Daily Wine News
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.

Announcements and Suppliers

1/02/2016: Free Financial Health Check for Wineries
For the first time ever, wineries can benchmark their financial performance against others in their region, country, and internationally and compare with wineries of similar production output. Unlike other benchmarking exercises, Wine Business Solutions’ international financial benchmark is designed using as few questions as possible in order that a minimum of management time be required to participate.

1/02/2016: Improve your Cash Flow in 2016
Strong competition from retail sales, changing demand from export markets and fluctuating wine production are major issues in managing revenue movements. Together with fluctuations of exchange rates, losing bargaining power to major retailers and change in consumer tastes, cash flow can receive a battering.

1/02/2016: Exploring the Diversity of American Oak: Heinrich Cooperage
American oak has a long tradition in the wine industry, yet not all winemakers may realise the diversity of aromas and flavours this wood type can impart. Heinrich Cooperage has become a specialist in American oak, crafting premium barrels focused on this wood type for wineries throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Australian Wine Industry News

5/02/2016: Peppery aromas and flavours in Shiraz could open doors to export markets
A STUDY looking at a particular characteristic in Shiraz that appeals to drinkers in Asia could open doors to export markets for Victorian winemakers, according to the Weekly Times. Rotundone, a compound that occurs in some Shiraz grapes giving it a peppery aroma and flavour, is being tracked by a researcher from the University of Melbourne with the aim of providing ­information to Asian ­consumers who want to buy wine featuring the ­component.

5/02/2016: What’s next for Australian vineyard machinery?
WHILE THE CURRENT VINTAGE is an immediate focus for grapegrowers and viticulturist, there is also lots of industry development for smart operators to keep track of. In this Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine article, Sam Bowman explores the latest in vineyard machinery and reports on what could work well in Australia and what will make good economic sense for growers and managers.

5/02/2016: Latest issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal out now
THE 2015 VINTAGE in Australia was described as early by some, and several producers have reported yet an earlier start to vintage in 2016. Increasingly earlier harvests have been linked to global warming due to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and an article in the just-released January-February issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal fills some knowledge gaps by reporting on the preliminary results of a local trial into the effects of higher carbon dioxide on winegrapes.

5/02/2016: It’s an ill wind…
IT’S AN ILL WIND that blows nobody any good; an old and often misunderstood proverb. Say it slowly and it makes sense... one person’s misfortune most often benefits another; like when storm damage creates work opportunities. The ill wind has been howling since about July according to the latest report from the Riverland Wine representative body.

5/02/2016: Climate science to be gutted as CSIRO swings jobs axe
FEARS THAT some of Australia's most important climate research institutions will be gutted under a Turnbull government have been realised with deep job cuts for scientists. Fairfax Media has learnt that as many as 110 positions in the Oceans and Atmosphere division will go, with a similarly sharp reduction in the Land and Water division. Total job cuts would be about 350 staff over two years, the CSIRO confirmed in an email to staff, with the Data61 and Manufacturing divisions also hit.

4/02/2016: Senate inquiry to report findings into the wine and grape industry
THE recommendations from a senate inquiry into the wine and grape industry will be made known next week. The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee investigated the profitability of wine grape growers, the impact of the wine equalisation tax ¬rebate, the power and influence of retailers of Australian wine in domestic and export markets and the effectiveness of market intelligence in sending price signals to growers.

4/02/2016: Off-premise driving Australian wine sales in China
Wine purchases made online and via retail stores and supermarkets made up the majority of Australian wine consumption in China over the last three years, a study has found. A three-year study by the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science funded by Wine Australia has found the number of people buying imported wine in China and frequency of consumption had sharply increased over the course of the project.

4/02/2016: Wine Odyssey forced to close
Wine Odyssey, an innovative wine bar located in a Sydney’s popular waterfront location The Rocks, has been forced to close its doors after almost eight years in business after the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority announced they are seeking a “more relevant” tenant. The ‘cellar door in the city' which offered tourists and Sydney-siders the opportunity to taste wines from the most popular regions of Australia, has been referred to as a “lifeline” for smaller producers to enter the mainstream market.

4/02/2016: Rain and hail has affected grape harvesting but an increase in export values is encouraging
Recent wet weather has caused problems for grape growers who are now racing the clock to complete their harvest. Bruno Brombal, chairman of the Riverina Wine Grape Marketing Board, said the rain and hail had a “big impact” on growers. “If we had another week of rain we could have been in big strife,” Mr Brombal said. “There could have been major losses in the region, not as bad as the Hunter Valley but close.”

4/02/2016: Diageo helps consumers understand drinks
Diageo Australia has revamped its DRINKiQ website as the company aims to help Australian consumers better understand how much alcohol they are drinking. A survey of almost 1000 Australians aged 18 and over found that half of those questioned were not aware of how much alcohol is in their drink. The survey found 50 per cent of respondents believed a schooner of full strength beer, a glass of red wine and a single serve of spirits with a mixer each contain one standard drink of alcohol.

4/02/2016: SA winemaker adds sparkling twist to mead
The late winemaker Ken Maxwell spruiked the virtues of drinking mead way back in the 1950s, when he began experimenting with the ancient drink. In the 1960s, when he managed The Barn restaurant in McLaren Vale, he gave away free tastes of his home brew to guests on arrival. Later, Maxwell became the first commercial producer of mead (under the Daringa label), but it wasn’t until he started Maxwell Wines at McLaren Vale in 1979 that he began producing under the Maxwell Mead label.

3/02/2016: Australian wines dominate at the China Wine & Spirits Best Value Awards
Australian wines were the star of the show in China at the nation’s biggest value wine competition, the China Wine and Spirits Best Value Awards. Wines and spirits from 31 nations participated in this year’s annual spring tasting, with Australian producers awarded 311 medals in total – the most of any country in the competition. Taylors Wines came out on top, bringing home the trophy for Australian Wine of the Year for its 2015 Taylors Estate Merlot along with three Double Gold and nine Gold medals awarded across the Clare Valley winery’s portfolio.

3/02/2016: Vintage 2016 is underway after a record start for picking
VINTAGE 2016 is off and running in Victoria with Rutherglen’s sparkling producers leading the pack. Both Cofields Wines and Anderson Winery began picking last week, beating last year’s record start by eight days. Damian Cofield, who brought in chardonnay grapes that will be used for a sparkling base, said sugar levels were the reason they started so early this year. “We had to go,” he said. “Our hands were tied — as it was it was sweeter than we ideally wanted but the flavours were good. They were ready.”

3/02/2016: European influence for Kangaroo Island wine
A winery on Kangaroo Island is being influenced by Europe, in particular France, from growing the grapes through to storing the wine. French winemaker Jacques Lurton chose Kangaroo Island as the location for his Australian winery, Islander Estate Wines. The winery is spread over 11 hectares and produces about 70 tonnes of grapes a year.

3/02/2016: The five things you need to enter the US market
For independently owned and operated wine producers, pitching labels to distributors in new markets can be exasperating. Distributors are offered hundreds of SKUs every week and getting a distributor to even consider your brand is often a tough task. When you finally land a meeting with a buyer after countless hours of emails and cold calls, you might find your brands rejected anyway, leaving you to start all over again.

3/02/2016: Hart and Hunter wines are impressing at awards
SINCE they made a spectacular maiden entry into the Hunter Valley Wine Show in 2010, husband and wife winemaking duo Damien Stevens and Jodie Belleville have established a great reputation for their white wines. Their Hart and Hunter 2010 Single Vineyard Semillon took the Marshall-Flannery Trophy for the best current vintage semillon and the H.J. Lindeman Trophy for the best current vintage dry white of the 2010 show and since then their semillons, chardonnays and fianos have had great competition success.

2/02/2016: Hunter vignerons remain optimistic despite wet harvest
An unusually wet January has proved challenging for wine grape growers in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, who are now well and truly into the annual grape harvest or vintage. Rain has the potential to split fruit and ruin its flavour. It is also critical the fruit be picked at the right time which is no mean feat when the vineyard is full of mud.

2/02/2016: QLD winegrowers look forward to harvest after wild weather last year
Stanthorpe wine growers are in good spirits as the picking season begins for white wine grapes. Growers on the Southern Darling Downs were smashed last year by severe storms and hail, with90 per cent of some crops damaged. This year, however, things are looking up. Growers Sam Costanzo and Angelo Puglisi are neighbours who were hit by the storms, and both are optimistic about the season ahead.

