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News posted on Thursday, 4 February 2016

Senate inquiry to report findings into the wine and grape industry
THE recommendations from a senate inquiry into the wine and grape industry will be made known next week. The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee investigated the profitability of wine grape growers, the impact of the wine equalisation tax ¬rebate, the power and influence of retailers of Australian wine in domestic and export markets and the effectiveness of market intelligence in sending price signals to growers.

Off-premise driving Australian wine sales in China
Wine purchases made online and via retail stores and supermarkets made up the majority of Australian wine consumption in China over the last three years, a study has found. A three-year study by the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science funded by Wine Australia has found the number of people buying imported wine in China and frequency of consumption had sharply increased over the course of the project.

Wine Odyssey forced to close
Wine Odyssey, an innovative wine bar located in a Sydney’s popular waterfront location The Rocks, has been forced to close its doors after almost eight years in business after the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority announced they are seeking a “more relevant” tenant. The ‘cellar door in the city' which offered tourists and Sydney-siders the opportunity to taste wines from the most popular regions of Australia, has been referred to as a “lifeline” for smaller producers to enter the mainstream market.

Rain and hail has affected grape harvesting but an increase in export values is encouraging
Recent wet weather has caused problems for grape growers who are now racing the clock to complete their harvest. Bruno Brombal, chairman of the Riverina Wine Grape Marketing Board, said the rain and hail had a “big impact” on growers. “If we had another week of rain we could have been in big strife,” Mr Brombal said. “There could have been major losses in the region, not as bad as the Hunter Valley but close.”

Diageo helps consumers understand drinks
Diageo Australia has revamped its DRINKiQ website as the company aims to help Australian consumers better understand how much alcohol they are drinking. A survey of almost 1000 Australians aged 18 and over found that half of those questioned were not aware of how much alcohol is in their drink. The survey found 50 per cent of respondents believed a schooner of full strength beer, a glass of red wine and a single serve of spirits with a mixer each contain one standard drink of alcohol.

SA winemaker adds sparkling twist to mead
The late winemaker Ken Maxwell spruiked the virtues of drinking mead way back in the 1950s, when he began experimenting with the ancient drink. In the 1960s, when he managed The Barn restaurant in McLaren Vale, he gave away free tastes of his home brew to guests on arrival. Later, Maxwell became the first commercial producer of mead (under the Daringa label), but it wasn’t until he started Maxwell Wines at McLaren Vale in 1979 that he began producing under the Maxwell Mead label.

Marlborough Sauvignon in mid-life crisis
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is going through a “mid-life crisis”, US wine writer Matt Kramer has said. Addressing attendees of the first ever international Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough, Kramer said this morning that the New Zealand region was facing a transitional stage, charting a shift from an initial 40 year-period based on “luck” to a new stage requiring “talent". "There’s some sense of a mid-life crisis here in Marlborough… a sense that somehow you’ve missed something,” he began.

Invivo expands production with acquisition of historic New Zealand winery
New Zealand winemaker Invivo has secured a long-term lease on a 114-year-old winery originally operated by New Zealand wine pioneer Romeo Bragato. The winery, which is situated to the south of Auckland, is listed by the Historic Places Trust. It was built by the Government in 1902 as the country’s first viticulture research station. In 1908, Bratago became the first New Zealand winemaker to wine awards in an international competition.

Californians want rum-crazy Cuba to start drinking wine
The 3.5 million tourists who flooded Cuba last year downed oceans of mojitos, lakes of daiquiris and rivers of thin, sour beer. Only an odd few accompanied their ropa vieja and croquetas with wine — mostly overpriced, low- to mid-grade vintages from Chile, Argentina and Spain. That may be about to change, at least around the margins of Cuba's once-dismal dining scene.

Don't count out Bordeaux
One of the interesting aspects of the fine wine market over the course of the last few years is the seemingly obvious change of leadership, from Bordeaux to both Burgundy, and the ‘Rest of the World’, writes Philip Staveley. From a position of trading domination back in 2011, has Bordeaux simply become “another player in the market” in more recent times?

Wine institute slams California shortage claims
The body representing the Californian wine trade has hit back at a report which suggests the damage to vineyards caused by wildfires last year has led to a worryingly low-yielding 2015 vintage. The Guardian US ran a story on Monday that said smoke taint had so severely affected Californian grape-growing areas struck by wildfires in 2015 that stock levels would be threatened and wine prices could spike as a result.

Apps for wine drinkers: What every winery should know
As ecommerce becomes the new norm, consumers tap into various technologies to enhance their digital shopping experiences. One area of ecommerce that is growing at an impressive rate is shopping apps. In fact, Forbes cited data from mobile analytics firm flurry, which found shopping app sessions increased by 174 percent year over year in 2015. Not only that, but wine drinkers are downloading apps to help facilitate their shopping experiences and selection process.

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