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

24/08/2016: Portavin’s Founder Mike Davies named regional finalist in the 2016 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards
Portavin is pleased to announce that their founder and chairman Mike Davies has been named a regional finalist in the 2016 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. Mike joins other outstanding entrepreneurs from across Australia who will compete for the ultimate prize of being named 2016 Australian EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

11/08/2016: Major energy savings for premium wineries with Climate Wizard Supercool
With installed systems already reducing wine energy cooling costs by up to 80% compared to refrigerated systems, Climate Wizard’s Supercool Indirect/Direct Evaporative Cooling (IDEC) configuration, is clearly working. Energy-minded wineries in the Barossa, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale have installed Climate Wizard with exceptional benefits.

Australia's only exciting event that judges all the best wines from the high altitude wine regions of Australia. The Australian Highlands Wine Show is open to all Australian wines made from grapes sourced from vineyards above 500 metres in altitude. These regions can include Southern Highlands NSW, Orange NSW, Mudgee NSW, New England NSW, Tumbarumbra NSW, Hilltops NSW, Gundagai NSW, Canberra District NSW & ACT, Adelaide Hills SA, Beechworth VIC, Strathbogie Ranges VIC, Macedon Ranges VIC and Granite Belt QLD.

Australian Wine Industry News

25/08/2016: Wine Ark announces most collected wines
Wine Ark, Australia’s largest wine storage provider, has released its list of Australia's Most Collected Wines for 2016, with Penfolds Bin 389 topping the list knocking off big brother Grange after nine years in the top spot. Wine Ark’s list of the 50 most collectable wines, released every three years, has become the go-to guide on the subject and the results are a clear indication of trends when it comes to cellaring. Jeremy Oliver, wine writer and presenter, said there were lists and rankings of Australian wine labels but none were more current than this list from WineArk.

25/08/2016: Winemaker Australian Vintage’s net profit up slightly to $7.2m
AUSTRALIAN Vintage has recorded a full-year net profit of $7.2 million. This is up marginally from $7.1 million last year. Overall, the company today posted a net loss of $2 million, following a vineyard lease termination payment of $9.2 million. Australian Vintage chief executive Neil McGuigan said over the past five years sales of the company’s three key brands — McGuigan, Tempus Two and Nepenthe — had almost doubled.

25/08/2016: Melbourne researchers turning wine industry trash into treasure
Melbourne researchers are working to turn trash into treasure in the wine industry. Around 2 million tonnes of grapes are crushed each year and more than half end up as grape marc - the skins, pulp, seeds and stems remaining after the fruit has been pressed. Swinburne University professor Enzo Palombo is working to create technology that will help wineries take advantage of the chemicals found in the waste.

25/08/2016: Planning ahead key to wine success
Succession planning will prove a hot topic when the Finlaysons’ 24th annual wine road show holds a seminar in the region next week. The event, to be held on August 30, features keynote speakers who are specialists in their field, including Finlaysons’ Wine Group leader Will Taylor. “We’ve taken this seminar series right around to talk to winemakers on their own patch,” Mr Taylor said. “A lot of feedback last year was that people wanted to talk more about succession planning.”

25/08/2016: Applications open for the 2017 Science and Innovation Awards
Australia’s young agricultural scientists, innovators and researchers are being invited to share their ideas for a chance to receive a share of $240,000 in grants. Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, said the 2017 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry encouraged 18-35 year old innovators to undertake new and creative research to benefit Australia’s agricultural industries.

24/08/2016: Tasmania's vineyards urged to capture more value in a regional food brand
Food and wine producers are being urged to forge stronger links with the hospitality industry to promote their produce and regional brand. Viticulture and education manager at TasTAFE's Drysdale Institute in northern Tasmania Christopher McGimpsey said partnerships between hospitality trainers and the food and wine industry could help capture more of the tourist dollar. He said it was about "yield management".

24/08/2016: The comeback of Australia wine
The last 15 years have been a roller coaster for the Australian wine business as demand in the U.S. nearly went from first to worst. It was the rage in the early 2000s thanks in large part to Yellow Tail Shiraz, with a Kangaroo on its label and its low price tag. It became the biggest selling imported brand in the U.S. The demand for Aussie wine crashed some 10 years later for a number of reasons according to Paul Dietz with Negociants USA.

24/08/2016: Near record entries for the Canberra International Riesling Challenge
Entries for the Canberra International Riesling Challenge are the highest since 2009 with over 500 entries from eight countries received when entries officially closed on 14 August. The increase has come from both Australian and International entries. Entry levels from Australia and from Austria are the highest ever achieved, while entries from the USA and Germany are at their highest levels since 2009.

24/08/2016: Closing date extended for Royal Hobart International Wine Show
Organisers for the Royal Hobart International Wine Show have extended the closing date for entries to 26 August 2016 after requests from several producers. John Ellis, managing director of Hanging Rock Winery and chair of the Show’s organising committee, said he was impressed with the calibre and class of entries received so far. “The response to the 2016 Show so far has been good."

24/08/2016: Wine to flow again at Bendigo festival
Wine lovers are being urged to snap up tickets to two upcoming events showcasing the region’s drinks, food and architecture. Tickets for October’s Bendigo Heritage Uncorked and Bendigo Heritage After Dark events have gone on sale. Last year’s Heritage Uncorked was cancelled because of unrelated anti-Islam protests, which had been scheduled for the same weekend.

23/08/2016: Australian Sauvignon Blanc is back following years of New Zealand ‘Sauvalanche’
The powerhouse that is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is facing some stiff competition from across the Tasman, with new figures indicating Aussie Sauvignon Blanc has become a driving force of its own in the Australian liquor market. According to recent IRi MarketEdge Liquor figures, Australian Sauvignon Blanc is in value growth of 18 per cent versus New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which has seen a decline of two per cent in value over the past two years.

23/08/2016: Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers: road to discovery
Tasmania’s newest cellar door isn’t located in one of the island’s bucolic wine regions, perched on a forest-fringed hillside or in a rolling valley. No; Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers have set up shop in an old ice works on Brooker Avenue, the busy main road that runs into the centre of Hobart from the north.

23/08/2016: Sheep, weeds and healthy wine
Whitey reports that the first bold shoots of vintage 2017 are emerging. After that perfectly wet winter, there is peace in the valley. Budburst has commenced in McLaren Vale, as in other regions, before some farmers have finished their pruning. Bits of the steeper ground have been a bit too dangerous in the bountiful rains, and some of the creek flats stay really muddy after the streams fill and flood.

23/08/2016: Wolf Blass looking back on 40 years of Black Label
Wolf Blass has celebrated 40 years of its top-level Black Label wine with a one-off tasting of standout vintages from each of the last four decades. In a year that also marks the 50th anniversary of Wolf Blass producing his first wine since emigrating to Australia from Germany, chief winemaker Chris Hatcher used the back-vintage tasting to explain something of the stylistic evolution of Black Label since its first vintage in 1973.

23/08/2016: Australian Wine Industry Trade Exhibition 2016 reports positive outcome
The Australian Wine Industry Trade Exhibition (AWITE), returned to Adelaide last month and proved successful in gathering the wine industry together to discuss important issues. Gary Fitz-Roy, Fair Events managing director, said the general feel from exhibitors and visitors was positive and the event exceeded expectations. “We’re happy to report attendance was up 18 per cent compared to the previous event in Sydney in 2013, which supports the decision to return to Adelaide,” Fitz-Roy said.

22/08/2016: How Dormilona winemaker Josephine Perry makes award-winning natural wines
The Young Guns of Wine Awards has just chalked up its 10th year and this year’s winner, Josephine Perry from Dormilona in Yallingup, Western Australia, created a couple of firsts. It’s the first time a winemaker from the relatively conservative Margaret River winemaking region has won. And it’s the first time the award was won for natural wine, including one fermented and matured in clay amphora.

22/08/2016: This 1997 ad shows how Penfold's red wines have gone up in price over the last two decades
Treasury Wine Estates has gone from problem to golden child in just two years since Michael Clarke took over as CEO. The company, which owns some of Australia’s most famous brands, including Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Rosemount and Lindeman’s, announced that its profit had more than doubled, sending the share price up around 11% too.

