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

23/05/2016: New Wine Business Workshops for NSW and Victoria
Winning Wine Tourism and DtC Strategy is the title of this year’s round of workshops run by Wine Business Solutions. Small to medium wine businesses now derive over half of their income from Direct to Customer sales. Just 20% of businesses, however, are accountable for 89% of sales, according to Wine Direct, US.

Irrigation Australia International Conference and Exhibition kicks off from 9.00am Tuesday 24 May, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, open every day until Thursday 26 May. That's three days you can spend discovering new innovative solutions, participate in challenging discussions and learn how to grow your business.

20/05/2016: Last chance for ICCWS 2016 tickets!
With just a few days to go organisers are urging anyone thinking of coming to the ICCWS 2016 to buy their tickets now! Non delegates are invited to the evening networking events, so if the conference isn’t for you, but you want the chance to meet the great and the good of the international cool climate wine producing community, why not come to the Cool Wine and Canapé tasting at Brighton Sealife Centre?

Irrigation Australia is much more than a conference and exhibition with activities designed to satisfy people from the many different sectors in the irrigation industry. If you are looking for something different, why not catch up with the latest in irrigation and water technology – and your colleagues – by booking into the study tour?

With two weeks to go until the global cool climate wine community arrives in Brighton, you must book your sessions by Tuesday 17th to secure your seat! Take a look at the programme to help you decide. Click here to select - all choices are first come first served. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet there’s still time, but with capacity nearly we recommend buying now to ensure you don’t miss out.

Australian Wine Industry News

26/05/2016: Seasonal workers will head to New Zealand if Australia ramps up backpacker tax
BUREAUCRATIC bumbling over the controversial backpacker tax is doing more damage than the tax itself. This is the message from leaders in the Riverina horticulture industry who fear workers will head to New Zealand instead of Australia due to the financial imposts. Riverina Wine Grape Marketing Board chief executive officer Brian Simpson said the backpacker tax didn’t just hurt agriculture and horticulture but was also detrimental to the broader economy.

26/05/2016: Noosa Food and Wine festival a huge financial boost
UNDER clear blue skies the weekend's Food and Wine 2016 proved a runaway success, with sell-out events and millions of dollars injected into the Noosa economy. An estimated 10,000 people were in the region to enjoy 43 events, with 40 chefs and 22 wineries participating. Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Damien Massingham said 7000 tickets were snapped up before the weekend began.

26/05/2016: Solar project gives ray of hope to struggling Australian grapegrowers
A RENEWABLE energy project in Australia’s largest grape growing region is giving struggling vignerons a sunny alternative. An electrical services company in South Australia’s Riverland is looking to build dozens of community-owned solar farms and sell the energy on Australia’s volatile spot market. The Riverland is about 250km east of the South Australian capital Adelaide and stretches for 120km along the banks of Australia’s biggest river, the Murray.

26/05/2016: Penfolds unveils $198,000 luxury barrel purchase program
Treasury Wine Estates announced it has begun selling small vintages of Penfolds wine by the barrel to private collectors, as the brand seeks to focus on promoting its premium wines. Penfolds unveiled the Magill Cellar 3 barrel program to a global audience at Vinexpo in Hong Kong and said the wine contained in the barrel release was unavailable from any other bottle or source in the world.

26/05/2016: Numbers up for Vinnovation Award and Winegrape Growers Summit
The number of entries received in the 2016 PIRSA Vinnovation Award is double the number received last year – showing how wine grape growers are responding to the challenges of being successful in an increasingly competitive and fast-changing environment. Entries range from computer apps to assist with decision-making on disease management - increasing the effectiveness of controls - to mechanical adaptations to machinery to speed pruning to reduce labour costs.

25/05/2016: Sour grapes as wine loses $1m support
The state government is introducing a $1.8 million a year wine industry development scheme to support a stronger and sustainable South Australian wine sector. But local MP Stephan Knoll has labelled the scheme – which replaces the Cellar Door Liquor Subsidy – an “unripened mess”, citing a cut of nearly $1m worth of industry support. The new scheme, which comes into effect from July 1, replaces the Cellar Door Liquor Subsidy which returned around $2.7m a year to eligible businesses.

25/05/2016: Simon Killeen of Simao and Co a spit of his ancestors
SIMON Killeen was destined to be a winemaker. “Dad was one, grandpa was one, great-grandpa was one and great-great-grandpa was one,” says the 30-year-old from Rutherglen in Victoria’s North East who, for the second year in a row, has been named one of Australia’s best young winemakers. This year, Simon, who runs Simao and Co winery, is one of 12 young winemakers vying for the prestigious Young Gun of Wine award, to be announced on July 1.

25/05/2016: Marc Scalzo named as finalist in Winemaker of the Year Awards
Rutherglen Estates announced yesterday that Marc Scalzo, chief winemaker, has been named amongst the finalists in this years’ Gourmet Traveller WINE ‘Australian Winemaker of the Year’ awards. Scalzo joined Rutherglen Estates in 2008, after spending seven years at Brown Brothers, where he was responsible for a very diverse portfolio. Prior to that, Scalzo has experienced busy vintages in New Zealand with family-owned Delegat and Seresin Estates, and also worked with Rick Kinzbrunner at Giaconda in Beechworth.

25/05/2016: How Treasury Wine defied the cynics
Treasury Wine Estate’s stock price is edging towards double the value it was when it rejected the $3.4 billion, or $5.20 a share, offer from KKR back in September 2014. The stock was trading around the $4.80 a share market and all the talk was KKR actually wanted to lower its price when the board formally rejected the bid. The company has more than delivered on expectations since then, helped in part by the falling Australian dollar which has boosted the value of exports of its top brands like Penfolds.

25/05/2016: Two of a kind
Steve Lubiana has been growing and making wine in Tasmania since 1989, also establishing the state’s first biodynamic vineyard in the process. In 2011, he spent vintage at Weingut Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer to learn about Austria’s indigenous grapes, including Gruner Veltliner and Blaufrankisch. About 65km southeast of Vienna in Austria’s famed Burgenland red wine region, Gerhard Pittnauer also farms according to biodynamic principles. He’s long championed the fickle and unfashionable variety of St Laurent, and makes beautifully detailed Blaufrankisch and Pinot Noir.

24/05/2016: Winemakers vow to resist ownership rules
Winemakers will fight a plan to force them to own a vineyard before they can claim a lucrative tax rebate. The government tightened the wine equalisation tax (WET) scheme in the federal budget. The Winemakers Federation of Australia said the change was unfair because a lot of vineyards were leased. "Quite often these days you have leases of vineyards and leases of wineries. It's efficient not to actually own the asset," the lobby group's acting chief executive, Tony Battaglene, said.

24/05/2016: Homer Simpson and nuclear politics as France shows the way for SA wine
South Australia's doesn't have to choose between storing nuclear waste and its famous wine industry, according to the state's business lobby, which has drawn solace from the cooling towers nestled among France's vineyards. Nigel McBride, the chief executive of Business SA, the organisation that oversees the interests of more than 46,000 businesses in South Australia, has just returned from Finland and France, where he researched the nuclear waste industry.

24/05/2016: New members join Australian Women in Wine Awards board
The Australian Women in Wine Awards (AWIWA) will have two new members on its advisory board as it gears up for its second year in 2016. The new appointees are Rebekah Richardson, Head of the White, Sparkling and Rosé portfolio for Pernod Ricard Winemakers Australia, and Brian Walsh, Chair of Wine Australia; the board oversees and guides direction for AWIWA.

24/05/2016: Canberra wineries put growth plans on hold due to budget changes
Canberra winemakers fear many emerging brands will abandon expansion plans and cut jobs due to changes to tax concessions that could cripple their business model. Smaller vineyards have relied on the wine equalisation tax rebate for more than a decade, which subsidises businesses for a 29 per cent tax on the wholesale value of their products.

24/05/2016: May 2016 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The May 2016 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. This month we had a chat to all the major wine regions around Australia about the 2016 vintage, which shaped up to be a short and sweet affair. The battle against Eutypa is also tackled in the May magazine, as well as our top 10 tips for post-harvest activity.

