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News posted on Monday, 2 February 2015

Aussie wine bounces back in the U.S.
After five years of decline, Australian winemakers are more upbeat about their prospects in the U.S. Australian producers are celebrating the fact that their country "is no longer a dirty word in the United States" as wine exports pick up after years of falling sales. Australia is second only to Italy for exports to the U.S., with sales of 16.6 million cases. Over the entire still wine category, figures from the U.K.'s International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) show a decline for 2014, but that decline is decelerating.

Hard work pays off for SA winemaking student
Adelaide local and up-and-coming winemaker, Sam Collins, has been awarded the 2015 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship. Collins, 22, a fourth year Viticulture and Oenology student at the University of Adelaide, will receive $5,000 towards his tertiary studies, as well as the opportunity to steward at the 2015 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show in February. Collins said the scholarship provides him with the chance to expand his knowledge of Australian winemaking while gaining industry experience outside of his studies.

Australians get their hands dirty in ad campaigns - but can we spot the difference?
What is it about Australian wine videos with all their references to mother nature, the dirty soils, the sweaty growers and the super production values? We only ask because taking a look at the impressive new TV campaign for Jacob's Creek that is all about taking the brand, literally, back to its roots and featuring the actual growers and winemakers out in all weathers and times of the night to create those perfect grapes, it did remind us of another recent Australian wine advert. This time for the creative folk looking to promote the wines from the Barossa Valley that used, shall we say, a somewhat similar approach back in 2013... Reports Claret Pimpernel for Harpers.co.uk.

One of Gippsland's oldest vineyards puts the cork in final vintage after 25 years
After pioneering the cool climate wine industry in south east Victoria, the owners of Windy Ridge Vineyard have bottled their final vintage. Graeme and Georgia Wilson started bottling wine in Gippsland 25 years ago and say they have had to work hard to put the region on the map. After selling the Vineyard there will only be a limited number of bottles from the label left but the remaining vines will be some of the oldest in Victoria. Wilson said as the vines continue to age, the grapes in the region have continued to improve.

Accolade acquires Grant Burge Wines
Accolade Wines today announced it has acquired the Barossa’s award winning Grant Burge Wines. The sale includes the iconic Grant Burge brand, Burge and Rathbone Fine Wine Merchants business and the historic Krondorf Winery. Michael East, Accolade Wines’ general manager Asia Pacific, said the company had been seeking a base in the Barossa for some time and approached Burge on that basis. "We have a major, historical presence in McLaren Vale through Hardys, in WA through Houghton, in Margaret River through Brookland Valley, in the Clare Valley through Leasingham and Tasmania via Bay of Fires. Grant Burge and the Barossa were a natural next step,” East said.

Selling British on virtues of NZ wine
Kiwi Mel Brown moved to the United Kingdom 10 years ago and has been fundamental in importing premium New Zealand wines to Europe with top London-based Kiwi chef Peter Gordon. While importing wines for Gordon's Providores restaurant, she saw a gap in the market. ''People also wanted to buy wine to drink at home, not just at a restaurant. I woke up one morning and thought `I am going to open a New Zealand wine shop', so I did.'' The aim was to import New Zealand wines and educate the British on what was available from the region. Brown launched the New Zealand Cellar online shop last year but did not see her role as solely a supplier.

Wine: Why you should give oaked sauvignons a go
Unoaked Sauvignon may be the style for which New Zealand is best known, but in the 1980s it was an oaked version that first garnered international acclaim when Hunter's 1985 Fume Blanc was voted best wine at a prestigious London festival. Three decades on, the style is experiencing something of a resurgence, but are Sauvignon fans ready for it? Hunter's win at the Sunday Times Vintage Wine Festival in 1986 is widely considered a major milestone in putting New Zealand Sauvignon on the world stage.

Chinese now own 100 Bordeaux chateaux, as wine mania grows
A hundred Bordeaux châteaux are now in Chinese hands, underlining the Asian giant's seemingly unquenchable thirst for property in the legendary French wine-making region. The Chinese, who are now the principal export market for Bordeaux wines, ahead of Britain, started buying up the region's châteaux in 2010, both to acquire status symbols and to meet growing domestic demand for its vintages. The symbolic 100 chateau mark was reached when Chinese packaging millionaire James Zhou acquired Château Renon in Tabanac on the right bank of the Garonne River, in the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux region.

Symposium tells a tale of two wine markets
The largest Unified Wine & Grape Symposium ever this week in Sacramento highlighted the divergence of the wine market, one half struggling as the other prospers. Fortunately for Napa Valley, its wineries and growers are in the favoured category, and generally are enjoying current prosperity and face excellent prospects. The same can’t be said for the inexpensive wine made in high volume in the San Joaquin Valley, where bulk imports, costs, growing labour issues, water shortages and especially competition from beer and spirits are causing a market decline.

Wine claims to have knocked back beer to be favourite UK drink
The British wine industry is claiming to have replaced beer as the nation’s most popular drink — just as brewers are cheering the first increase in sales for a decade. Despite a rise in beer sales, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) called on the government to cut beer duty to protect the pub sector. The modest 1.3 per cent rise in 2014 was driven by supermarket sales, which have now overtaken the pub sector for the first time, as consumers shun their locals in favour of cheaper beer from grocers.

U.S. wine consumers willing to buy more expensive wines, report finds
This will be a “breakout year” for the U.S. wine industry, with a surging economy driving demand and producers riding good supply after three strong vintages in a row, the Silicon Valley Bank predicted in its annual report on industry trends. Consumers will benefit from plunging oil prices, leaving us with more money to spend on wine and other essentials, while the strong dollar will make imported wines cheaper, the SVB’s crystal ball gazers said. The report optimistically says wine drinkers have fully recovered from the recession and predicts they are ready to trade up to more expensive wines, especially those costing more than $20.

Who’s drinking all the world’s wine?
How many bottles of wine do you think were produced last year? A friend and I were trying to figure out an answer to this question over dinner the other day. I won’t embarrass myself by revealing how far off I was, but let’s just say it was by a very long way. The latest figures from International Wine & Spirit Research (IWSR), a London-based drinks research group, in a report commissioned by Vinexpo, estimate that in 2013, 3.2 billion cases of wine were produced. That’s 38.4 billion bottles — quite an astonishing number. The majority, 54 per cent, is red wine, compared with 37 per cent for white and nine per cent for rosé.

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