22/08/2016: Shiraz, grenache and mourvedre – Barossa’s brilliant threesome
THE Barossa translates in most people’s awareness to big, robust reds – Shiraz ruling above and beyond all other grapes. The existence of glorious old vines and their capacity to become ripe, sweet-fruited and generous red wine is without question the region’s star attraction. Then there’s the excitement of the ensemble casting that comes in blends of that same Shiraz with Grenache and Mataro (aka Mourvedre) varieties which also have been growing in Barossa soils for many decades.

22/08/2016: The results are in: Hunter Valley wine show 2016
The results are in and apparently local winemakers are a “pretty canny lot”. This is the opinion of Chairman of the Judges for the 2016 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show, PJ Charteris. “On the first morning tasting the 2016 Semillons there were some real highlights from what was a challenging vintage. To look at wines with purity and clarity varietal characteristics was very, very positive for the region,” he said. “So that was neat to see straight off the bat.”

22/08/2016: Houghton’s tawny port to sail with Duyfken on 400th anniversary voyage
A BARREL of Swan Valley wine is an unlikely choice of passenger for a journey at sea, but chief executive of the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation Peter Bowman says it is a necessity. A ‘pipe’ of Houghton Wine’s tawny port will set sail today for a three-month expedition along the WA coastline on replica Dutch sailing ship Duyfken, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing of Captain Dirk Hartog at Shark Bay.

19/08/2016: Tempranillo crafted by late winemaker Simon Burnell speaks of the man
TIM WHITE: I found out by text: "Our bloody funny buddy Simon Burnell was found dead this morning after a windsurfing incident." The message was from Virginia Willcock, chief winemaker and general manager of Vasse Felix. This was on March 23, 2015. For five years Burnell was winemaker at Willow Bridge Estate in the Geographe region, which begins (depending on which way you're travelling) at Busselton, to the north of its more famous neighbour, Margaret River.

19/08/2016: Treasury Wine to push US brands in Asia
Treasury Wine Estates has more than doubled its annual profit and is gearing up for a big push of its US brands into China. After more than doubling its annual profit, the company behind Penfolds and Wolf Blass is set for a big push of its US labels into Asia. Treasury Wine Estates shares hit a record high on Thursday as chief executive Michael Clarke unveiled a $179.4 million profit - up from $77.6 million, and outline the next step for the company's expansion in the critical Asian marketplace.

19/08/2016: RIVERLAND: Delivering More, Better
Achieving sustainability is a colossal challenge for the majority of Riverland winegrowing businesses. The region’s reputation for being unflappable and growers’ habits of hard work, patience, persistence, resilience, stamina, staying-power and toughness have been pushed to the limit for almost a decade, ably assisted by the millennial drought. It may be too soon to proclaim success but the indicators are pointing up at long last.

19/08/2016: 16th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference winners announced
The Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) has announced the winners of the best ‘Fresh Science’ sessions and the ‘In the Wine Light’ student forum, held during the 16th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference (AWITC) in Adelaide. “The ASVO is committed to supporting the rich talent in viticulture and wine research,” said ASVO president Mardi Longbottom.

19/08/2016: The future of fortified wines
It’s hard to believe that fortified wines were once all we drank as a nation. It’s time to embrace these glorious styles and celebrate our winemaking past. Let me take you back to a time before Australians thirsted for Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc and Yarra Valley Pinot Noir – way back to the 1940s and ’50s, before table wine took hold. In those days, “wine” usually meant sherry or port. Fortified wines represented more than 75 per cent of all wine sales and most were sweet.

18/08/2016: Treasury Wine Estates continues turn around posting strong financial results
The acquisition of a new wine distribution business and strong growth in export markets has seen ASX-listed Treasury Wine Estates more than double its profits compared with the same time last year. The annual financial report from the owner of a host of wine labels including Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Lindeman's shows the company continuing its turnaround under the leadership of CEO Michael Clarke.

18/08/2016: Small exporters adopting new Efic loan scheme
The importance of the Efic Small Business Export Loan scheme comes sharply into focus when considering the stretched cash flow of many exporters. Zonte's Footstep, a winery in South Australia, uses Efics export loans. The company may not produce the massive volumes of the major wine makers but still sells more than 50,000 cases per year. "We're on a sustainable growth rate of 20 per cent per year right now," says managing director, Anna Fisher. "But we need finance to support the growth, especially since the largest growing part of our business is exporting."

18/08/2016: Accolade wines moves closer to listing
The owner of Accolade Wines has confirmed its intent to offload its majority interest in the wine giant as it moves towards an initial public offering on the Stock Exchange. In May, an Australian newspaper claimed private equity firm Champ PE was mulling launching an IPO for the Australian drinks company, a move confirmed last week then the company formally appointed Reunion Capital Partners as corporate advisors to investigate its options.

18/08/2016: Extreme vintage
This year, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales had its wettest January on record followed by its driest February ever. So what does this mean for the region’s 2016 wines? Every vintage throws up its own set of challenges. Growing grapes ain’t easy, especially when you factor in the seemingly high number of extreme weather events that come the vigneron’s way, perhaps thanks to the impact of human beings on our fragile planet.

18/08/2016: Thousands sign up for free online wine course
More than 11,000 people have signed up to a new version of a free online wine course run by the University of Adelaide in Australia. Around 11,300 students signed up to the latest University of Adelaide online wine course, starting 7 July. More than 50,000 people from almost 160 countries have signed up since the programme began – mostly from the US, UK and Australia.

17/08/2016: Lindt Australia CEO Steve Loane backs winemakers who have deserted corporates
The chief executive of Lindt Australia, Steve Loane, has been with the chocolatier 19 years and isn't planning on going anywhere, but he's backing a wine start-up based on the joys of escaping corporate restrictions. Loane has put $50,000 to date into Iconic Winemakers, an online marketer focused on selling premium wines for winemakers who have made their name at a big brand, before going out on their own.

17/08/2016: Taking the water out of wine
The irrigated inland wine business: financial ruin, organics or nuts? Philip White examines two huge developments in Murray-Darling grapegrowing. Last week, GoFarm Australia, a Melbourne-based investment group, bought the Belvino Investments’ 900ha Del Rios vineyard near Swan Hill for somewhere around $22-$25 million.

17/08/2016: Customer list, website and 70,000 bottles of wine up for grabs, after Victorian wine brands enter liquidation
The customer list and website of a well-established winemaking and retail business are up for grabs, after two related companies were placed in liquidation earlier this year. The Moondarra winemaking business was established in 1991 with the production of pinot noir in Gippsland in regional Victoria. The business later added a vineyard in the King Valley to the operations, which produced pinot gris and pinot noir wine varieties.

17/08/2016: Pearses Upper Reach for the stars
Derek and Laura Pearse realised a dream 20 years ago this month when they bought the Swan Valley property that is now Upper Reach to make individual and distinctive wine they could sell directly to those who enjoy handcrafted wine. “We were attracted to the property with its established chardonnay vineyard and also to the rich history of the Swan Valley and the people,” Mrs Pearse said.

17/08/2016: Mediterranean class shines
Mediterranean-style wine varieties were the star of the fourth annual Saint Martin Heathcote Wine Show. In true Olympic fashion, judges awarded medals to 24 wines in the Mediterranean class, where entries had grown to 36 — doubling the amount of last year’s entrants. The judging panel’s chair Tim Kirk described the class in question in one word. ‘‘Wow,’’ he said. The panel added to what Mr Kirk said.

16/08/2016: McWilliam: We're winemakers not retailers
Following a meeting with the Australian Liquor Stores Association, TheShout has spoken to Jeff McWilliam regarding McWilliam’s Wines role in purchase of The Wine Society. Last month TheShout reported that a consortium called Australian Wine Finance is looking to purchase The Wine Society and that McWilliam’s has a small shareholding in that group. Then last week we reported on a meeting between McWilliam and ALSA in which he said the winemaker has no plans to move into retailing.

16/08/2016: Pikes Wines receives $320,000 Regional Development Fund
In a major coup for the Clare Valley, Pikes Wines have been awarded a $320,000 Regional Development Fund grant. This grant will complete their two-stage upgrade. Stage-one was to get the brewery up and running, while stage-two will see an expansion to include a modern visitors’ centre showcasing regional and local produce, as well as creating an enhanced visitor experience to the region.

