and passion. The Hunter Valley winemaker has put her heart and soul into a career that is well and truly taking off. At just 32-years-old, Hatcher has established herself as a rising star in the wine world. As well as gaining national accolades with her nomination for the Wine Society young winemaker of the year, Hatcher has been offered the opportunity to sit as a judge at the Hunter Valley Wine Show this year.
10/11/2015: Aussie wines travel Europe
Autumn has arrived in Europe and Aussie wines started its promotion in UK and rest of the Europe. First was the inaugural Premium Australia Tasting in London and then team Wine Australia went on tour with its annual Nordic Roadshow. Wine Australia said that they saw a strong presence of winemakers and principals travelling to each of these events. The Premium Australia Tasting, held at Australia House in London, saw more than 30 winemakers and principals pouring wines and sharing their stories with the UK trade.
10/11/2015: Australia gives nod to China trade deal
THE Australian Senate yesterday passed two pieces of legislation relating to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), clearing the final hurdle to the deal’s enactment. Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said Australian businesses are “another step closer” to realizing the opportunities created by the agreement.
10/11/2015: Graduates ready to influence the future
Sixteen potential game-changers in the Australian grape and wine community have graduated from Future Leaders 2015 following a successful six-month program. More than 90 alumni have now completed the leadership program over the past decade, including winemakers, grapegrowers and viticulturists, business managers and marketers, suppliers and researchers.
9/11/2015: District in shock over death of Tony Mangan in light plane crash
The Sunraysia business community is in a state of shock following the tragic death of Tony Mangan in his twin engine Cessna which came down in a vineyard property near the intersection of Dyar Avenue and 17th Street. The late Mr Mangan openly described himself as a “fat boy from the bush”. His newest company website described him as ‘adventurous, loyal and bold.”
9/11/2015: NZ, Tasmania to share ag knowledge
KNOWLEDGE sharing in the agriculture industry will be the key topic for a delegation to New Zealand next week. Headed by the Tasmanian agriculture industry and Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff, the visit is aimed at both learning and sharing information on agriculture. He said Tasmania’s dairy and wine industries would benefit greatly from the mission to New Zealand as well as enabling the group to learn about New Zealand’s biosecurity.
9/11/2015: Victorian women offered a break into the wine industry via the Australian Women in Wine Awards
The inaugural Australian Women in Wine Awards results will be streamed live around Australia on Tuesday 17th November at 7:30pm AEDST to various satellite events all over the country. Organisers of the Melbourne celebration have decided to use the awards to create a scholarship to support a woman who wants to develop her career in the wine industry through further study. Organisers Sarah Andrew & Jenny Polack, both WSET Educators, have organised a raffle for the evening with various donated prizes from wineries, distributors and other businesses in the industry.
9/11/2015: Treasury targets young men with criminal wine brand
Treasury Wine Estates is hoping to tap into the male millennial market via two new wine brands including one that focuses on the shipping of British convicts to Australia. Both the 19 Crimes range and the Gentleman’s Collection are being targeted at millennial men aged 18-34, only 34% of which currently drink wine once a month or more on average according to recent research from Kantar. TWE believes there is huge room for growth in this currently untapped market and has created two wine ranges that seek to appeal to their rebellious spirits.
9/11/2015: Yarra Valley: dividing the room
With a clear division between traditional, established styles and boundary-pushing examples, it’s an exciting time to be making wine in the Yarra Valley. And drinkers are reaping the rewards. Steve Webber’s mind had been rolling a lot of things around. Sometimes nothing seemed too crazy not to be considered in his new school of Yarra Valley winemaking. The ferment had been bubbling, taking hold, since arriving in the Valley in May, 1989, with his wife Leanne De Bortoli to take control of the De Bortoli family’s newest winery outpost.
International Wine Industry News
27/11/2015: Vineyard owner sued by Vegas execs
A South Island vineyard owner, patron of the arts, and former casino boss is being sued for $3.5 million by two wealthy Las Vegas executives. Glenn Schaeffer owns Nelson's Mahana Estates and earlier this month hosted Prince Charles and his wife Camilla at the winery. The day before the royal visit, Schaeffer failed to dismiss a lawsuit brought against him in the Nelson High Court by James Murren and Daniel Lee.
27/11/2015: New Zealand strengthens hold on premium price points in the UK
New Zealand wines continue to dominate sales at premium price points in the UK market, according to data from Nielsen. Volume and value are both up 10 per cent overall year on year, against a UK market that has contracted by two per cent. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is the UK’s leading grape variety with an 11 per cent share. The varietal will be showcased at New Zealand’s annual trade tasting in January.
27/11/2015: Terlato Wine merging spirits division with South African company
Terlato Wine Group is merging its artisan spirits division with the U.S. division of South Africa's Distell Group, forming a new joint venture based and operated out of Lake Bluff. Terlato Wine Chief Executive Bill Terlato will be CEO of the equally owned joint venture, which will be operated as a separate division of Terlato Wines called Artisan Spirits. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2016. Both companies are contributing an equal amount of capital to form the business, Terlato said.
27/11/2015: San Joaquin Valley grapegrowers feel the pain, change
Wine grape growers in California's San Joaquin Valley are learning a tough economics lesson the hard way, causing them to pull out vines, turn to other crops, sell out, or retire. They are learning that the wines their grapes have produced for years are now in low demand, and the price wineries pay, if they buy their grapes at all, doesn’t cover their cost of production.