23/05/2016: PM pushes free trade in Tas winery visit
Tasmanian vineyard Josef Chromy makes very good wine, so it might be thought Malcolm Turnbull would get to try a drop or two when he dropped in on Friday. Not at all. “It's not appropriate to be feeding alcoholic beverages to the prime minister before lunch," joked winemaker Jeremy Dineen. In fact their prize example, a 2011 chardonnay judged the best in the world, sold out within days.

23/05/2016: Wineries offer fans opportunity to rent vines and make their own personal drop
Fancy serving your own custom bottle of wine at your next dinner party? You could name it after yourself or perhaps your dog – Quin's Shiraz, perhaps? For a handful of Victorians who appreciate a boutique drop but don't have the time – or the millions of dollars to set up their own vineyard – they are jumping on the sharing economy bandwagon and renting vines.

23/05/2016: The new wave of Oz
In 40 years of observing the wine scene, I have never known it to be in such a state of flux. Until a few years ago, all of the world’s winemakers seemed to be going in the same direction, roughly in pursuit of a local copy of the French classics, more or less styled to appeal to the perceived tastes of the most powerful American critics. Big and bold held sway.

23/05/2016: Grapegrowers look to cannabis crops after table grape industry turns sour
Cannabis crops could be the new industry for drought-stricken farmers in south-west Queensland. The decision by the Federal Government to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis has communities around the country vying for the right to grow the crop. Representatives from Queensland Health and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries met with potential growers in Atherton earlier this week.

23/05/2016: Meet Peter Gago — the winemaker driving Penfolds’ worldwide success
Peter Gago admits he’s in the grip of the grape. Others might say obsessed. Years ago the man who is now chief winemaker at Penfolds donated some treasured bottles from his extensive collection for a raffle to raise money for his wife, Labor MP Gail Gago’s election campaign. Not long after the draw, remorse kicked in. Gago couldn’t help himself: he went and bought two of the prizes back from the winners.

20/05/2016: Dave Brookes at World Bulk Wine Exhibition
Dave Brookes, renowned Australian wine consultant and journalist, has been announced as a jury member for the International Bulk Wine Competition. The competition will be held at the eighth World Bulk Wine Exhibition, running at Amsterdam’s RAI from 21-22 November, 2016. Brookes is a main consultant at Wine Marketing Labs, and also a regular collaborator in the media such as the Australian Gourmet Traveller or Vinofreakism.

20/05/2016: London Wine Fair, Riverland success
For over 35 years, the London Wine Fare has been a launch pad for new wines and businesses supplying wine into the UK. The fair is one of the world’s leading wine trade events, with over 500 exhibitors from across the globe showing some 13,000 wines. In recent years, the programme seminars, masterclasses and tastings that take place at the fair have been increasingly important and form a key part of the trade fair's make up.

20/05/2016: Grampians wine growers to benefit from WET rebate
ALONG with its $50-million commitment to the wine industry on budget night, the Turnbull government announced its plan to strengthen the integrity rules for the Wine Equalisation Tax rebate starting July 1, 2019. In Victoria, the rebate has reduced the liability for many small wine producers, providing them with an opportunity to produce quality wine by taking risks with new varietals, styles and even wine tourism experiences.

20/05/2016: Aussie wine region flaunts Italian style
A WINE region more than 15,000 kilometres from Tuscany is emerging as a primo producer of Italian varieties and styles. Many of the more than 100 wineries in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia are making Italian style wines with some of them receiving recognition on the world stage. In a competition first at the prestigious International Wine Challenge this month, wineries Bird in Hand and Mr. Riggs were both awarded Gold medals for Adelaide Hills wines made from Montepulciano grapes. It was the first time a non-Italian Montepulciano has won Gold.

20/05/2016: The wines and spirits that Singaporeans like best: Vinexpo Hong Kong
Singaporeans love their Australian wines. At nearly 40 percent, Australian wines dominate the import market in Singapore, thanks in large part to geographical proximity. Following Australian wines, the second biggest source market for imported wines is Chile followed by France. Those are among some of the highlights out of a Vinexpo study which paints a portrait of consumption trends up to 2019.

19/05/2016: Family-run Best's Wines still going strong after 150 years
The Europeans might consider Best's Wines as a new-world wine producer, but the 150-year-old Great Western-based winery holds secrets to old-world wines. On April 18, 1866, Henry Best was given permission to clear the land near Concongella Creek in western Victoria. The site has some of the oldest vines in Australia because Mr Best planted everything he could get his hands on at the time.

19/05/2016: Fowles Wine trotted out for US magazines
NE small Victorian winery is making a name for itself on the world stage. Fowles Wine, at Avenel, has recently been visited by three of the world’s top wine publications. Wine Spectator, the world’s largest wine magazine, dropped by last month, as well as Wine Enthusiast earlier this month and Wine Advocate late last year. The magazines — all from the US — made the trip specifically to Fowles for a taste of the Strathbogie Ranges.

19/05/2016: Top 10 tips: Facebook for wine brands
Facebook is widely used in the wine sector and last year a three-year research project funded by Wine Australia revealed how important it is to think about what you post, when you post and how much you post. Researcher from the project Dr Rebecca Dolan – who has since moved from the University of Adelaide to the Department of Marketing in the University of Auckland Business School – gives her top tips for wine brands using Facebook.

19/05/2016: Holistic farming the way to winery's sustainability
SHEEP are not something that you expect to see if you’re wandering around a vineyard, but a flock or two is rapidly becoming one of the options that a vineyard owner can use to improve the quality of their soil, and in the end, their wine. Holistic farm management was one of the terms being readily used at a sustainability workshop organised through the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre, an alliance between DPI, Charles Sturt University and NSW Wine Industry Association.

19/05/2016: Banking on a bottling passion
A LOVE of fine wine and the outdoors saw Stephen Wood leave the security of a job in the banking industry to make his own wine. “I fell in love with wine when I was given James Halliday’s Australian Wine Compendium when I left a job in my 20s and took it on a tour of some of South Australia’s vineyard regions,” he said.

19/05/2016: Canberra's winemakers welcome backpacker tax delay
Canberra region winemakers have warned of potentially devastating impacts on harvest and business if the delayed backpacker tax was eventually introduced. The government announced on Tuesday it would push back the start of its fraught with challenge backpacker tax by six months, pending a review.

18/05/2016: Wine exports pop cork breaking through $2 billion
AUSTRALIAN wine is booming overseas. Wine exports for the 12 months to March broke through $2 billion and last week Australia scored the second highest number of medals at the International Wine Challenge. According to Wine Australia, the value of Australian wine exports has grown 13 per cent to $2.1 billion and volume increased by 3 per cent to 731 million litres.

18/05/2016: Viticulture app to use AI to support on-farm decisions
A new app to monitor on-farm growing conditions for viticulturalists is being developed by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA). The VitiApp was showcased earlier in the month at Agfest and is funded by the Sense-T program and developed in collaboration with the School of Engineering and ICT at the University of Tasmania. VitiApp will use artificial intelligence to enhance the way the system supports use decisions.

18/05/2016: WA wine industry disproportionately impacted by WET reforms, industry body says
Up to 400 of Western Australia's wine producers are participating in a survey that seeks to measure the economic and social consequences of proposed Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) reforms. The Federal Government announced a range of measures as part of its recent budget, which it said would address industry concern with the way the rebate currently operated.

18/05/2016: A wine man for all seasons
BUILDING company chief, racing thoroughbred owner and breeder and production touring car champion – 66-year-old Graeme Shaw is a man of diverse accomplishments. His energies now pour into producing top-class cool-climate wines at Shaw Vineyard Estate, which has one of the largest privately owned vineyards in the ACT wine region.

18/05/2016: Rutherglen Winery Walkabout Sunday tickets 2016 sell-out
THE Rutherglen Winery Walkabout has sold out of Sunday tickets for the first time in the event’s 42-year history. About 11,000 tickets have already sold for the weekend with a month to go, making it the fastest ticket sales on record for the Winemakers of Rutherglen event. About 12,500 people attended Winery Walkabout in 2015 with the number likely to hit 14,000 this year.