16/08/2016: WCA appoints new Executive Officer
Wine Communicators Australia (WCA) has announced the appointment of a new Executive Officer as the organisation continues to build its relevance as the 'go to' resource for its members. Lynda Schenk (pictured), who has over two decades' experience in marketing and sales in the wine industry has come into the role. The WCA said that Schenk has "a demonstrated track record of developing and executing strategic initiatives, leading and managing teams and working with a diverse range of people".

16/08/2016: Big lessons in marketing wine to the Ys
B&T’s resident favourite Millennial experts, Brian Mitchell and Evan Mitchell – Directors of Love & Wine, and co-founders of Gen Y brand specialists HOW&Y – go behind the winning of the Australian Business Awards “New Product Innovation” with Australian Vintage’s YOU Wines. The term “craft beverage” is tossed around with casual abandon. Yet surely there is only one craft beverage par excellence. Wine.

16/08/2016: Innovative workshop for cellar door staff launched
Clare Burder, wine educator, author and winemaker, has launched an innovative new training program specifically for cellar door staff. The aptly-named ‘Vintuition’ workshop is designed to meet the unique needs of cellar door staff, and goes beyond basic wine and hospitality training, giving participants the tools to deliver an exceptional visitor tasting experience, every time.

15/08/2016: Sustainable solutions for wine waste
Ways to recycle the vast amount of plant waste produced by the wine industry are under investigation by chemistry and biotechnology researchers at Swinburne. Grape pomace is the skins, pulp, seeds and stems remaining after the fruit has been pressed for juice. While pomace contains tartaric acid, a common additive used to balance the acidity of the wine, it is of limited nutrient value. It is also too hard for animals to digest so can’t be used as feed, and degrades too slowly to be useful as compost.

15/08/2016: Vineyard hi-tech health
Innovative approaches to vineyard management will feature at a free National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) vine health workshop in Mudgee on Tuesday August 23. NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) viticultural development officer, Darren Fahey, said local vignerons will gain insights into the latest technology available to keep their vineyards productive and business on track.

15/08/2016: ARLP takes leadership skills to a new level
As CEO of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association back in 2011, Sam Holmes didn’t seem like an obvious candidate to apply for the Australian Rural Leadership Program. He’s glad he did however, describing it as ‘an amazing opportunity’. ‘At the BGWA we were annually circulating and promoting the program to local wineries and grapegrowers and the feedback was always how amazing the program was and that it was actually life changing,’ he said. ‘When our Chair, Linda Bowes, encouraged me to make time for personal development, I applied and was lucky to be accepted.

15/08/2016: Boutique winery Pondalowie Vineyards wants to relocate to the Surf Coast
AN award-winning winery wants to relocate to the Surf Coast this summer, where it would establish a new vineyard and cellar door facility. Premium boutique firm Pondalowie Vineyards, which has been based in Bendigo for almost 20 years, has lodged plans to set up a new home in Bambra. Owners Dominic Joseph and Krystina Morris said the 40ha site on Bambra School Rd would replace their Bendigo complex.

15/08/2016: Big red from Down Under to be Graham Norton's Own
TALK show host and wine lover Graham Norton is releasing a South Australian Shiraz following the international success of his Sauvignon Blanc. The Irish comedian teamed up with New Zealand’s Invivo Wines in 2014 and has sold more than 500,000 bottles of their 2015 Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc By Invivo in Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand since its release in October.

12/08/2016: CHAMP pulls trigger on $1b Accolade Wines IPO
Australia's second-largest wine company, Accolade Wines, which owns brands including Hardys, Leasingham, Grant Burge and Banrock Station, is set to return to the stock exchange in a $1 billion-plus listing in the first half of 2017 as private equity firm CHAMP exits after six years of ownership.

12/08/2016: High hopes for organic vineyards in SA's Riverland
South Australia is often synonymous with producing world-class wine, and the peak body representing the Riverland's wine industry believes the region has all the ingredients to become a world leader in growing organically. Winemakers and grape growers in the region were out in force last week to learn more about bringing organic practices and soil health to their vineyards.

12/08/2016: Wine scientist reveals how food, music and temperature can affect its taste
When Dr Jacqui McRae reveals what she does for a living, most people are overcome with professional envy. As a research scientist at the Australian Wine Research Institute, Dr McRae spends her days studying the finite qualities of some of Australia's best drops. So does she ever get to taste what's in the beaker? "Ah no," she said. "That would be nice, but no."

12/08/2016: Winter wet delays pruning
YES, it has been a wet windy winter. In combination with months of soaking rain it has meant many big old trees have succumbed – I have days on the chainsaw to show for it. The wet weather has put many gaps in the pruning schedule for vineyards around the region. The risk of disease means you can’t prune in the rain. It has also restricted machinery movement. Taking a heavy machine onto waterlogged ground will have you bogged to the axles in no time at all.

12/08/2016: Rutherglen's venerable Morris winery saved to age with grace
For many including your correspondent, the news in June that Pernod-Ricard, owners of Jacob's Creek, was to close and sell off the stocks of Morris of Rutherglen hurt more than the announcement from Treasury Wine Estates late last year that it was shutting the doors of Seppelt Great Western. The venerable wine producer, established in 1859, is of considerable cultural and vinicultural significance to both its region and the country.

11/08/2016: GoFarm Australia snags one of Australia’s largest vineyards
A GROUP of Melbourne investors has bought one of Australia’s biggest vineyards. GoFarm Australia also snared one of Victoria’s biggest parcels of water with its purchase of Del Rios for $22-$25 million. The 900ha vineyard, north of Swan Hill and near the junction of the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers at Kenley, was sold last month along with its 5476 megalitres of high-sec¬urity water.

11/08/2016: Australian wine exports grow with demand from China
Australia’s wine exports have grown to $2.1 billion annually, and the average price paid for wine grapes has grown by 14 per cent to $526 per tonne. This has been attributed to massive surge in demand from China according to wine critic James Halliday in a recent interview with ABC news. He said: "It's all being pulled by enormous demand from China. It takes more than 50 per cent of our highest-priced wines, and that's where we really want to be."

11/08/2016: Champagne Club fraudster exposed
He was a young entrepreneur who developed a loyal following as the founder of the Perth Champagne Club, a venture promoted by celebrity chef Manu Feildel that sold expensive fine wines to customers around the world. But Nicholas Leslie Gaskin was exposed yesterday as a fraudster who tried to use stolen credit card details to fund the business and “keep up appearances” as a high-flying and wealthy businessman.

11/08/2016: Orange Wine Festival to focus on taste and quality
Get out the calendars, it’s time to save the date for the Orange Wine Festival, the premier event for the region’s winegrowers. The festival’s program has been meticulously planned and will be available on Friday from 9am. Printed copies will be available at the city’s visitor centre and online at www.orangewinefestival.com.au, but also through the Orange NSW app.

11/08/2016: House of Arras grand vintage wins at Sydney Wine Show
A vintage sparkling wine made in the cool climate of the East Coast has taken out a perpetual trophy at the Royal Sydney Wine Show. House of Arras Grand Vintage 2007 has only recently come on the market but was named as the winner of the KPMG perpetual trophy for best wine of show in Sydney in July. The Royal Sydney Wine Show is held between July 18-22.

10/08/2016: ‘Red dynamite’ origins of Margaret River winemaking – new find
As Margaret River winemakers are busily preparing for 50th anniversary celebrations next year, Credaro Wines has revealed the region’s origins in fact date back to the 1920s, from an Italian grape variety called Fragola. It is often regarded that Vasse Felix, Cullen, Cape Mentelle and Leeuwin Estate were the region’s pioneers for producing world-class Bordeaux style wines from the late 1960s.

10/08/2016: Australian wine industry questions integrity of wine ratings
For better or worse, Australians like to drink wine. And these days, we drink almost as much wine as we drink beer. It's an increasingly competitive market, with wine retailers and producers are heavily promoting ratings from wine critics in an effort to influence consumers. But there's growing concern within the industry about the integrity of these wine scores.