27/11/2015: India: Support promised for grapegrowers
Efforts will be made to support grape growers in the district, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari said in Bidar on Tuesday. After a meeting with the officials of the Karnataka State Wine Board, Horticulture and Agriculture Departments, he said the government would provide technical know-how and logistical support to grape growers in collaboration with the Board. Currently, a small area in Basava Kalyan and Humnabad is under grape cultivation.
27/11/2015: Rosemount Launches crowdsourced wine blend
Rosemount launched a new white wine blend, available exclusively at Morrisons stores across the United Kingdom. This unique Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino and Moscato blend was created through a nationwide competition that saw ten lucky foodies treated to a gourmet weekend away, culminating with the all-important blending competition. Winners were invited to attend an exclusive weekend in the Wiltshire countryside that included foraging adventures through the surrounding wilderness.
26/11/2015: Villa Maria named NZ Winery of the Year
For the 14th time in 18 years, Villa Maria has been named New Zealand Winery of the Year by leading Australian wine magazine Winestate at an exclusive awards ceremony held in Remuera, Auckland. The winery’s Group Chief Winemaker Nick Picone also received the sought after ‘NZ Winemaker of the Year’ title - an award he has achieved at other shows twice already in his career. It’s no wonder UK publication Drinks Business included Nick in their ’30 winemakers under 40 to watch’ roundup in 2014.
26/11/2015: Oyster Bay launches Pinot Gris
Oyster Bay is adding to its range of wines in Australia with the launch of a Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris. The new wine will add to the current Oyster Bay range which includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sparkling Cuvée Brut and Sparkling Cuvée Rosé. The company said that the Pinot Gris “represents a significant opportunity”, with the Pinot Gris category “currently in strong growth and being driven by the premium segment.
26/11/2015: Solar powers heart of winery
The carbon footprint of your next glass of wine could soon be trimmed after a major South African wine manufacturer unveiled a project to reduce its annual carbon emissions by 1200 tons of carbon dioxide. A solar project announced yesterday by Douglas Green Bellingham is set to cut the company's annual carbon emissions by the same amount as driving a small car from Johannesburg to Cape Town 5550 times.
26/11/2015: Eagle vineyard helps make Idaho wine-industry history
Martha Cunningham helped establish her vineyard more than a decade ago, but the Eagle Foothills remains the frontier of the Idaho wine industry. Wednesday morning, however, it began to make headlines throughout U.S. wine industry. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) established the Eagle Foothills American Viticultural Area — the first AVA entirely within Idaho’s borders.
26/11/2015: Swartland faces challenging 2016 harvest
Continuing dry weather in South Africa’s Swartland will make for a “challenging” 2016 harvest according to the CEO of one of the region’s biggest producers, who has confirmed that volumes will be reduced. Speaking to the drinks business at the World Bulk Wine Exhibition in Amsterdam this week, Zakkie Bester, CEO and cellarmaster at Riebeek Cellars, said the very dry weather in the region was “not normal” and that production volumes would be affected. “It’s going to be challenging for the Swartland because of the very dry weather we had which was not normal."
26/11/2015: Changing attitudes fuelling frothy growth for sparkling wines
The holiday season is fast approaching and once again the annual ritual of focusing on sparkling wine has begun. While all producers of sparkling wine have done a terrific job making what was once almost exclusively a wine of celebration more commonplace, the truth of the matter remains that sales soar over the holidays, and sadly, people still refer to more or less all sparkling wines as Champagne. I hope the irony is not lost on them as they increasingly look outside of Champagne to satisfy their bubbly desires.
25/11/2015: Hawke's Bay wine region deserves greatness
What doesn't the Hawke's Bay wine region have going for it? Any asylum-seeking grape variety you care to name can settle there and thrive. The region's top wine people are a bunch of good bastards, always an important factor. It has history – Mission Estate is the country's oldest winery – and it has cult wines (eg Te Mata Coleraine, Esk Valley, The Terraces, and Bilancia's La Collina). Its home base is wealthy and supportive, and only getting more so (just look at the current wave of cashed-up baby boomers moving to the Bay).
25/11/2015: Mud House aiming high in the UK
Mud House wants to be the UK’s biggest New Zealand wine brand, taking on the likes of Brancott Estate, Oyster Bay and Villa Maria, according to its head winemaker Ben Glover. During a discussion with the drinks business last month, Glover, who heads up winemaking for Mud House, said that the brand has expanded significantly since it was bought by Accolade Wines in November 2013, and that the long-term aim was to be Britain’s biggest from New Zealand.
25/11/2015: How China conquered France’s wine country
French connoisseurs sold the Chinese pomp and prestige, until they started manufacturing it themselves. In 1996, Chinese premier Li Peng surprised his audience at the National People’s Congress by toasting the Ninth Five-Year Plan with red wine: “Drinking fruit wines is helpful to our health, does not waste grain, and is good for social ethics,” he announced. For China’s rapidly growing underclass, this gesture signalled a commitment to rein in the fraud and waste epitomized by party banquets
25/11/2015: Wine branding: Why it’s important for the industry’s growth
I have been in the wine industry for 13 years, which is not a lot of time, relatively speaking, but enough to notice the lack of marketing and branding in this sector. Coming from multinational marketing and communications departments where I worked on developing fast-moving consumer goods brands that most of us consume every day, I find it in bizarre contrast that in the wine industry, the main business focus is not on building brands, but building walls.
