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News posted on Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Wine ‘has strong future’
Visiting international wine judge and celebrated author Stephen Brook believes there is a strong future for specific wine styles and varieties from the Swan Valley but the key is marketing. “The Swan Valley does certain things very well, but in some cases these are varieties and styles which are not in huge demand, so the challenge for winemakers and marketers is to create markets for them,” he said.

Wet winter; good wine
West Gippsland’s famously wet weather comes in handy for wine growers – some wineries are able to choose not to irrigate. “A distinctive factor between cool climate varieties and the irrigated varieties is the production level,” Wild Dog Winery owner Gary Surman told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. “We would produce about a fifth of the volume of tonnes per acre compared to irrigation vines.”

Margaret River winemakers put trial products to the taste test
A series of West Australian viticultural and winemaking trials were put to the palate-test this month as part of an inaugural event. The Department of Agriculture and Food of WA (DAFWA) facilitated a tasting workshop, at the Margaret River Education Campus, where winemakers provided feedback on different wine trials.

Morning booze ban would cost city jobs: wine merchant
Adelaide City Councillor Sandy Wilkinson suggested the ban last week, arguing that some liquor stores were profiting from the struggles of vulnerable people – particularly those who drink in the parklands – by selling alcohol early in the morning. However, East End Cellars owner Michael Andrewartha says his store has never sold cheap liquor, and that a morning ban would have a “severe impact” on his business. “At least three staff would lose their positions, and for no reason,” he told InDaily.

Foley Family Wines boosts sales, earnings
Foley Family Wines, which is controlled by American billionaire Bill Foley, says full-year operating earnings more than doubled on increased sales of bottled wine and modest profit from a growing pool of bulk wine. Operating earnings before revaluations and tax rose to $3.5 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $1.2M a year earlier, the Blenheim-based company said in a statement.

Young winemaker credits Marlborough origins
Winemaker Lauren Swift has credited a Marlborough winery for her win in the Young Winemaker of the Year award. Swift grew up in the Awatere Valley and went to school in Seddon and at the Marlborough Girls' College, before moving to study wine at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawkes Bay. She was awarded the inaugural Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year Award at the Romeo Bragato wine industry event in Napier last week.

Wine industry should work for transparency
The discussion of what rules wineries should live with regarding production and visitation limits is complicated. But some salient factors seem self-evident. The rules should be obeyed. The forthright policy of the Napa Valley Vintners Association is hard to argue with. They say wineries should comply with their use permits or other regulations and, if they cannot or don’t want to comply, they should seek to have them amended. Agreement that the rules should be obeyed is a good place to start.

German researchers study climate change effects on wine and its taste
A warming climate means grapes reach maturity more quickly. For some vintners, climate change seems to be a good thing. Then again, they could be mistaken. Researchers in Germany's central state of Hessen are working to find out how it all affects the vines. Geisenheim, Germany - The unmistakeable sound of hissing can be constantly heard in the vineyards of Geisenheim, in Germany's central wine-growing region of the Rheingau. In a large outdoor testing area, Geisenheim College researchers are pumping grape vines with artificially high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Tasting notes – the shame of the wine world?
An American friend sent me a copy of Bianca Bosker’s July 29th New Yorker article entitled ‘Is There a Better Way to Talk About Wine?’. The author tackles the familiar topic of tasting notes and their often extravagant language. It’s a soundly researched canter through this subject. She suggests (by quoting a couple of James Suckling’s notes for 1989 Haut-Brion, one made in 1992 and one in 2009) that a kind of adjectival inflation is at work, and that tasting notes are getting ever more baroque.

2015 Champagne harvest ‘very promising’
The 2015 Champagne harvest kicked off on Saturday August 29, 10 days in advance of the 2014 vintage after a particularly hot and dry summer. The first grapes picked were in the Aube department. “The vines are in perfect health and the grapes are of an exceptional quality, said Thierry Lassaigne, a grower in the Aube village of Montgueux, who started picking the first parcels at the weekend.

Here's why wine tastes different when you're on a plane
Wine is increasingly becoming a major priority for flyers (CNN dubs them “oeno-flyers”), and airlines are investing more and more time and money into hiring expensive sommeliers to curate their wine offerings. But it’s not as simple as good wine on sea level = good wine at altitude. Sommeliers need to rethink their methodology in selecting wines for planes.

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