17/05/2016: Owners desperate to reopen Boronia’s Old Orchard Winery after lease expiry
COUNCIL red tape has left a once-thriving Boronia winery rundown and overgrown after a lease on the land expired a year ago, its former owners say. Wantirna South couple David and Pat Smith said they were “desperate” to reopen their award-winning Old Orchard Winery in Scoresby Rd after their nine-year lease to manage it expired last year. Smith said Knox Council, which manages the 8ha site on Crown land, had only offered him a month-by-month lease, forcing him to vacate on July 31 last year.

17/05/2016: HUON HOOKE: The WET rebate puzzle
The Federal Budget’s changes to the WET rebate are mystifying. While it’s nice to get a few extra million for marketing, and tightening up the eligibility for the WET rebate is a good thing, the change to the WET rebate ceiling is puzzling. It will hurt a lot of medium-small wineries – and for what purpose? It’s hard to see a purpose.

17/05/2016: Public tasting for Cool Climate Wine Show
THE International Cool Climate Wine Show is again proud to share a rare opportunity to assess the styles, characteristics and latest trends of inspirational cool climate wines entered in the 2016 show, with everyone. You will be able to taste wines from many classes including sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Shiraz from vintages from 2012 to 2015 and older.

17/05/2016: The wine industry is set to move into a stronger, long-term position
The wine industry is set to move into a stronger, long-term position after the Federal Budget announcements regarding the Wine Equalisation Tax rebate. Central to the package is the Government’s announcement that it will invest $50 million over the next four years to promote Australian wine overseas and wine tourism within Australia. Tony Pasin, Member for Barker, has welcomed the Coalition Government’s decisions to tighten the eligibility criteria and to return the WET rebate to its original policy intent.

17/05/2016: Wine awards deliver tangible commercial benefits
Entries are now open for the 2016 New World Wine Awards, a wine show that provides winemakers with the opportunity to enjoy direct, tangible commercial benefits from their award-winning wines. In addition to the distinction of an award that judges quality on the same basis as all other wine competitions, winning wines are guaranteed national distribution and extensive promotion, driving sustained sales.

16/05/2016: OPINION: A fine time for Australian wine
IT’S been a good week for Australian wine. On Monday, Seppelt winery announced it would keep its historic Great Western cellar door. This comes after Seppelt’s owner, wine giant Treasury Wine Estates, announced in October last year it would close the Seppelt winery and sell vineyards in Great Western and the Yarra Valley to save itself some cash on an underproductive facility.

16/05/2016: The entrepreneurs trying to tap into a new generation of wine-loving millennials
Impressing guests with great wine at a dinner party isn’t always easy. It’s even harder if you’re young and only just starting to take fermented grapes seriously. Thankfully, help is at hand. Tech entrepreneurs around the world are creating apps and websites to help young people educate themselves on wine, while hopefully turning a profit for their company at the same time.

16/05/2016: Six generations of winemaking in Rutherglen
Madden Morris has the world at his feet and a weight on his shoulders. Newly graduated with a winemaking degree, and back in his home district of Rutherglen in Northern Victoria, the 21-year-old is the sixth generation of his family to carry on the family tradition of winemaking. Winemaking is a highly competitive career choice, but Mr Morris feels no pressure from anyone else's expectations — he has heard the talk all his life.

16/05/2016: Jorg Gartelmann concerned about future of Gartelmann Wines following changes to WET rebate
Hunter Valley winemaker Jorg Gartelmann is concerned about the future of his business following changes to the wine equalisation tax from 2019. Wine equalisation tax is currently set at 29 per cent, and is calculated on the wholesale price of wine. For retail sales, the wholesale price is deemed to be half of the retail price. For example if a winemaker sells a bottles of wine at a cellar door for $40, they would have to pay 29 per cent tax on $20, which equals $5.80.

16/05/2016: Orange winemakers over a barrel as Kiwis show the way on tax system
WE know Australians make better wine than the Kiwis but there could be something our New Zealand counterparts are doing better. Instead of implementing a wine equalisation tax (WET), which means wine is taxed at 29 per cent of its wholesale value, in New Zealand alcohol is taxed on its volume. This means New Zealand is protecting its high-end industry by making cheap Australian wine more expensive comparatively to New Zealand’s high-end wine.

13/05/2016: NSW Wine Industry shares some concerns over WET changes
The NSW Wine Industry Association (NSWWIA) have issued a statement saying although the recently announced changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) had some good intent, certain aspects of the changes were worrying. Tom Ward, NSWWIA president, said the reduction of the cap for WET rebate from the current $500k down to $290k over the next two years was a concerning development.

13/05/2016: Accolade Wines’ owner mulls IPO
The owner of the UK’s largest drinks company, Accolade Wines is looking at listing the global wine company on the London stock exchange as it gets ready to offload its 80% stake in the business, an Australian newspaper has claimed. The Australian Financial Review has claimed Accolade Wines’ owners, Champ PE, which bought the global wine company in 2010 for AUS $290 million, has signed up several high level investment banks to investigate its potential exit options.

13/05/2016: Visiting sommeliers gain insights into Coonawarra
Ten high respected, nationally-based sommeliers will be visiting Coonawarra this week as part of a Wine Australia education initiative. In its fourth year, the Sommeliers Immersion Program (SIP) aims to build a deeper connection and understanding of the diversity of Australian wine and to connect sommeliers with regions and the personalities behind the wines.

13/05/2016: Australia Wins Big at IWC 2016
Australian wines continue to succeed at international wine competitions, taking out the second highest number of awards at the International Wine Challenge and becoming its first non-Italian Gold medal winner of Montepulciano. In the results, announced yesterday, Australia was awarded 815 medals including 80 Gold, 375 Silver and 360 Bronze. Australia finished second on the leader board, beaten only by France.

13/05/2016: Peak industry bodies welcome WET reforms
The peak wine and grape bodies in Australia are keen to consult with the Government on proposed WET rebate reforms. In a joint statement realised today, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) said the reforms were an investment in the future of the Australian wine industry, and the definition

12/05/2016: New industry scheme to support SA wine sector
The State Government yesterday announced it will be introducing a $1.8 million a year industry development scheme to support a stronger and sustainable South Australian wine sector. The government claims the new scheme will benefit all South Australian wine regions and assist individual wine businesses of varying sizes.

12/05/2016: Funding cut ‘will hurt wineries vital to tourism’
The stripping of up to $900,000 in support for the South Australian wine industry will hurt the wineries vital to regional tourism, says the SA Wine Industry Association. The State Government announced today that it will introduce a new wine industry development scheme worth $1.8 million a year to replace the “antiquated and inequitable” Cellar Door Liquor Subsidy Scheme (CDLSS).

12/05/2016: Winery continues fight to scrap wine equalisation tax
A winery in northern New South Wales says it may cut jobs and ties with the domestic market if the Federal Government's wine equalisation tax (WET) reforms go ahead. The 2016 budget revealed the cap on the WET rebate will be lowered to $350,000 from July 1, 2017 and then to $290,000 from July 1, 2018. The reforms will also see tougher eligibility criteria for the rebate which has been welcomed by John Cassegrain, managing director of Cassegrain Wines.

12/05/2016: McWilliams makes play for UK on-trade
The UK on-trade is key to helping Australia reposition its wines at higher price points, a vital step in securing the category’s long-term future in this market, believes McWilliam’s export director. Speaking to the drinks business at the London Wine Fair last week, Mark Hely, McWilliam’s export director, said a lot of Australian winemakers had “given up” on the UK market, believing it to be “too tough”.

12/05/2016: Do consumers care where wine brands come from or how they're made?
I'm at something of a crossroads when it comes to knowing what it is that today's consumers - particularly Millennials - want to drink. On the one hand, the big spirits brands are targeting the demographic using heritage and authenticity while, on the other, Millennial wine drinkers appear to want their wine brands to keep things simple. Earlier this week, Treasury Wine Estates announced plans to launch its Californian wine brand, Blossom Hill, in Australia.

11/05/2016: China’s thirst for Australian wine continues to grow
Wine Australia celebrated a strong and positive reception from guests who attended the recent Wine Australia Roadshow in China. The Roadshow followed ‘Australia Week’ in China and highlighted the history and evolution of Australian wine to more than 1500 guests. Rui Liao, a journalist from Wine in China, said Andrew Caillard’s masterclass presented a very clear picture of the history and development of Australian wine.