25/11/2015: Smaller wineries need direct-to-consumer sales
Why direct-to-consumer sales are so important to wineries if many of the smaller, family-owned wineries are to survive: They need to sell a large percentage of their wine directly to the consumer either at the winery or through wine clubs. There is no other way. Over the last 25-30 years there has been a great consolidation of wine distributors coinciding with a tremendous expansion in the number of wineries. In fact there are only two remaining giant, national distributors and a small number of regional ones.
25/11/2015: Wine Vision 2015 to challenge 'old thinking'
Wine Vision 2015 will challenge ‘old thinking’ with its focus on innovation, new routes to market and sustainability with commercial rewards, organisers said. The third Wine Vision, held in Bilbao from December 9, hopes to challenge traditional thinking in the wine industry by showcasing high-growth new market entrants and by exploring innovative approaches to producing wine, selling it, creating powerful brands and extending consumer markets.
25/11/2015: ProWine ASIA 2016 attracts strong international participation
SINGAPORE - The inaugural ProWine ASIA 2016 has attracted strong international participation from worldwide renowned wine and spirits producers, distributors and industry stakeholders who will converge at the Singapore Expo from 12 to 15 April 2016. The most relevant trade fair of its kind in Southeast Asia, the event will be held alongside the 20th installment of FHA2016 for the first time.
24/11/2015: Marlborough vineyard to reconsider frost protection
Viticulturists and grapegrowers are counting their losses after a frosty end to spring caused damage to vines throughout Marlborough. A succession of frosts in the region this month saw about 40 helicopters dispatched over the Wairau Valley. Cloudy Bay viticulturist Jim White said there was damage in some of their vineyards which were not typically affected by frost, such as vineyards near Renwick. "It's got us rethinking our frost protection plans," he said. "We're starting to consider the value of wind machines in places we wouldn't normally use them.
24/11/2015: Delegat enters China with Shanghai office
New Zealand wine company Delegat has entered the Chinese market through a newly-opened office in Shanghai. The company behind the Oyster Bay and Barossa Valley Estate brands has established Delegat (Shanghai) Trading Co. Madeleine Ho, national sales manager, said: "We believe in order to realise the great long-term potential of the market, we need to build enduring relationships."
24/11/2015: Wine in a can for men is the latest unnecessarily gendered item
Have you ever wanted a glass of wine, but feared it might be too ladylike? Well now the solution that no one needed is here. Mancan Wine is made in California and comes in three varieties - red, white, and sparkling. Its slogan is "Shut up and drink", which doesn't strike us as the healthiest attitude to alcohol but then, as women, we're not their target market.
24/11/2015: Bulk Prosecco prices to double by Christmas
Bulk Prosecco prices could double by the end of the year as producers compete to supply a growing demand for the Italian fizz. Bulk Prosecco prices are on course to hit €2.50 per litre by Christmas, a rise of more than 100% on the start of 2015, when prices hovered around €1.20 per litre, according to Paolo Lasagni, managing director of Bosco Viticultori, a major supplier of private-label Prosecco.
24/11/2015: Why does bad soil make for great wine?
It’s very romantic—the idea of a struggling, scrappy grapevine triumphing over agricultural adversity to make an amazing wine (roll credits). But why does it work that way? Why do we need slate and sand and clay and rocky, precipitous hillsides to produce wines of character? Can’t a grape vine just kick back in some decent soil and grow well-rested, plump little berries? Sure it can. But not if you want good wine.
24/11/2015: Climate change sends Chile's wine industry southward
Well into their drive to make Chile's wines less about bang-for-your-buck and more about premium vino, vintners in the world's fourth largest wine exporter are watching some of their promising vines wither with climate change. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes mountain range on the east, Chile's vineyards have thrived in a Mediterranean-type climate, where hot days meet cool nights and soothing breezes.
23/11/2015: MediaWorks staff urged to boycott CEO Mark Weldon's Central Otago wine
Staff at MediaWorks have been urged to boycott the wine business of chief executive Mark Weldon, according to a leaked malicious email. An email sent to MediaWorks' and TVNZ staff, and forwarded to other companies urged people to contact Weldon and "say no" to his award-winning wine. Sources confirmed the email was widely circulated on Friday afternoon. The email said: "Do not support Mark Weldon because he doesn't support journalism."
23/11/2015: Sound science point of difference for Waipara winemakers
More than two decades of soil science work in the Waipara area has been brought together in a document launched at a Vineyard Soils Day at Black Estate Vineyard this week. The document was received with enthusiasm as an invaluable resource by local winegrowers, who acknowledged the potential for far greater collaboration in research initiatives between wine growers and Lincoln University.
23/11/2015: Chinese wine market becoming ‘normal’
Three years after its crackdown on corruption, China is beginning to behave like any other major wine market – a change that many believe is for the better. Speaking at ProWine Shanghai last week, Richard Halstead, CEO at Wine Intelligence, said that China was morphing into a more “normal” drinks market, without the distorting influence of state-funded banqueting or the “gifting” of fine wine.
23/11/2015: The importance of dormant pruning
Dormant pruning is important for ensuring balanced crop load in the Lake Erie Grape Belt. Terry Bates, director of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, says healthy Concord vines at standard spacing (9 feet between rows and 8 feet between vines) will grow 500 to 600 cold-hardy fruiting buds. “If left alone (unpruned), the 500 fruiting buds would produce far too much crop that could get ripe by the roots and shoots working in the 72 square feet,” Bates says.
