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News posted on Friday, 1 May 2015

WET Reform still on the table
The boss of the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia (WFA) has dismissed a media report that Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) reform will not be part of this year’s Federal Budget as “speculative”. Yesterday, an article from The Australian suggested Joe Hockey, the Federal Treasurer, was “understood to have told the industry at a meeting on Tuesday that the plan was not supported, despite it delivering significant budget savings”.

Commercial vineyards at CSU to return to farmland
Charles Sturt University (CSU) will return its commercial vineyards in Orange and Wagga Wagga to farmland as it discontinues commercial wine production. CSU announced in March its plans to discontinue large-scale production and expand its focus on the premium boutique wine market through the Experimental Winery at the National Wine and Grape Industry Research Centre (NWGIC). Paul Dowler, CSU executive director of finance said CSU’s proud tradition of winemaking will continue with new boutique wines to be made at the Experimental Winery.

Queensland wine shortage forecast after bad weather damages vineyards
Grapegrowers in southern Queensland have wrapped up a season blighted by bad weather which has damaged up to 90 per cent of some crops. Hail and storms ravaged many vineyards in the usually prosperous Granite Belt and Mount Tamborine regions in the state's south, which is expected to lead to a shortage of Queensland wines in two years' time. Angelo Puglisi, from Ballandean Estate Wines, said his crop on the Granite Belt was one of the worst affected.

Yellow Tail to launch a 12-week marketing campaign in the UK
Yellow Tail is set to launch a 12-week marketing campaign with the goal of reaching 11 million UK consumers. The campaign, which is being led by London-based branch of The Marketing Store marketing and advertising agency, will make use of social media platforms in combinations with direct to consumer interactions through their UK sampling tour. Experimental, in-store and digital elements will be three key components.

Hawke’s Bay harvest bodes well for vintage
The Hawke’s Bay wine region looks set to enjoy its third consecutive year of great vintages. With picking nearly complete, Hawke’s Bay grape growers and wine makers are optimistic that this will be another good year, following exemplary vintages in 2013 and 2014. Hawke’s Bay is the first region to forecast the quality of this year’s vintage following harvest. “Most would be considering this to be a very good, solid vintage,” Michael Henley, Chair of the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association (HBWG) and CEO of Trinity Hill Wines, says.

Waipa scenes grace new wine labels
Wine bottles at Lake Karapiro's Mighty River Domain are sporting new labels – this time featuring paintings of Waipa by Waikato oils artist Jennie De Groot. One carries a view of Pirongia, and the other a more general view across the typically hilly landscapes of Waipa. The new labels were launched at a function held at the domain's Don Rowlands Centre. Waipa District councillor and Mighty River Domain site manager Liz Stolwyk said that when the Don Rowlands Centre was built around five years ago, wines offered at functions were purchased off the shelf.

Big Wine fails to dry farm during California’s drought
SONOMA COUNTY — in the heart of California’s Redwood Empire — California Governor Jerry Brown spent this year’s Earth Day at the elite Iron Horse Winery in the Sebastopol countryside. It was a great photo opportunity and promotion for the winery. Iron Horse is known for donations to President Bill Clinton and other politicians, with whom it has cosy relationships, and from whom it receives favours, such as these visits. I operate a small berry and apple farm nearby and teach sustainable agriculture, mainly to college students.

Waitrose sees sales of English wine soar
Sales of English wine at Waitrose nearly doubled in 2014, and the retailer has reported an increase of 177 per cent in the last week. The upmarket retailer, which stocks over 100 wines from England and Wales, saw sales up 95 per cent in 2014, compared to 2013. It currently has a 60 per cent market share in English wine sales, compared to the average overall market share of English wine of 7.7 per cent.

Getting fat? Check the size of your wine glass
The fashion for large wine glasses has fueled a rise in the number of "invisible" calories people are inadvertently consuming through alcohol, the chair of the Royal Society for Public Health has warned. Prof Fiona Sim said that the slow increase in the volume of glasses meant few people realised how much they had consumed, or were aware how calorific alcohol could be. A 175ml glass of wine contains around 160 calories, the same as a slice of Madeira cake.

Cheap wine tastes better if you pay more
Duping your guests into believing a cheap wine tastes far better is a lot easier than you might think – simply lie about how expensive it is. According to researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany and the INSEAD Business School, consumers actually enjoy products more if they believe it is more expensive, with their perception of price causing actual chemical changes in the brain. Studies have shown that people enjoy identical products such as wine or chocolate more if they have a higher price tag.

Part five: Australian wine industry – state of play
TO CONCLUDE our series of Q&As from different sections of the Australian wine industry we have canvassed small and medium-sized producers and a few of the regions we haven’t heard from yet this week. This whole week we’ve been gathering a range of opinions on the recently launched senate inquiry into the industry; a proposal for a temporary levy on every bottle of wine sold in Australia to assist growers through current tough times; and the general state of the industry. We think today’s responses might be the most interesting.




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