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News posted on Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Butterball sues Australian wine company over name
It just won’t stop when it comes to trademark disputes involving the alcohol industry. Such disputes between wine, beer, and liquor companies are legion. In such a crowded industry, it needs to be hammered home that the purpose of trademark law is not so that big companies can bully smaller companies, but rather so that customers are protected from imitation products and from being confused as to who they are buying from. The latest such dispute is between Butterball, the turkey-selling king based out of North Carolina, and a small wine company in Australia. At issue is one of McWilliam’s Wines Group’s chardonnays, which the company has branded as its Butterball Chardonnay.

Winemakers Target Genders With Grapes of Math
Chardonnay alone used to be enough. Now brands are going further in appealing to the sexes. When Constellation Brands Inc. rolled out a new wine range recently, it relied on a strategy that doesn’t always mix well with consumers: gender-based marketing. The website for the Callie Collection, named after the California coast where the wine grapes are grown, shows four women in a backyard, spreading a picnic blanket on the grass near a pool. Wine varieties—Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and a red blend—were chosen because of their popularity with women. The bottle’s purple label with floral images was designed to attract female shoppers’ attention in a wine aisle dominated by dull colors.

Wine and avocado dominate exports for 2016
It has been another big year for Australia’s horticulture industry with many commodities reporting increases in production and exports. In the wine sector Australia’s exports have increased by 13 per cent from April 2015 to March 2016. According to Wine Australia bottled wine exports grew by 16 per cent to $1.7 billion, the highest value in five years. Exports above $10 per litre increased 32 per cent to $492 million, which is a record level.

Iconic SA winemaker turns 90
In the world according to landmark McLaren Vale winery d’Arenberg, a vivid imagination is as important as the great old vines and vineyards at the centre of the company’s huge number of wine labels. There are the mad sounding, like the Wild Pixie Shiraz or The Cenosilicaphobic Cat Sagrantino Cinsault. And the slightly naughty but scientifically correct The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana Sauvignon Blanc. And then there’s the more traditional and much-loved d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache, a classic McLaren Vale red blend that, in an earlier version in 1967 when it was still known as “Burgundy”, won multiple trophies and scores of gold medals for close to a decade, kickstarting the d’Arenberg business to the extraordinary attraction it has become today.

The Art of the Wine Label
The wine label has shaped South Australia’s design culture as it is the backbone to many studios in South Australia. A specialty not for every designer, there is an art to capturing the unique nature of the juice in the bottle, where it comes from and the creative person behind the wine, as well as designing something visually appealing and unique to the customer at the point of purchase. From early pioneers such as Wytt Morro to Barrie Tucker and Ian Kidd in the ‘80s and ‘90s through to contemporary designers such as Barbara Harkness, KSD, Parallax, Mash and Voice, these people have shaped the wine label and pushed the boundaries of design, not only in Australia, but internationally.

NZ savvy top tipple for UK wine buffs
Despite Brexit, New Zealand sauvignon blanc continues to set the pace for sales of wine varieties in the United Kingdom, showing the strongest growth this year. Only Argentina malbec came close to equalling New Zealand sauvignon growth of 15 per cent on 2015, according to the UK Wine & Spirit Trade Association's (WSTA) end of year report. Concern has sometimes been raised among analysts that New Zealand is too dependent on the variety, which accounts for 85 per cent of exports, worth in total $1.6 billion a year.

Wine dream bears fruit
Consistent yields had been a struggle for vineyards in the tiny wine-producing region since viticulture began there in 2003, keeping away investors.‘‘We are the latest in New Zealand — I think we probably are — to harvest. We are right at the end of the spectrum, but the quality of wines that have come out of here are outstanding. And that’s what’s kept us in it. "That’s what got me hooked. I always believed it would work — but certain sites are better than others."

Britain’s sparkling wine exports post new record
Britain last year exported sparkling wines to a record number of countries as the industry seeks a 10-fold increase in exports by 2020. As New Year’s Eve revelers worldwide prepared to raise a glass to see out 2016, the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the nation exported sparkling wines to 27 countries last year, up from 19 a year earlier. Sales of English fizz also boomed domestically, with Marks and Spencer Group PLC doubling sales in its stores.

Organic wine tastes better, study of 74,000 bottles shows
Organic wine has divided experts for decades, with some claiming the natural process damages taste while others argue grapes contain so many natural pesticides that it makes a mockery of the label. But a new study shows it really is worth going natural. Researchers from the University of California trawled through the expert reviews for more than 74,000 wines which appeared in the three of the world’s best wine-rating magazines. They discovered that organic wines - which are labelled as ‘ecocertified' in the US - scored an average of 4.1 points higher than their non-organic counterparts, our of a score of 100. The academics speculate that adopting organic practices and banishing pesticides allows microbes in the soil to flourish, which enhances the flavour of grapes and give a truer representation of the ‘terroir’ or the natural environment of the vine.

Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium Sells Out
Women of the Vine & Spirits opened and closed registration for a record 700 attendees to its annual Global Symposium in just 24 hours. The Symposium, the largest gathering of women in the alcohol beverage industry, takes place March 13-15, 2017 at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, California. “It is an incredible achievement and we should all be very proud. To think that, two years ago, I was praying someone would show up – I’m speechless,” said Women of the Vine & Spirits Founder and President, Deborah Brenner. “Based on overwhelming demand, it’s clearer than ever that we have started a movement and together, we can change the face of the alcohol beverage industry.”

Bordeaux wine mart recovers on weak pound
The Bordeaux wine market confirmed its recovery in 2016 after five years of declines that cut prices of the region’s leading wines by more than 40 percent from their 2011 peak, according to a review from the London-based Liv-ex exchange. The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50, which comprises 10 recent vintages of Bordeaux first-growth wines including Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Latour, climbed about 26 percent for the year, and was heading for its 13th straight monthly gain in December, according to Liv-ex data.

Here’s cheers to 2016’s best-value wines
HERE’S a look back at the white wines that impressed Graeme Phillips as the best-value buys over the past six months. Most of the wines should still be available locally or online via the producer’s web page, and I hope these lists help as a value-for-money guide to happy summer drinking.

Temple Bruer's sustainable efforts pay off
Creating a certified organic wine label with no additives and a long life span was fundamental for Langhorne Creek winery Temple Bruer. After going organic in 1995, winemaker, chief executive officer and chemist David Bruer said the benefits of offering organic wine with a carbon neutral footprint outweighed other factors. “When we first bought the Langhorne Creek land in 1986, the vines were crop dusted and my wife Barbara was furious so we decided to not use any foreign chemicals for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Questions over MW exam in Australia
It is billed as the toughest wine exam in the world. However, the 2016 exam for budding MWs in Australia became even tougher after a major error in one question sent students – who had each paid A$5,000.00 ($3,590.00) to sit the exam - into panic. The exam was sat in early June 2016 in Sydney. On the first practical paper, one of three papers to be completed over three days, two white wines were placed before students. It was indicated that the wines were both from the same country and, it was claimed, they were both blends.





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WID 2017