23/11/2015: How genetics are changing grapevines
Sometimes it seems as if a new pest or disease threatens California grapevines every week, but many tools are available to fight them. Three experts discussed some of the most promising approaches for fighting vineyard pests at the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Rootstock conference held Nov. 12 The title of the panel discussion was “The Future of Genomics and Genetic Tools for Grapevines.”
23/11/2015: Burgundy winemakers report great wines, but low quantities
Across the Northern Hemisphere, winemakers in many regions have finished one of the earlier grape harvests they've seen. They scrambled to pick fruit and find tank space, but now they are enjoying tasting the results and getting an idea of what nature provided. Wine Spectator will be providing snapshot looks at harvest in major wine regions, providing an early preview of what wine drinkers can expect.
20/11/2015: Vineyard flying squad of NZ falcons celebrates first year
Two fierce predators on the loose in south Wairarapa have endeared themselves so much to wine producers that they're introducing three more. The New Zealand bush falcons, or karearea, will be brought to Martinborough in December, after a successful trial last year designed to reduce the damage done by starlings and other pest birds to the region's grapes. About 80 per cent of falcon hatchlings are killed in their first year by introduced predators, illegal hunting, cold winters or flying into powerlines or fences.
20/11/2015: Waiheke Island Winemaker wins again
Patrick Newton of Mudbrick Winery has been named New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year Competition for the second year in a row at a recent event in Canterbury. Thirty-three year old Newton won the first ever Young Winemaker of the Year in 2014 and this year took out the top spot again with a 2014 Chardonnay, a 2014 Syrah and a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. He said winning for the second time was “quite humbling.”
20/11/2015: Director of fake wine investment firm banned
The head of a wine investment firm that conned people out of at least £382,000 has been disqualified as a director for 11 years by the UK's Insolvency Service. Jonothan Piper, director of fake wine investment firm Embassy Wine UK Ltd, was banned for ‘causing or failing to prevent the company from selling wine to customers which it failed to provide, purchasing wine from customers which it failed to pay them for, and charging fees to customers for which no service was provided’.
20/11/2015: China wine imports rebound in 2015, shows data
Fresh figures show that China’s wine import market has rebounded strongly in volume and value in the first nine months of 2015, driven by French and Australian wines. Bottled wine imports rose by 38.7% in volume to 297.7m litres and by 34.7% in value to $1.4bn, shows newly released Chinese customs data. Figures are for the nine months to the end of September, versus the same period of last year.
20/11/2015: Analysing Diageo's operations, and looking ahead
Diageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverage company, has been making a number of changes to its portfolio in recent months including the sale of most of its wine business. This has been mainly done to focus more on its beer and spirits business, including brands such as Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Smirnoff, and Guinness.
20/11/2015: USDA may help replant burned vineyards
San Rafael, Calif.—As many as a dozen vineyards were scorched or destroyed by wildfires in California’s Lake County and Sierra Foothills in summer 2015. Some owners have already applied for federal assistance under the USDA’s Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and others may still be eligible, though they must act promptly to receive funding.
19/11/2015: Vineyards warned to prepare for El Nino
Marlborough wine growers have been warned to prepare, manage and conserve ahead of this summer's El Nino weather conditions that were last seen almost 20 years ago. More than 100 winegrowers packed into a lecture theatre at the Marlborough Research Centre, in Blenheim, on Tuesday to hear what could be expected from this year's El Nino. The capacity turnout showed how seriously wine growers viewed the next five to six months.
19/11/2015: Wine Friend: The drinking buddy that delivers
Yvonne Lorkin's kitchen bench is awash with pinot gris. Nine bottles, she counts. "But I'm standing over the sink," says the Hastings-based wine expert. "I'm spitting it all out!" There are more than 700 wineries in New Zealand. Every week, between 12 and 36 new releases hit the market. How does the consumer know what's good – and what's not? You could read the reviews. Look at the price, the number of gold sticky stars on the label and consider the winemaker's reputation. But none of those things, says Lorkin, will account for your individual taste buds.
19/11/2015: Prosecco heads hit out at imitators
The president and director of the Prosecco DOC Consortium have hit out at a growing number of imitation Proseccos flooding the market, calling them “imposters”. Speaking to the drinks business, Stefano Zanette president of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, said: “Many imitators are jumping on the Prosecco bandwagon. Imposters marketing themselves as Prosecco are being produced all around the world, from Australia to Brazil. “We would like to set the record straight: like Champagne, Prosecco is a wine of place with protected production zones in the Veneto and Friuli.
19/11/2015: Bayer will pay fines for fungicide damage to wine crops
Bayer CropScience, the manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to severe decline in pollinator populations, is expected to pay fines to multiple countries in Europe for wine grape damages associated with another of its pesticides. Citing “atypical symptoms” resulting from the use of a relatively new fungicide, Bayer initially sent out a warning to wine growers to cease use of their product. Now, Bayer is collecting data and assessing how much it will offer to wine growers for the damages its product has caused.
19/11/2015: China’s star winemaker mixes French training, native ambition
On a fall evening in a fluorescent-lit classroom at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a dozen students listened intently. The speaker, Emma Gao, held a glass to the light and asked them to study the swirling liquid inside. Tsinghua is known as the “MIT of China,” but this was no freshman seminar in fluid mechanics. It was a gathering of the student wine club.
