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News posted on Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A new era for Hot 100
Hot 100 Wines welcomes a new chief judge and chief steward with winemaker Peter Dredge and wine distributor Mark Reginato taking the reins from Banjo Harris Plane and Trevor Maskell. Both Dredge and Reginato have history with the wine show. Dredge was a judge in 2013, when James Erskine was chief judge, while Reginato was first involved with the Hot 100 as a guest in 2010. Both men were involved in this year’s wine show, as a judge and steward respectively. Dredge, of Dr Edge and Brian Wine, is originally from South Australia but has been based in Tasmania for the last seven years.

Hi, my name's Australia, and I have a drinking problem
In their 2015-16 annual report, FARE chairman Andrew Fairley AM and CEO Michael Thorn argued that alcohol's annual burden to Australian society was $36 billion, with direct costs to government nearing $10 billion, "Yet, the alcohol industry's tax contribution amounts to little more than $6 billion a year. The research showed a rational system of taxing alcohol could easily raise an additional $3 billion, contribute to 'budget repair', and cut alcohol harm by up to ten per cent." I'd raise a glass to the government and Big Alcohol getting serious about reducing harm from excessive drinking. But I wouldn't hold my breath. It's up to us to drink responsibly, to heed that half-hearted warning on the wine bottle. Because if we wait for the alcohol industry to help us, we'll be driven to drink.

West Cape Howe Wines partners World Super 6 Perth
Guests and players at the inaugural ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth tournament in February will be wined and dined by one of Western Australia's best local vineyards as West Cape Howe Wines are today announced as the Official Wine Partner of the tournament. West Cape Howe WinesThe ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth will capture the attention of the world due to its unique format with West Cape Howe Wines coming on board to support and enhance this exciting tournament. "Being a local vineyard, we love supporting home grown events so it's terrific to be a part of an exciting new tournament format launching in Perth," said Gavin Berry from West Cape Howe Wines.

Looking to 2017: Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia
Highs included the Australia Day Tasting back in January. This was my first ADT since joining Wine Australia in February 2015. We set a new attendance record and feedback was excellent, with key trade figures asserting that Australia is more exciting than ever. We’re busy preparing for ADT 2017, which is set to be even bigger in a new venue, and we hope to emulate the success of 2016. Another high was partnering up with The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, which will be held in Melbourne in April. It’s a big project, but is a fantastic opportunity to show off Australian wine – quality, diversity and versatility with food – to a global audience.

Chinese winery’s plan for Australia faces delay
Chinese winery Wei Long Grape Wine’s plan to build an AU$80 million winery in Australia’s Victoria state may face a delay in construction and operation as a neighbouring winery lodged an objection concerning its potential impact on the local environment. A fellow ‘Sunraysia’ winery Zilzie filed an objection to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), complaining that the increased traffic to the proposed winery would adversely impact local roads, water and power supper supplies to other properties. “We were hoping that civil works on the site would be commencing about now; that was the initial timeline. Based upon where we are at at the moment it’s quite unclear, I suppose,” planning consultant James Golsworthy, who is responsible for the application for Wei Long, told the news site,

Geoff Thorpe honoured for contribution to wine industry
Riversun director Geoff Thorpe had to have a sit down, then said nothing for five minutes as the contents of the letter he had just opened sank in. Overwhelmed and totally stunned were the first reactions, he said. After five minutes he turned to look at his wife Anna and asked, “did you know about this? Maybe,” she said. Since then, the couple have kept the news under their hats until today. Mr Thorpe has been made an Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the New Year Honours list for 2017 for services to the wine industry.

Attention to detail vital for wine
Creating wine is an age old process. But the key to creating award winning wine is attention to detail and consistency, says John Coney, owner of The Wine Portfolio, which has rebranded its winery on the outskirts of Katikati to Leveret Estate. The company notched up a gold award at the Hawkes Bay Wine Awards for its Leveret Reserve Chardonnay and two golds at the premier Air NZ Wine Awards for its Leveret Chardonnay and Leveret Viognier. Its Leveret Reserve Merlot Cabernet is now in Air NZ business class. John bought what was Morton Estate in 1995. Since 1978 the estate has been a place where wine making is seen as an art, and not just a business.

25 ways to leave your wine love
This got me to thinking about an equally simplistic way to combat the epidemic of wine complacency. Such a diagnosis was offered by Charles Chambless, who manages a wine shop in Ohio. In my last Drinking Out Loud column, "The Greatest Gift," Mr. Chambless commented: "I manage a wine shop. I can tell you that I love esoteric wines. I carry many … including Lagreins, Teroldegos, Moschofileros, Bonardas and many more. The only people who buy these wines are the wine geeks like me. The general population isn't interested. When I do tastings with such wines, people are amazed. But they go right back to their usual suspects: the 25 or so wine types that are familiar when they do their shopping." That's it, isn't it? "The 25 or so wine types that are familiar when they do their shopping."Can anyone doubt the truth of Mr. Chambless' assertion?

Institute of Masters of Wine moves into new HQ
The Institute of Masters of Wine has moved into new headquarters in London’s Riverlight Quay development by the Thames in Vauxhall. The office, which is within a recently-completed riverfront residential development in the Nine Elms area, has been bought by the Institute (IMW), giving the educational body a permanent place in London – it was leasing offices in Fitzrovia before the move. The new space gives the IMW an events space large enough for seated tastings for 45 people, a wine storage and preparation area, and a separate meeting room for Masters of Wine.

Argentina tops UK off-trade growth in 2016
Argentine wine saw the biggest growth in UK off-trade sales during 2016, followed by New Zealand, according to figures released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) in its Q4 end of year Market Report. Argentina-Mendoza-Vineyard-with-Mountain-View. Argentina saw the biggest growth in terms of UK sales in 2016, driven by demand for Malbec. While the WSTA said Australia remains the biggest-selling wine producing country in terms of UK sales, Argentina and New Zealand wines showed the most growth in the 12 months to 5 November 2016. UK off-trade volume sales of Argentine wine reached 20 million litres in volume, the equivalent of almost 27 million bottles – up 32% on the same period last year. By value, off-trade sales of Argentine wines reached £155m during the same period – up 31% on the same period last year.

Tmall unveils its top 10 wines of 2016
China’s leading e-tailer, Tmall.com, has unveiled its top 10 wines of 2016 based on consumers’ order volumes, repeat orders and wineries’ brand appeal, with Chinese favourites such as Penfolds and Bordeaux reds making the rounds. But surprises include the top prize winners, a relatively unknown Chinese Cabernet and a Canadian ice wine. A Chinese red won the top prize. “The biggest surprise” as the retailer described it was the 2013 Niya Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Red from CITIC Guo’an group in Shandong province in eastern China. The wine won the ‘Gold Prize’ outranking Penfolds and several Bordeaux reds after a panel of judges headed by Taiwan-based Mark Pygott MW blind tasted all wines on the top 10 list selected by Tmall to decide their respective rankings. None of the wineries from China’s Ningxia or Xinjiang such as Silver Heights, Tiansai Vineyard made the list however.

USA Trade Tasting sets global stage to showcase innovative and unique products in New York
USA Trade Tasting adds a new area at the show called ‘Unique and Innovative Products Pavilion’ (UIPP). The Unique and Innovative Products Pavilion will showcase unique and innovative products from all over the world to US Buyers.

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