11/05/2016: Wine Australia invests $8.5 million in 12 new projects
Wine Australia announced it will invest $8.5 million over the next four years in 12 new research and development (R&D) projects. The new projects will be aimed at helping increase demand and the premium paid for Australian wine and increase the grape and wine sector’s competitiveness. Brian Walsh, Wine Australia chair, said he was delighted with the quality of the research projects that Wine Australia planned to fund through this round.

11/05/2016: SA wine industry confused by funding cut
South Australian winemakers are confused and disappointed by a decision to strip nearly $1 million annually from an industry recognised as critical to the State’s economic future, according to the SA Wine Industry Association (SAWIA). The State Government today announced it would replace the Cellar Door Liquor Subsidy Scheme (CDLSS) that returned around $2.7 million a year to eligible businesses with an ongoing Wine Industry Development Scheme worth $1.8 million.

11/05/2016: Seppelt Cellar Door: Local businessman offers iconic winery in Great Western last-minute reprieve
Ararat businessman Danial Ahchow has offered a lifeline to the historic Seppelt's winery in the tiny Victorian town of Great Western, just months before the cellar door was due to close. His Great Western Enterprises is set to sign a lease with Treasury Wine Estates, the conglomerate which owns the 150-year-old site. "I grew up in Ararat and I always had a passion for this beautiful set-up here in Seppelt," Ahchow said.

11/05/2016: Demand drop behind 3Oceans cuts
Western Australia’s eighth biggest winemaker, 3 Oceans Wine Company has laid-off non-essential staff as it reconsiders its strategic direction in the face of falling demand from its key market in China. Owned by Hebei Qianjin Steel Group, which is controlled by Xibo Ma, 3Oceans has retained its winemaking team to see it through the 2016 vintage and keep the cellar door open at its Bussell Highway headquarters near Margaret River.

10/05/2016: Cider industry concerned about WET reforms
While Cider Australia has welcomed the moves to tighten eligibility for the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate, the industry body said it is disappointed the rebate cap will be reduced. In his first Federal Budget this week, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced changes to the WET rebate. The Government announced that from 1 July 2019 eligibility criteria will be tightened to require claimants to own a winery or have a long term lease over a winery and sell packaged, branded wine domestically.

10/05/2016: Small winemakers assured wine tax reforms won't shut them out
Changes mooted for eligibility to the wine industry's generous tax rebate scheme have caused concern among smaller winemakers, but the Federal Government says the reforms are not yet set in stone. The federal budget revealed the Government intended to reduce the rebate amount and tighten eligibility to the scheme, in an effort to stamp out rorting and return the rebate to its original focus of boosting regional employment.

10/05/2016: The return of Champagne Jayne
In the first official interview since winning her case and the right to keep her brand, Champagne Jayne appears true to her name – full of vitality and depth – her account of her Kafka-esque experience is interwoven with fascinating tales of Champagne and its history. “I am just as excited as I have ever been about Champagne – I still love it, but I can’t understand why the CIVC pursued me for years and wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs.”

10/05/2016: Fire in Tony’s belly sees Flame Hill vineyard grow
THE Sunshine Coast hinterland is the “uncut diamond” of Queensland’s tourism industry, and should be known nationally and internationally. That’s according to farmer, viticulturist and successful business owner Tony Thompson, of Flame Hill Vineyard and Restaurant. “It’d just be wonderful to get Queenslanders more parochial about Queensland food and wine,” he said. “We’ve got some fantastic food and wines.”

10/05/2016: Federal government support for conference and exhibition
Organisers of the 2016 Irrigation Australia International Conference and Exhibition have announced an increase in support from the federal government. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will be hosting workshops during the exhibition on 'Commonwealth on Farm Irrigation Efficiency and Infrastructure Programs', after the government announced plans to increase funding for irrigation projects across the country.

9/05/2016: New awards celebrate partnerships in wine
ENTRY IS NOW OPEN for the national ‘Wine Industry Impact Awards’. Hosted by Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (WISA), the awards are an evolution of the highly-successful ‘supplier of the year awards’ according to Matthew Moate, WISA executive officer. “This new format will be far more industry inclusive, accessible and newsworthy allowing for greater participation and relevant outcomes," Moate said.

9/05/2016: New awards celebrate partnerships in wine
ENTRY IS NOW OPEN for the national ‘Wine Industry Impact Awards’. Hosted by Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (WISA), the awards are an evolution of the highly-successful ‘supplier of the year awards’ according to Matthew Moate, WISA executive officer. “This new format will be far more industry inclusive, accessible and newsworthy allowing for greater participation and relevant outcomes," Moate said.

9/05/2016: Treasury Wine hopes big UK brand will blossom in Australia
Treasury Wine Estates will bypass big liquor store retailers Woolworths and Coles in the first phase of an Australian launch of powerhouse United Kingdom brand Blossom Hill to help reduce cannibalisation with its own bulging local portfolio of brands. Treasury, the maker of Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount, is taking a punt that it can replicate the success of Blossom Hill, which is the No.1 selling white wine in the United Kingdom by both volume and value, and No.1 in the fast-growing rosé category. Blossom Hill is also the No.2 red wine brand in the UK market.

9/05/2016: Riverland’s top wine gems on the London stage
IT’S a long way from the red earth and flowing Murray of the Riverland wine region to the capital of the United Kingdom, but that’s where six selected wines from the often underrated corner of SA are starring this week at the London Wine Trade Fair. Just three Australian regions from Australia’s 70 designated wine growing districts have been chosen as a focus in masterclasses at the fair which attracts major importers, independent retailers, hotel groups and top restaurants.

9/05/2016: Fears for a taxing time for local wine
Bendigo winemakers are crunching the numbers after the federal government announced changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax in this year’s budget. For some, the changes could spell financial disaster. For others, it could create a more even playing field.

9/05/2016: Wine competition heats up: Penfolds to the Philippine market
AFTER Spain, it is now Australia’s turn to seek a bigger share of the Philippine wine market, as it introduced Penfolds, one of its oldest wineries, in the country. Penfolds Winemaking Ambassador Patrick Dowling said during its upscale launch in Makati City that they have to bring their iconic brand to the Philippines, because of a growing middle class that is fast understanding the finer points wine.

International Wine Industry News

26/05/2016: What would New Zealand wineries turn to if consumers stopped drinking Sauvignon Blanc?
In the 2004 box-office hit Sideways, womanising character Jack Cole tries to get wine snob Miles Raymond to drink a glass of merlot with him while on a road trip to Santa Barbara County. Raymond’s reply: “If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving. I’m not drinking any f—ing merlot!” It was just a one-line joke in a movie, but after the film’s US release, California’s wine industry suffered a drop in merlot sales and pinot noir became the rising star.

26/05/2016: New welcome signs for Marlborough
The Marlburian welcome is getting a shake-up. New 'Welcome to Marlborough' signs will be dotted around entry points to the region from July. The new-look signage will replace the faded and outdated 'Love Marlborough' signs. That brand was ditched by the Marlborough District Council and replaced with new regional brand Only Marlborough.

26/05/2016: China the promised land for South African winemakers
South African tycoon Koos Bekker sells wine from his vineyard all over the world, but a small detail offers a clue as to where his priorities may lie - all the bottles are labeled in Mandarin. Other producers along the Stellenbosch wine routes where his Babylonstoren farm is located are doing the same, looking to tap into soaring demand in China led by a growing professional class as Asia's economic powerhouse in turn ramps up its investments in South Africa.

26/05/2016: First look inside Bordeaux's world-beating museum of wine
Bordeaux is wine capital of the world. You name a reasonable rival and we might discuss it, but I can’t think of one. Naturally, the river city offers more than wine. The 18th and 19th-century elegance of the monumental centre articulates a faith in the rightness of colonial riches. Alongside, in the old town, the message from medieval churches dissipates fast through low-lit narrow streets athrob with restaurants, bars and an international conspiracy of pleasure-seekers.

26/05/2016: Over 55s warned over wine investment scams
One in four over 55s in the UK have fallen victim to investment scams, with wine and diamonds among the most popular vehicles for fraudsters, says the country's Financial Conduct Authority. Officials have launched a campaign to warn older adults in the UK about the dangers of alternative investments and to be sceptical about unsolicited phone calls to their homes.