2/02/2016: Super premium with a twist
The winery team at Printhie Wines in the Orange region of New South Wales had a nickname for the new premium wine they were working on. The ambition was to create a ‘super duper’ Chardonnay, they succeeded in more ways than one. Nathan Gogoll reports.

2/02/2016: Chinese wine drinkers drive Australian export growth
AN increase in the number of Chinese wine drinkers buying imported wine “off-premise” and consuming it at home is helping to drive the sale of Australian wine in China. A three-year study by the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science funded by Wine Australia is nearing completion and has found the number of people buying imported wine in China and their frequency of consumption was on the rise.

2/02/2016: Pemberton winery Salitage Estate sells for $2.85m
A Western Australian investor has secured a footprint in the state’s esteemed wine industry, after acquiring the award-winning winery Salitage Estate for $2.85 million. Located in the cool climate region of Pemberton, the winery and vineyard is set across an approximate 51 hectare landholding and has a 22.86 hectare vineyard comprising of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

2/02/2016: ASVO announces new wine show ‘best practice’ recommendations
A COMPREHENSIVE UPDATE and extension of ‘wine show best practice recommendations’ is expected to become a key reference for wine shows of all shapes and sizes across Australia. The first update to the recommendations in more than 10 years represents a substantial extension from the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) and comes on the back of an industry-wide review process. There are now more than 200 recommendations for best practice in conducting a wine show.

1/02/2016: Casella Family Brands picks up Howcroft Vineyards on SA's Limecoast
NSW Riverina winemaker Casella Family Brands has snapped up the Howcroft Estate Vineyards near South Australia's Limestone Coast in the first big vineyards deal of the year. Family-run Casella, one of the country's biggest wine producers with brands including Yellow Tail, Peter Lehmann Wines and Brands Laira, is understood to have paid just over the $9 million asking price for the 540 hectare property near Mundulla, which has 412 hectares of planted vines.

1/02/2016: Costas, Duxton snap up Littore winery and vineyards
The investment and development arm of the Costa family, the country's biggest growers of fresh fruit and vegetables, has acquired the Littore Wine Group's Jindalee Estate Winery in the Moorabool Valley near Geelong. The 23-hectare Ballan Road winery was acquired by Costa Asset Management (CAM) from receivers Ferriers Hodgson. The family-run Littore Wine Group, one of the country's biggest independent wine producers, was forced into receivership by Rabobank in October last year.

1/02/2016: Frankland Estate is changing how Americans view Riesling and Australian wine
Americans can have misconceptions about Riesling. Some believe that this varietal is only ever sweet. Drinkers who do not like sweetness may never try and enjoy a dry Riesling. Reversing this misconception takes consumer education. Australian winemaker Hunter Smith was in America this week, showcasing the dry Rieslings from his family’s Frankland Estate Wines. Founded in 1988 by Smith’s parents, Frankland Estate is in southwest Australia, four hours south of Perth.

1/02/2016: An holistic approach to winemaking
Adelaide Hills biodynamic wine pioneers Erinn and Janet Klein aim to produce wines that reflect the terroir of their Ngeringa vineyards, with an emphasis on simplicity and sustainability. The pair met while studying at Adelaide University – Erinn in oenology and Janet in viticulture.

1/02/2016: Why there's more to Australian wine than Chardonnay
Australia changed the way we drink way back in the Nineties, when its golden Chardonnay and life-affirmingly lusty Shiraz brought wine hedonism to our sun-starved shores. But, like maiden aunts constantly surprised that the niece we remember as a toddler smearing chocolate cake over her face is now managing the national debt, we’re still reluctant to allow that it has grown up.

29/01/2016: New Accolade Wine GM issues a ‘word of warning’ as Australian wines face a battle ahead
At the Australia Day Tasting held this week in London, Accolade Wines new general manager for the UK and Ireland Rob Harrison issued a ‘word of warning’ that challenges lay ahead for Australian wines, which now sits below the average price of wine of £5.83 (A$11.82) at just £5.20 (A$10.54). “At this point what I want to make is a bit of a warning for Australia. In terms of being fit for the future I am not really sure we are exactly where we want to be.”

29/01/2016: Orchard process provides cool solution to heat stressed vines
Evaporative cooling systems are being used in South Australian vineyards as part of a project to protect grapes during heat waves ahead of harvest. The project is using under-canopy sprinklers in the Riverland and Coonawarra wine regions to cool vineyards at night at the height of the Australian summer. Mike McCarthy, principal scientist with the South Australian Research Development Institute is leading the project.

29/01/2016: Growth in a bottle: Weak Aussie dollar helps company prosper
A MILDURA-based wine bottling company says the increase in Australian wine exports is creating more employment opportunities at its firm and expanding its customer base. Best Bottlers managing director Jim Kirkpatrick said the drop in the Australian dollar had generated an increase in wine exports to the United States and Australia’s free trade agreement with China had also benefited the industry.

29/01/2016: RIVERLAND: Value chain… What’s that?
Way back in 2009 the SA Government engaged Prof. Andrew Fearne as the ‘Thinker in Residence’ to educate SA businesses about the importance of Value Chain principles in long term business ventures where customers are important. Riverland Wine invited Prof. Fearne to the region to meet with groups of producers and processors. Many were curious. Yalumba got on board and worked with the State Government and Prof. Fearne to map the supply chain in the ‘Vine to Dine’ project.

29/01/2016: Lyndey Milan to host Wine Communicators of Australia gala
The Wine Communicators of Australia has confirmed that Lyndey Milan OAM will host its upcoming Gala Dinner. Ms. Milan will also be joined by Robert Joseph and Chair of Judges for the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, Samantha Connew. This year WCA will host the Sydney Royal Wine Show Retrospective Gala Dinner in conjunction with RAS NSW. With efforts combined, the night will provide an opportunity to look back at the awards’ revered history through insights from Ms. Connew, as well as the past, present and future state of the industry in this country.

28/01/2016: ‘We need to improve Australian fine wine image’ – trade body chairman
Queues of wine professionals vied for a space inside the Australia Day tasting in London like it was the final farewell of some muscial great, fuelling speculation that Australian wine is coming back into vogue in the UK in 2016. Throngs of wine trade professionals and critics descended on the Australia Day tasting (ADT) in Central London this week, and many found more than a few surprises. Several merchants have suggested to Decanter’s editorial team that 2016 could be a big year for Australian wine.

28/01/2016: Aldi joins new push to stock alcohol in supermarkets
The debate to stock alcohol in supermarkets has started to bubble again as Aldi joins the push to sell liquor in its soon-to-be-opened South Australian stores. Alcohol could soon be sold from South Australian supermarket shelves if a push by new retail entry Aldi is successful. The move from the German mega grocery chain comes as the State Government is one day away from closing submissions to the first review of SA liquor laws in 20 years.

28/01/2016: The truth behind the latest wine export figures
Whitey contemplates some sobering export numbers from Wine Australia. Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark triumphantly announced: “Pleasingly, our latest Export Reportshows that the value of Australian wine exports grew in each of the top 15 export markets in the year ended 31 December 2015. This export growth should be warmly welcomed by the Australian grapegrowing and winemaking community as it is largely a result of their hard work.” Wrong. The majority of the grapegrowing and winemaking community has not suddenly discovered how to do anything better.

28/01/2016: Mudgee expects short, compressed vintage
Despite a drier start to the 2015/16 grape vintage season in NSW, grape growers in Mudgee and the Riverina should expect excellent grape quality. NSW Department of Primary Industries' viticulture development officer Adrian Englefield said seasonal weather conditions in both regions had resulted in minimal disease pressure, resulting in excellent grape quality.

28/01/2016: WA wine regions working hard to prevent disease after rain hits ahead of harvest
Vineyard operators in major West Australian wine regions are working hard to prevent disease after wild weather hit just weeks before harvest. Heavy rainfall in the Margaret River, Great Southern and Geographe regions has caused fruit splitting in some vineyards, which can lead to pest and disease issues. Producers in the northern parts of the Geographe region may also face issues of smoke taint following bushfires south of Perth.

