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News posted on Monday, 2 March 2015

TWE has its mojo back, says CEO
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has reported net sales revenue growth of 6.2 per cent and EBITS of $85.2 million for the six months ended 31 December 2014. CEO Mike Clarke said the result represented 77.5 per cent growth on the prior period, which was in line with expectations. He said the result was achieved despite the distraction caused by the two private equity proposals during the first quarter. "While the first half of fiscal 2015 included the benefit of the successful transition of the Penfolds release date, we have also progressed with our overarching strategic initiatives to reset the business," Clarke said. "While we are at the start of our transition from being an order-taking, agricultural company to a brand-led marketing organisation, the progress we have made to date and the results achieved by the team demonstrate that TWE is starting to address fixing the core of the business and is being set up for sustainable, future success."

Early grape ripening forces bottleneck supply at Barossa wineries
South Australian Barossa Valley grapegrowers are leaving winegrapes hanging on vines because of a bottleneck at wineries, as a supply shortage pushes up prices. A rapid ripening period over the last few weeks, driven in part by hot weather after little spring rainfall, caused many varieties to ripen at the same time. Grapegrower Anthony Scholz, who runs a 73-hectare Shiraz vineyard at Ebenezer, said it had been a frustrating season. "We're certainly finding some challenges this year in getting fruit booked and into the wineries," he said. "It seems like the whole valley has ripened all at the same time." Scholz said he was 50 per cent of the way through vintage, but could have finished picking if it was not for the hold-up, making 2015 one of his earliest vintages in memory.

Winemaker says he is "lucky" after 300k deliberate spill
A vandal caused thousands of dollars' worth of damage at a Lyndoch winery, but the owner is breathing a sigh of relief. Mark Pearce, Kellermeister owner and winermaker, said it was “a silly act of wine vandalism” that saw more than $236,000 go down the drain after a man allegedly crept into the winery and opened the taps on four tanks. More than 25,000 litres of wine was released from the tanks in the early hours of Sunday morning. A 57-year-old Barossa Valley man has been arrested over the incident, and charged with property damage. “The good news is that we were actually really lucky,” Pearce said. “Only two of our Chardonnay wine batches, which were in tank ready for bottling, were impacted.”

Early grape harvest puts winemakers on the climate change front line
As Hyde Park is transformed into a "wonderland of wine, food and entertainment" for this weekend's Sydney Cellar Door, grape pickers are in a race against time under the hot February sun. Cellar Door, part of The Sydney Morning Herald NSW Food and Wine Festival, presented by Citi, is a chance for winemakers across the state to showcase their best. But for some the timing has been all but ideal. Harvest has arrived early this year and some winemakers have had to choose fermentation over festival-going. "You only get one chance a year," said Ken Helm, owner and director of Murrumbateman-based Helm Wines. "This is the first time we have ever harvested Riesling in February."

Penalty rates, hidden compliance costs to come out in national review
Real-life examples from the wine industry are needed for an important submission to a national review by the Productivity Commission into Australia’s workplace relations system. Spearheaded by the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in collaboration with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, the submission will deliver suggested changes on the structure and level of penalty rates, workplace disputes, and the hidden cost of compliance among other things. SAWIA is urging the industry to get involved by completing an online survey, sharing their views and experiences in order to support change.

NZ wine sales increase by 19% in North America
WELLINGTON: New Zealand premium wine and an improved economy have boosted by 19 percent in North American sales to 425,000 cases for New Zealand’s largest listed wine company, Delegate Group. The Auckland-based company confirmed record operating profit of $20.5 million for the six months ending December 31, up two per cent from $20.2 million in the previous corresponding period, following a four per cent rise in global case sales to 1.13 million. North America became the company’s biggest market last year ahead of Australia and New Zealand and managing director Graeme Lord said there was a lot more growth potential in that market.

Delegat targets North America to build on record-breaking sales
In a year that brought significant growth and expansion for winemaker Delegat Group, managing director Graeme Lord says the company is poised to bring its wine to the world. On Friday the Auckland-based company reported a record operating profit of $20.5 million for the six months ending December 31, up 2 per cent from $20.2 million in the previous corresponding period, after a four per cent rise in global case sales to 1.13 million. Delegat sold more than two million cases of wine last year and recorded an operating profit of $31.4 million - a record performance for the company. Lord said they were on track to reach full year goals for 2015 of nine per cent growth with expanding new markets and North America in particular.

Will “wine based drink” damage our wine industry?
Wine based drink. It’s 75 per cent wine, and 25 per cent something else. Something else doesn’t even have to be defined, but can contain something like… milk. And it is sold side-by-side with actual wine. You know, wine wine. Don’t believe me, do you? Shoppers are being ‘misled’ by supermarkets selling ‘wine based drink’ which is only 75 per cent wine in bottles that look like the real thing. The Australian plonk looks like a normal bottle and is sold in supermarkets alongside real wine – but the small print reveals all is not as it seems. The labels show that the ‘wine based drinks’ are not proper wine, with experts calling on producers to come clean about what else goes into the drink.

Vineyard raiders steal 5,000 bottles of wine worth £80,000
Nearly 5,000 bottles of wine worth £80,000 (A$158,000) have been stolen from Bolney Winery in West Sussex. Staff at the winery discovered the theft on Thursday, with the goods being stolen from their warehouse overnight on 26 February. The retail value of the wines stolen amounts to over £80,000, which were destined for a range of supermarkets including Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and other local independent merchants. The Vineyard has been making wines since 1976 but has never been targeted by thieves before. They now plan to install CCTV cameras.

Dan Jago's return: what does it mean for the wine industry?
It was in a bar on the other side of the world earlier this week that I first heard whispers Dan Jago might be making a sensational return to Tesco and the BWS department he was suspended from last October. I wasn’t surprised to be discussing Jago thousands of miles away in Australia: the former global head of BWS has always been a man whose influence makes him a hot topic of conversation and never more so than over the past four months. In September, the discovery of a £250 million black hole in Tesco’s profits erupted into one of the most explosive stories in the sector’s history, sending shares crashing and leaving incoming chief executive Dave Lewis with a gargantuan problem to resolve… Rosie Davenport reports for Offlicence news.

Establishing wine wastewater permitting process off to strong start
The fact state Department of Ecology officials are working with folks in the wine industry to create a permitting system for winemaking wastewater is a positive sign. Yet, despite good intentions, the wine industry would be wise to enter the process with some trepidation or it just might get a bureaucratic boot right between its Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Government oversight has a well-earned reputation of being overzealous in Washington State (as well as the other 49). But, to this point, the state’s point person seems to grasp the need for collaboration. “The Washington wine industry is a valuable contributor to our economy, bringing in money and jobs to our state,” said Chelsea Desforges, the department’s winery permit lead.

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