10/08/2016: Sydney's only urban winery lays on long lunches
The suburb of St Peters in Sydney's inner west is better known for aircraft noise than a noteworthy food and wine culture, but the laidback suburb next to boisterous Newtown is coming into its own. Precinct 75, a warehouse space in St Peters, is a creative zone divided into suites. It houses a cafe, bakery, gym, microbrewery, hair studios and small businesses. On a recent Sunday, 40 people went looking for suite 6.1, where Urban Winery owner Alex Retief has started hosting a series of chef lunches.

10/08/2016: UK blogger to judge Hunter Valley Wine Show
On Monday 15 August a panel of local, national and international judges will sip their way through the Hunter’s most outstanding wines in 33 different classes at the 2016 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show. This year, award-winning international wine blogger and author of ‘Drink Me’, Matt Walls, will be joining the judging panel. In total 644 entries have been received from 70 exhibitors (winemakers).

10/08/2016: Vineyards produce enthusiastic vibe
THE RECENT spate of vineyard sales continues with Del Rios, one of the largest vineyards in Australia, changing hands following strong interest from a range of local, national and international buyers. Colliers International’s Tim Altschwager and Nick Dean have brokered the sale of the Del Rios vineyard in Victoria to Melbourne-based GoFarm Australia on behalf of Belvino Investments. The property is understood to have sold for between $22-$25 million.

9/08/2016: Drinking in the science with the AWRI
Wine lovers will learn more about their favourite drop from scientists at The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) in an evening of wine tasting and science on 16 August in Adelaide. For more than 60 years the AWRI has provided scientific research and support for the Australian wine industry. This event will give AWRI scientists a new opportunity to share their findings with wine consumers.

9/08/2016: Shiraz and Mediterranean reds woo Heathcote judges
Heathcote’s international reputation for exciting wines has been enhanced with impressive results for Mediterranean-style varieties at the fourth annual Saint Martin Heathcote Wine Show. Judges awarded medals to 24 wines Mediterranean class where entries more than doubled to 36 this year. Among the seven gold medals announced was the 2015 De Bortoli Villages Heathcote Shiraz Grenache also awarded trophies for best in class and best wine other than Shiraz.

9/08/2016: Calling all young at heart winemakers
Entries for the eleventh annual Young Gun of Wine are now open (until September 16), and the competition organisers, judges and sponsors are on the hunt for the best ‘young at heart’ winemakers around Australia. Established in 2007, the Young Gun of Wine has become the most exciting wine trophy in Australia. Celebrating the finest and most innovative rising stars, it is the place to spot the best new talent and trends in wine.

9/08/2016: McWilliam's clarify The Wine Society position
McWilliam's Wines has sought to clarify its role as part of the group which is planning to buy The Wine Society. As reported by TheShout last month a consortium called Australian Wine Finance, which is led by the Fogarty Wine Group is looking to purchase The Wine Society. McWilliam’s has a small shareholding in that group and managing director Jeff McWilliam has said that the company is not planning any retail arm as part of The Wine Society deal and that the shareholding is only part of the its WA wine production arrangements.

9/08/2016: Qantas business, first class could use some local sparkle
Qantas makes a big deal of being a proud supporter of the Australian wine industry. The airline spends $15 million a year on locally produced booze — that’s about two million bottles — and whether you’re drinking in Qantas economy, business or first class or in the lounges, all the wines on offer are exclusively Australian. Well, almost all.

8/08/2016: Clare Valley winemaker Peter Barry in court over alleged assault
A PROMINENT member of one of the state’s most decorated winemaking families has faced court charged with assaulting another man. Winemaker Peter Barry, of Clare, was charged by police after an incident at North Adelaide on June 30, in which he allegedly assaulted John Litchfield. Barry is the managing director of acclaimed Clare Valley winery Jim Barry Wines, which was established by his father in the late 1950s.

8/08/2016: Invitation extended to cool climate Chardonnay producers
Australian producers of cool climate Chardonnay are being invited to take part in a tasting of the style soon to be conducted by the Wine & Viticulture Journal. It follows a tasting of cool climate Shiraz by the Journal earlier this year with the results to be published in its September-October issue which will have a special focus on cool climate viticulture.

8/08/2016: Tax changes will prompt layoffs in WA wine industry, vintners warn
Geoff Barrett planted 80 hectares of grapevines on his property near Margaret River in Western Australia in 2001. Watershed Premium Wines has since become one of the region's success stories, employing 56 workers across its viticulture, restaurant, cellar door and sales teams. But with Federal Government changes to wine taxation due next year, Mr Barrett said some of those jobs were at risk.

8/08/2016: IWSC trophies see a mix of winners from big and boutique brands
The International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) 2016 were held last week, and the winners included spirits by big names like CCA/Beam Suntory and Bacardi-Martini, to boutique brands like Australia’s Archie Rose Distilling Co. Beam Suntory were one of the biggest winners on the night, taking out three major awards, including the Worldwide Bourbon trophy for Jim Beam Black and Worldwide Whiskey trophy for Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, both of which are distributed in Australia by Coca-Cola Amatil.

8/08/2016: A shake-up for Rockpool's wine team
The Rockpool Group’s beverage director and sommelier David Lawler, has announced he’ll leave the Sydney restaurant group this month to start his own business venture. Lawler will be replaced by the current head sommelier of Rockpool est. 1989, Sebastian Crowther MS, who will move to Melbourne to assume the beverage director role and management of the wine lists for Rockpool Bar & Grill, Spice Temple and Rosetta Ristorante.

International Wine Industry News

25/08/2016: New Zealand first as Marlborough wine company swaps bottle for can
Wine snobs lament, a New Zealand company has canned wine. Misty Cove Wines in Blenheim is the first wine company in the country to locally produce wine in aluminium cans. Founder Andrew Bailey said the concept was all about portability. We get asked a lot: 'wine in a can: does it taste any different?' "And the answer is 'no, it doesn't'.

25/08/2016: Romeo Bragato Conference celebrates growth of New Zealand wine industry
The growth of the wine industry, exports and trade were front and centre on the opening day of the largest wine conference in New Zealand. Around 600 industry leaders gathered at the ASB Theatre Marlborough on Wednesday for the annual Romeo Bragato Conference, where speakers heaped praise on the expanding industry. New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green presented figures showing 21 years of successive export growth, from $41 million in 1994 to $1.42 billion in the year ending June 2015.

25/08/2016: California wildfires threaten grapes with smoke taint
Could Californian wine lovers be finding a touch of ashtray in their 2016 Cabernets? 'Tis the season to worry about smoke-tainted wines. Because it gets most of its rain in winter, California has wildfires almost every summer. It's always hot and dry, especially in the interior of the state, so the conditions are always right. And that means the conditions are always right for smoke taint.

25/08/2016: Cool climate wines drive growth for Matthew Clark
UK drinks distributor Matthew Clark has seen an uplift in sales of premium wines from cool-climate regions – a sign that consumers are increasingly seeking out lighter, fresher styles. Wines from regions and countries known for their cooler climates, including Austria, New Zealand, and Germany’s Mosel, have all generated double or triple-digit volume sales growth for the distributor in the year to 30 June 2016 (MAT).

25/08/2016: Winecrasher targets 'adventurous' wine drinkers
A new startup business, based in both Napa and Israel, is adding an element of surprise to wine buying. Called Winecrasher, the online wine retail website was founded and is operated by Napan Nancy O’Connell and former Napan Niv Nissenson. The idea behind Winecrasher is simple: Customers receive all the relevant information about the wine they’re about to purchase, including region, vintage, varietal, tasting notes and an external critic’s score.

25/08/2016: How small can a vineyard go?
After seeing hectares and acres of wine vineyards producing tons of grapes per unit, I've often wondered how small one could go and still be considered to have a wine-producing vineyard? That question has apparently been addressed in some parts of the wine-growing world that really are not all that surprising: Vienna, Paris and San Francisco.

24/08/2016: US now biggest NZ wine customer
For the first time, sales of wine in New Zealand have been overtaken by sales into the United States and United Kingdom, New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green says. Despite this drop, New Zealand Winegrowers' just released annual report shows exports have risen 10% in the last year as expected, to just under $1.6 billion.