26/05/2016: Alibaba expects 100m shoppers for 'wine sales day'
China’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba, says its first wine sales day is set to attract 100m shoppers and that it is keen to experiment with direct importing. Alibaba, which was founded by Jack Ma, expects ‘triple-digit growth’ in its wine business in the next three years, said the company at a joint symposium with ASC Fine Wines during the first day of Vinexpo Hong Kong.

26/05/2016: Glasgow tops wine and spirits trade growth
As reported by City A.M. employment levels in the Glasgow wine and spirits trade uncorked double-digit growth of 17% last year according to LinkedIn. London is the second fastest growing UK city for the drinks trade, enjoying a 16% rise in employment rates in 2015, while Bristol rose by 9% and Edinburgh 4%. Across the UK, employee numbers in wine and spirits grew by 1.7% last year compared to a 2.6% decrease of employees in the UK restaurant industry.

25/05/2016: Wine pro’s taste buds insured for $1m
How much do you think your taste buds are worth? For Yvonne Lorkin, they’re a sweet $1 million. Lorkin is one of New Zealand’s most high profile wine critics, a respected wine competition judge and, since its launch in October 2015, she’s been the Chief Tasting Officer for wine subscription service WineFriend.

25/05/2016: Four trophies for Matua Syrah at International Wine Challenge
Matua has been awarded four trophies at the 2016 International Wine Challenge (IWC) based in London. Matua’s flagship Syrah, the Matua Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014, pipped all other Syrah wines at the show to take home the International Syrah Trophy, New Zealand Red Trophy, Hawke’s Bay Syrah Trophy, and New Zealand Syrah Trophy.

25/05/2016: Bayer bids $62 billion for Monsanto
Bayer AG offered $62 billion to buy Monsanto Co., deepening investor concern that it’s stretching its finances to become the world’s biggest seller of seeds and farm chemicals. The May 10 written proposal to Monsanto offered $122 a share in cash, the Leverkusen, Germany-based company said in a statement on Monday. Bayer’s stock dropped as much as 4.1%, extending losses since the potential deal was first revealed.

25/05/2016: Wines of Argentina to launch certificate program in Hong Kong
A new educational wine programme will launch in July in Hong Kong, hosted by Wines of Argentina and the Open University of Hong Kong. The comprehensive 30-hour programme will expose students to specialist knowledge regarding Argentine wines, including the geographical characteristics of Argentina, its styles and varieties of wines and commercial activities of its key wine estates.

25/05/2016: Hong Kong wine comp open for entries
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition is now open for entries. The competition launched yesterday at Vinexpo, along with the announcement of Patrick Materman, Chief Winemaker at Brancott Estate, as guest wine judge. Each year the competition appoints influential industry figures as International guest judges, one for wine and one for spirits.

25/05/2016: Unexpected twist in California’s wine culture wars
Since 2011, In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB) represented one side of a philosophical debate over what California wine should, and could, be. Now, with the sudden announcement that the group will dissolve later this year, Jon Bonné reflects on its brief history and asks: Did IPOB achieve its goals? Few wine events have drawn as much attention, and controversy, as In Pursuit of Balance.

24/05/2016: Winemakers want to rename Blenheim 'Marlborough City'
Tired of the association with 'Blenheimer' boxed wine, vintners in Marlborough want to change the name of the region's biggest town. Their suggestion? Marlborough City, to capitalise on the region's international reputation for producing quality grog. "We've got a number of people throughout the wine industry and the hospitality sector who have quite openly realised that when you travel internationally the recognition is definitely with Marlborough.”

24/05/2016: NZ: How neighbours from hell are damaging our vineyards
During the 2015-16 growing season, a Central Otago vineyard lost 20 per cent of its crop in one afternoon. A winery which owns a large nearby vineyard estimates it lost 100 tonnes of fruit on the same day. Along one road in Wairarapa, several vineyards had up to 30 per cent of their 2015 crop wiped out, also in quick time. One of the owners - who we are not naming on legal advice - estimates the loss cost him close to half a million dollars.

24/05/2016: Lack of grape security a threat to South African wine
A lack of grape security is the biggest threat to the future of South African wine, a leading estate producer has said. Located in the Walker Bay appellation of South Africa’s Hemel-en-Aarde region, Creation Wines is owned by Swiss winemaker Jean-Claude Martin and his wife, Carolyn. All the wines in its portfolio are made from grapes grown on the estate.

24/05/2016: Is Bordeaux's try and buy en primeur wine selling system outdated?
With a total vineyard area of about 100,000 hectares, and 10,000 producers making more than 600 million bottles of wine a year, Bordeaux is economically and historically the most important fine wine region in the world. Its product is also the globe’s most traded wine commodity. In April, thousands of wine merchants, consumers and wine writers descended on the region for its traditional en primeur barrel tastings.

24/05/2016: Winemaker Randall Grahm's "weird, different, crazy" vision
In an attempt to make a wine that captures the ephemeral essence of California, the brilliant Randall Grahm is breeding 10,000 new grape varieties at an experimental vineyard. Here, he explains his "weird, different, crazy" vision. “A wine so distinctive it could only have come from the place where it was grown. It has a signature, a fingerprint that's independent of the will of the winemaker.”

24/05/2016: El Nino hampers Argentina’s 2016 wine harvest
The El Niño weather cycle saw Argentina report its worst pre-harvest grape losses since 1957, with production in 2016 expected to be 27% smaller than 2015 across the country and 39% down in Mendoza. Weather associated with the El Niño phenomenon characterised the 2016 wine harvest in Mendoza. A cool and wet spring set the harvest back by a month.

23/05/2016: Vineyard worker lives in Blenheim car park building after struggling to find accommodation
Each morning James Caldwell packs up his cardboard and blankets before making his way down the stairs of a Blenheim car park building he has dubbed The Ritz. The Blenheim vineyard worker has slept in the stairwell of one of the town's few high rise buildings for the past four months. "It's got to the stage now where the cleaners say hello to me in the morning."

23/05/2016: Nano Girl Michelle Dickinson: Water into wine
The New Zealand wine industry is big business with an estimated annual turnover of $2 billion, $1.42 billion of which comes from export earnings. That makes wine our sixth-largest export by value and with so much scientific research into wine, studying what makes our wine command such a high average price is crucial for sustaining this industry.

23/05/2016: Japan tipped to become largest market for sparkling wines in Asia-Pacific over next 5 years
HONG KONG — Japanese consumers seem to be developing quite a taste for bubbly, with a recent study predicting that Japan will become the largest market for sparkling wines in Asia-Pacific over the next five years. According to a Vinexpo study, the consumption of sparkling wine in Japan is forecast to grow 23% between 2015 and 2019, reaching a volume of 4.84 million cases and overtaking Australia as the largest market for sparkling wines in Asia-Pacific.

23/05/2016: London Wine Fair attendance drops 2%
The number of people visiting the London Wine Fair decreased by 2% this year to 14,401, however this was still higher than the 11,000 recorded in 2014. Visitor breakdown by sector remained the same, with just under a third (30%) of visitors attending from the on-trade, and 10% of visitors from the independent sector. “The feedback we have had for this year’s show has been overwhelmingly positive, from exhibitors and visitors alike,” said Ross Carter, show director.

23/05/2016: Winery CEO claims his Cab Sav sales mirror widely-followed economic indicator
If you want insight into how the economy is faring, you might want to see how your local wine shop is doing. David Duncan, president and CEO of family-owned California winery Silver Oak Cellars, makes a case that sales of his company’s wine correspond with the Michigan consumer sentiment index, which is considered a barometer of broad economic activity and is at its highest level since June 2015.

23/05/2016: The top 10 mistakes wineries make in the US market
“Wow!” I thought. This wine, from this producer, at this price could be a winner in the U.S. “Have you thought of bringing it over?” I asked the producer who was exhibiting his wine at the London Wine Fair. “To tell you the truth, I’ve thought about it, but I’m a bit gun shy,” he said. He went on to share a story about other producers he knows that never got paid for the goods they had shipped, who had been promised distribution and sales that never happened, or who lost time and money trying to figure out the three-tier system – only to be stymied.

