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News posted on Friday, 1 July 2016

Penfolds Magill Estate vines replanted with Shiraz clones
ONE of the world’s most famous suburban vineyards, at the Magill-based Penfolds wine company, is getting a major makeover as part of the site’s ongoing redevelopment. About half of the 5.2 ha vineyard is being removed and will be re-planted with Shiraz clonal material from Penfolds’ Kalimna vineyard in the Barossa Valley. A Penfolds spokeswoman said the existing vines were more than half a century old and the rejuvenation work was a common practice in the wine-making business.

Last chance to take part in sulfur survey
Australian wineries have until 5.00pm today (ACST) to participate in short survey aimed at getting a snapshot of current sulfur dioxide use in the industry. The survey is part of a broader article being compiled for the Wine & Viticulture Journal by the publication’s regular writer and winemaker Cathy Howard who will be exploring the current push for wineries to reduce sulfur levels.

Brexit effects on Australian ag ‘contained’, says Rabobank
THE direct trade impacts of Brexit on Australia’s agricultural sector are likely to be relatively contained, Rabobank says. In its June Agribusiness Monthly report, released today, the global agribusiness bank said with the UK along with the other 27 member states of the European Union only contributing a relatively small share of Australian food and agricultural exports — 1.4 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively by value — the direct trade implications of the UK’s historic decision to leave the EU would be limited for the agricultural sector as a whole.

How a vineyard ended up hosting huge music concerts
From the restaurant balcony of Hope Estate winery in the Hunter Valley, owner Michael Hope points down a sloping lawn to a huge concrete pad that in summer contains one of the largest stages in the southern hemisphere. "Can you believe the Rolling Stones performed down there?" he asks, as much a rock'n'roll fan as he is a businessman. "I still have to remind myself."

Foley Family Wines added to Negociants UK
Leading Australia and New Zealand importers Negociants UK has been appointed to distribute three New Zealand brands within the Foley Family Wines portfolio – Marlborough based Grove Mill and Frog Haven and Martinborough Vineyard from Martinborough. These wineries will be sold to the UK off and on-trade and represented by Negociants UK with immediate effect.

Chinese snatch up local wine
It's the Northland go-to wine for a girls' night out, but now the ubiquitous Longview White Diamond has more or less disappeared from local liquor sellers. Longview's White Diamond, the vineyard's crowd-pleasing signature variety, is instead bound for China. Australasian Food Corporation (AFC), an NZX-listed company bought a 51 per cent share in the Whangarei business on March 1. The remaining 49 per cent is owned by two Chinese investors.

What does the Brexit vote mean for the UK and global wine trade?
It’s the question everyone wants to know. So good luck with that. Yes, thanks. The first thing to stress is that other than the turmoil of the financial markets, nothing else is going to change for at least two years before the UK formally leaves the European Union. So we all have some time to plan. So keep calm and carry on? Initially, yes. The short term impact of Brexit has already played out in front of our eyes.

Winegrapes' value declines in Monterey County’s $4.8 billion ag industry
Starting in 2012, Monterey County winemakers experienced a three-year economic boom, with above-average wine grape production and values, generating $247 million in 2014, the peak year. Last year, however, grapes dropped by 25 percent in value—to the lowest they’ve been since 2011—after heat and dry weather affected grape-growing areas. “On the face of it, it looks like grapes had a really bad year,” says Kim Stemler.

Dolcetto championed as low histamine grape variety
An Italian wine consultant is working to raise the profile of low histamine wines believing the category to hold great potential, particularly in the UK and US, given that up to 4% of the world’s population is thought to be intolerant to the naturally occurring organic compound. Wine consultant Sebastiano Ramello founded Low Histamines in 2011 with the aim of producing a range of wines with a histamine level of less than 0.5mg/litre.

Tesco to open Finest* pop up wine bar
UK supermarket Tesco is taking a fresh approach to marketing its premium wine range this summer with the launch of a pop-up wine bar in London. “For the past three years, finest has been awarded Own-label Range of the Year’ by the International Wine Challenge”, said finest senior brand manager Elisabetta Farroni. “Showcasing the range through a pop-up wine bar is the perfect way to demonstrate the high quality of our wines directly to the public”.

Peter Scholefield and Scholefield Robinson call it a day
Peter Scholefield, Principal Consultant and Managing Director of Scholefield Robinson Horticultural Services, has retired after being at the helm of the company since 1989. Ben Robinson, the co-founder of Scholefield Robinson, retired in 2004 after 15 years of service to Scholefield Robinson and the horticultural industries

What is the ‘100th monkey effect’?
The ‘100th monkey effect’ explains the moment when where a critical number of group members adapt to a new behaviour, making that behaviour an accepted part of what they do – rather than something new, or different. How does this relate to a group of grapegrowers? Nathan Gogoll reports.

Entries for 2016 James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge close today
Wineries across Australia have until the close of business today enter this year’s James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge. Named in honour of Australia’s leading wine writer and Yarra Valley resident, James Halliday, the Chardonnay Challenge awards the top wine for each region and the best chardonnay of the year. As confirmed by James Halliday, Australian chardonnay has never been better and this competition is helping empower winemakers to continually improve their approach to chardonnay and not to rest on their laurels.

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