27/01/2016: Australia Day Wine Awards
We may not have a long winemaking history in this country, not compared with the Europeans, but we have something they can never have, that true-blue, dinky-di never-say-die – or syrah – spirit that is distinctly, utterly ours alone. It's downing a glass of hot red on a 40-degree day, inflating an empty wine cask bladder for a game of pool volleyball, sipping a rizza in the Eden Valley or ordering a "pig" when you simply can't be bothered sounding out a few extra syllables for a p-i-n-o-t g-r-i-g-i-o. Time is short in this country when there's wine to consume.

27/01/2016: Australia: Five wine trends for 2016
Ever since I went to Tasmania for the first time in the early 2000s and got excited about the generally superb vintages of that era, I have waited, patiently, for this cool and relatively dry region of Australia to consistently deliver what it has always promised. Vine age, considerable mainland investment from producers such as Treasury, Accolade and Shaw+Smith, together with the ever-growing number of locals making their own wine on site, add up to exciting times for a region that's finally challenging the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula for pinot supremacy.

27/01/2016: The illustrious history of Australian wine’s greatest invention
“Just spin the Hills Hoist and if the goon bag lands above you, you’ve gotta skull it,” a bare-chested man wearing an Australian flag as a cape tells me. Yesterday was January 26th, my inaugural Australia Day, and I played my very first game of Goon of Fortune, an unofficial initiation into Australian society. Its name may be a spinoff of the iconic Wheel of Fortune, but Goon of Fortune takes full advantage of two very Aussie inventions: the goon bag (also known as bag-in-box, cask or boxed wine) and the Hills Hoist (rotating clothes line).

27/01/2016: Margaret River winery praised by British chef Nigella Lawson
British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has taken to Instagram to praise Wilyabrup winery Cullen Wines to her almost half a million strong following. The professional chef, food writer and journalist who is beloved the world over for her abilities in the kitchen has made an appearance on Australian TV as a guest judge on the reality cooking program Masterchef.

27/01/2016: UK gloomy as Australia dips in on-trade
Australia’s presence in the UK on-trade tumbled last year, according to figures released by Accolade Wines at the Australia Day Tastings in London today. Last year, only 11% of Australia’s total volume sales took place in the on-trade, down from 12.5% in 2014 – a decline of almost 10%. The problem, according to Jane Robertson, category development director at Accolade Wines UK, is one of supply.

25/01/2016: Disease risk for Murray Valley grapes ahead of vintage
RAINFALL across many parts of the Murray-Darling wine region has created conditions for botrytis bunch rot and delayed the harvesting of early-ripening white varieties. But Industry Development Officer for Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW), David Coombes, says growers are restricted in their choice of preventative treatments at harvest time.

25/01/2016: Treasury Wine shares are going nuts on strong Asian sales
Treasury Wine is turning things around. The company’s shares are up 15% in ASX trade after it delivered significantly upgraded profit guidance. Treasury says earnings for the first half of the financial year will be around $20-30 million higher than analyst consensus. The company, which sells some famous wine brands including Penfolds, Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Wolf Blass, Lindeman’s, and Yellowglen, increased its presence in the US market with the acquisition of Diageo Wine last October for $US600 million.

25/01/2016: Unico Zelo vignerons branch out into spirits
Adelaide Hills couple Brendan and Laura Carter have just released a couple of bitter orange liqueurs in the style of Aperol and the more bitter imported Campari, developed and distilled right here in Gumeracha under the name Applewood Distillery, the drinks called Okar and Red Okar for the stronger version. “We wanted to showcase Australian food and cultural tastes, and we realised we are well positioned here to create a unique beverage,” Brendan says.

25/01/2016: Vigneron in Orange taps into growing prosecco popularity
Move over Moscato — a vigneron in Orange is counting on the trend towards drinking prosecco continuing. See Saw wines owner Justin Jarrett is weeks away from harvesting the first grapes grown in Orange, in the central west of New South Wales, to produce prosecco. Mr Jarrett grafted prosecco grapes on to chardonnay vines to speed up the process of transitioning to the sparkling wine variety.

25/01/2016: Grape expectations for India’s wine class
If you love bargain plonk, you’ll be disappointed if you wander into Drops Total Spirits, wine and spirit wallahs of New Bel Road, Bengaluru; in fact you’re unlikely to find much joy anywhere in India, no matter how well you haggle. A bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz, which sells at Dan Murphy’s for $7, was yesterday on the shelves at Drops for 1425 rupees, a whopping $29.99, while a 750ml bottle of Yalumba Unwooded Chardonnay sells for $38.50 a bottle — it’s available in Australia for $12.99 in a two-litre cask.

22/01/2016: Treasury Wine Estates upgrades profit forecasts
Treasury Wine Estates, the owner of brands including Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount, has upgraded its profit forecasts after strong sales, with the China business a standout as demand continues to rise for the flagship Penfolds brand. Treasury chief executive Mike Clarke said on Thursday after the sharemarket closed that there had been a strong first-half result across all of the main regions, which include Asia, Australia and the United States.

22/01/2016: Mt Lubra fire - a decade on
TOM Guthrie will never forget the sight of the massive wall of flames coming over the hill and realising there was nothing he could do to fight it. Only five per cent of his 1300-hectare property, Thermopylae, was untouched by the Mt Lubra fire on January 22, 2006. The 3.2-hectare Grampians Estate vineyard he ran with his wife Sarah was all but destroyed as fire swept across the property.

22/01/2016: Sydney Wine Academy students shine at WSET exams
John MacKinnon, Executive Sommelier at Shangri-La Hotels, Sydney, and Joel Beerden, a freelance writer, have received recognition for their exceptional WSET examination results in the last academic year. MacKinnon, who completed the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits, won the Fine Wine Partners (FWP) Scholarship and will receive a $1,000 grant towards further wine studies and $1,000 towards a cellar from FWP’s portfolio, as well as an engraved Spiegelau decanter. MacKinnon said he was “honoured and humbled in receiving this award”.

22/01/2016: Making an art of red wine
Custodians of a vineyard once owned by a famous Barossan pioneer, winemakers Bernadette Kaeding and Sam Kurtz make a small range of hand-crafted, single-vineyard red wines. A love for the Barossa and its rich history of great, full-flavoured reds led Kaeding and Kurtz in 1996 to buy a small plot of Grenache bush vines once farmed by pioneer Elmore Schulz. They say the site proved itself to be outstanding for growing vines for red wine.

22/01/2016: Wine & Viticulture Journal tasting to focus on Australian cool climate Shiraz
Cool climate Shiraz from Australia will be the focus of the Wine & Viticulture Journal’s next regular tasting. Producers of these wines are invited to register their interest in the tasting by emailing Wine & Viticulture Journal editor Sonya Logan ([email protected]) by no later than next Thursday (28 January).

21/01/2016: Australian wine exports surge to $2.1 billion
THE value of Australian wine exports surged 14 per cent to $2.1 billion in 2015, reaching its highest value since October 2007. In a statement released today, South Australian Senator Anne Ruston said Wine Australia’s 2015 Export Report showed for the first time in over two decades, the value of Australian wine exports has grown in each of our nation’s top fifteen export markets.

21/01/2016: Open That Bottle Night coming to Australia
Mastermind Consulting have launched a social media campaign calling for wine lovers to open a special bottle of wine on 27 February to mark the first official Open That Bottle Night in Australia. Since its inception in 2000, Open That Bottle Night has become an acclaimed global event, held annually on the last Saturday of February. Australia’s participation in this initiative has been intermittent, but the team behind Mastermind Consulting believes now is the time to salute the special bottles of wine held captive in cellars or cupboards.

21/01/2016: Costa sells off grape property
THE Costa Group has decided to sell its 360 hectare table grape property at Menindee in New South Wales and split it up into seven separate titles. Elders Real Estate Mildura principal Marty Deacon said he believed the decision to sell the property could be related to an increase in table grape production in other parts of Australia.

21/01/2016: Japan free trade deal brings benefits to Hunter wine producers
Grapegrowers in the New South Wales Upper Hunter appear to be reaping the benefits of Australia's free trade agreement with Japan, a year after the deal was finalised. Bottled wine sales are up by 11 per cent, whiles sales of bulk wine have almost tripled to more than $5 million to Japan. NSW Nationals Senator John Williams said it was welcome news in the Hunter, amid an ongoing mining downturn.

