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News posted on Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Villa Maria appoints chief operating officer
Villa Maria has appointed its first chief operating officer, who will manage the company’s 300 employees and business in over 50 markets globally. Reporting to Sir George Fistonich, Richard Thomas will be responsible for all Villa Maria sales and marketing, winery and bottling operations, restaurants, cellar doors and events.

Dry grapes flourishing despite drought
In a story that is almost too good to be true one north west New South Wales industry is flourishing despite ongoing drought conditions. Scott Wright, Winemaker, says he has been lucky to keep his vineyard operating because of a choice he made when he first planted his vines.

Tests show no vineyard pests in Washington
The most extensive trapping for certain winegrape pests conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture has resulted in a clean bill of health. The department trapped and took leaf and root samples at a total of 3,186 sites, from the San Juan Islands to the Columbia Gorge but mainly in the Eastern Washington counties of Yakima, Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla. Trapping went from the end of June into September, looking for four species of destructive moths, vine mealy bug and grape phylloxera.

PN say vino-tax will harm local wine industry
Malta’s major wine producers Marsovin, Meridiana, Camilleri Wines, and producers’ coop Vitimalta have come out against a 15 cent excise on Maltese wine, complaining that the measure was taken without them being consulted. “The wine tax threatens to undermine all that the local wine sector has achieved over the last ten years. We are as concerned with the uncompetitive impact of the tax – 20 cents per litre or 15 cents per bottle, as with the levity and lack of discussion with which it was presented,” the producers said.

Indian wine brand in UK launch online campaign to raise funds
A UK-based Indian wine company, seeking to establish its brand in the global market, has launched a campaign to raise £350,000 (A$647,000) through an online crowd-funding platform. Soul Tree seeks to raise the money for 16.5 per cent of the business on the crowd-funding platform Crowdcube and has already raised 30 per cent of the target, or £107,000 (A$314,000) from 47 investors within weeks of launching the campaign Alok Mathur, co-founder of the company, said.

Sensory-active compounds influencing perception of red wine
For experts, wine quality is linked to high contents of norisoprenoids. For consumers, wine quality is linked to high contents of oak-related volatiles. Ethanol increases finish intensity and duration of coconut and floral flavors in red wine. There is a lack of studies focusing on the chemical compounds involved in quality perception.

Roger Jones concludes wine tour with praise for sustainability
Amongst all the highlights and amazing experiences, including flying a plane, one common theme kept coming up, besides the quality of the wines, and that is the word sustainability. The figures given out by New Zealand winegrowers are impressive, 94 per cent of their vineyard's are certified under sustainable winegrowing NZ.

Margan Wines bags gold at tourism awards
Andrew Margan, Hunter Valley vigneron says he is proud to be part of developing wine tourism after collecting two gold trophies at the state tourism awards. Margan Wines of Broke won the best winery and excellence in food tourism titles, and took out silver for excellence in sustainable tourism.

Novak Djokovic stars in Jacob's Creek film series
Jacob’s Creek has announced a partnership with Novak Djokovic, world number one tennis player, with the trailer release for a short film series, called ‘Made By’. Directed by US film maker Keith ‘Keef’ Ehrlich, the documentary style ‘Made By’ films are shot on location in Djokovic’s home town of Belgrade, Serbia and show him revealing never before told stories about his life.

Accolade and Grant Burge reach sale agreement
Accolade Wines and Grant Burge Wines have reached an agreement on the acquisition of the Barossa family brand and business, along with the Krondorf Winery. Rumours of the deal have been circling the industry since late October and the two wineries confirmed they were in “exclusive discussions” in mid-November. No details about staff impacts or the Illaparra winery, located in Tanunda and subject to current plans for a significant upgrade, were made available with the announcement.

2014 Air Liquide Concours des Vins de Victoria results
Organised by the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce, the Annual Concours des Vins de Victoria brings together two renowned wine-producing cultures; French and Australian. The 2014 edition of the annual event boasted a record number of entries and a new Fortified judging class.

Major turnaround for Australia in UK On-Premise
Australian may finally have turned the corner in the UK. After six consecutive years of falling market share, listings of Australian wine on UK wine lists increased by 8% during the last 12 months, according to Wine Business Solutions’ Wine On-Premise UK 2014 report which has just been released. Some of the key findings are that;

Accolade seals deal to buy Grant Burge
Accolade Wines, Australia’s biggest winemaker with brands such as Hardys, Banrock Station and Leasingham, has reached an agreement with the owners of Barossa Valley winemaker to buy the Grant Burge brand and business, along with the historic Krondorf Winery. In a statement yesterday afternoon, Accolade, controlled by private equity investors, said the purchase agreement for an undisclosed sum was subject to certain third-party conditions, which if met would see completion of the acquisition in January.

Stonier bravely pits its pinots against the world
If it isn't broken, don't fix it. Stonier's annual international pinot tasting has followed the same format since it was first held in 2000. Twelve pinots from around the world are blind-tasted, broken into two flights of six, with a half-time break between the first and second group. A panel of three (this year Jeannie Cho Lee MW from Hong Kong, Jane Faulkner and James Halliday) leads the discussion of the wines; all present know the identity of the 12 wines, but not the order in which they are tasted.

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