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News posted on Monday, 2 May 2016

McLaren Vale winemaker Steve Pannell: the red baron
MAX ALLEN: I first met Steve Pannell 21 years ago — almost to the day — at the Tintara winery in McLaren Vale, south of Adelaide. It was the 29-year-old’s first vintage as red winemaker for Hardys, one of the country’s oldest and largest wine companies. The 1995 harvest was just drawing to a close; on the tasting bench in the winery were glasses of deep purple, raw young Shiraz. Pannell was like a kid in a lolly shop that day...

Aircraft pictures helping productivity of Coonawarra vineyards
Cameras attached to fixed-wing aircraft are providing data to viticulturists which is helping to identify canopy temperature – in order to improve water use and wine quality. The pilot project – which has been part funded by the State Government – is helping researchers learn how to reduce vine water stress and improve nutrient status so better irrigation decisions can be made. The Innovative Coonawarra Grape and Wine Incorporated Project is being undertaken at 21 vineyards.

Frank Margan: A rebel from the days when wine meant sherry
Journalist, author, winemaker and restaurateur Frank Margan was a pioneering hero of modern Australian food and wine: a tireless rebel from an age when wine meant sherry and anything else was plonk or strangely foreign. Margan was born in Sydney's south-west on November 26, 1931. His mother, Madelaine, urged him to try something safe and join the water board as a clerk. Margan lasted until lunch, when he took off, never to return.

Lovedale Long Lunch returns
The Lovedale Long Lunch will be back in full swing this year, showcasing a range of Hunter Valley food and wine on the 14th and 15th of May. Seven of Lovedale’s wineries will be teaming up with highly-renowned local restaurants and live entertainment for a progressive-style lunch over an entire weekend. Tatler will be offering some classic Hunter Valley Chardonnay and Shiraz together with a mix of cuisines and live entertainment.

McLaren Vale’s ‘Scarce Earth’ program releases new vintage
The McLaren Vale Scarce Earth program was first launched in 2011 and is now in its sixth release, with 15 McLaren Vale producers today releasing their 2014 Scarce Earth vintage wines. Given that ‘site’ – geology and climate – plays such a well-known and vital role in wine style, a group of local McLaren Vale winemakers and viticulturists launched the McLaren Vale Scarce Earth project five years ago with the purpose of exploring and celebrating this diversity through one of the region’s key varieties – Shiraz.

Wine industry heads deny Sauvignon Blanc demand decline
Demand for New Zealand's flagship wine is starting to dwindle in overseas markets as winemakers continue to rely on one variety from one region, a wine analyst says. However, wine industry heads claim that is not the case. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is well-known for putting New Zealand wine on the world stage, but over the past few years there has been an "over-reliance" on the variety in some overseas markets, Rabobank wine analyst Marc Soccio says.

NZ wine industry's 'moral' issue
A lack of accommodation for overseas vineyard workers is creating a "moral and ethical issue" for Marlborough's wine industry, with some workers housed four to a room in bunk beds. This has been described as over the top by other accommodation providers, but the labour contractor responsible for providing the Recognised Seasonal Employer workers with accommodation says it comes down to a lack of options. Blenheim woman Hazel Monk befriended some Ni-Vanuatu workers staying at the Honi-B Backpackers, in Blenheim, and said she was disgusted when she found out they were paying $150 a week each to share a room for four.

Top Bordeaux wine critic Robert Parker to retire
American wine guru Robert Parker, whose ratings could make or break Bordeaux vintages for the past 38 years, is to turn his power over to a successor on Sunday, his magazine announced. It will be the end of an era for the 68-year-old oenologist, who has however been retiring in stages, in 2014 leaving his British successor Neal Martin to rate "en primeurs" (futures) while continuing to evaluate top Bor-deaux vintages.

How China is becoming wine’s new frontier
China has come from nowhere to overtake traditional wine countries in terms of land area under vine. So just what is going on in the Far East? If you fancy some crystal ball-gazing into the world of wine, it’s worth keeping up with the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). The intergovernmental organisation, which regulates the science of viticulture, oenology and the wine economy, also releases an annual report on what’s coming down the pipeline in world wine.

Warning over scams involving tax and wine
Action Fraud has recently issued warnings over two new scams involving tax rebates and wine invest-ments. The first of these involves members of the public being texted by fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC and offering a tax rebate. The text message contains a link to a website and requests to provide personal information, including bank account information, in order to claim the rebate.

Wine grape growers weigh in on Cabernet Sauvignon clones
Consumers want variety, and wine consumers are growing increasingly sophisticated. The trend is driving winemakers to seek new ways to differentiate their wines in a crowded marketplace. Some are aiming to stand out by returning to their roots. Clonal selection is key to viral resistance and yield. The clone also can impart different characteristics to the grapes and wine, whether it’s fruit size, acidity or tolerance to heat or cold.

NZ wine industry's 'moral' issue
A lack of accommodation for overseas vineyard workers is creating a "moral and ethical issue" for Marlborough's wine industry, with some workers housed four to a room in bunk beds. This has been described as over the top by other accommodation providers, but the labour contractor responsible for providing the Recognised Seasonal Employer workers with accommodation says it comes down to a lack of options.

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