20/05/2016: New Zealand Winegrowers welcomes modernisation of Customs and Excise regime
New Zealand Winegrowers has welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Minister of Customs around the modernisation of New Zealand’s Customs and Excise legislation. Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer, said the legislation was becoming increasingly outmoded and an update has been badly needed.

20/05/2016: Winetopia opens its cellar doors today
The Greatest Celebration of New Zealand wine opens its doors from 5.00pm this afternoon at Auckland’s Shed 10. WINETOPIA presented bySingapore Airlines is the most comprehensive and entertaining public wine tasting event with all major regions fully represented and stunning varietals exclusively showcased.

20/05/2016: Winemakers claim New York's first commercial rooftop vineyard
NEW YORK: Millennial US winemakers have established what they call the first commercially viable rooftop vineyard in New York, hoping wine harvested from the Brooklyn Naval Yard will hit the market next year. The young wine enthusiasts intend to produce 300 bottles a year from 50 specially commissioned urban planters installed on the roof of an industrial building overlooking the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

20/05/2016: Insights into future of wine market
HONG KONG – After ten years of exponential growth, followed by a slump resulting from austerity measures, is China’s wine market now bouncing back? It certainly looks that way, with French exporters cashing-in on the strength of a weak euro, and winemakers ‘Down Under’ celebrating a new China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

20/05/2016: Are you ready for a 1000-point wine?
A new wine website develops a scale that also takes price and availability into account when scoring wines. A new website has just launched offering a "360-degree perspective" on the tangible value of fine wine. Wine Lister, the brainchild of journalist Ella Lister, uses existing data to present an aggregated, objective analysis of a wine's quality, and of its selling power in the marketplace.

20/05/2016: Duty free wine and spirits suffer 2.7% decline
Global sales of duty free declined by 2.3% in 2015, with the wine and spirits category reporting a 2.7% drop in sales, according to the Tax Free World Association (TFWA). Fragrances and cosmetics were the only categories to show an increase in sales, growing by 2.3%, according to prliminary figures released at the 21st TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference, which took place in Singapore last week.

19/05/2016: Labour jobs and growth caucus committee visits Marlborough
Creating more jobs and alleviating a lack of housing in the region are two of the biggest challenges facing Marlborough, Labour's financial spokesman says. The Labour jobs and growth caucus committee was in the region on Wednesday for a fact-finding mission, visiting businesses, industry representatives and the council to hear about economic challenges and opportunities.

19/05/2016: NZ Chamber of Commerce to host Wine Festivals in Busan and Seoul
The New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea, known as "The Kiwi Chamber," will host annual wine festivals and promises this year’s event to be more special as it comes after the Korea-New Zealand FTA lifting all tariffs on New Zealand wine as of December 2015. New Zealand Wine Festivals will be held on May 28th at the Park Hyatt Busan, and June 4th at the Waterfall Garden of the Grand Hyatt Seoul.

19/05/2016: English wine achieves significant milestone in US
The British Bottle Company has agreed a deal with US-based Vine Street Imports to distribute the wines of four English producers, making it the largest portfolio of English wines available in any market outside of the UK. Described as a “major export breakthrough” for English wines and spirits, the deal will see twenty brands represented by the British Bottle Company imported by Vine Street and sold via the New Jersey-based firm’s network of state distributors.

19/05/2016: Europe’s biggest wine drinkers
Which countries in Europe drink the most wine? According to research conducted by the Wine Institute, the top country for per capita wine consumption in Europe may come as a surprise. The Vatican City drinks more wine per person than anywhere else in the world with residents of the Holy See consuming 54.26 litres every year.

19/05/2016: Laytons reinvigorated by new strategy and revamped wine list
Laytons has boosted it wine range by around 15% as it focuses on a new strategy to reinvigorate its wholesale business. The independent wine merchant, which constitutes the wholesale arm of London retailer Jeroboams, has virtually doubled its range of Italian wines with the addition of 53 new wine. It has signed up 22 new producers, the majority of whom are unavailable elsewhere in the UK, in a conscious bid to build its reputation as a supplier of boutique and niche wines.

19/05/2016: Riesling Rendezvous to feature Winemakers from around the World
Winemakers from seven countries will converge at Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle on July 17th, giving wine lovers an unprecedented opportunity to explore the finest Rieslings from around the world in one location. Hosted by Chateau Ste. Michelle of Washington state and Dr. Loosen estate of Germany, the Riesling Rendezvous Grand Tasting will be held on the picturesque grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Wash.

19/05/2016: Large winegrape crops predicted for 2016
Nat DiBuduo, president and CEO of Allied Grape Growers in Fresno, says California’s smaller 2015 winegrape crop will end up having been sandwiched between two three-year periods of big crops, running from 2012 to 2014 and from 2016 through 2018. While predicting the 2016-18 crops will exceed 4 million winegrape tons in production each year.

18/05/2016: New Zealand surges into Vinexpo
New Zealand Winegrowers will host a series of masterclasses with over 90 wines from 11 wineries during next week’s Vinexpo – including performances by traditonal kapa haka dancers. Covering the breadth of New Zealand’s diverse wine landscape including exploring the effects of low-sulphur and cool climates and focusing on the sub-region of Gimblett Gravels, the sessions will be run by New Zealand’s newest Master of Wine, Stephen Wong MW and local Hong Kong wine experts, Rebecca Leung, Ronnie Lau, David Wong and LU Yang.

18/05/2016: Buckingham Schenk adds to NZ line up
The wine importer has taken on Rod McDonald Wines and Rock Ferry to boost its premium wine offering. Rod McDonald Wines, which is located in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, is a winery which farms 75 hectares spread over five vineyard sites with everything grown and made in small batches to ensure it maintains a unique personality. Its portfolio includes the brands Trademark, Te Awanga and One Off.

18/05/2016: Winery loses 80 percent of its red grapes during late-season freeze
PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. - Philippe Coquard was up all night in his vineyard Saturday night into Sunday morning. He tried moving the cold air around and away from the grapes, but it was no use. “When it came that fast, that drastically, the temperature went from 31 to 27 in four hours. There's nothing that you can do to fight that,” Coquard said.

18/05/2016: Jackson Family Wines to Acquire Copain Wines
Jackson Family Wines today announced that it has reached agreement to acquire Copain Wines, the acclaimed Healdsburg winery and tasting room specializing in vineyard-designated wines from Anderson Valley. Under the direction of Winemaker Wells Guthrie, who founded the winery in 1999, Copain combines French stylistic sensibilities with the best sustainably-farmed California fruit to craft wines -- most notably Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah -- that are well balanced and food friendly.

18/05/2016: Why Burgundy is the hottest wine region in Asia now
“Asians are ferocious learners of anything they set their heart to. When they do jump on something, like wine, they do so en masse,” says Mandy Chan, partner of fine wine importing company Ginsberg & Chan. For Chan, Burgundy now makes up 40% of total sales and they carry nearly 1,000 different Burgundy wines on their list. For auction houses like Acker Merrall, Burgundy’s share of the market was larger than Bordeaux starting in 2014 – 41% compared with 32% for Bordeaux.

18/05/2016: Montes to highlight new vintages at Vinexpo
Prominent Chilean wine producer, Viña Montes is planning to launch new vintages specifically aimed at the Asia market at this year’s Vinexpo. After launching its first sparkling wine, Sparkling Angel in the UK last year, Montes will present its method traditionelle brut label during Vinexpo and then release it in South Korea, immediately following the show.

17/05/2016: Marlborough wine company sacked worker who helped others prune vines
A man fired for helping other employees at a Marlborough vineyard has received more than $10,000 in compensation. Mount Riley Wines and Estates Limited dismissed the man in 2015 on the grounds he was pruning vines for other workers for personal gain. A written determination from the Employment Relations Authority was released earlier this month, finding the man was unjustifiably dismissed.

17/05/2016: Wit of wine worlds to clash at great grape debate
For the region's winegrowers, winemakers and wine lovers it will be the war of the wine worlds. It will be the battle of the barrels brigade, where not a verbal vine will be left standing. Hawke's Bay versus Marlborough - although the real winner at the end of the night will be the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Trust.