19/11/2015: California rule changes affect vineyard workers
Vineyard owners and management companies often face new regulations and laws for their workers, but an unusual number will encounter them in the next few years. “There have been more changes to the rules and regulations in the past six months than I’ve seen in the past 10 years,” José Chang, deputy agricultural commissioner for Napa County, stated during a talk he gave at the Rootstock meeting last week. And, he warned, “More are coming.”
18/11/2015: Wine Industry Sales Education academy set to launch in Central Otago
Kiwi cellar door staff need to be more forward and less reliant on the "pour and hope" model when selling wine, a leading Central Otago businessman says. Bruce McGechan, who has a background in wine and tourism, says cellar doors are not as profitable as many people think and more needs to be done to make the visitor experience top quality. As a result, McGechan has teamed up with Lesley Berglund, a leading direct-to-consumer expert in the US wine industry, to offer wine sales training courses.
18/11/2015: New winery takes shape
One of Hawkes Bay's largest construction projects is nearing completion. NZ Strong is building a new winery for Delegat's on a greenfields site near Hastings, in a contract worth about $40 million. The construction includes tank cellar, barrel cellar, plant room, process room, press gallery, cellar door, offices, laboratory and amenities. NZ Strong managing director Chris Hunter said the work was to be completed ready for early next year.
18/11/2015: Appreciating endangered ancient vines during National Zinfandel week
Who thinks of these days anyway? International Tempranillo Day was just last week (November 12), right on the heels of International Merlot Day. We’re drinking as fast as we can, folks! Of course, it is Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (a.k.a. ZAP) thas has been behind the annual observation of National Zinfandel Day. No organization has done more to expand appreciation of Zinfandel than ZAP.
18/11/2015: Grape seed colour not helpful in assessing wine tannins
ROSSER, Wash. – For decades, if not centuries, the changing color of a grape’s seed has played a role in determining when winemakers harvest grapes. After some complex experiments, though, researchers at Washington State University have determined that seed colors don’t have the long-held impact, contrary to wine mythology. “Grape growers and winemakers have looked at the coloration of grape seeds, believing it can tell the amount of tannins the grape will impart into wine,” said Jim Harbertson, a professor in WSU’s viticulture and enology program.
18/11/2015: East meets wild west
China remains the main frontier in the wine industry’s quest to build new markets and attract another generation of consumers. Like frontiers throughout history, it is not for the faint of heart. Just getting around Shanghai at rush hour is a challenge which at times seems worthy of the early settlers crossing the American West, as we found out last week when we visited ProWine Shanghai to deliver a seminar on our latest thinking on the Chinese wine market.
18/11/2015: Majestic Wine cuts new store plan as profits sink
Majestic has said it will cut its store expansion plans after net profits slid by more than two-thirds in the first six months of its financial year. Majestic Wine, which bought Naked Wines for £70m in April and installed its founder, Rowan Gormley, as its new CEO, said it will now aim to increase its store base to 230 from its current total of 211 – some 100 stores shy of its previous 330-outlet target. Pre-tax profits at the wine retailer fell by 50% in the first half of its financial year, versus the same period of last year, to £4.3m.
17/11/2015: Wine scholarship about growing relationships
A wine professional from the United Kingdom has arrived in Marlborough on a scholarship that aims to bring the two countries' wine industries closer. Emma Clark, who has 12 years' experience working in the UK wine trade, found out she was the recipient of the Wine Marlborough-John Avery-NZ-UK Link Foundation Fellowship last year. Since then she has been counting down the months until arriving in Marlborough. "It's my first time in New Zealand," she says.
17/11/2015: Winegrowers prepare for ground frost
Winegrowers are on high alert after a forecast drop in the mercury threatened vineyards with frost throughout Napier and Hastings this morning. Frost was expected to ice the region as overnight temperatures as low as 2C were forecast. Metservice meteorologist Claire Flynn said: "There is a ridge over us at the moment which means there isn't much wind at night." The lack of wind meant heat would radiate away from the ground rather than mixing with warmer surface air.
17/11/2015: Bittersweet wine auction breaks record as money pledged to Paris victims
Glowing reviews of the Burgundy 2015 vintage helped the annual Hospices de Beaune auction achieve a record €11.35m over the weekend, but the atmosphere was marked by sadness following the Paris terror attacks and both organisers and individuals pledged money to help victims. The Hospices de Beaune 2015 auction on Sunday achieved sales of €11,347,609 (A$17.16m), fees included, beating the previous record set last year by about 39 per cent.
17/11/2015: China’s domestic producers sit on unsold vintages
China’s decline in wine sales since the government crackdown on corruption has primarily affected domestic producers, not importers. Although the headlines have focused on falling demand of grand cru classé claret, particularly Château Lafite, since president Xi Jingping introduced his “austerity measures” in 2013, it is domestic wine producers that have been hit hardest by the new political climate, according to Beijing-based Fongyee Walker.
17/11/2015: Majestic Wine profits tumble after Naked Wines acquisition
The warehouse wine retailer said its pre-tax profit tumbled to £4.3 million in the six months to September 28 compared to a year ago, as a result of charges from its April purchase of Naked Wines. Shares fell more than 3%. The enlarged business also unveiled an ambitious three-year turnaround plan to almost double annual revenues to £500 million by 2019, from current full-year sales of £284.5 million posted in June.
17/11/2015: Climate & wine: Is it still Bordeaux without Merlot?
