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News posted on Friday, 4 November 2016

World wine prices — how does Australia compare?
In Australia, the average cost of a 750 mL bottle was $21.59, factoring in both local and imported wines. In contrast, New Zealand was ranked as the 10th least expensive country in which to buy wine, with an average bottle costing only $14.43. Paraguay took the title of cheapest, with an average price of $9.90/bottle; at the other end of the scale, the United Arab Emirates came in at over five times higher, at $51.15/bottle. Australia drinks an average of 28.80 L of wine per capita annually, ranking 14th in the world for most litres consumed.

Australians, stay home! It's where the the profits are
Australia's unique environment doesn't always translate successfully to less pristine corners of the globe. There's a pattern in Australia's corporate ecosystem. With notable exceptions - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Twenty-First Century Fox, Frank Lowy's Westfield, shipping pallet distributor Brambles and the mining and energy companies that raise global revenue from their domestic assets - the country's biggest businesses seem to thrive at home. They often stumble the moment they head overseas. If food and supplements makers Treasury Wine Estates, Blackmores and Bellamy's have done better, it's thanks largely to Chinese demand for Australia-branded products.

Russian wine buyers taste the good life
More than 500,000 bottles of wine are exported from Orange to Russia in a deal worth over $1 million every year. Robbie Robinson and the team at D’Aquino Group are keen to see that develop and have brought a group of wine buyers and the sommelier from a leading St Petersburg restaurant to Orange to show them where their Wallaby Creek brand calls home. The five young Russians arrived in Orange on Thursday fresh from minus five degrees and snow in Moscow to a sunny spring day. Import manager for Russia’s leading wine and spirit import company, Luding, Natalia Semenets said: “We are looking at different brands and different qualities of wine. We are looking at what the possibilities are. How we can extend our business.”

A Day On The Green Milestone
After 16 years in operation and ticket sales of 3 million, Australia’s A Day On The Green winery series celebrates a milestone Nov 19, which its 400th show in two states. Singer-songwriters Rodriguez, Xavier Rudd, Russell Morris and Archie Roach are at the Bimbadgen Estate in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Over at Peter Lehmann Wines in South Australia’s Barossa Valley are rock bands You Am I, Something For Kate, Spiderbait, Jebediah and the Meanies. “The idea of getting together with some friends to enjoy good food and wine with great music in a picturesque location is as appealing now as ever,” said Mick Newton, co-director of Roundhouse Entertainment. From a single show outside Melbourne on Jan. 26 (Australia Day) 2001, it’s expanded to each state in Australia, and across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

Doctor Strange Joins Forces with 19 Crimes Wines
For Unfiltered's "comically" out of touch readers, there's a star-studded new Marvel superhero movie coming out this weekend, and we were on the case at the New York premiere of Doctor Strange, starring Emmy winner Benedict Cumberbatch, SAG winner Rachel McAdams, Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton and Unfiltered Most Unnerving Guy Who Always Plays the Villain winner Mads Mikkelsen. Hosted by Cinema Society along with Australia's 19 Crimes wines (singer Meghan Trainor's favorites!) at the Times Square AMC Empire theater, the premiere finally answered the age-old question, "What would happen if you dropped a bunch of sorcerers into an M.C. Escher lithograph?"

We need to put Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay on the map
Convincing the world that Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay is among the world’s best is one of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – for brand New Zealand, says Vidal Estate’s Hugh Crichton. Highlighting the success of the Gimblett Gravels, which has come to be seen as a superior Hawke’s Bay sub-region for Bordeaux grapes and Syrah, the winemaker said a similar sub-regional focus could propel Chardonnay to new heights in the eyes of wine consumers around the world. “That sort of thing is really important from a regional branding point of view,” he explained to db. “Gimblett Gravels is just one sub-region within Hawke’s Bay, but that sort of thing helps to put Hawke’s Bay on the map.

New Zealand: Pinot central
Since the boom time of the noughties, the big players have applied an increasingly powerful grip over Central Otago. With little land now left for sale, what’s next for this extraordinary Pinot-producing region, asks Patrick Schmitt MW. Let’s face it, New Zealand is one lucky nation. Not only did the country accidentally create one of today’s most powerful associations in white wine – Marlborough and Sauvignon Blanc – but it went on to do so in red wines too, with Central Otago and Pinot Noir. With the Marlborough Sauvignon success story attributed to the fortuitous combination of the right variety in the right place at the right time almost 50 years ago, similarly, Otago’s Pinot triumph was not planned: as next year marks 30 years since the region’s first commercial release of Pinot Noir, producers willingly admit that they had little sense that this grape would work so well in this remote area – or, indeed, that the variety would become so fashionable.

Brexit: High Court rules against government
Drinks Buisness considers the implications for the drinks industry following news today that the High Court has ruled that the UK government cannot trigger Article 50 to spark Brexit on its own. This morning’s ruling comes after a challenge was launched by Gina Miller a London-based investment manager, who argued that Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement that the government could use royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 without the need for MPs in Parliament to vote on the issue, was unconstitutional. Describing the ruling as one of “pure law” the Lord Chief Justice stated that the government did not have the constitutional power to withdraw the UK from the E – however it is uncertain whether a Parliamentary debate would amount to a ratification of the Brexit vote by MPs reluctant to go against the public vote, or a more detailed examination of the legislation involved.

England defies the trend with production increase
Global wine production is predicted to fall by 5% this year following poor grape-growing conditions in many countries around the world. The report by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) shows it is one of the worst seasons for producers in almost 20 years. The damage was most severe in France and South America. French vineyards suffered from frost and hailstorms in the spring – followed by drought in summer.

Nominees announced for new WSET Outstanding Alumni Award
Five members of the international wine trade have been put forward for the new WSET Outstanding Alumni Award, which has been sponsored by JancisRobinson.com. The Outstanding Alumni Award is an annual accolade that will celebrate a WSET Diploma graduate who is notably contributing to the industry and this year’s nominees have been chosen by WSET’s International Alumni Advisory Board and Jancis Robinson MW. Existing WSET Diploma graduates across the world are encouraged to vote for who they think should win and have until 14 November to cast their votes with the winner being revealed at the end of the month. The nominees are: Maureen Downey from the USA, Joe Fattorini and Isabelle Legeron MW from the UK, Yang Lu from Hong Kong and Kenichi Ohashi MW from Japan.

Argentine winery Pascual Toso looks to innovation
Argentine winery Pascual Toso is looking to innovation to boost its range of high end white wines as well as experimenting with oak ageing on its Cabernet Sauvignon. Speaking to db on a recent visit to London, chief winemaker Felipe Stahlschmidt, who joined the company in November 2015, said the winery had established a new research and development facility in the last year in order to study its wines and improve them. “Innovation is key – the important thing to find is because the market is not staying the same, it has changed, so we need to study, see how we’ve moved and also how our wines in the market,” he explained, adding that because Pascual Toso was a traditional winery, it was about evolving the style slowly.

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