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News posted on Friday, 3 February 2017

Wet season for vintage 2017
On Tuesday 31 January, Jacob's Creek kicked off its 2017 vintage with Chardonnay destined for Jacob's Creek sparkling wine. The first fruit to be picked was from the Murray Darling, with the Riverland commencing the following day. “The 2017 growing season saw an extremely wet winter which has resulted in a later harvest in January this year, more closely aligned with typical timings we’ve seen in the past. The below average temperatures and above average rainfall have delivered healthy and strong vine growth. More rain means less supplementary water used to irrigate, whilst also requiring growers to be more precise with their canopy management” says Ben Bryant, of his first vintage as Chief Winemaker at Jacob's Creek.

Australia's new crop of urban wineries
Alex has settled on an old paint factory. Nick has taken over an abandoned ice works. And Cam's venue is a former bakery on a busy main road, right on the tram line. Say hello to Australia's new urban wineries where the traditionally rural activity of crushing grapes and fermenting wine has been transposed to various city settings across the country. As the 2017 harvest looms, these new places offer town dwellers a glimpse of vintage without the inconvenience of schlepping all the way out to a wine region. Winemaker Alex Retief opened the ambitious Urban Winery Sydney to the public in May in a rejuvenated industrial complex in the suburb of St Peters but he had already processed almost 40 tonnes of grapes on the site in the months beforehand.

Warrnambool’s inaugural wine weekend
OZONE Walk’s boutique bar Lucy will host Warrnambool’s inaugural wine weekend on Saturday. Fine natural wines from across Australia will be showcased, as well as craft beers. Bar owner Will Shepherd said the event was all about showing off “lo-fi” wine that was made in the traditional way. Chevre, Good Intention and Dirty Black Denim wines will be featured. “They are all natural, made by young Australian wine makers,” Mr Shepherd said. “It’s about minimal intervention, using proper wine making techniques.”

Xanadu offerings top the list
Glen Goodall is the senior winemaker at Xanadu (just south of the Margaret River township) and has been since the Rathbone family, who also own Victoria’s Yering Station and Mt Langi Ghiran, purchased it in 2005. WA dominates the semillon sauvignon blanc blend, chardonnay and cabernet classes on the seven capital city wine show circuit. WA won all seven of the cabernet trophies and five of the seven chardonnay trophies awarded in 2016 from the state’s 4 per cent of Australia’s wine and Xanadu is a significant part of the reason for these results.

Australian Tempranillos wanted
Producers of Australian-made Tempranillo and Tempranillo-dominant blends are invited to enter samples in an upcoming tasting of these wines by the Wine & Viticulture Journal (WVJ). To submit a wine to the tasting, producers need to email editor Sonya Logan ([email protected]) in the first instance by no later than close of business next Friday (10 February). All wines submitted for the tasting will need to be received by no later than Wednesday 22 February. Entries to the tasting are limited so will be accepted on a first-in, best-dressed basis. The results of the tasting will be published in the March-April issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal.

International media and experts in the Bay
Hawke's Bay Winegrowers will host 60 international wine media and experts this weekend at the inaugural Classic Reds Symposium. Guests will taste their way through some of New Zealand's top red wines including Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet to deepen their understanding of the country's diverse regions and evolving wine styles. Event manager at Super Events Elisha Milmine said Hawke's Bay Winegrowers was proud to be hosting the two-day NZ Wine event. "For the 26 New Zealand wineries involved this one-on-one time with the international guests coming from Sweden, Germany, Canada, USA, UK and Australia is a great opportunity to form relationships, which is a foot in the door to international markets."

Yealands Wine appoints new chief exec
The new chief executive at one of the largest wine exporters in New Zealand says its growth is nothing short of miraculous, but there are still opportunities to expand.Yealands Wine Group, which was founded by sustainability pioneer Peter Yealands in 2008, has appointed a new chief executive, Master of Wine Adrian Garforth. Garforth replaces Jason Judkins, who resigned last year after nine years at the helm, during which time the company grew rapidly to become a major player in the industry. The new chief executive has more than 30 years' experience in the wine industry across a wide range of roles, from marketing and distribution to managing a winery in South Africa.

Why volcanic wines may blow your mind
There’s not much innovation in wine publishing. Having judged two awards in the last 12 months (the Louis Roederer and Andre Simon), I get the impression that publishers think wine-lovers want only beginners’ guides and outsize volumes on the world’s poshest wine regions. So credit to Jacqui Small for publishing our Andre Simon drink book winner, the refreshingly original Volcanic Wines, by Canadian sommelier John Szabo. Szabo doesn’t claim that soil is the only factor at play; the preservation of indigenous varieties and ancient growing methods in these hard-to-work vineyards also make the wines distinctive.

Cheap booze at Total Wine fuels pricing fight
It’s not illegal for a business to sell a product below cost — unless, of course, it’s a bottle of booze. As more big chains expand in the Massachusetts alcohol market, state regulators are cracking down on their aggressively low prices, enforcing a longstanding rule that bans retailers from selling alcohol for less than what they paid. Now, the country’s largest alcohol retailer, Total Wine & More , is fighting back, suing the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission over sanctions the agency issued to its two Massachusetts stores for allegedly selling bottles of brand-name vodka, rum, and other liquors several dollars below cost.

Uwamariya makes wine from beetroot
A 27-year-old woman based in Rubavu District, Western Province, is giving local wine production a new face. Assoumpta Uwamariya is making tasty and affordable wine locally from beetroot. On the morning The New Times paid her a visit; Uwamariya was busy arranging bottles of wine on shelves in her small wine shop at Mahoko Centre – about 15-minute drive from the DR Congo’s border town of Goma. Uwamariya explains that the beetroot wine bottles have two types of seals - the dark red coloured seal, indicating that the wine was packed about four months ago, and the bright red coloured seal for wine that was produced about nine months ago.

Liqui-Box innovates bag-in-box wine
The bag-in-box wine packaging market is expected to gain 4% growth by 2020, according to Euromonitor, which may mean flexible liquid packaging manufacturer Liqui-Box has innovated its bag-in-box packaging at the right moment with its new dispensing tap Liqui-Top. The latest innovation to its line of bag-in-box packaging for wine follows the company’s $4m investment in two of its manufacturing facilities in April 2016 – a strategic move specifically aimed at addressing increasing consumer demand by enhancing and updating its bag-in-box offerings.

AB Mauri



WID 2017