Bordeaux (AFP) - Can the world's most storied wine region adapt to climate change without losing its identity? This is the question haunting the Bordeaux region as the threat of global warming looms ever larger. Concretely, it may boil down to this: Without Merlot, will it still be Bordeaux? The dry, hot conditions that shaped the 2015 vintage, and are likely to prevail in coming years, "don't worry winemakers for now because the early harvests improve quality."
16/11/2015: Caleb Dennis takes out Young Horticulturist of the Year
Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Caleb Dennis has proven his skills on a wider scale, taking out the 2015 Young Horticulturist of the Year. Representing the Viticultural sector, Dennis competed against five other finalists from various horticultural areas including Landscaping, Nursery & Garden, Amenity Horticulture and Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Growing.
16/11/2015: New Zealand Syrah quality continues to forge ahead
The 10th Annual New Zealand Syrah Workshop, held at the Bayview Chateau Tongariro from the 4 to 6 November, has “seriously impressed” international guest speaker Gary Mills. The owner and winemaker of Jamsheed Wines in Victoria said the competition showed a high quality of New Zealand Syrah across the board. “Perfumed, elegant wines with low alcohols and fresh acidity which are basically my kind of wines,” Mills said.
16/11/2015: Meet Washington’s ‘rock ’n’ roll winemaker’
The wine business has always been hospitable to iconoclasts and idiosyncratic types – it allows for a healthy amount of personal expression, and a certain non-corporate flair – and American producer Charles Smith certainly fits that mould to a T. With his wild explosion of long, frizzy hair and frequently salty language, not to mention his unbridled enthusiasm for grapes, Smith stands out in a crowd – and so do his wines.
16/11/2015: China’s Singles’ Day festival: record-breaking online wine sales
China’s online wine and spirits retailers have reported strong rises in sales during the 2015 version of China’s Singles’ Day shopping festival. Retailer Yesmywine doubled its Singles’ Day sales on its Tmall.com outlet to hit CNY 40.5m (A$9m) during the first 24 hours of its ‘72-hour sales campaign’. Wine and spirit retailers Sichuan 1919 and jiuxian.com also reported record sales figures. China’s Singles' Day, also known as Guang Gun Jie, is celebrated on the 11 November.
16/11/2015: Bordeaux winemaker brews Sauvignon Blanc beer
A Bordeaux producer is carving his own niche by brewing what he claims is the only fruit beer produced using Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the region. La Biére des Vendanges 2015, literally “beer harvest”, is produced by Thomas Le Grix de la Salle, winemaker and export manager at Château Verdus in the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown at his family’s estate.
16/11/2015: Winemakers in Idaho and California hope for federal recognition
Winemakers from northwestern Idaho to the foothills of California’s Fresno County produce distinct vintages but share a common dream of seeing benefits flow from federal recognition. In what’s become a rite of passage, the different groups of winemakers have sought designation of their respective regions as viticultural areas. It can be a years-long ordeal that proponents hope will result in marketing fizz.
13/11/2015: NZ wineries dare to pink this summer
New Zealand wine & lifestyle website Sip NZ Wine (sipnzwine.com) is launching a Rosé campaign this February, joining forces with New Zealand wine producers to make a rumble about Rosé. With over 15 wineries already on board for this inaugural collaborative campaign, "Dare to Pink #sipnzrose" is set to make NZ Rosé THE summer drink. “Australia, Europe and the US all have their own Rosé campaigns so it is finally time for New Zealanders to "Dare to Pink".
13/11/2015: Brian Kelly catches up with Michael Brakovich about the Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2015
Over 1400 entries, with 84 Gold medals awarded, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards are here again. The competition is organised by the New Zealand Wine growers and has been running for over 30 years. This year the Trophy and Elite Gold Medal winners will be announced on November 28 in Nelson. Brian Kelly caught up with the Chief Judge Michael Brakovich to talk about this year’s entries.
13/11/2015: Why organic and biodynamic wines matter
We hear a lot of talk about organic and biodynamic wine but do we understand its importance in the world of wine? And its impact on the planet? It’s pretty big picture stuff. In the early 1920’s, a group of farmers, concerned with the decline in the health of soil, plants and animals (yes, even back then it was a concern) worked with Rudolph Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy (spiritual science). He had spent his adult life researching and investigating the subtle forces in nature that influenced the health and wellness of all life.
13/11/2015: Spanish winemaker praises 2015 potential
One of Spain’s leading winemakers has declared that his fruit this year was as good as any he could remember, raising the potential of this year’s vintage. Antonio Sarrion, who makes one of only 15 vinos de pagos in Spain, the country’s self-styled Grands Crus, said that weather conditions could hardly have been any better on his vineyards in two DOs, Utiel-Requena and Valencia. The highly respected Sarrion, a former civil engineer, is optimistic that he can produce the same quality of wine from this year’s harvest as his award-winning 2014 vintage.
13/11/2015: New grape harvester leaves MOG in the field
Washington vineyards are moving closer to the day of total mechanisation. New devices use laser eyes, position sensors or potentiometers, and other technology to take vineyard tasks a step closer to the future. Though hand picking is still preferred by winemakers for fruit destined for high-end wines, mechanization has a fit for production-based wine grapes and growers who face labour shortages.