24/08/2016: Puka Puka Stream results confirm grape marc leaching
Grape byproduct has been identified as the main cause of pollution which turned a rural stream to a "black jelly" sludge. The Marlborough District Council has confirmed test results from the groundwater and surface water samples of Puka Puka Stream, 12 kilometres south of Blenheim, showed leachate from grape marc compost dumped nearby was the "most likely" cause of pollution.

24/08/2016: How wine in a can and 'Brosé' are helping marketers appeal to millennials
MOVE over, wine snobs. Millennials are disrupting wine marketing. The age group is outguzzling baby boomers in terms of wine consumption: 36 percent of winedrinkers in the U.S. are millennials versus 34 percent of baby boomers, according to the Wine Market Council. And to appeal to these millennials, wine brands are busy crafting innovative packaging, clever labels and more approachable messaging.

24/08/2016: Chianti winemaker lets the wine do the talking
"Vero" is how winemaker Peppe Randazzo describes Luca Martini di Cigala of San Giusto a Rentennano. Vero translates from the Italian as any or all of these: authentic, true, unfeigned, genuine, real. He said this was how Luca interacted with the people who worked on the family farm; how he was with all those around him. This authenticity, I believe, is reflected in the wines of his estate. I love 'em.

24/08/2016: Why wine could win big after Brexit
Gold often tops the list of safe haven assets in uncertain economic times. But when it comes to post-Brexit Britain, wine could share the limelight with this noble metal. As reported by Decanter.com, wine investment is likely to become more attractive in the UK after the country leaves the European Union. This is based on the findings of a survey by Cult Wines that found 27% of 101 wealth managers and independent financial advisors (IFAs) pointing to wine.

24/08/2016: Strong exhibitor registration for ProWine China 2016
ProWine China 2016, International Trade Fair for Wines and Spirits, is experiencing strong exhibitor registration – both for country group pavilions and individual exhibits. Exhibitors from Africa, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, France, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Macedonia as well as Moldova, Portugal, South Africa, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Romania, Russia and the U.S. already confirmed their participation.

23/08/2016: Vineyard workers attack man at RSE accommodation in Marlborough
Four vineyard workers who attacked a flatmate have avoided a conviction so they can continue to work in New Zealand and provide for their families. The Ni-Vanuatu men, aged between 30 and 46, were in the country on a Recognised Seasonal Employer visa so they could work in Marlborough's vineyards. They were living in RSE worker accommodation in Blenheim when a fight broke out with another worker on July 23.

23/08/2016: Wine industry converge in Marlborough
Around 500 grape growers, winemakers, and industry leaders will meet in Marlborough this week to learn, discuss and network at the wine industry’s annual Romeo Bragato Conference. Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer, said in the past year the industry has seen continued strong demand in our key export markets. “This year Bragato is all about working to protect the reputation for quality we’ve attained, and gaining a clear understanding of key market and production trends.”

23/08/2016: Post-Olympic impact on Brazil's wine industry
What is the hippest wine destination you’ve never heard of? That was a question I asked in a popular post from earlier this year. I supported my answer — the lush, mountainous Serra Gaúcha region of southern Brazil — with eight reasons why from creative winery tourism to lower alcohol wines to a strong cultural heritage of wine.

23/08/2016: In the cellars of Burgundy's Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg
The wines of Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg in the Burgundy village of Vosne-Romanee are exceptional and, in the last several years, their fame has begun to catch up to the quality of their wines. As the Mugneret-Gibourg name has become more widely known in America, retail price increases for their wines have outpaced those of other Burgundy wines. These prices increases do not, in my opinion, correlate to any qualitative changes in the Domaine: their approach and the wines have remained consistent since the 1990s.

23/08/2016: 2016 looks fruitful for California wineries after a hard year
California’s 2016 wine grape harvest is under way, and after a freakishly early and low-yielding 2015 vintage, things seem to be back to normal — sort of. The bump in yields promises some financial relief for the wine industry, which can, with luck, pass that on to consumers. And while many wines from the 2015 vintage appear on a promising track, outcomes across California were variable; an excessively early harvest can often translate to fruit with less flavor complexity.

23/08/2016: China Buys a 22% more Wine in the first half of 2016
As in 2015, China's Imports of Wine increased significantly during the first half of 2016, especially in both volume and value. Japan, for its part, slightly reduced their Imports. Are the two main conclusions from the two recent reports of the OeMv on the Wine Market in the Two Asian Giants. Wine Packaging marked the Global Rise and accounts for 94% of China's Investment in wine growing, with Spain over its competitors. China spent almost 50% more Wine Packaging in English during the first semester.

22/08/2016: Wine industry worker treatment 'putting sales in danger'
Serious breaches of employment standards among contractors operating in Marlborough vineyards are threatening the wine industry's reputation, says a labour inspector. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says a joint operation involving labour, immigration and tax officials found problems with several contractors visited.

22/08/2016: National young viticulturist and winemaker competitions come to Marlborough
The future stars of the New Zealand wine industry will be in Marlborough on Tuesday, competing for the coveted titles of best young viticulturist and winemaker. The Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year and Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year competitions are being held in the region to tie in with the Romeo Bragato Conference. The industry conference, which was last held in Marlborough two years ago, starts on Wednesday and runs through to Friday at the ASB Theatre Marlborough.

22/08/2016: Rod McDonald Wines flourishing in Hawke's Bay
The Hawke's Bay community know a thing or two about wine - and there is nowhere else Rod McDonald would rather be. The winemaker and owner of Rod McDonald Wines has worked in the industry for 20 years. In 2010 the highly regarded wine judge and former winemaker of the year launched his own-brand wines and then partnered with Mike Farrugia in 2012 to expand the brand. "The idea was to apply what I learned making wine and to make something different.”

22/08/2016: Languedoc vines suffer ‘worst hail in living memory’
A deluge of hail stones has hit vineyards in one of the most prestigious areas of Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France. A fierce hailstorm on Wednesday afternoon (17 August) turned streets white and sent golf-ball sized stones of ice plunging into vineyards in the Pic-St-Loup area ofLanguedoc, north of Montpellier. Winemaker Fabrice Bonmarchand told Le Point newspaper nearly all vineyards near to the village of Lauret had been damaged to some extent.

22/08/2016: Wine Institute of California shuts UK office: John McLaren reacts
OLN was shocked and saddened to learn that the UK office of the Wine Institute of California will close due to severe cuts in funding from the Department of Agriculture in Washington DC. John McLaren and Venla Freeman have spent 21 years spearheading the Californian wine category in the UK from their London office and it is the end of an era for these hugely respected industry leaders.

22/08/2016: In the competitive wine world, labels can make all the difference
Wine companies have a lot of demands. They must grow and secure grapes. They have to oversee a laborious winemaking process through bottling. Then they have to compete on the supermarket shelf with thousands of competitors. But a key factor in a wine’s success is packaging, which can make or break a brand as evidenced by speakers Wednesday at the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference held at the Lincoln Theatre.

22/08/2016: Why America is drunk on canned wine
It's never too late to crack open a can of chardonnay. This summer, millions of wine drinkers ditched corks and slipped a can of wine in to-go bags. Canned wine is a booming, if relatively new, sector of the wine business in the USA. Nielsen reported a whopping 125.2% increase in sales of canned wine alone in the past year. Sales went up to $14.5 million from $6.4 million the previous year.

19/08/2016: Sommelier & Junior of the Year 2016
Opening wine with precision, knowing the principles of how to decant wine and talking informatively to customers are all part of the New Zealand Sommelier Awards – the focus of two professional competitions on Sunday 11 September this year. The New Zealand Sommelier of the Year Competition and the Junior Sommelier of the Year Competition have big prizes and bring important benefits to this country’s hospitality industry as the art of wine service is elevated to new levels.

19/08/2016: New Zealand wine exports up 10%
New Zealand’s wine industry is well on track to reach its target of $2 billion of exports by 2020, according to Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers, Steve Green. New Zealand Winegrowers’ Annual Report shows exports have risen 10 per cent in the last year to just under $1.6 billion, marking the 21st consecutive year the industry has experienced significant export growth.

