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News posted on Friday, 4 August 2017

Free trade agreements driving export growth
Free trade agreements are driving a strong surge in Australian wine industry exports, with more yet to come from a $50 million marketing program funded by the Federal Government. Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, said tariff reductions from the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) had resulted in China overtaking the United States as the most valuable destination for Australian wine. Source, Winetitles.

Chinese wine tourism increased 300%
Australian tour operator AAT Kings has reported a huge increase in Chinese bookings for Australian wine tours. Between 2015 and 2016 there was a 300% increase in Chinese bookings for the company's wine tours. The first quarter of 2017 has already seen 231 group bookings, which indicates an end-of-year total even bigger than 2016. Source, Drinks Central.

Pinot Palooza expands to Singapore
As part of the new wave of wine-loving contemporary tastings, Pinot Palooza has made a name for itself for unique and enjoyable events in capital cities on both sides of the Tasman Sea. Now the Pinot-celebrating festival is set to expand into Asia, having confirmed its first ever Singaporean event for 2018. Source, The Adelaide Review.

Hill of Grace is Halliday's ‘wine of the year’
One of Australia’s most famous wines, Henschke Hill of Grace, has claimed another honour - with the 2012 vintage announced as the ‘wine of the year’ and ‘best Shiraz’ by the Halliday Wine Companion. Stephen Henschke, the fifth-generation winemaker, said he was thrilled with the result, which continues a remarkable run of recognition for the latest release. Source, Winetitles.

Alleged wine fraud by Canterbury wine producer
Charges have been laid against Southern Boundary Wines Limited, former directors Andrew Moore and Scott Berry, and winemaker Rebecca Cope, alleging breaches of the Wine Act and the Crimes Act. The allegations include mislabelling of wine from vintages 2012 and 2013, and the falsification of records. Source, Stuff.

A short history of NZ wine scandals
Canterbury winemaker Southern Boundary Wines and three staff are facing 156 charges around the production and labelling of sauvignon blanc and pinot noir varieties following an extensive investigation by the Ministry of Primary Industries. It is the first time charges have been brought under the Wine Act, but it is far from New Zealand's first wine scandal. Source, Stuff.

Relying on animals for sustainable winemaking
For many New World producers, sustainable winemaking has started to look like an animal farm, thanks to a wave of critter-driven approaches that are becoming popular in vineyards. “Animals are an essential part of the winemaking. They close the circle,” says Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington. Source, Wine Enthusiast.

The future of fertilizer
A research team from Aarhus University in Denmark has come up with a way to pinpoint the precise nitrogen needs of individual plants. Their system relies on examining the light reflecting off a plant’s leaves—they used potato plants in the testing phase—in combination with the leaf’s surface area. Source, Modern Farmer.

Is it time for Pét-Nat to grow up?
Pétillant naturel, or “pét-nat,” experienced a good turn in recent years as the unofficial party wine of the naturalist movement. The wines enjoyed so much popularity, in fact, that they seeped into the mainstream—their crown caps found far and wide. Source, Punch.

Colares: Vineyards snake through the sand
Colares, Portugal — The vineyards in this small wine region west of Lisbon on the Atlantic coast look like something that slithered up from the sea. Trained low to avoid the biting wind that blows incessantly off the ocean, the vines resemble green serpents snaking along the sand. It’s as if vines from a more conventional region had come to the beach on vacation and had collapsed in a deep slumber. Source, New York Times.

Vineyard tech in focus
Robots, drones and Artificial Intelligence were on the agenda at this year’s Australian Society for Viticulture and Oenology conference in Mildura. While it might be a while before vineyards become fully automated, the tech-focused conference offered valuable insights on what to expect in future. Source, Winetitles.

Investigation into alleged Wine Act breach
Charges have been laid against Southern Boundary Wines Limited, former directors Andrew Moore and Scott Berry, and winemaker Rebecca Cope, alleging breaches of the Wine Act and the Crimes Act. The allegations include mislabelling of wine from vintages 2012 and 2013, and the falsification of records. Source, New Zealand Winegrowers.

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WID 2017