13/11/2015: South African wine doubles market share in China
South African wines are having a particularly good year in China, with commentators describing the country’s wines as the surprise of the year, IndependentOnline reports. In the first half of 2015, South Africa doubled its Chinese market share from 2 percent to 4 percent in volume, Chinese customs statistics showed. China is South Africa’s sixth-largest export market for packaged wines by volume, and the largest in Asia, accounting for around 8.99 million liters for the year ending September 2015.
12/11/2015: Royal couple pay visit to organic winery
New Zealand organic winery Mahana Estates played host to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, this weekend during a 12-day tour of the country. The Royal couple timed their visit to coincide with the Mahana Estate’s ‘From Source to Serve’ food and wine event, which showcased Nelson’s local produce, including wines, craft beers and cider, cheese and seafood. Food and wine matching on serve included the 2015 Mahana Pinot Noir Rosé with miso and nori ora king salmon and lemongrass Mayonnaise, prepared by the chefs in the Mahana Kitchen.
12/11/2015: Trade Minister welcomes dramatic growth in exports
Trade Minister Tim Groser today released new statistics showing spectacular growth in New Zealand’s exports to Chinese Taipei since the Economic Cooperation Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu (ANZTEC) entered into force in December 2013. “New Zealand exporters are reaping the benefits of preferential tariff access to Chinese Taipei,” says Groser. “Exports of New Zealand wine to Chinese Taipei have grown 56 percent to $1.3 million. The 10 percent tariff on non-sparkling wine and 20 percent tariff on sparkling wine were eliminated on entry-into-force."
12/11/2015: Wine business: The Bordeaux model, with a Napa twist
There are three ways to make wine in Bordeaux. The best way is to buy a first-growth vineyard. (This requires an extraordinary amount of money.) Or you can buy a winery and execute financially in the long-established business of wine in Bordeaux. (This requires an extraordinary amount of time and on-site presence.) Or you can work with a negoçiant to buy vinified wine, at which point “making wine” becomes mostly a marketing play, typically at the lower end of the scale.
12/11/2015: Corks are out, screw caps are in
I’ve been asked several times recently about the relative advantages of screw caps and corks for sealing wine bottles. I remember when I first started writing this column about 15 years ago, screw caps were just starting to appear and there was a lot of push-back from consumers. When I wrote that screw caps were a better way of sealing bottles of wine meant for early drinking (within three or four years of the vintage date), I was inundated with objections from readers who complained about losing the “romance” and the “ritual” of pulling a cork from a bottle.
12/11/2015: Vinadeis and Origin seal global strategic partnership
French wine producer Vinadeis and South Africa’s Origin Wines have unveiled a formal strategic partnership. Aimed initially at the bulk wine market, the partnership will take advantage of the two companies’ complementary global strengths to offer customers an end-to-end service across key national markets in Europe and the southern hemisphere. Vinadeis and Origin will distribute each other’s wines in their major markets.
12/11/2015: Millennials aren’t changing wine – access to information is
If you read Lettie Teague’s recent WSJ column entry, titled How Millennials Are Changing Wine, you will find some interesting data suggesting that Millennials are not, in fact, changing wine nearly as much as many of us think that they are. First, you’ll have to wade through polemics such as the opening quote from New York sommelier Jason Jacobeit, who decries his generation’s focus on feeling connected to a brand when it comes to purchasing wine: “A lot of mediocre wine is being sold on the basis of a story.”
11/11/2015: Wine Grenade bad fit for Marlborough
A new invention is set to revolutionise the wine industry, but it is unlikely to cause much of an explosion in Marlborough. The handheld device, dubbed the Wine Grenade, is designed to accelerate the ageing process of wine by adding oxygen so that vintages can reach the table faster. It promises to cut back the two-year ageing wait to just six months and will also save tens of thousands of dollars by eliminating the cost of shipping barrels from overseas and other production costs.
11/11/2015: Pair match wines to your tastes
WineFriend is New Zealand's first and only online wine retailer to deliver curated cases of wine matched to individual 'personalities'. The brainchild of NZME wine columnist and Thirsty Work presenter Yvonne Lorkin and wine industry veteran Debbie Sutton, WineFriend takes the hassle and guesswork out of enjoying a great bottle at a reasonable price. Colleen Thorpe asks them some questions and tries some wine ...
11/11/2015: One winemaker’s quixotic quest to save California’s wine industry from climate change
Other winemakers respect him. Wine drinkers of all levels know his brands. Journalists love him. But winemaker Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard doesn’t need any of it. After more than 40 years in the industry, Graham has maintained his reputation for breaking the mould. He talks like a philosopher with the soul of a scientist, but it’s just as likely that we’ve got the two mixed up.
11/11/2015: California 2015 wines ‘scarce but promising’
A warm, early spring set the clock ticking to make California 2015 the earliest harvest of the new millennium. In many areas, inclement weather during flowering resulted in shattered grape clusters, making small quantities inevitable from the very beginning. Vines fatigued by three years of drought and three consecutive generous vintages (2012-2014) also tended to produce smaller berries than usual.
11/11/2015: Vintner tests water-wise waste-to-energy innovation
Sonoma State University researchers are testing a new microbial treatment system that could allow greater reuse of winery wastewater for vineyard irrigation plus make electricity without methane combustion. A pilot system was installed at D’Argenzio Winery in the Vintners Square commercial development on Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa in October.
11/11/2015: Trade reacts to wine trends report
Wine trends show economic positivity in the UK, according to the latest Wine Intelligence UK Landscapes 2015 Report. Findings released today showed that drinkers are drinking wine in formal restaurants more often, but also in bars and pubs – where they’re spending 21% more on a bottle than they did two years ago. Sparkling wine is also shown to be a category in growth – prosecco in particular. The Italian sparkler has gained four million consumers since 2013.