17/05/2016: Synthetic wine made without grapes claims to mimic fine vintages
“We can turn water into wine in 15 minutes.” So claims the Ava Winery, a San Francisco start-up that is making synthetic wine without grapes – simply by combining flavour compounds and ethanol. Mardonn Chua and Alec Lee came up with the idea while visiting a winery in California’s Napa Valley in 2015. There, they were shown the bottle of an iconic wine, Chateau Montelena, which is famous for being the first Californian chardonnay to beat French contenders at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976.

17/05/2016: Legendary Languedoc winemaker Aimé Guibert dies
Renowned Languedoc winemaker Aimé Guibert, the founder of Mas de Daumas Gassac, has died at the age of 91. Born in Millau in 1924, Aimé was a successful glovemaker working in Paris before deciding to purchase land, previous owned by the Daumas family, in the Gassac Valley. It was here, in the Languedoc’s Aniane commune, that Aimé, along with his wife Veronica, planted Mas de Daumas Gassac’s first vineyard in 1974.

17/05/2016: Wine market shrugs off slump as consumers raise their glasses
When Rob Bevis launched Roque Fine Wine, an importer and wholesaler of fine wine, in China three years ago, he was told the country's wine market was nearing a tipping point. The government crackdown on corruption had led to curbs on officials' extravagant, taxpayer-funded banquets. The clean-up heralded long-term benefits for the society, but had an immediate adverse impact on wine consumption in the country.

17/05/2016: Cold temperatures impact on NY vineyards
Despite summer being just a month away snow and cold are in the forecast. Although this year’s crops are safe, grapes are at risk for damage in the upcoming days. Co-owner of Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, Robin Ross says it could be destructive, however they have a plan to help keep their business protected. Ross says, “We worry about when our bud break is and then when the last frost of the year is. Once the leaves are open on the end of the bud, they are sensitive. They could be prone to damage if we had a cold weather situation.”

16/05/2016: Villa Maria wins Best New Zealand Pinot Noir in London
From a field of 155 of New Zealand’s top Pinot Noirs, Villa Maria’s Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 has been awarded the Platinum Medal (Trophy) for best New Zealand Pinot Noir over £15 at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards. Held annually in London, the Decanter World Wine Awards is widely recognised as the world’s largest wine competition and this year’s competition had 16,000 entries.

16/05/2016: CEO role offers just the right flavour
FROM the corridors of law to the vines of the wine industry, it is fair to say the change in Melisa Beight's career path has been a fairly marked one. Seven weeks ago she stepped into the role of Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association executive officer which was vacated by James Medina who left to take up a role at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. "I absolutely love my role," she said. "The wine industry is something I have long wanted to move into."

16/05/2016: Pernod Ricard USA: New organization to accelerate momentum
"Winning in the USA is a top priority for Pernod Ricard. We must win in this battleground to deliver our Group mid-term topline 4 to 5% growth objective,” says Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard. In line with this ambition, the Group launched DART 18 months ago, a business transformation project aiming at accelerating the current momentum in the U.S. It has a simple objective: grow value market share in a sustainable way.

16/05/2016: Protecting European wine: Vinbot rover optimises harvest and quality
With warmer winters and drier summers, climate change might even be having an effect on your favourite bottle of wine. Winemakers are already witnessing changes. In France, the Burgundy region had its driest July in 66 years in 2015, while Italian producers are planting different grape varieties due to more intense summers.

16/05/2016: Tips to minimise heat stress on the vines
Understanding how heat stress affects the vines can help reduce the impact of high temperatures. Although grape vines thrive under conditions of warm, dry days and cool nights, vine growth and fruit quality begin to suffer once the thermometer rises past the 95-degree mark. That’s when metabolic processes start to decline, says Ashraf El-Kereamy, University of California Cooperative Extension viticulture farm advisor for Kern County.

16/05/2016: Marche Sparkling could be new Prosecco
Former Constellation Europe chairman Christopher Carson believes he has found the perfect big volume sparkling wine to fill “a gap” in the UK as Prosecco prices creep upwards. Speaking to the drinks business at the London Wine Fair last week, where the well-known UK wine trade figure officially launched Carson Wines – an agency business run with his son, Jonathan – Christopher said that there was a gap in the market for a big volume Italian sparkling in UK retail as the price of Prosecco increases.

13/05/2016: American sommelier tries his hand as Marlborough vintage intern
Weinlese, vendange, szuret, and there are other examples in many other languages to say the same thing … "vintage". In a small town called Blenheim, in the South Island of New Zealand within the Marlborough wine growing region, thousands of people from all over the world come together for one thing: the systematic killing and fermentation of vitis vinifera (wine grapes).

13/05/2016: Oyster Bay owner Delegat says NZ harvest up 33% on 2015
Delegat Group, the winemaker that retails under brands including Oyster Bay, says it has completed the 2016 harvest, with yields in New Zealand up 33 percent on a difficult 2015. The total harvest was 35,837 tonnes, with New Zealand making up 33,236 tonnes of the total. The group also owns vineyards in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, which yielded 2,601 tonnes, up 56% on a year ago.

13/05/2016: Meet the professional wino who drank his way across the US
Dan Dunn has found a way of one-upping your wildest dreams. While many of us squares only daydream about ditching work to take a carefree road trip across America, Dunn did just that in the name of alcohol. The guy has even written a 350-page book on the whole experience. American Wino: A Tale of Reds, Whites, and One Man’s Blues is that glorious book. Of course, it isn’t too surprising.

13/05/2016: Suppliers tap into potential for wine-based fusion drinks
Fusion drinks are set to soar as wine brands increasingly tap into their growing appeal amongst millennials, and start to target older consumers. Last week, three UK suppliers’ unveiled new wine-based low-alcohol fruit drinks at the London Wine Fair, noting huge potential in the fledgling category.

13/05/2016: Booming wine region enticing investors as Ontario relaxes laws
Row after row of delicate young vines line the long driveway leading to Peller Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s a cool spring morning and the expansive lawn in front of the winery is edged by a patio that will host parties and tastings all summer. John Peller, chief executive officer of Andrew Peller Ltd., is jovial as he surveys the vines that helped turn the company into Canada’s biggest publicly listed winery. Peller, 59, credits his Hungarian-immigrant grandfather for his foresight.

13/05/2016: South Africa 2016 wine harvest is smallest for five years
The South Africa 2016 wine grape harvest is set to be the smallest in five years after a hot, dry growing season impacted yields – but early reports suggest that quality is still good. Stellenbosch, Paarl and Swartland were among the worst affected regions as heatwaves hit the vineyards from the end of October through to the end of January, said viticultural consultants at VinPro, the umbrella organisation for South Africa’s wine producers.

12/05/2016: Damon Harvey: Leadership needed to brand Bay
Months have passed since amalgamation was wiped from the floor as the best option for getting our five Hawke's Bay councils together. Following the overwhelming decision, we were promised by our leaders that they would work more closely and identify initiatives that are regional. One example used was the regional economic development strategy (REDS), a plan that commenced in 2014 but it is still yet to surface.

12/05/2016: Toast Martinborough turns 25
One of New Zealand’s premier wine, food and music festivals has grown up, reaching its dignified Silver Anniversary. Toast Martinborough celebrated its first event in 1992 and returns this year on 20 November in the heart of the Wairarapa wine growing region. Anna Nielson, General Manager, said 2016 has been a very exciting year for the region. “Back in 1992 when Toast began, the newest tipple was Nouveau Rouge and Shortland Street had just come on our TV’s,” she said.

12/05/2016: California winery hires earthworms to clean up its wastewater
Next time you open a bottle of merlot or chardonnay, be sure to thank the vintner. And you might want to toast the worms, as well. Everyday earthworms are the latest solution to a thorny problem that most wine drinkers never consider: wastewater disposal. Producing a single glass of California wine may require as much as 14 gallons of water. Much of that water is used to clean the winery and bottling equipment after processing grapes.

12/05/2016: Climate change leaves its stain on European wine
With warmer winters and drier summers, climate change might even be having an effect on your favourite bottle of wine. Winemakers are already witnessing changes. In France, the Burgundy region had its driest July in 66 years in 2015, while Italian producers are planting different grape varieties due to more intense summers.

12/05/2016: Vintrigue to bring eye-catching wines into UK
Lanchester Wines, the UK wine distribution arm of the Lanchester group of companies, has launched a premium brand development business named Vintrigue. Specialising in connecting family-owned wineries with the UK market, Vintrigue’s mission is to identify premium, family-owned, wine producers and bring their wines to the UK consumer in eye-catching and relevant packaging.