19/08/2016: Lisburn wine sales firm lands Wolf Blass contract
Lisburn-based wine sales company, Woodford Bourne, has secured the distribution rights in Northern Ireland for one of the world's leading premium wine brands, Wolf Blass. The agreement with Treasury Wine Estates covers both the on-trade, for example in bars and hotels, and the off-licence trade, and will see the introduction of several new wines to the local market.

19/08/2016: California wine country says goodbye to crop-threatening moth
A moth that sparked quarantines and expensive pest-control measures in California’s wine country has been eradicated from the state, agricultural officials said Thursday. Little-known outside the viticultural world, the European grapevine moth had threatened crops valued at $5.7 billion, including wine and table grapes, berries and some stone fruits, since it first was detected in Napa County in 2009.

19/08/2016: The discovery that could transform Canada’s wine industry
Dr. Mehdi Sharifi's research on indoor wine production could change the future of the wine industry in Canada. Although Canada is home to internationally award-winning wines, the cold winters and short growing season are a constant challenge. The solution is one that has never been tried with wine grapes before until now: moving production indoors.

19/08/2016: South African wine exports predicted to grow by 13%
South African wine exports reached 313-million litres in 2015 and are projected to grow by a further 13% in the next decade. “Wine exports are up from 122-million litres in 2000 to 313-million litres in 2015. We are exporting to markets across the world and the bulk of our exports are destined for the European Union and the UK,” says Western Cape Economic Opportunities Minister Alan Winde. He points out that exports to key markets in the rest of Africa, the US and China were also growing.

18/08/2016: Marlborough wine industry expansion means more waste, but where does it go?
With more vines comes more waste, raising questions about what is being done with the thousands of tonnes of grape marc being produced every year in Marlborough. Grape marc, the skins and seeds left over after grapes are pressed for winemaking, has a variety of uses, including compost, nutraceutical products and stock feed. It typically makes up around a fifth of the overall harvest tonnage and with more vineyard hectares being planted, the pressure is on the industry to find ways to deal with its waste.

18/08/2016: New Zealand wine ‘at top of on-trade ladder’
After a brief blip last decade created by a glut of cheap, poor quality Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc flooding the UK market, New Zealand wine appears to have firmly reclaimed its place at the top of the on-trade wine ladder from the prospective of premium price positioning, writes Mark Newton of CGA Strategy. The average price per glass of New Zealand wine at UK restaurants and bars is above its nearest Old World competitors, having edged over the £5 barrier earlier this year.

18/08/2016: CA: Wineries wait, worry of possible smoke taint
Red wine aficionados love flowery descriptions for what swirls in their globed glasses. When sniffing and swishing they may detect “delicate, balanced tannins,” a “hint of leather” or a “bouquet of ripe currants.” Unfortunately, the 2016 vintage from grapes grown in Cachagua Valley high above Carmel Valley may bring less palatable tasting notes such as “smoked meat, “campfire” or “dirty ashtray.” Not good.

18/08/2016: South African vineyard's duck parade doubles as pest control
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa (AP) — The quacking is soft at first amid the vineyards that roll for miles in this South African wine-making town. But then the duck handlers whistle and wave their white flags, and the noise reaches a crescendo. All 1,071 ducks huddle at the gate that separates them from the vineyards. It's time to go to work, and the daily duck parade is about to start.

18/08/2016: Would you pop a can of Pinot?
When you're looking at replacements for packaging invented in the 17th century, it makes sense to offer something that feels novel but looks familiar. Nicholas Johnston, a research assistant for the Texas Wine Marketing Institute, completed his doctoral studies this year by asking young consumers for their reactions to alternative wine packaging—wine without the bottle. His two-part study included a small focus group of wine drinkers, followed by a national survey of 1,151 respondents, ages 21 to 39.

18/08/2016: 2016: The year for new world wines
In every wine country, vintners anxiously scan the skies all year, hoping weather challenges will still let them make great, or at least good, wine. French wine makers in Chablis lit fires earlier this year to protect their vineyards from irreparable frost damage. So far, 2016 has been a very rough year for Europe's vintners, with one weather catastrophe after another. Hailstorms in Barolo.

17/08/2016: Wine man put Palliser on the map
"There's a quote here which reads: 'The rich want good wine; the poor a lot of wine.' Well, that's bullshit. The rich drink a hell of a lot wine as well." The speaker was Richard Riddiford. He was reading from my first wine book, which he'd agreed to launch over a decade ago. True to form, he was blunt, compelling and funny. It was a style of delivery that brought him notoriety throughout the wine world. With Riddiford's death a couple of weeks ago, New Zealand wine lost one of its great contributors and personalities.

17/08/2016: Kiwi honey, wine face new Chinese rules
Chinese regulations that caused upheaval in New Zealand's infant formula industry two years ago are set to be extended to honey and wine exporters. The Ministry for Primary Industries yesterday confirmed it was aware of the move, saying the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) would require registration of wineries and honey producers next year.

17/08/2016: Clayton Fire dashes dream of Tuscany in Lake County
Matt Swinford tried to sleep Saturday night, but he felt nervous as the smell of smoke from a nearby wildfire pierced his nose. Hours later, Swinford and his cat fled the vast Clayton Fire that threatened his cottage on the grounds of Terrill Cellars, a Lake County winery where he pours wine for a living. “I had my fingers crossed,” said Swinford, 35. “We’d gone through this before, like last year, and didn’t get hit. I moved up here last year during the Rocky Fire. I knew what I was getting into when I moved up here. I knew the risk.”

17/08/2016: A Georgian Winemaker Rises from the Ashes
This little-known region makes incredible wine using ancient techniques. Try some alongside food by Tipo 00, Clever Polly’s, Cobb Lane and Arbory Bar and Eatery. Last year a fire destroyed the home and vineyards of Georgian-based winemaker John Wurdeman. To help Wurdeman and his family rebuild their business in the former Soviet state, Arbory Bar and Eatery is hosting a four-course, Georgian-inspired fundraising lunch.

17/08/2016: Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2016: Results
As we noted in last year’s report, such are the powerful traits of Cabernet Sauvignon, wherever it’s grown, and however it’s handled, the grape displays a pleasing sameness. In essence, it’s a grape of resilience and reliability. So, unlike Pinot Noir, another grape in our Global Masters series, Cabernet Sauvignon offers regularity in personality, which is derived from its dense tannins, and juicy blackcurrant flavours, along with its subtle and refreshing leafy lift, as well as lingering coffee and cedar characters.

17/08/2016: Better when blended?
What do many of the wines from Bordeaux, Champagne, the Rhone, Port and Rioja have in common? Apart from being long-established traditional wine producing regions and generic wine types most of their wines are made from blends of grape varieties. Many of the Southern Hemisphere producers whose wines have gained in popularity over the last two decades have often been easy to pronounce single varieties.

17/08/2016: 2016: The year for new world wines
In every wine country, vintners anxiously scan the skies all year, hoping weather challenges will still let them make great, or at least good, wine. French wine makers in Chablis lit fires earlier this year to protect their vineyards from irreparable frost damage. So far, 2016 has been a very rough year for Europe's vintners, with one weather catastrophe after another. Hailstorms in Barolo.

16/08/2016: Taste of Nelson: Whenua Matua vineyards
Jonny Hiscox is rightfully very proud of his workplace, the Whenua Matua vineyards that are home to Aronui Wines. The name Whenua Matua means significant land – and significant it is. The Whenua Matua vineyard land in the Moutere Hills has special significance to iwi in the region. It is part of tenths reserve lands and can never be sold. I spent some time walking around the Upper Moutere vineyard when the vines were only a few years old and the impression I got at the time was of a special place that was being developed with sensitivity by a passionate viticulturist.

16/08/2016: A new generation at Matawhero Wines in Gisborne
Sip NZ Wine caught up with Kirsten Searle, owner and General Manager of Matawhero Wines in Gisborne to hear more about the revitalisation of this iconic winery. Established in 1968 by Bill Irwin, Matawhero Wines defied convention and made wines of boutique standing and international acclaim and in doing so, changed the face of New Zealand winemaking forever.

