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News posted on Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Australian wines dominate at the China Wine & Spirits Best Value Awards
Australian wines were the star of the show in China at the nation’s biggest value wine competition, the China Wine and Spirits Best Value Awards. Wines and spirits from 31 nations participated in this year’s annual spring tasting, with Australian producers awarded 311 medals in total – the most of any country in the competition. Taylors Wines came out on top, bringing home the trophy for Australian Wine of the Year for its 2015 Taylors Estate Merlot along with three Double Gold and nine Gold medals awarded across the Clare Valley winery’s portfolio.

Vintage 2016 is underway after a record start for picking
VINTAGE 2016 is off and running in Victoria with Rutherglen’s sparkling producers leading the pack. Both Cofields Wines and Anderson Winery began picking last week, beating last year’s record start by eight days. Damian Cofield, who brought in chardonnay grapes that will be used for a sparkling base, said sugar levels were the reason they started so early this year. “We had to go,” he said. “Our hands were tied — as it was it was sweeter than we ideally wanted but the flavours were good. They were ready.”

European influence for Kangaroo Island wine
A winery on Kangaroo Island is being influenced by Europe, in particular France, from growing the grapes through to storing the wine. French winemaker Jacques Lurton chose Kangaroo Island as the location for his Australian winery, Islander Estate Wines. The winery is spread over 11 hectares and produces about 70 tonnes of grapes a year.

The five things you need to enter the US market
For independently owned and operated wine producers, pitching labels to distributors in new markets can be exasperating. Distributors are offered hundreds of SKUs every week and getting a distributor to even consider your brand is often a tough task. When you finally land a meeting with a buyer after countless hours of emails and cold calls, you might find your brands rejected anyway, leaving you to start all over again.

Hart and Hunter wines are impressing at awards
SINCE they made a spectacular maiden entry into the Hunter Valley Wine Show in 2010, husband and wife winemaking duo Damien Stevens and Jodie Belleville have established a great reputation for their white wines. Their Hart and Hunter 2010 Single Vineyard Semillon took the Marshall-Flannery Trophy for the best current vintage semillon and the H.J. Lindeman Trophy for the best current vintage dry white of the 2010 show and since then their semillons, chardonnays and fianos have had great competition success.

Ageing wine critics
It’s a question from wine novices that comes up repeatedly. Just how do we know how long to age our wine critics? Furthermore, how can we tell which wine critics will age well, and which will fall apart? Are there any guidelines? I believe there are, and the best way to understand them is to look at wine critics of various ages we have now for clues as to how wine critics age. However, there is no exact measure, and certainly no guarantee.

Wine Enthusiast editor Joe Czerwinski talks hedonism and developing a palate
Wine Enthusiast managing editor Joe Czerwinski is in Marlborough for the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration. The New York-based editor talks about his love of wine and what he sees in the Marlborough industry. “For me, wine was a bit of a hobby going back to when I was at university. I started grad school briefly and left for my first job, which was in a wine shop. Unfortunately I wasn't getting much of a wine education and the pay was awful so I left.”

Wine profitability up for big wineries, down for small wineries
Boutique wineries are losing money following a tough 2015 vintage for the industry, a survey reveals. Results from the 10th annual financial benchmarking survey show most wineries recorded a healthy profit, while small wineries suffered. Wineries with more than $20 million in revenue averaged a profit of 30.5 per cent, while wineries which generated sales up to $1.5m lost an average of 9 per cent.

Growing grapes in Shangri-La
Jean-Guillaume Prats grew up as a member of Bordeaux’s wine aristocracy, at second-growth Château Cos-d’Estournel, the St.-Estèphe estate owned by his family until 1998. But he left a successful career there to seek adventure—and found it in Shangri-La. Prats, 45, left Bordeaux in 2012, after 18 vintages at Cos, to become CEO of Estates and Wines, Moët-Hennessy's collection of premier wine properties, including Numanthia in Spain, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand and Newton in California.

Turning design on its head
Consumer trends, especially in the US and UK, are changing at breakneck speed. Here, Lauren Eads discovers the cutting-edge design trends from producers hoping to keep pace. The old adage, “A picture is worth 1,000 words” is perhaps no more pertinent than within the world of drinks design and packaging. In a few short brush strokes, a brand is expected to communicate its personality, purpose and position with elegance and impact.

Tesco launches two alcohol free wines from South Africa
Tesco has begun stocking two sparkling non-alcoholic wines that it says is “the nearest in taste to their alcoholic counterparts”. The two drinks – Alcohol Free Pinotage Blush and Alcohol Free Chenin Blanc Sparkling – are made from South African Pinotage Blush and Chenin Blanc grapes which have been fermented until just before the point that they turn alcoholic. They will be available at more than 760 stores across the UK (£2.75 each), and will be found in the soft drinks aisle.

AB Mauri



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