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News posted on Thursday, 2 April 2015

Villa Maria: staying on the radar
Villa Maria’s first ever chief operating officer talks to the drinks business about a new brand for the UK, how to raise the profile of Hawke’s Bay and why this producer’s biggest selling wine in China is white. Having built an international career working for major advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather, with clients ranging from Unilever to McDonald’s and Singapore Airlines, Richard Thomas joined the New Zealand wine producer at the start of this year as its first COO.

Proposed ban may stop wine adverts
Marlborough wine brands may be forced to stop most of their advertising if a proposed alcohol advertising ban goes ahead. Wine industry leaders say the industry could lose the ability to advertise products if the Government adopts the 14 recommendations put forward by a ministerial forum in relation to alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The recommendations include a ban on all alcohol sponsorship for sports, a ban on alcohol sponsorship for cultural and music events, where 10 per cent or more of guests are under the age of 18, and a ban on alcohol advertising in general.

Bordeaux to ignore calls for lower prices
Hopes of price restraint are dashed as châteaux look to cash in on a better vintage. Bordeaux producers have indicated that they are highly unlikely to heed pleas from their customers to keep 2014 prices down. At the first tastings of the 2014 en primeur week, château owners have said that prices will be higher than recent vintages, to reflect the quality of the vintage, which they believe is one of the best of the last decade.

What to drink with your Easter or Passover dinner
I’m no longer sure what people eat at Easter and Passover, but I’m pretty certain that many will be sitting down to a diverse range of food this weekend. Ham and lamb might be traditional, but you know traditions: they keep changing. For all I know, the paschal lamb has given way to street-food inspired barramundi tacos with a side of ancient grains and a glass of artisanal ale. But suppose you plan to bake a ham or roast lamb this weekend. Which wine might go well with them?

‘Dry wine': The plight of California grapegrowers
A vicious, four-year drought may be close to catching up with California's winemakers, and it's the small producers of inexpensive wine that are likely to be hit hardest. The California drought has left some vineyards with a fraction of their usual water allotment. State Water Project allocations hover around 20 percent of normal, while the San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts are delivering no more than 30-35 percent of normal supplies, according to Jay Lund, professor and blogger for the University of California-Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.

Myth: Wine investment is safe
Truth: The wine investment industry want you to believe this, after all it’s in their financial interest that you buy into this belief, but try telling this to the clients that lost huge amounts of money in this unregulated market. Try telling the clients of APW Asset Management Ltd that wine investment is safe. The company sold Australian wines to clients for investment and capital growth purposes, and it is the latest company to be wound up by the High Court in March 2015.

Aus wines already benefiting from Japan agreement
Australian wine companies are already beginning to see benefits of the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) just two months after its initiation, according to The Australian Grape and Wine Authority’s (AGWA) Wine Export Approvals database. Under JAEPA, the tariff on bulk wine has immediately been reduced to zero, while the 15 per cent import tariff on Australian bottled wine will be eliminated over seven years.

Dogs trained to sniff out phylloxera
A university researcher is training sniffer dogs to detect pest and disease in vineyards. Dogs have traditionally been trained to sniff out drugs, explosives and even missing people, but their new target could be phylloxera - a devastating pest that feeds on the roots of vines and can eventually kill an entire vineyard. Sonja Needs, Melbourne University viticulture and animal science researcher, said she could train any breed to be a sniffer dog.

Casella 'excited' about future with Peter Lehmann
John Casella, the managing director of Casella Family Brands (CFB), has told TheShout that he is excited about the future of Peter Lehmann Wines (PLW), after buying the company last year. After reporting a financial loss for the first half of the year, Casella said this was to be expected because of the purchase of PLW as well as other tough market and economic conditions. Casella told TheShout: "There are obviously high costs associated with the change in ownership that have had a significant impact on the overall loss reported.

Barossa Grounds on tour
If you have been looking to combine the fun of the Barossa Vintage Festival with some education, the Barossa Grounds Tour should be marked in your calendar. The tour will see you walking and tasting your way through the diversity of the Barossa sub-regions, guided by the winemakers and grapegrowers. It’s an excellent opportunity for enthusiastic wine consumers and members of the wine trade to broaden their understanding of the famous region.

Portavin receives excellence award from DHL and Qantas
Portavin Integrated Wine Services established itself as one of Australia’s leading wine packaging and distribution companies after receiving a service excellence award from DHL and Qantas. The award was presented by Oren Cohen, national supply chain manager and Ian Frain, DHL Australia general manager along with David Imrie, Qantas product delivery manager at Portavin’s Cheltenham site in Victoria. Responsible for supplying Qantas with wine in 187mL PET to Qantas for inflight service in economy class cabins on all domestic and international routes, the company was congratulated for delivering great service over the past ten years.

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