16/08/2016: UK sales of sparkling wine ‘rose by 80%’ since 2011, data shows
The amount of sparkling wine on sale in the UK has risen by 80% in the last five years from 17.6 million gallons in 2011-12 to an estimated 31.6 million gallons in 2015-16, according to accountancy group UHY Hacker Young. It said that the increase in the amount on sale is largely due to an increased consumer demand for products such as prosecco and cava, as well as more local English sparkling wines.

16/08/2016: The truth about boxed wine
For years, one of the most loathed word combinations in the long history of the grape was “boxed wine” — and for good reason. For decades, poor quality wine, labeled simply as “white” or “red,” was relegated to these boxes and sold in supermarkets at bargain basement prices. But things have changed in recent years. Boxed wines, once the lowest level of the quality pyramid, are finally getting some respect. And they’re becoming increasingly popular among consumers.

16/08/2016: Drinking Naked Wines
If you’re a big fan of wine but still want to run a startup, there may not be that much innovation you can get away with on the product side. Wine, when all is said and done, is still wine. That doesn’t mean you can’t turn the industry inside out by turning the traditional winery business model on its head — and that’s exactly what Naked Wines did. I decided to have a closer look at how a 10-year-old company can upend one of the oldest industries in the world.

16/08/2016: Hong Kong gears up for wine and spirits fair
The ninth edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair will descend on the city in November in recognition of Asia’s booming wine consumption. Over 1,000 exhibitors hailing from all corners of the globe are expected to join the Wine & Spirits Fair which will take place from 10-12 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

15/08/2016: One week till Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final
Just one week to go until the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final 2016. This year there are five regional finalists, all strong candidates with great viticultural knowledge and a real passion for the industry, so it is set to be an exciting competition. The main day of questions and challenges will be on Tuesday 23 August at Villa Maria, Marlborough. "It’s a tough day for the contestants and they have all been studying hard over the last few weeks." says Nicky Grandorge, the National Co-ordinator of the competition.

15/08/2016: Bars struggle to survive as New Zealand's drinking culture changes
The shrinking trend of social drinking is causing a massive shift in the hospitality industry. Brittany Baker reports on how pubs are coping with the change in order to make a buck. Hospitality guru Kymon Hill reckons if he had to start all over, he would choose not to serve booze. "If I were to give any advice to someone looking to open up their own place, I would say to keep it small and don't serve alcohol," he says.

15/08/2016: Unmasking France’s violent wine extremists
You raise a glass of French wine and you think of the winemaker. You probably imagine someone with sun-soaked wrinkles, his hands as knotty as the vines he tends, sort of a knowing Mother Earth look about him. Maybe you picture him walking the vineyard, gently grazing his thick, worn knuckles against tender green leaves, cupping a cluster of violet-purple grapes, thinking of the vintage to come.

15/08/2016: Wave of mergers and acquisitions sweeps U.S. wineries
Over the past several months, there’s been a drumbeat of big-name mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. wine industry. In April, Jackson Family Wines acquired Penner-Ash Wine Cellars for an undisclosed price and in May they bought Copain (price unknown). May also saw the purchase of a majority share of Far Niente Wine Estates (price unknown) by GI Partners, a private equity firm that also possesses a majority of Duckhorn.

15/08/2016: Harvest starts with Italy confident of holding wine crown
Italy will retain its crown as the world's biggest wine producer this year, the country's main agricultural body predicted Friday as the first grapes of the 2016 vintage were harvested. Coldiretti, the farmers' and food producers' organisation, said variable growing conditions across the country would result in overall volume rising five percent on the total of 47.5 million hectolitres in 2015. Last year saw Italy overtake arch rival France in terms of total output by volume.

15/08/2016: Sneaking fine wine across the Syrian border
It’s a typical wine tasting at the Château Marsyas in the beautiful Bekaa region of Lebanon. We are trying a French Cabernet after tasting a Merlot and Shiraz. Bottles and glasses are scattered on a wooden table in the heart of the winery, which houses a dozen stainless steel vats and hundreds of oak barrels. In all, we’ve savoured 17 wines.

12/08/2016: Family of Twelve appoints new chair
In an extended family group every member brings a different and distinct set of experiences and skills to the family table. To this end The Family of Twelve rotate the role of chair to ensure it benefits from the full range of talent and experience available to it. On July the 19th, the chairship passes from Mr. William Hoare of Fromm Winery in Marlborough to Mrs. Judy Finn of Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson, the first woman to be elected to the position.

12/08/2016: Can a once-hip wine region be cool again?
California’s Carneros region may have been overshadowed by other appellations, but a small group of vineyard owners and vintners are looking to restore youth and excitement. One time, not so long ago, the most famous and sought-after place to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California was Carneros. The region, which lies partly in Napa and partly in Sonoma, showed so much promise that big-name sparkling-wine producers from France and Spain opened Carneros outposts. Today, the former hot spot has been overshadowed by newer, cooler appellations.

12/08/2016: Hot, dry summer making for a very good wine year, say grapegrowers
When grapegrowers look back on the hot, dry summer of 2016, they may raise a glass to toast one of the best growing seasons they've had in a while. The sun has baked much of the land in southern Ontario this summer to the point where most farmers are crying for mercy. But for those looking to harvest grapes to produce wine, the sun is a grape grower's best friend.

12/08/2016: Wellington Wine Country set to wow world with Wairarapa vino
Wairarapa winemakers are leveraging on the success of the Wellington brand to showcase their wines to the world. They have formed Wellington Wine Country Limited (WWCL) to streamline marketing for all wine producers in the Greater Wellington region. WWCL chairwoman Nicola Belsham, from Murdoch James Estate Wines, said internationally, few understood where Wairarapa was situated, and that it was made up of three sub-regions - Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton.

12/08/2016: Bordeaux’s oldest vines
The weather in Bordeaux on Wednesday 23 September 2015 was radiantly warm and sunny, one of a crop of perfect autumn days that marked out a month with just 35.4mm of rainfall in the city centre, a full 52% less than the 10-year average. The crowd in Place de la Victoire was taking advantage of the heat. Besides the iconic archway leading to rue Ste-Catherine, the longest pedestrianised street in Europe, place de la Victoire is also the site of a bronze and red marble column designed to honour viticulture and winemaking.

12/08/2016: A new generation of winemakers
In my conversations with winemakers throughout the state, I’ve discovered that the next generation is less inclined to feel a need to imitate the formidable California style of wine (In fact, California’s sweeter, more high-alcohol wines are often referred to as “flabby”). These winemakers are generally more open-minded, and they seem to fall loosely into one of two camps: “The Champions” and “The Experimenters.” For this article, I spoke to three winemakers who champion a distinctly Colorado style.

11/08/2016: Vinomofo launches in New Zealand
Australia’s number one online wine retailer has kicked off its New Zealand operation with a launch party in central Auckland last night. Vinomofo, which offers members the opportunity to buy wines from New Zealand, Australia and international markets, has taken the Australian market by storm and to date has nearly half a million regular users.

11/08/2016: UC Davis Looks to the Future
David Block, chairman of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at University of California, Davis, recently shared several advances results in research as well as new opportunities for partnerships with the wine industry. Speaking to an audience of members of the Allied Grape Growers during its annual meeting in Santa Rosa, Block said “Research is best thought of as an investment.”

11/08/2016: Champagne shortage looms after frost, rot and mildew
The growing season is the most complicated Champagne has known since the very difficult season of 1956, said Eric Rodez, winemaker at the family-owned Champagne Rodez in Ambonnay. In spring, late frosts hit the Côte des Bar region, where a quarter of the Champagne vineyards are.

11/08/2016: Wine fraud increasingly difficult to detect, prevent
Wine fraud: Is it something new? Even Thomas Jefferson was aware of it, and checked it by being among the first to have his wine bottled on site at the winery and sealed with a wax plug to prevent adulteration in shipment. The common practice back then was to ship in bulk to be bottled at the destination. Since most of the shipment in Jefferson's time was via riverboat traffic, sailors were not above pulling a few swigs of wine out of the containers and topping them off with water.

