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News posted on Wednesday, 3 June 2015

McLaren Vale winemakers unite to create a wine to rival Penfolds Grange
McLAREN Vale winemakers are uniting to create the region’s ultimate blend that would challenge Penfolds Grange. The Australian Wine Research Institute and the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association are behind the project to create VALO – a blend of some of the region’s finest 2014 premium reds. Oliver’s Taranga winemaker Corrina Wright said VALO’s quality would compare to SA’s most celebrated wine. “I don’t think we will have too much trouble with (reaching the quality of Grange) – we have got some pretty strong vintages,” Wright said.

Raising a glass to a fall in demand
The latest ABS research report on alcohol consumption in Australia reveals a remarkable drop to a 50-year low, with beer consumption at a 68-year low and wine uptake at its weakest in 8 years. That ties in with global trends. OECD figures also show alcohol consumption in developed countries has dropped by 2.5 per cent in the last 20 years, albeit with widely varied findings between countries and a rise in what is deemed ‘risky drinking’.

Want Italian wine in Australia ? Italophile says the time is now
Amid a tongue-twisting litany of Italian wine varietal minutiae leading his recent article in Australia’s Financial Review, wine and drinks writer Tim White offered the wine-drinking masses a unique look into the emergence of Italian wines in the Land Down Under. White pointed out that Australia’s Chalmers nursery is exerting “pioneering efforts” in creating “vine stocks of Italian cultivars” that “are as good as you’ll find them in their homeland.” In fact, White pointed out, “there are more than a dozen clones of Sangiovese available now in Australia.”

WineTech 2015 to host agrifood and beverage seminar for wine leaders
Stakeholders in the Australian wine industry are planning to engage with leaders of allied agricultural, food and beverage sectors to share knowledge on latest concepts and directions in marketing and sales at WineTech 2015. Key agrifood and beverage leaders will participate in a strategic seminar program associated with the nation’s premier wine industry trade exhibition, to be held at the Adelaide Showground, Wayville from 14 to 16 July.

Barefoot Wine founders to speak at wine event
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey who founded Barefoot Wines, the world's number one selling wine, are heading to Australia to talk about they built their brand in the US. The pair will take the stage at a US export focus conference hosted by Australia Trade tasting on 2 September in Melbourne. Organisers have labelled it a “must attend event” for producers who are looking to enter the US market, or who are already selling there.

Rivers motif in new Bay wine brand
Hawke's Bay Winegrowers has embarked on a determined drive to further raise the national and international profile of the region's wines, with the announcement of new branding launched in Napier last night. The announcement of the new logo and wording came at an appropriate time, with the 2015 vintage being acknowledged and toasted as the third "great" one in a row.

Get ready for the best vintage yet
The New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival is back and bursting with flavour as 23 of the nation’s best boutique vineyards strut their stuff, on Sunday June 14 at the historic Imperial Building in Fort Lane, Auckland. Attendees can expect a culinary experience like no other, learning about and tasting wines from New Zealand’s many different regions, indulging in gourmet food and enjoying live music. Vertical tastings, where guests taste the same wine from a vineyard year on year and learn about how and why they’re unique, will be held throughout the day.

Pernod Ricard will focus on consumers to become world's leading supplier
Pernod Ricard aims to increase underlying sales and operating profit growth to 5% in the medium-term by focusing on innovation, ramping up its digital strategy and trading shoppers up to premium spirits and wines. The group said it enjoyed five per cent annual growth before the economic crisis and believes it can return the business to these historical levels. Key to its strategy will be switching the focus from a brand-centric model to a consumer-centric one, it revealed at its capital markets day in Paris.

Washington state wine production bolstered by drought
For most farmers, the word "drought" means lost crops, hard work, added expenses and the possibility that their livelihood could be decimated. For wine growers in Washington State, however, it looks like drought has been a good thing. Warmer Washington winters have resulted in a change to the state's wine country. Grapes that might not otherwise grow here are thriving, according to the New York Times, which took a look at the changing landscape for wine growing in a story this week.

Lynch Bages trials tool to monitor wine inside barrels
Chateau Lynch Bages will be among the first to trial new technology that claims to help wineries better monitor what is happening to the wine inside a barrel or vat. The system uses sensors within barrels and vats to take continual measurements, from the evolution of sugar levels and turbidity to alcohol, temperature and colour. Chateau Lynch Bages is set to begin testing the 'Winegrid' technology for the Bordeaux 2015 vintage. The estate's general manager, Jean-Charles Cazes, is part of the the entreprenurial mentoring program that seeks to help food, wine and tourism start-up companies to develop.

Vale George Starke, wine writer for 50 years
George Wesley Starke, 93, wine columnist, wine teacher, geologist and World War II veteran, died of aspiration pneumonia on Saturday. Starke had been a wine writer for 50 years and wrote his “Up and Down the Wine Roads” column since the early 1980s. They were printed in the St. Helena Star and Napa Valley Register regularly until last month. On Monday afternoon, Linda Reiff, president and CEO of the Napa Valley Vintners, wrote, “George was a treasure to all of us. For many years, he chronicled the unique food and wine community that is Napa Valley.

Marlborough to host first organic wine event
The country’s first major Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference will be held July 8-10 at the Marlborough Convention Centre, marking a coming-of-age for the organic and biodynamic wine movement in New Zealand. The Conference will bring together world leaders in organic and biodynamic grape growing, winemaking and wine business to exchange ideas with New Zealand’s wine industry. From humble beginnings, the New Zealand organic wine industry has blossomed rapidly in recent years. Over 90 companies are now involved in certified organic grape and wine production.

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