21/01/2016: AWRI: Managing late season wet weather
Sustained rainfall in the period from veraison to harvest can put vines under significant threat of disease. This can leave growers and vineyard managers with some difficult decisions to make. In some cases the usual control options of spraying, slashing or trimming may not be viable or may be of limited value and some crop loss may be inevitable. This eBulletin outlines a selection of points to consider when making vineyard management decisions after late season rain.

20/01/2016: Barossa Valley's 2016 wines could be best in a decade
South Australia's top regions could produce some of the highest-quality vintages of the past decade but vineyards in NSW's soaked Hunter Valley are struggling from too much rain, which dilutes flavours and can cause grapes to split or become mouldy. With grape picking about to get into full swing, experts say excellent conditions in South Australia are likely to produce high-quality wines provided weather conditions continue to remain favourable throughout the harvest, which stretches until April in some areas.

20/01/2016: Vintage 2016: SA grapegrowers gear up for harvest
South Australia's multi-million dollar wine industry is gearing up for another strong vintage, with early season grapes already trickling into the state's wineries. As the nation's largest wine producer, South Australia contributes more than half of the country's annual wine volume, a commodity worth an estimated $440 million last season. ABC Rural takes a look at the key issues and crop predictions across four of the state's key wine growing areas.

20/01/2016: Unique and passionate: Unico Zelo
Nestled in Adelaide Hills is a wine business driven by a young couple with big dreams. LAURA AND BRENDAN CARTER epitomise the modern winemaker with an eclectic mix of creative businesses. From crafting a diverse range of Italian varietals to applying winemaking techniques to small batch gin and perfume, the Carter’s are using inspiration from the surrounding elements in new and exciting ways. Emilie Reynolds reports.

20/01/2016: Casella and Deutsch to relaunch Peter Lehmann wines in US, test new “low lux” offerings
One of Australia’s most iconic wineries will get a relaunch in the U.S. market this May.Barossa Valley’s Peter Lehmann Wines, which was acquired fellow Australian winemaker Casella Family Brands from the Hess Group just over a year ago for around $50 million, will be relaunched stateside this spring under the Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits umbrella. Deutsch plans to prioritise three newly repackaged SKUs from the Peter Lehmann portfolio.

20/01/2016: January 2016 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The January 2016 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. In our first magazine for 2016, WA viticulture consultant Bruce Pearse provides a season snapshot form Margaret River and reveals his top predictions for the upcoming vintage. We also feature an in depth look at the preferred winery laboratory equipment and services in the Australian wine industry with a set of benchmark examples for reader’s to refer to.

19/01/2016: Hunter 2016 vintage underway with first whites
USHER Tinkler was feeling good on Thursday after harvesting half of his chardonnay grapes from the family vineyard on Pokolbin Mountains Road. “We have a long way to go yet,” the winemaker said. “We’re only 10 per cent of the way there. But it’s nice premium chardonnay. It’s a good start.” Andrew Margan at Broke was also satisfied with the 50 tonnes of chardonnay picked for his wines this week.

19/01/2016: Sydney cellar door eyeing producers
New South Wales wine producers are being encouraged to sign up for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Cellar Door event, which brings together the best of the state’s produce. Highlighting NSW’s wine, food and produce the Cellar Door event will take place in Hyde Park over the weekend of 26-28 February 2016.

19/01/2016: Jacob's Creek campaign stars Djokovic for second year
Jacob’s Creek presents ‘Made by Moments’ for the second year starring Novak Djokovic in promotion of the Australian Open. The Australian wine brand launched 13 short videos that features Djokovic being asked questions including what is your ultimate BBQ (prawns, asparagus and aubergine) and where did you go on your first date?

19/01/2016: How collaboration and culture underpin innovation at Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard Winemakers places immense focus on innovation as core of its strategy when developing wines for different markets and tastes worldwide. Samuel Tait met with Gwenola Hanaut, innovation director, to discuss their broader approach to innovation and how it is driving growth for the business at a global level.

19/01/2016: Push for aged care facility for Swan Valley growers
A CONTENTIOUS bid to create an aged care retirement facility in the Swan Valley will be put to a vote at this week’s City of Swan council meeting. The site of the proposal, at lot one and two Dale Road, is between Oakover Wines and Houghton Wines in Middle Swan and is zoned rural. “Many grapegrowers are now middle aged or older (and) a generational change is required to continue to run the vineyards, however, the ageing parents are keen to remain local to both the operation and the family."

18/01/2016: WFA vexed by tax reform delay, influence of “vested interests”
THE wine industry’s peak lobby group is “at risk of losing its patience” with the Federal Government dragging its feet on wine tax reform, which it says appears to have been influenced by “vested interests”. Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive Paul Evans said there was broad consensus in the industry that the Wine Equalisation Tax Rebate needed to be reformed.

18/01/2016: A year of achievement for Wine Australia, says chair
Wine Australia’s Annual Report 2014–2015, tabled in Parliament last month, highlighted the major achievements from the past year as Wine Australia continued to focus on its strategic priorities on a prosperous Australian grape and wine community. Brian Walsh, Wine Australia chair, said the first year has been one of achievement for the organisation following the merger of Wine Australia Corporation and Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.

18/01/2016: Riverland wine with minimal water
Alternative varietals, organic hand-made wine and a belief that the Riverland can produce outstanding fruit with minimal irrigation has earned 919 Wines quite a following. Chief winemaker Eric Semmler moved to the Riverland to work, while his wife and business co-director Jenny came for love, but they both fell in love with the region.

18/01/2016: Charteris Wines: how PJ and Christina struck out on their own
Tousle-haired and bright-eyed Peter James (PJ) Charteris was 13 when he stepped into the Vilagrad Wines Vineyard at Hamilton, in the North Island of New Zealand, to earn pocket money, learning how to prune vines in the process. The wine bug bit, and when he left school aged 18 in 1986 he spent two years as a vineyard and cellar hand at Vilagrad.

18/01/2016: Barossa wine and food businesses gain edge
Two Barossa businesses out of a pool of eight in the state will share in more than $74,000 to help them gain a competitive edge in national and international markets. Henschke Cellars will undergo international environmental standard certification assessment. This project will help to increase market access in Europe where customers commonly require the certification as a pre-requisite.

18/01/2016: Winemaker Tim Stevens is making substance over style
AFTER 16 years as a journalist, Tim Stevens in 1996 made a massive change into winemaking – a move heavily influenced by a love of Mudgee reds and particularly those of Huntington Estate. He and his then wife Connie took the plunge by buying the 24-year-old eight-hectare Abercorn vineyard and 50-tonne-crush winery in Ulan Rd, Mudgee. It was a serendipitous purchase for the pressman, who over time had been looking for a vineyard to buy, had done a Charles Sturt University wine course and had a cellar full of Huntington Estate wines.

International Wine Industry News

5/02/2016: Wine Flight takes off
More than 60 of the world’s most influential wine media, trade and sommeliers enjoyed a unique wine flight today thanks to Air New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers. Two Air New Zealand Q300 aircraft took off from Blenheim and cruised at 11,000ft, taking in spectacular views of some of New Zealand’s best known wine regions, including Marlborough, Nelson, Martinborough/Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.

5/02/2016: Central Otago winery scoops Sydney International
LOWBURN FERRY WINES from Central Otago has won top honours at the Sydney International Wine Competition notching another success for its Home Block Pinot Noir. While the enormous cup won’t be coming home to sit in the trophy cabinet after the awards function this weekend, Lowburn Ferry owners Jean and Roger Gibson hope it will help them build sales and find new distribution channels across Australia.

5/02/2016: Tapping the potential of wine in kegs
IMAGINE ORDERING a glass of wine at a bar and having it served at the perfect temperature and tasting consistently the same, time after time. Four years ago, the wine-on-tap category was just emerging. Thanks to enthusiasm from wineries and growing interest from restaurants, more than 3,900 locations in 49 states now offer it, nearly double the number of locations of two years ago.

5/02/2016: Wine tourism in South Africa may double by 2025
TOURISM based around South Africa’s wine industry has the potential to more than double in size in the next nine years as the declining value of the rand makes the country increasingly attractive to visitors, according to an organisation representing producers. The market could grow to R15 billion (US$930 million) in 2025 from R6 billion now, said Rico Basson, managing director of Vinpro, which has 3600 wine producers and cellars as members.