11/08/2016: Owner of Bankrupt Wine Store Premier Cru Will Plead Guilty to Fraud
John Fox, co-owner of the beleaguered California retailer, faces up to 20 years in federal prison for alleged Ponzi scheme. John Fox, the man behind troubled wine retailer Premier Cru, will plead guilty this week to criminal charges that will likely send him to federal prison, Wine Spectator has learned. During a sealed proceeding in June, federal prosecutors charged Fox with one count of wire fraud.

11/08/2016: Fresh Facts goes mobile
Fresh Facts, the annual statistics resource for the horticulture industry, is now available as an app for mobile devices. The app and newly launched website tool feature the ability to create graphs from the export and growing data of more than 20 crops and crop groupings published in Fresh Facts over the past 17 years. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, for Android devices from Google Play, or via the www.freshfacts.co.nz website.

10/08/2016: Hitch-hiking stink bug a major concern for Marlborough wine industry
A stink bug that has decimated crops in the United States and Italy could be catastrophic for the Marlborough wine industry if it breaches border control. New Zealand Winegrowers biosecurity manager Edwin Massey said the bug, called the brown marmorated stink bug, was public enemy No 1 when it came to biosecurity risks.

10/08/2016: Wine bosses at Cloudy Bay Vineyards and Yealands Wine Group step down
Two high-level executives have stood down from their respective roles within the Marlborough wine industry. Cloudy Bay Vineyards estate director Ian Morden left last week after seven years at the label, which is owned by luxury goods company Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. He was unable to be reached for comment. Jason Judkins, chief executive of the sixth largest wine exporter in New Zealand, Yealands Wine Group, also announced he was stepping down.

10/08/2016: Growers at 12 wineries watching crop exposed to smoke from Soberanes Fire
Grapegrowers are keeping their eyes on their crops at a dozen wineries in Carmel Valley closest to the Soberanes Fire, which has burned over 60,000 acres since it began more than two weeks ago in Monterey County. The grapes have been exposed to heavy levels of smoke as they undergo veraison, when the berries change colour indicating they're moving closer to ripening, and many growers can't do much to protect their crop, Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association executive director Kim Stemler said.

10/08/2016: 8 Keys to understanding how Brexit might affect the wine industry
Almost a month since the 'no' came from the UK to Europe, the most immediate response in consequences on the economy was the low level of the pound. The time passed since the referendum has inspired one to envision various possible economic scenarios, especially in the field of food and wine, in which the UK has a primary role as a buyer.

10/08/2016: What’s driving Mexico’s wine boom?
Mexico is creeping slowly onto the radar of the wine trade. But what are the reasons behind Mexicans’ growing enthusiasm for vino? Mexico is gradually earning its place at the table of major wine countries – wine consumption in Mexico has been growing at significant rates for over ten years.

10/08/2016: Festivals and wine brands: how to chase and capture Millennials’ imaginations
Millennials can be a tough crowd, but perhaps festivals offer an opportunity for wine brands to make their mark on the minds of this most elusive of demographics. Not long ago a client and I were brainstorming about Millennials and how to brand build with them. This is a tricky one. As my client pointed out, Millennials are as hard to catch as the rarest Pokémon, and when an opportunity presents itself everyone goes for it at the same time.

9/08/2016: No matter the stated trade agreement, wine Protectionism lives on
A recent story in Wines and Vines Magazine (W&V), Made me think way back to the 1980s when, in an effort to help New York grape growers whose livelihoods were on the line because of the collapse of the state’s large wineries, the New York legislature and governor had a bright idea: limit sales of wine coolers in grocery stores to products produced with grapes grown only in New York.

9/08/2016: Bordeaux: The Fallacy of Futures
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it made “cents” to pay for wine up to two years in advance. Those were heady times, and the equation was simple. It was found in nearly every wine book I purchased back in the 1980s and early ’90s. It went something like this: “Buy two cases. Cellar one and sell the other after it’s appreciated in value. It’s like drinking for free.”

9/08/2016: Nearly 90% of UK wine drinkers considering themselves ‘wine buffs’
According to a recent survey of 1,586 Brits, conducted by UK research and consulting firm Ginger Research, 88% of respondents said they considered themselves a wine buff or a wine lover. The research was undertaken on behalf of The Co-Op. Ben Cahill, Co-Op wine buyer, said the survey produced some really interesting insights into how we’ve become more interested in wine as a nation.

9/08/2016: Iranian investor moves in on Georgian wine region
A private Iranian investor holding company, ARIC LLC is building a ‘Green Village’ wine tourism attraction in Kakheti, one of Georgia’s most historic wine producing regions. Initial plans for the Green Village project include to develop vineyards, fruit gardens, a nut plantation, a wine production facility and five-star villas in Sagarejo, a town in Kakheti, 58 kilometres from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

9/08/2016: Judges gear up for Bragato Wine Awards 2016
A 13 strong judging team , including international judges Andrea Frost and Nick Ryan, is gearing up to judge over 600 entries for this year’s Bragato Wine Awards in Auckland, on 16 and 17 August. Andrea Frost is an award winning wine writer, columnist and author based in Melbourne, Australia. In 2013, Andrea was named Wine Communicator of the Year and her first book, ‘Through a Sparkling Glass, an A-Z of the Wonderland of Wine’, was awarded Best Wine Publication.

9/08/2016: Tickets now on sale for New Zealand’s first natural wine and food festival
In 2015 a dozen wine lovers - made up of wine educators, distributors, restaurateurs, sommeliers, retailers, writers and winemakers - congregated at an office on Courtenay Place. They were there as a result of intense exchange of ideas on social media about what natural is and why it’s important. For the following three hours the group discussed at length their motivations, hopes and dreams to see a natural wine festival held locally in Wellington. Budburst is an opportunity to explore the concepts of artisan craft, healthy consumption, ethical and sustainable production and diversity in available wine styles.

8/08/2016: Expanding the Marlborough wine industry
To grow any further, the Marlborough wine industry needs accommodation and it needs labour. Reporter Oliver Lewis takes a look at the challenge facing the $1 billion industry. Behind every bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, the wine that put New Zealand on the map, lies the unseen work of thousands of pairs of hands. From a handful of vineyards in the 1970s to the engine room of the pumping wine export economy, the Marlborough wine industry has transformed the physical and social landscape of the region.

8/08/2016: Wine flood 'was act of sabotage'
A RADICAL group of wine producers in the Aude has claimed responsibility for flooding the streets of Sète with thousands of gallons of wine. The Comité Régional d'Action Viticole (CRAV) said it was behind the sabotage of vats of wine at a wine facility in the town owned by Biron, which caused an estimated 50,000 litres of wine to flood basements, car parks and homes, Midi Libre reports.

8/08/2016: What killed these three vineyard workers in California’s Central Valley?
United Farm Workers—America’s largest farm workers union—is reporting that the three farm workers who died last week on three separate vineyards in California were suffering from undue heat exposure. All of the deaths took place in Kern County in California’s fertile Central Valley. However, the Kern County coroner’s office is disputing that heat was a factor in at least one of the women’s deaths, who fell ill after working in the hot sun.

8/08/2016: Egypt wineries struggle to revive derided industry
Men and women harvest Merlot grapes under the scorching sun in one of Egypt's up-and-coming vineyards, as the Muslim-majority desert country strives to win over international wine connoisseurs. "It's a great story, what we've done with Egyptian wine," said a proud Labib Kallas, as he inspected vines planted in reclaimed desert land north of Cairo on a hot day in July.

8/08/2016: Hundreds farewell wine pioneer
No one was ever in much doubt about what Richard Riddiford was thinking. Those were the words of Tim Castle, who recited a Karakia which wrapped up yesterday’s private funeral service for the wine pioneer. Between 500 and 600 people gathered to remember Mr Riddiford in his hometown of Martinborough at Palliser Estate, of which he was a founding director. The 65-year-old died last Tuesday following a short battle with cancer.

8/08/2016: Team takes steps toward examining the DNA of the world's wine regions
UBC researchers are one step closer to identifying the biological personalities of the world's greatest wines. In a recent study, UBC researchers Dan Durall and Mansak (Ben) Tantikachornkiat developed a technique that combines a process to identify the full spectrum of DNA in yeast and bacteria samples with a technique that distinguishes between live and dead micro-organisms.

Research Findings

What's On in Australia

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Fischer Australis

Della Toffola


WID 2016