12/05/2016: French winemaker threats secure Tour de France deal
Organisers of the Tour de France 2016 have agreed a promotional deal with winemakers in southern France in order to avoid a threatened blockade of the annual cycling race. Winemakers in the Aude area of Languedoc-Roussillon had threatened to disrupt the Tour de France 2016 when it passed through their region, because the organising body had earlier signed up a Chilean wine brand as an event sponsor.

11/05/2016: Seresin joins Louis Latour agencies
Biodynamic Marlborough estate Seresin Estate has signed up with Louis Latour Agencies as it seeks to grow its distribution with independent retailers and the on-trade. Seresin, which is owned by New Zealand-born cinematographer Michael Seresin, becomes the second biodynamic estate in Louis Latour’s portfolio alongside McHenry Hohnen of Margaret River, Australia.

11/05/2016: Taking the plunge in a pigeage vat
A few weeks ago I found myself waist-deep (at times, alarmingly, a little deeper) in a vat of fermenting pinot noir. This is 'pigeage', the traditional Burgundian method of giving a ferment a healthy churn. You jump in and thresh about to extract more colour, tannin, and other goodies from the stems and skins. I was no pigeage virgin. Whenever I visit a winery over vintage I take my togs in case I get the call.

11/05/2016: UK vineyards close to amber warning over pesticides
Britain’s burgeoning wine industry is facing a new “catastrophic” scenario over a failure to replace pesticide products whose approval has been revoked, the UK Vineyards Association (UKVA) as warned. “The toolbox is rapidly diminishing and at the same time resistance to the ones in use [mainly herbicides and fungicides] is growing; we are heading towards a catastrophically high risk scenario,” Chris Cooper, the UKVA’s pesticides expert said.

11/05/2016: Women in wine: The Grand Dames of Champagne
Mother’s Day has come and gone but I like to celebrate all month—as the mother of three kids I think a month-long celebration is absolutely reasonable. Yet, in truth we should celebrate all women (mothers or not), especially ones who’ve faced down the odds and achieved great success. The wine and spirits business is full of such enterprising, dynamic and fierce females.

11/05/2016: 1400 bottles of DRC on sale in Geneva
Baghera Wines will auction over 1,400 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Geneva this month, at an auction its founder says will “go down in history”. The sale, taking place on 22 May, is just the second from new kid on the block, Baghera Wines (named after Dionysus’ panther companion), which was founded last year by former Christie’s employees, Michael Ganne, Julie Carpentier and Emmanuel Mercé.

11/05/2016: Emily O’Hare launches Tuscan wine retreat
Emily O’Hare, former wine buyer and head sommelier at The River Café, has launched a service offering wine courses and yoga in a medieval Tuscan castle. The first “Wine Sense Retreat” will take place between 30 June and 4 July, with a second scheduled for 13-17 October at Castello di Potentino in Tuscany. During the five-day stay, attendees will be taught the WSET Level 1 introduction to wine with a focus on Italian wine and have the option of morning yoga classes with teacher Nadia Steward.

10/05/2016: Marlborough wine companies make big calls after remarkably 'relaxed' harvest
Instead of the usual frantic rush, Marlborough wine companies have labelled this year's harvest 'relaxing'. Just two rainfall events between early March and late April meant companies could take their time bringing in the crop. Giesen Wines Marlborough general manager Rhyan Wardman said there was usually a 30-day window for harvest, however this year was the exception to the rule. "We were in this luxurious position, which is unusual in Marlborough, where we could take our time," he said.

10/05/2016: Revolutionary Young Winemakers
Siobhan Thompson, the CEO of Wines of South Africa began her opening address at Cape Wine 2015 by describing South Africa’s wine industry as one that “has a nervy energy that comes from walking a tight-rope of contradictions.” The spirit of revolution has perfumed the air. The waters of radical change are licking at the roots of our vines and are bearing the first fruits of dynamic change.

10/05/2016: Napa locals take back a winery
It seems that we are always hearing about small wineries being bought by larger wineries or companies. Whether it be the financial challenges to run a small business or the “American dream” to make a profit, many family wineries cease to be family-owned when they are acquired. Rarely do we hear the converse but Jamieson Ranch is a story of locals taking back the winery from a private equity firm and putting it back in family hands.

10/05/2016: English sparkling wine ripe for Japan success?
Japanese wine importer Mottox has taken on four English sparkling wine producers for the first time, believing the category, which its chief buyer describes as “the brother of Champagne”, to have the potential to blossom. “After having sampled English sparkling wines for seven years, I became convinced about the quality last year,” said Kayo Kono, chief buyer and brand manager for Mottox Inc.

10/05/2016: Georgian wine exports increase in 2016
More than 11.5 million bottles of Georgian wine have been exported to 30 countries across the globe in the first four months of 2016. This was a 45 percent increase in wine exports in January-April (Q1) 2016 than in the same months of 2015, reported the Georgian National Wine Agency. The value of the exported wine amounted to almost $27 million USD, which was 15 percent more than in the same period of last year.

10/05/2016: New Zealand’s leading wine company welcomes new managing director
Constellation Brands New Zealand, the country’s leading wine exporter, is pleased to announce that Simon Towns will take the reins as President and Managing Director. Current President Sam Glaetzer has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Winemaking and Production in the US, where he will oversee wine and spirits production, vineyard operations, spirits operations and winemaking.

9/05/2016: New Zealand’s leading wine company welcomes new managing director
Constellation Brands New Zealand, the country’s leading wine exporter, is pleased to announce that Simon Towns will take the reins as President and Managing Director. Mr Towns, an Auckland native, returns home to New Zealand after serving as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Development for Constellation in the US, and leading growth strategies for several food and beverage brands internationally.

9/05/2016: Unmanned helicopter could revolutionise spraying vineyards in Marlborough
A super-drone could be the future of spraying seed and fertiliser across back country farms and boutique vineyards. The Yamaha RMAX, unmanned helicopter or UAV, dwarfs your traditional helicopter but is bigger in size than a remote controlled toy. Yamaha sky division UAV operator Greg Quinn put it through its paces in front of 30 intrigued farmers and vineyard operators at Omaka airfield, outside Blenheim on Friday.

9/05/2016: The wine tasting that shocked the world
Forty years ago, a publicity stunt for a small wine school in Paris changed the world of wine forever. The scene would look unremarkable today: Nine wine professionals swirling, sniffing, sipping, spitting and scoring their way through 20 wines in a 'blind tasting', meaning the wines were not identified until after the scores were tallied. Yet the Paris Tasting, also known as the 'Judgment of Paris', became famous because of its quirky cast of characters, a bit of luck and, most of all, the results: California wines beat the best of France.

9/05/2016: How wine sulfites became the 'bad guys'
Interest in more naturally made wines—whether they’re organic, biodynamic, or brandish neither certification—is growing alongside a general consumer shift towards foods that contain fewer artificial, processed ingredients. But when imbibers flip over a wine bottle for more information on what’s inside, they don’t find an ingredient list or a nutrition label. Instead, the tag 'contains sulfites' jumps out menacingly. And while most people don’t know exactly what the phrase means, the warning has created a perception that sulfites must be harmful and should be avoided.

9/05/2016: Buy it now: EBay decides it's time to sell wine
EBay has become the latest e-commerce business to launch a major wine initiative, announcing eBay Wine and its 10,000 selections last week. It's joining an increasingly crowded field—dozens of startups have scrambled for a piece of the online beverage-sales pie in the past few years, a dramatic change from 15 to 20 years ago, when some large online retailers, eBay included, tried wine and failed.

9/05/2016: Rethink, rediscover South African wine
Sommelier Will Predhomme, brought a new vision of South Africa to a thirsty crowd of wine lovers at Fred, on Agricola Street in Halifax, who attended a South African inspired pop up dinner event catered by Local Source and hosted by With Zest. The event featured wines from quality minded producers such as House of Mandela, Cederberg, Reyneke, Thelema, Beyerskloof, The Drift and others.

Research Findings

What's On in Australia

What's On Overseas


Canberra Riesling Challenge


WID 2016




Fischer Australis



AB Mauri