5/02/2016: Chinese stock market in turmoil, but wine sales resilient
LISTED CHINESE agribusinesses have taken on huge losses as the country's three share markets witness major turmoil, according to a market analyst. However, Wine Australia's general manager of marketing Stu Barclay said last year's economic woes in China didn't impact wine sales.

5/02/2016: Times are changing in Spain's Rioja
DRIVING IN TO RIOJA from France, I encountered thick fog. With the encroaching darkness of evening, the fog made driving hazardous and finding a destination chancy. The locals all said, "It's been like this for 10 days. It's normal. It's because of the river." The River Ebro runs through the region, dividing the northern Basque section, Rioja Alavesa, from Rioja Alta. The fog stayed for another day-and-a-half, then lifted, revealing stunning views of mountains, vineyards and hilltop villages.

4/02/2016: Marlborough Sauvignon in mid-life crisis
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is going through a “mid-life crisis”, US wine writer Matt Kramer has said. Addressing attendees of the first ever international Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough, Kramer said this morning that the New Zealand region was facing a transitional stage, charting a shift from an initial 40 year-period based on “luck” to a new stage requiring “talent". "There’s some sense of a mid-life crisis here in Marlborough… a sense that somehow you’ve missed something,” he began.

4/02/2016: Invivo expands production with acquisition of historic New Zealand winery
New Zealand winemaker Invivo has secured a long-term lease on a 114-year-old winery originally operated by New Zealand wine pioneer Romeo Bragato. The winery, which is situated to the south of Auckland, is listed by the Historic Places Trust. It was built by the Government in 1902 as the country’s first viticulture research station. In 1908, Bratago became the first New Zealand winemaker to wine awards in an international competition.

4/02/2016: Californians want rum-crazy Cuba to start drinking wine
The 3.5 million tourists who flooded Cuba last year downed oceans of mojitos, lakes of daiquiris and rivers of thin, sour beer. Only an odd few accompanied their ropa vieja and croquetas with wine — mostly overpriced, low- to mid-grade vintages from Chile, Argentina and Spain. That may be about to change, at least around the margins of Cuba's once-dismal dining scene.

4/02/2016: Don't count out Bordeaux
One of the interesting aspects of the fine wine market over the course of the last few years is the seemingly obvious change of leadership, from Bordeaux to both Burgundy, and the ‘Rest of the World’, writes Philip Staveley. From a position of trading domination back in 2011, has Bordeaux simply become “another player in the market” in more recent times?

4/02/2016: Wine institute slams California shortage claims
The body representing the Californian wine trade has hit back at a report which suggests the damage to vineyards caused by wildfires last year has led to a worryingly low-yielding 2015 vintage. The Guardian US ran a story on Monday that said smoke taint had so severely affected Californian grape-growing areas struck by wildfires in 2015 that stock levels would be threatened and wine prices could spike as a result.

4/02/2016: Apps for wine drinkers: What every winery should know
As ecommerce becomes the new norm, consumers tap into various technologies to enhance their digital shopping experiences. One area of ecommerce that is growing at an impressive rate is shopping apps. In fact, Forbes cited data from mobile analytics firm flurry, which found shopping app sessions increased by 174 percent year over year in 2015. Not only that, but wine drinkers are downloading apps to help facilitate their shopping experiences and selection process.

3/02/2016: Ageing wine critics
It’s a question from wine novices that comes up repeatedly. Just how do we know how long to age our wine critics? Furthermore, how can we tell which wine critics will age well, and which will fall apart? Are there any guidelines? I believe there are, and the best way to understand them is to look at wine critics of various ages we have now for clues as to how wine critics age. However, there is no exact measure, and certainly no guarantee.

3/02/2016: Wine Enthusiast editor Joe Czerwinski talks hedonism and developing a palate
Wine Enthusiast managing editor Joe Czerwinski is in Marlborough for the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration. The New York-based editor talks about his love of wine and what he sees in the Marlborough industry. “For me, wine was a bit of a hobby going back to when I was at university. I started grad school briefly and left for my first job, which was in a wine shop. Unfortunately I wasn't getting much of a wine education and the pay was awful so I left.”

3/02/2016: Wine profitability up for big wineries, down for small wineries
Boutique wineries are losing money following a tough 2015 vintage for the industry, a survey reveals. Results from the 10th annual financial benchmarking survey show most wineries recorded a healthy profit, while small wineries suffered. Wineries with more than $20 million in revenue averaged a profit of 30.5 per cent, while wineries which generated sales up to $1.5m lost an average of 9 per cent.

3/02/2016: Growing grapes in Shangri-La
Jean-Guillaume Prats grew up as a member of Bordeaux’s wine aristocracy, at second-growth Château Cos-d’Estournel, the St.-Estèphe estate owned by his family until 1998. But he left a successful career there to seek adventure—and found it in Shangri-La. Prats, 45, left Bordeaux in 2012, after 18 vintages at Cos, to become CEO of Estates and Wines, Moët-Hennessy's collection of premier wine properties, including Numanthia in Spain, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand and Newton in California.

3/02/2016: Turning design on its head
Consumer trends, especially in the US and UK, are changing at breakneck speed. Here, Lauren Eads discovers the cutting-edge design trends from producers hoping to keep pace. The old adage, “A picture is worth 1,000 words” is perhaps no more pertinent than within the world of drinks design and packaging. In a few short brush strokes, a brand is expected to communicate its personality, purpose and position with elegance and impact.

3/02/2016: Tesco launches two alcohol free wines from South Africa
Tesco has begun stocking two sparkling non-alcoholic wines that it says is “the nearest in taste to their alcoholic counterparts”. The two drinks – Alcohol Free Pinotage Blush and Alcohol Free Chenin Blanc Sparkling – are made from South African Pinotage Blush and Chenin Blanc grapes which have been fermented until just before the point that they turn alcoholic. They will be available at more than 760 stores across the UK (£2.75 each), and will be found in the soft drinks aisle.

2/02/2016: Marlborough rakes in lion's share of record wine exports
The Marlborough wine industry is gaining prominence as a key player in New Zealand's export economy, with latest industry figures showing continued record growth. Statistics released by New Zealand Winegrowers last week showed total New Zealand wine exports for 2015 had reached a record $1.54 billion. New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said there was no regional breakdown available but estimated 80 per cent of the total export value would have come from Marlborough.

2/02/2016: Editorial: Raise a glass to success of Bay wineries
For the Hawke's Bay wine industry, 2015 was a good year. In fact the industry has had a few good years, indeed great years, of late. The 2013 and 2014 vintages were superb and hopefully, without putting the mockers on it, the current upcoming vintage is lining up to be another little red and white cracker. Last year the exports of wine from New Zealand hit a record high of $15 billion, with the industry looking at trends and predicting that by 2020 it will likely hit the $2 billion mark.

2/02/2016: Wine here! A football bud gets competition
Beer and football may go together like wine and cheese. But lately more and more people seem be favouring a Bordeaux over a Bud Light. Wine has made inroads into football stadiums and living rooms across the United States on Sundays. Americans still buy far more beer than wine over all, so there is no end coming to the beer commercials.

2/02/2016: Wine prices could go up after California wildfires leave tons of grapes unusable
California vineyards have been forced to throw away tons of grapes after they became unusable following wildfires that swept through the state last summer. “The smoke was the main concern, because wine is not supposed to have a smoky flavour to it” says José Enríquez, of Rutherford Hill Winery, who has worked at wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties for more than 20 years. He admitted that prices will likely go up this year as a result.

2/02/2016: China wine imports rise strongly in 2015
China’s bottled wine imports in 2015 jumped by a third in both volume and value compared to 2014, the biggest increase since 2011 and emphasising signs of a recovery in the market, show customs figures. After showing growth in the first nine months of 2015, bottled wine imports in China continued to rebound in the last three months of 2015, reaching a total of 395m litres by the end of the year, a 37% increase versus 2014.

2/02/2016: Napa wineries ship $1 billion in wine to consumers in 2015
To remain competitive and relevant, wineries are becoming far more proficient at wooing customers directly with wine clubs, creating memorable experiences and emotional connections to the wineries. It seems to be paying off. Napa wineries reached an all-time-high shipping record in 2015: More than $1 billion worth of Napa Valley wine was shipped directly to consumers.

