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News posted on Thursday, 3 September 2015

International tourist spending growth reaches Sydney Olympic heights
The tourism sector is continuing to pick up speed after the collapse of the mining boom, with an influx of visitors from China and India and more splurging on food and wine contributing to the strongest annual growth rate in spending since the Sydney Olympics were held in 2000. The Australian Financial Review reports total spending rose by 10 per cent to a record $33.4 billion in the 12 months to June 30, outpacing a 7 per cent rise in visitors to 6.6 million, the latest international visitor survey from Tourism Research Australia showed.

Are you the next AAVWS Ambassador?
Do you want to join the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) in Mildura this November? Launched in 2014, the AAVWS Fellowship invites applications from wine professionals and knowledgeable enthusiasts who are excited by the opportunity to explore and celebrate Australia’s alternative varieties and share that new found fervour with their networks and industry groups.

Fabian Yukich and George Fistonich: Organic wine makers
In what was once a considered a low-end hippy market, organic wine is fast becoming the preferred drop of choice for discerning wine palates worldwide. That growth is seeing the sector gaining momentum throughout NZ vineyards. Today seven per cent of New Zealand wine growers are certified organic or biodynamic.

Leading winemakers announce partnership with Kinross
Renowned New Zealand winemakers Hawkshead, Valli, Domaine Thompson, Wild Irishman and Soho have formed an exclusive wine partnership with Gibbston’s Kinross Cottages and General Store. Perfectly positioned half way between Queenstown and Bannockburn, Kinross now operates as the exclusive Gibbston cellar door for this stellar group of winemakers. Brought together under one roof for the first time, their stories are entwined in the history of New Zealand wine making, and Kinross is the perfect hub to be drawn into their world.

Can serious wine come in a can?
If you still can’t get past that wines in a screw-top bottle can be high quality, then wine in a can is going to make you flip your lid. Several innovative wineries around the world have started “bottling” their juice in cans and marketing it toward a hipper crowd, some — like Oregon’s Underwood — more successfully than others. Underwood’s pinot noir, pinot gris and rosé aren’t dumbed-down novelty wines. They’re what they’d put in glass, and do, just more portable.

How climate change could hike the price of Oregon Pinot
Oregon's wine industry is set to celebrate another banner year. While it will be difficult to top 2014, when the grape harvest increased nearly 40 percent over 2013 to a record 78,000 tons and sales increased 14 percent to $430 million, many growers are predicting an exceptional crop again this year. The optimistic outlook comes despite the hot, dry summer that pushed up the 2015 harvest by as much as three weeks.

Vintage Wine Estates buys Napa's Swanson Vineyards
Vintage Wine Estates has continued a recent winery-buying spree, announcing its purchase of Napa Valley's Swanson Vineyards, a pioneer in California Merlot. The deal, which closed Aug. 31, comes just a month after the Sonoma-based company purchased B.R. Cohn Winery.

Wine education enters the digital age
A new, free wine education tool has launched, offering online video content to help students tackle the Master of Wine syllabus and hone their essay skills. WineTutor.tv, which launched this week, has been set up by Tim Wildman MW in partnership with Johnny Mindlin, a specialist in producing educational audio and video content.

AFFW next generation forms board
The next generation of Australia’s First Families of Wine has formed the AFFW Next Gen Committee, announcing its first four board members last week. The AFFW Next Gen Committee chairman, Scott McWilliam of McWilliam’s Wines, named Richard Burch of Burch Family Wines, Jessica Hill-Smith of Yalumba and Katherine Brown of Brown Brothers as the first members of the Next Gen board.

Wine, telecommunications discussed with Senator
Unreliable telecommunications, poor infrastructure and proposed changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax were the major talking points at Dal Zotto Wines in Whitfield, Victoria, when Senator Richard Colbeck, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, visited yesterday. Michael and Otto Dal Zotto met with Senator Colbeck and Liberal candidate for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, to discuss pending reforms to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET).

FARE not playing fair: Winemakers’ Federation hits back
On Thursday, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) made public comments on wine tax that were immediately and strongly disputed by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. “FARE makes the claim that wine taxes are low in Australia compared to other countries which is incorrect,” said Paul Evans, the WFA chief executive.

Wine Marlborough board members stepping down
Wine Marlborough's longest serving board member Ruud Maasdam is to step aside at this year's elections after 15 years. Maasdam, owner and winemaker at Staete Landt Winery, has served on the board since 2001 and is one of four board members, along with Simon Clark, Laurin Gane and Guy Lissaman to step down from the 11-person board.

Nominations open for the ASVO 'awards for excellence'
The 4th annual Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology’s (ASVO) Awards for Excellence have been officially launched, with the ASVO calling for nominations for the prestigious awards. Since their inception, the ASVO Awards for Excellence have attracted a high calibre of entrants and are now recognised within the industry as a demonstration of expertise for wine industry professionals to aspire to and achieve.

Winemakers scramble to keep up with 2015 harvest
Jeff Morgan of Covenant Winery in Berkeley stood in a vineyard at the top of Sonoma Mountain recently and examined the bright green cluster of grapes he was holding in one hand. He noticed there were small brown specks covering the grape globes and a smattering of raisins on nearby vines — all signs that the Chardonnay grapes were getting ready to be picked.

Sci-Fi Vineyards: The Drones of Burgundy
The Drones of Burgundy may sound like a sci-fi movie paired with good wines but the truth is far less exciting. The drones are really in place to help hunt a pestilent scourge–with a stripper-like name: Flavescence Dorée. Flavescence Dorée is a tiny leafhopper, but it is an enormous menace to anyone in the business of growing grapes.

Bay winemaker aims to make his mark in China
It's a long way from Te Awanga to Ningxia in the heart of China but when there is wine to be made distance and location is not really an issue. And for Clearview Estate Winery's newest winemaker Matt Kirby it could be a nice little feather in the cap should what he creates during his China wine experience get the thumbs up from a judging panel in two years - not to mention a nice little earner.





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