10/11/2015: Gold medals announced for 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards
Following 1,407 wines being entered in this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards, judges have awarded 84 gold medals to wines from around the country. Michael Brajkovich, chair of judges and Master of Wine said the most pleasing aspect of this year’s awards was the spread of gold medals across a number of varietal styles and regions. “Pinot Noir was once again the star performer with 18 golds,” he said.
10/11/2015: Book toasts Bay's wine story
The colourful history of winemaking in Hawke's Bay, and the equally interesting personalities behind it, have been bottled in book form to create a rich, literary vintage. The book, entitled Wine: Stories from Hawke's Bay, was sparked late last year by Tom Belford who gathered a writing, archival and photography team to turn what he said was a dream to reality.
10/11/2015: New crowdfunding rules seen as wine-direct boon
Entrepreneurs, particularly in the wine business, can use the coming expansion of U.S. crowdfunding rules to convert “social equity” for the brand or operation into financial capital, and boost higher-margin direct-to-consumer wine sales at the same time, according to advocates of the funding method. “Crowdfunding is an opportunity for businesses to engage their community — their tribe,” said Kim Kaselionis.
10/11/2015: A clean green future for Champagne
While the big houses see the attraction of sustainability, can they bring the growers along? A cleaner greener viticulture has been very much the topic of the year in Champagne. Vincent Perrin, the Comité Interprofessionel du vin de Champagne's new director-general, started the ball rolling when he stressed the importance of a more environmentally friendly way of grapegrowing for the region in his first official speech at the occasion of the Saint Vincent de l'Archieconfrérie de la Champagne in January.
10/11/2015: Red blends are stirring up US wine sales
Take a stroll down the aisles at your favourite shop and you’re bound to come across some new labels. That’s because many wine shops, liquor stores and supermarkets are carving out space for the sector’s red blend trend—perhaps one of the fastest-growing vines in the wine segment. Across the total off-premise wine landscape measured by Nielsen, red blends account for more than 13% of the $13 billion that consumers spent on table wine during the 52 weeks ended Sept. 12, 2015.
10/11/2015: Stars align for Chile in the US fine wine market
Wines of Chile USA is proud to celebrate the brilliant performance of the Chilean wine industry in the 2015 edition of Wine Enthusiast magazine's Wine Star Awards. Chilean winery Santa Carolina was named New World Winery of the Year and Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes was honoured as Innovator of the Year. For the past 15 years, the Wine Star Awards have recognized individual leaders, wineries and wine regions notable for their groundbreaking vision, risk-taking courage and the skill to succeed.
9/11/2015: Marlborough wine making a difference
A spreadsheet error by a Marlborough winemaker helped mobilise the wine industry to raise money for Vanuatu, following the devastation of Cyclone Pam earlier this year. After selling all of their 2014 vintage, Marlborough winemakers Bill and Claudia Small realised they had 300 cases of Sauvignon Blanc left over. It was harvest time, March 2015, and the couple were left wondering how to get rid of it. "We were scratching our heads going, 'what are we going to do with this wine?'” Then Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu.
9/11/2015: Yealands Sauvignon Blanc best in class in Hong Kong contest
A Sauvignon Blanc rated as "outstanding" by a wine expert has won first prize at the Hong Kong international wine and spirit competition. Yealands Wine Group won the best Sauvignon Blanc and best New Zealand wine at the awards for its 2015 Yealands Estate single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. The chances of getting hold of a bottle at fine wine stores are good, a marketing spokesman said, and it will be definitely available in supermarkets in the next few weeks, although production was quite limited.
9/11/2015: China’s winemakers seek their own Napa Valley
YINCHUAN, China — On a fall evening in a fluorescent-lit classroom at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a dozen students listened intently. The speaker, Emma Gao, held a glass to the light and asked them to study the swirling liquid inside. Tsinghua is known as the “M.I.T. of China,” but this was no freshman seminar in fluid mechanics. It was a gathering of the student wine club.
9/11/2015: Grapegrowers body seeks government aid for plastic covers to protect vineyards
NASHIK: The Maharashtra Rajya Draksha Bagayatdar Sangh (MRDBS), a state-level association of grapegrowers, has sought the state government to provide grant for importing plastic covers to protect the vineyards from unseasonal rains and hails. The grapegrowers body has been seeking government assistance for the import of plastic covers in a bid to protect vineyards from unseasonal rains and hails.
9/11/2015: Behind the scenes at the wine world's big networking event
Great entrepreneurs are well aware they don’t know everything and, as a result, they surround themselves with smarter people. Well, if you are an entrepreneurial sommelier, volunteering to work the annual Wine Spectator Wine Experience at the Marriott Marquis in New York City will allow you to do exactly that. Sommeliers from all over the country volunteer their time for the opportunity to not only taste some of the world’s greatest wines, but to network with the elite in their field.
9/11/2015: HK wine exporters open doors to China
The eighth Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) International Wine and Spirits Fair has begun with the spotlight put on the city’s role as a re-exporter to Mainland China. Hong KongOpened on the 5th November at the Exhibition and Convention Centre, John Tsang, financial secretary for the HKSAR Government, gave a brief overview of the state of the Hong Kong wine market at his opening address to the media.