1/02/2016: Marlborough vineyard workers encouraged to report employment breaches
It is "disappointing" that some companies within the Marlborough wine industry continue to use non-compliant contracting businesses, a Labour Inspectorate spokesman says. The comments follow a Blenheim woman's claims that 13 workers were left more than $10,000 out of pocket after an agreement with a contractor fell through. Some of the workers were struggling to pay for food and rent after a contractor defaulted on a payment for 50.5 hours of work in January, the woman said.

1/02/2016: Food and wine go hand-in-hand at Sauvignon Celebration
Crisp consumer favourite: Sauvignon Blanc, will be paired alongside a gourmet selection of New Zealand produce at the up-coming International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough. The sold-out event runs from February 1-3, and has attracted over 350 guests, from 18 countries, who will have the opportunity to taste through over 400 Sauvignon Blanc wines, from 8 different countries.

1/02/2016: Diageo delivers 30 months of continuous growth
Diageo GB saw sales rise 3% in the in the six months to 31 December, marking thirty months of continuous growth, it revealed today during its interim results. Andrew Cowan, country director for Diageo Great Britain, said the growth was down to its continued focus on four key strategic areas: maintaining the momentum behind Guinness, growing the Reserve business, excellent execution of the premium core portfolio, and developing strong innovation.

1/02/2016: Chile overtakes France as top imported wine in Japan
Imports of Chilean wine have surpassed those from France in Japan for the first time, with Chile now the country’s top imported wine by origin. Imports of Chilean wine jumped 18.1% in 2015 to 51.59 million litres, while French wine imports fell 2.8% to 51.51 million litres, according to data released by the Finance Ministry, as reported by The Japan Times.

1/02/2016: Hansen: Building a world-class wine research program
Washington’s wine industry has started the process of building a world-class research program. The industry has invested in a new wine science facility, developed a strategic plan and recently hired me, theWashington Wine Commission’s first-ever research program manager. The state’s growers and wineries took a major step to support research when they pledged $7.4 million for construction of Washington State University’s Ste. Michelle Estates Wine Science Center at the Tri-Cities campus.

1/02/2016: Wine-on-tap sales surge as restaurateurs seek efficiency, freshness, sustainability
Many Vancouver restaurateurs are swapping corkscrews for spigots as they adopt new technologies to serve wine in an effort to reduce costs, improve freshness and boost environmental sustainability. Not only are more restaurants starting to use wine-on-tap technology, but there are also an increase in total volume served, a rise in the number of competing technologies that package wine for this purpose and more wineries that allow their wines to be sold in this fashion.

29/01/2016: Martinborough vineyard fire costs half a million, leaves manager in tears
A fire that destroyed an implement shed and valuable machinery at a Martinborough winery did about half a million dollars of damage, but could easily have cost a lot more. Murdoch James Estate founder Roger Fraser said had workers removed about 50 kilometres of customised bird netting worth up to $200,000 on Wednesday, just hours before the blaze. “If they'd been in there [during the fire], we would never have been able to replace them before vintage," he said.

29/01/2016: New Zealand wine exports reach record $1.5 billion high
New Zealand wine exports have reached a new record high of $1.54 billion for the 2015 year, up 14 per cent on 2014 according to New Zealand Winegrowers. "The new record level of wine exports is an outstanding achievement for New Zealand wine exporters and testifies to the strong global demand for our wines," said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. New Zealand wine is exported to more than 90 countries, and is New Zealand’s sixth largest export good.

29/01/2016: Wine sales growth slows to 2% as consumers upscale
SACRAMENTO — Growth in U.S. wine sales slowed in 2015 as competition heats up globally to slake the thirst of wine consumers for higher-priced wines, according to experts at a major wine industry conference. “When you look at it from 60,000 feet overall, the wine business is great; it’s booming and things look very good for the coming year, including this year."

29/01/2016: Everything you need to know about the wine world's next big thing
In the mid-twentieth century, a number of French winemakers—known then and now as among the best in the world—adopted some dubious practices. In an effort to produce more bulk and appeal to a perceived global market, they began shifting away from their historically minimalist practices that allowed wines to vary from vintage to vintage according to climatic fluctuations.

29/01/2016: Garage winemaker-turned-pro wins gold at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Early on, fast-growing online wine company NakedWines.com took a chance on Tom Shula, a talented amateur winemaker who made amazing wines in his garage. That gamble paid off handsomely last week when Shula's rich, complex Merlot won gold in the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, joining esteemed brands like Beaulieu Vineyards (BV), Grgich Hills Estates and Cakebread Cellars in the winners' circle.

29/01/2016: South Africa’s wine industry urged to innovate
AS SA’s wine producers face up to the devastating drought, their association is urging them to find new ways of turning a profit, in order to stay in business. VinPro data shows 15% of wine grape producers are profitable, 55% are at break-even and 30% farming at a loss. Cellars struggle to obtain wine prices above those needed to break even. SA’s nearly 100,000ha of vineyards generate about 3% of the world’s wine production.

28/01/2016: Winery seeks exemption
Felton Road winery is pushing for a proposed law change after its Riesling missed out on the European market by 0.01% alcohol volume. Felton Road's 8.44% alcohol 2015 Riesling was prevented from being sold to Europe because of European Union (EU) trade regulations which state still wine must be at least 8.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). Felton Road winemaker Blair Walter said laws allowed rounding to the nearest 10th of a percent, meaning the Riesling missed out by 0.01%.

28/01/2016: All hail the mighty Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Glance at any supermarket wine section and it's immediately clear that we like Sauvignon Blanc best. All the reds for sale would struggle to fill the area set aside for a single variety from a single area - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. For all the talk about the New Zealand wine industry being much more than a one-trick pony – that pony still rules. But while Sauvignon Blanc sells in stainless steel vat loads, it's other wines such as Pinot Noir, that have set up their own navel-gazing conferences.

28/01/2016: French winemaker drops organic status for ‘better treatments’
A winemaker in the Vaucluse has become the latest producer to withdraw his wine from organic certification, citing his concerns over the environmental sustainability of organic winemaking. Sebastien Vincenti, of Domaine de Fondrèche in Mazan, AOC Côtes de Ventoux, has been certified organic with French body Ecocert since 2009. But, that is about to change.

28/01/2016: Acidity is the key to ageing wine
Rather than tannic structure or time in oak, a wine’s acidity levels are the most important factor as to whether or not it will age well according to one winemaker. Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to Argentina, Martin Kaiser, chief agronomist at Doña Paula estate, said: “Acidity is the most important element to ageing but the wine also needs to have a good tannic structure to perform well during the micro-oxygenation process.

28/01/2016: Why the American Wine Industry Needs a Shakeup
The United States currently is the world’s dominant wine producer and the American wine drinker is its dominant consumer. But that doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels. Between the web, agnostic millennials and the strong dollar, there's a huge opportunity for our overseas brethren to take over.

28/01/2016: Record 2015 harvest for Spain
The 2015 vintage in Spain looks set to be a “record year” in both quality and quantity but “intense” heat in some areas provided challenges to overcome. According to Wines of Spain’s vintage report, July was the hottest month of the year before the arrival of cooler weather in August. Harvest dates were somewhat in advance of previous years (by a week or so) but the warm, dry weather throughout 2015 kept vineyard diseases at bay and allowed the crop to be brought in in excellent health.

27/01/2016: Woman claims Marlborough vineyard workers exploited
Cowboys and fly-by-night contractors have dwindled in the Marlborough wine industry with the expansion of the recognised seasonal employer (RSE) scheme, a contractor says. Hortus managing director Aaron Jay said dodgy contractors had the potential to harm the reputation of the wine industry. Recognised seasonal employers were audited by the Government to make sure they complied with labour laws and had good health and safety practices, Jay said.

27/01/2016: Wine industry global influencers to speak at international celebration
A selection of the crème de la crème of the international wine world will be presenting at the inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, held in Marlborough from 1-3 February. 20 guests from as far afield as Canada, the US, France, UK, and China will be speaking at the event, sharing their knowledge and experience of Sauvignon Blanc with over 350 delegates, from 18 different countries.

27/01/2016: Two of America's Largest Wine Wholesalers Are Merging
Just two weeks into the new year, the wine industry witnessed what might be the most important business deal of 2016. On Jan. 11, Southern Wine & Spirits and Glazer's Inc. sealed a merger agreement, increasing the size of the largest distributor in the United States. But what does that mean for you? For the average consumer, distributors are the invisible hand of the wine industry.

