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News posted on Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The hunt is on for old Tulloch wines
Hunter Valley’s Tulloch Wines have been on the hunt for old varieties of their own drop as they plan an event to mark their 120th birthday. As part of the celebrations, Tulloch intend to locate some of the first vintages of wines produced by the family. Christina Tulloch, chief executive officer and fourth generation of the Tulloch family, said she hoped the promotion would unearth some Tulloch varieties that predate the 1952 Private Bin. “We currently have a good collection of Tulloch Private Bin Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz wines which my Dad has been cellaring in anticipation of a special event."

Pernod Ricard introduces first Graduate Wine Ambassadors
Pernod Ricard Winemakers has unveiled the team of graduates they’ve chosen to become their first ever Graduate Wine Ambassadors. Following a competitive international recruitment process, five rising stars are being given the opportunity to train and work in Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ wineries and global offices. The Graduate Wine Ambassadors are a diverse group, hailing from Australia, New Zealand and Poland, with a broad range of skills including fluency in Japanese as well as degrees in commerce, arts and science.

Biodynamic winemakers begin 2015 Margaret River region harvest as the moon aligns with Saturn
Burying cow horns beneath the soil and picking grapes by the position of the moon sounds like the beginnings of a spell. But it is all part of the recipe that one vineyard in Western Australia's Margaret River region uses to make its wine. While most growers in Western Australia's south-west started picking chardonnay this month, harvest has already begun at Cullen Wines in Wilyabrup. Cullen is a biodynamic winery, which means it is focussed on soil biology and harvests by the lunar cycle.

Australian viticulture thrives as wine exports grow
Despite above-average temperatures posing issues, viticulture and the wine industry in general across Australia had some welcome good news in January. The country's wine exports by both volume and value grew 1.9 per cent over the course of 2014. That accounts for a staggering 700 million litres of wine shipped to 121 destinations across the world for a total value of $1.82 billion. One of the main reasons for the growth is extended interest in Australian 'premium' wines – those that typically sell for $7.50 a litre or more – from markets including North America, Europe and Asia.

Wine ace to roll out new barrels
After 10 years at Te Awanga's Clearview Winery, winemaker Barry Riwai has taken up a new role at Alpha Domus. He fills the impressive winemaking shoes of Kate Galloway, who began at Alpha Domus in 2002 as a cellar hand before taking on the winemaking role three years later. Galloway said she was taking a break from winemaking and had been proud to be part of a team which made consistently high-quality wines in years that had been regarded as great vintages, as well as in "more challenging" years.

World lines up for a taste of Hawkes Bay
The story of Hawkes Bay's wines is as rich as its flavours, writes Charmian Smith for Otago Daily Times. A Hawkes Bay winemaker asked two visiting sommeliers from Beijing what their favourite red wine was. They replied immediately (and not particularly diplomatically since they were in the Bay) that it was pinot noir. Another winemaker quipped that syrah is what pinot noir wants to be when it grows up! Wine writers and sommeliers from China, New York, Sweden, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and New Zealand were visiting the Bay last week as guests of Hawkes Bay Winegrowers and we spent a day tasting some of the region's best wines.

2015 will be a breakout year - says wine report
In addition to winery survey results from 2014, Silicon Valley Bank has also released their 2015 Wine Report. A must-read, the 56-page report includes predictions, demand forecasts, a look at supply (planting and yields), pricing and financial performance. In addition to being an informative read, author Rob McMillan–founder of the SVB wine division who likes “tractor pulls and walks on the beach”–writes in a loose, entertaining, pop-culture reference-filled style that perhaps makes him the John Oliver of wine. The opening of this year’s report begins with an analogy comparing the film Cast Away (Tom Hanks) to being prepared to navigate in this “evolved” world.

New directions for South African wine industry
A report released on Tuesday describes how South Africa’s wine industry has increased its contribution to the country’s GDP and has created more domestic jobs. According to South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (Sawis), which examined the period from 2008-2013, domestic demand has modestly increased and exports have done extremely well even in the depressed global economic environment.

Dates set for wine grape grower referendum
California’s wine grape growers get to vote in March on whether they want to continue to pay an assessment to fund research into Pierce’s Disease and the insect called the glassy-winged sharpshooter, which carries the disease, which can kill entire vineyards. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says current plans call for the ballots to be mailed on or about March 30. The ballots will be due back 30 days after mailing, although this date can be extended. The results of the vote will be announced about two weeks after the voting period concludes.

Sonoma developer to pay $100,000 for environmental damage
A Sonoma County vineyard developer will pay $100,000 in penalties, costs and restitution to settle a civil complaint about his unlawful environmental practices in west Sonoma County. Developer Paul Hobbs and Paul Hobbs Winery, L.P. and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office reached the agreement Friday. The agreement also includes permanent injunctive relief prohibiting unlawful vineyard development in violation of the county's environmental laws.

Mitolo Wines flying high with Qatar
Boutique McLaren Vale winery Mitolo Wines has scored a deal to be featured on-board Qatar Airways flights after an international judging of more than 300 handpicked vintages. Experts appointed by Qatar spent three days blind tasting wines from the world’s best producers, with their recommendations to be enjoyed by business class passengers for six months. More than 10,000 bottles of Miltolo Wines’ 2012 Jester Shiraz have been shipped to the Qatar Airways base in Doho to be served across 140 destinations between October 2015 and March 2015. Frank Mitolo, Mitolo Wines founder, said the deal offered valuable international exposure for the wine.

Yalumba announces major reshuffle
Nick Waterman has been announced as Yalumba’s new CEO, as Robert Hill Smith leaves the position to become chairman of the Yalumba Board of Directors. After more than 30 years leading Australia’s oldest family owned winery as CEO, Hill Smith will step down to replace current chair Peter Barnes, who is retiring from his role after 12 years. Hill Smith said Barnes has been a tremendous mentor and chair over the years and will be sorely missed by the company. Current executive director at Samuel Smith & Son (SS&S) Nick Waterman will move into his new position on March 7, where he will lead all of the company’s business units.


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