27/01/2016: This California vineyard is using drones to make better wine
What goes into a great bottle of wine? Sensors, software, and scads of data analysis. Oh, and drones, of course. One day last fall, a drone lazily circled above Hahn Estate Winery, home to 1,100 acres of grapes in California’s Santa Lucia Highlands. The drone, a five-pound model airplane, wasn’t there merely to take photos. Fitted with visual and multispectral sensors, it was collecting various kinds of data—information to help Hahn monitor the health of its vineyard.

27/01/2016: Heat and drought may shrink wine grape harvest in South Africa
The South African wine grape harvest may be significantly smaller, due to the decreasing effect of searing heat and drought throughout the season. This according to a harvest estimate by the industry in the second week of January. “Larger crops than in 2015 are expected in the Orange River and Klein Karoo, while the other wine grape producing regions all predict a decrease to a greater or smaller extent,” said Francois Viljoen, manager of the VinPro Consultation Service.

27/01/2016: Billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni Has New Wine Dreams for South America
It was twilight when Alejandro Pedro Bulgheroni first saw a 2,200-hectare property for sale in rural Garzón, just north of Uruguayan resort Punta del Este, where he has a beach house. The peaceful green hills reminded him of Tuscany. “The place had magic,” he says. “I had to have it.” He bought it in 1999.

25/01/2016: NZ wine exports up 8.5% in volume, 13.1% in value on light harvest
Continued strong growth in export demand for New Zealand wine is rapidly depleting inventories after a light 2015 harvest. Rabobank's latest wine quarterly showed export volumes increased 8.5% in volume and 13.1% in value over the 10 months to October 2015. Average export prices have edged up in all major markets since the harvest, despite growth in bulk wine export volumes (up 13% year on year) outpacing that of bottled wine exports (up 6.6%) over the period.

25/01/2016: Bridge Pa Wine Festival 'huge success'
The "huge success" of Saturday's second Bridge Pa Wine Festival which saw more than 1500 people enjoy the hospitality of seven wineries in that region meant it would become an annual summer event "on the Hawke's Bay map for years to come," event co-ordinator Paul Ham said. "It was overwhelmingly successful and we have been getting a lot of very good feedback about it."

25/01/2016: Harvesting Light: New technologies in winemaking
Modern winemakers have a vast array of new tools to help improve wine quality at nearly every level, from optimizing grapevine hydration to mechanical harvesters and DNA fingerprinting. More than ever, winemakers must be a blend of artist, farmer, scientist and computer geek to keep up with the latest technologies. “Producing the highest quality wine starts with healthy grapes,” said Garrett Buckland, a winemaker and partner at Premiere Viticultural Services in Napa.

25/01/2016: France to build new "Louvre of the grape vine" to safeguard world wine gene pool
France to plant huge genetic bank of half the world's grape varieties in soil 30 metres above sea level to avoid risk of destruction from rising sea levels. France is to build a new “Louvre of the grape vine” to house over half of the world’s grape varieties in a bid to safeguard wine diversity for future generations. The country first started trying to safely store the world’s grape vines in the mid-19th century in the wake of the Phylloxera plague of aphids that wiped out many of the country’s grape-growing plants.

25/01/2016: Millennials are ruining the American wine industry
Wine consumption in the US is expected to drop this year after more than two consecutive decades of growth. With baby boomers aging — and more and more millennials choosing to pass on the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio — the Silicon Valley Bank predicts the industry will see a decline across the board for the first time since 1993.

25/01/2016: Could bad vibrations thwart sex lives of vine-threatening leafhoppers?
European scientists have revealed a method for thwarting the reproduction of American grapevine leafhoppers (Scaphoideus titanus) by using vibration to disrupt the insects’ mating rituals. The American grapevine leafhopper arrived in Europe in the 19th century, hitching a ride on American rootstock, on which it feeds and spreads a bacterium that has caused an epidemic of the deadly, incurable vine disease flavescence dorée.

22/01/2016: Matua Vintners named official wines of the 22nd SAG awards
Wines from Treasury Wine Estate's Beringer and Matua vintners will be poured at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® and at the Post Awards Gala hosted by People Magazine and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, SAG Awards Committee Chair JoBeth Williams announced today.

22/01/2016: Twelve Questions: Chris Scott
Church Road’s senior wine maker Chris Scott quit his accounting degree to study wine making in the Hawkes Bay and has never looked back. His Church Road Mcdonald Series Syrah took out the Champion Wine of the Show prize at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

22/01/2016: Why we need a radical new approach to wine
It all started when I grew weary of wine culture and the experience of drinking wine in general. Drinking alcohol should never make you feel dumb or belittled. It should never make you think, What the fuck is that? You should be able to pick up a wine list and feel comfortable and find things that are relatable, regardless of your prior wine knowledge. It’s just alcohol in a glass, after all. This level of casual comfort when ordering wine is what I have achieved with my wine menu at Hatchet Hall.

22/01/2016: SA and its wine 'need more sex appeal'
South Africa as well as its wine do not really have a sexy image internationally and this lack of sex appeal shows in falling in sales of SA wine, according to Jane Robertson, category development director at Accolade Wines. A lot of retailers abroad do not understand SA and SA wine and this leads to them easily cutting it from ranges they stock, she warned at the Nedbank VinPro information day on Thursday.

22/01/2016: Hong Kong drinkers visiting Macau now spoilt for choice of world wines
Macau’s wine scene has been shaped by centuries of Portuguese culture and tradition. When Portuguese sailors first dropped anchor in the enclave, no doubt there were a few oak barrels on board. Today, Macau is a different beast – less “yo ho ho and a bottle of rum”, more ooh-ahh and a bottle of red. In any case, Macau’s dual Sino-Portuguese heritage makes it one of the few Asian nations with an established Eurocentric wine culture.

22/01/2016: Wildfires Threaten Vineyards in South Africa's Stellenbosch
Staff members at several prominent wineries on the famed Simonsberg mountain in South Africa's Stellenbosch district have been battling a large wildfire that erupted yesterday. Local news reports estimate at least 2,000 acres have been damaged so far, with parts of the fire still not contained. "It was a crazy, hectic night," said Miles Mossop, winemaker at Tokara winery. "The fire started over the mountain from us at around 10:30 a.m., and about 5 p.m. was looking like it might come under control.

21/01/2016: Eu blocks sale of low alcohol Riesling
Central Otago winery Felton Road has been prohibited from selling its Bannockburn Riesling in Europe because it falls below the 8.5% ABV limit set by the European Union. Felton Road’s 2015 Bannockburn Riesling has an alcohol limit of 8.44%, slightly below the minimum level set by the EU for still wines. As a result, the winery will not be able to sell any of the Riesling – Felton Road’s second best-selling white wine – in Europe, Felton Road’s owner Nigel Greening confirmed.

21/01/2016: Chardonnay and Sparkling the stars of Gisborne wine symposium
Gisborne will play host to some of the world’s top writers and influencers at New Zealand’s first Chardonnay and Sparkling wine symposium this February. Past, Present and Beyond... the Tale of New Zealand Chardonnay and Sparkling runs from February 4-5, and follows Marlborough’s inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration (February 1-3).

21/01/2016: California winegrowers can't rely on El Niño
The much-anticipated El Niño winter has brought some precipitation to parched California and begun to replenish the vital Sierra Nevada snowpack. But according to experts including the National Weather Service in Sacramento, a single “normal year” will not redeem the state from the ravages of a four-year drought.

21/01/2016: Woman winemakers in CA? Still not very many
Reading about the upcoming Women of the Vine Global Symposium, a great event which takes place this April in Napa Valley, made me think of how difficult it was for women to gain a toehold in the wine business, even in “liberal” Napa Valley, as recently as the 1970s. I was talking just yesterday with Cathy Corison, who related to me how, when she got a job in Freemark Abbey’s cellar, in 1978, Napa “never had a woman hauling hoses before that!”

21/01/2016: Emerging ‘it-grape’ Garnacha is ready for its close-up
The enduring popularity of superstar grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay has seen their dominion spread across virtually every wine region in the world. In the past 10 years, they have catapulted up the ranks to be among the most widely planted varieties in the world. That age-old adage rings true again: Success breeds success. But it’s clear the winds of change are stirring.

21/01/2016: Luxembourg vintners begin ice wine harvest
Even after the adverse weather conditions in December, it looks as though ice wine may finally work out for Luxembourg's vintners this year: thanks to the recent frosty temperatures, the ice wine grape harvest started Monday. In December, the Institut Viti-Vinicole had a pessimistic outlook for an ice wine vintage --weather was simply too mild. In order for grapes to be processed into ice wine in the first place, they require a night's freeze of at least -7° Celsius (grapes have a lower freezing point than pure water).

20/01/2016: Paid-for wine reviews draw flak
A group of wine writers have labelled the practice of paid-for wine reviews unethical. In its latest code of ethics the Wine Writers of New Zealand strongly discouraged its writers from engaging in such practice. "Engaging in any work that involves direct payment from a winery is discouraged given the possibility of real or perceived conflicts of interest," it said.

20/01/2016: A grape that's fresh of the boat with promise
The country's wine list is growing. We've added a number of new grape varieties to the national vineyard over the past 10 years. That's no bad thing. There are, after all, around 10,000 of them out there, 1000 of which are known to have been made into wine somewhere in the world. Loosening our embrace with the international pacesetters (Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, et al) has been gradual, because growing new things is a risky business.

20/01/2016: Aldi online wine store launches
Discount supermarket Aldi has launched an online wine shop in the UK, including both its in-store range and internet exclusives, as it seeks to be more competitive in the wine retail sector. The Aldi online wine store launched today (19 January), with the retailer offering home delivery for the first time to UK shoppers. More than 90 wines will be available online and customers will be able to choose a case of six wines or order a ready-mixed case from a selection of regions.

20/01/2016: FBI looking into complaints against Premier Cru
Premier Cru owes nearly $70 million to wine consumers. Was it a bad business model or something worse? The FBI is looking into complaints against Premier Cru, the once-prominent California wine merchant that filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 8, Wine Spectator has learned. Several customers of the Berkeley store have filed lawsuits against the retailer in the past year, alleging that they never received wines they ordered and paid for—amounting, in some cases, to hundreds of thousands of dollars in highly collectible wines.

20/01/2016: French winemaker forced to pay back EU subsidies over fraud
One of Bordeaux's most renowned winemakers, whose bottles sell for up to £2500 ($5184) each, has been found guilty of fraud over the misuse of almost £450,000 of EU subsidies. Doubt was also cast on claims made by Loïc Pasquet, creator of Liber Pater wines, to have revived long-lost grape varieties from the 19th century. The case has raised uncomfortable questions about how France spends some €280 million ($443 million) of European aid on its wine industry every year.

20/01/2016: Donuts launches .WINE and .VIN internet domains
Wineries, vintners, retailers, and wine aficionados have two new homes on the Internet as Donuts Inc., the largest registry for new "not-com" domain names (known in the industry asgeneric top-level domains, or gTLDs), today announced that the .WINE and .VIN gTLDs will be available for general registration on January 20. The announcement follows an active two month Sunrise period during which more than 1,300 brand owners and trademark holders have already registered .WINE and .VIN domains—the most active Sunrise period to date for Donuts-managed new gTLDs.

19/01/2016: Busy summer season for Marlborough cellar doors as wine tourism grows
Wine tourism is on the rise and cellar doors around Marlborough are reaping the benefits, with one of their busiest seasons yet. Saint Clair restaurant cellar door manager Stefan Wernli said the number of people visiting the cellar door had grown on last season. "It's been really busy lately, much busier than last year, especially during the Christmas and New Year period," he said. During the holiday period, the cellar door restaurant was routinely doing up to 140 lunches a day.

19/01/2016: Owners put boutique winery on market
One of the Bridge Pa Triangle's boutique wineries has gone on the market with the owners wanting to spend more time with family. Triangle Vineyard, which was set up by Adrienne and Bryce Campbell in 2006, has gone on the market through Bayleys Hawke's Bay with the price set as "by negotiation".

19/01/2016: MALTA: New vintage beginnings
Like the art of origami, winter pruning in the vineyard is a long, laborious practice: each snip of the secateurs as deliberate and precise as a paper fold, each cut as dedicated as the next to the creation of an amazing three-dimensional sculpture of a perfectly manicured vine. After midwinter, when the Maltese weather turns colder, grape growers are to manually trim back last year’s woody canes, making sure to pay careful attention to the equilibrium and harmony of each knobby vine foot.

19/01/2016: Exclusive: TWE launches Treasury Chateau & Estate to handle luxury import stable
Following Treasury Wine Estates’ $600 million deal to acquire most of Diageo’s wine business late last year, SND has learned that TWE will also take on U.S. import rights for a number of prestigious European brands that Diageo formerly handled. To house this import line up, effective immediately, TWE has formed Treasury Chateau & Estate, which will be managed by Jonathan Nahrgang, the company’s luxury import export director.

19/01/2016: Organic wine sales consistently growing in the UK
Sales of organic wine in the UK have grown across the independent on and off-trade in the UK, according to organic specialist company, Vintage Roots. The company, which supplies specialist and organic food shops as well as bars, pubs and restaurants, said turnover had surged 20% in the last two years, following a three-year “flatline”. Director and co-founder Neil Palmer told db it was good to see the growth returning to the UK, especially at a time when the multiple retailers were cutting back and honing their ranges, rather than pushing organic.

19/01/2016: Lower alcohol wine shows potential, despite barriers still in place
A new report published yesterday has found that lower alcohol wines remain a complex, yet interesting category, with several markets showing encouraging signs of growth, despite significant barriers still existing. According to the Wine Intelligence Lower Alcohol Wines – A Multi-Market Perspective 2016 report, which analyses lower alcohol wines in eight markets across the world, North America has shown good signs of growth in the category over the last 12 months.

18/01/2016: Grapegrowers warned about powdery mildew
Grapegrowers are being warned to keep an eye out for a fungal disease which appearing in a growing number of vineyards in the Marlborough region. Powdery mildew commonly affects grapevines at this time of year and in extreme cases can result in crops being written off. Marlborough Wine Growers chair Clive Jones said most growers were aware of the disease but an increase in incidents over the past two years had prompted a fresh warning to be more vigilant.

18/01/2016: Free Run Wines returns to NZ tasting with Selaks Winery
Marlborough-based off-trade supplier Free Run Wines will be exhibiting four wines from New Zealand winery Selaks Wines at the New Zealand Wine Annual Trade Tasting in London today. The team will be presenting the latest vintages, two reds and two whites, from each of Selaks’ ranges alongside Constellation Brands.

18/01/2016: Winemaking waste shows antioxidant and anti-cholesterol benefits: Study
Researchers say polyphenols from winemaking by-product red grape pomice has potential as a functional ingredient in nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Grapes arte the world’s largest fruit crop. Mainly used in winemaking, about 20-30% of the weight of processed grapes ends up as the by-product pomace, which consists of the skins, seeds and stems.

18/01/2016: Does the vineyard’s dirt really affect the taste of what’s in your glass?
Ernest “Bubba” Beasley grabbed an auger and led the way along the vine rows. We were at Pollak Vineyards in Greenwood, Va., west of Charlottesville, on a sweltering summer day last July. Beasley, a geologist, and Lucie Morton, a viticulturist, wanted to show me their research on the relationship of vineyard soils to wine quality. And that meant a “dirt tasting.”

18/01/2016: Wineries in Napa are using submarine tech for wine fermentation
Traditionally, when wine is being fermented, if the yeast in the fermentation process ends up doing something it shouldn't, it could take a few days before anyone is able to notice what has happened. A new fermentation system being implemented at the Palmaz Vineyards in Napa, Calif., however, will alert staff of yeast-related risk factors before they can have an impact on the wine and ruin the process.

18/01/2016: The rich history of Hungarian wine
Most European countries have the Romans to thank for their wine industry. But Hungary, with nearly 100 varietals and 22 wine-growing regions, may predate even Julius Caesar. The written proof supporting this theory is spotty at best, yet many historians believe the tale. "Indirect proof is there, that the Celts inhabiting the country knew viticulture as early as the third century B.C.," says sommelier Gergely Barsi Szabó of Barsi Szabó Edwards Wines.

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