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News posted on Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Birdwood students who helped in Sampson Flat bushfire recovery to receive winemaking education
Students at Birdwood High School have turned an act of goodwill into a chance to learn as Adelaide Hills communities continue to recover from the Sampson Flat bushfire. The bushfire burnt 12,500 hectares over six days during January, tearing through Kersbrook Hill Wines (KHW) and destroying vineyards and buildings. Birdwood High School teacher Lauren Smith had the idea of donating wine grapes grown by students at the school to KHW.

Accolade strategy buoyed by dollar
Australia's second-largest wine company, Accolade Wines, has laid the groundwork for a return to the stock exchange in 2016 after a 10 per cent rise in sales from its Australasian operations. Accolade, which owns the Hardys, Leasingham, Banrock Station and Grant Burge brands, notched annual sales from the Australia and New Zealand businesses of $486m in the year to June 30.

Cheap wine could get more expensive, spirits cheaper, under proposal for alcohol tax overhaul
CHEAP wine would become more expensive but the cost of spirits could drop under a new push for an overhaul of alcohol taxation. As the Federal Government considers options tax reform options to take to the next election, which must be held by mid-January 2017, the Distilled Spirits Industry Council is calling for all alcoholic beverages to be taxed according to alcohol content.

Thirsty work: smashable reds, skin-contact whites, ciders, beers
So: what will we be drinking this year? As the last hangover of 2015 fades, it’s time for me to make some predictions. We’ll be drinking more very young red wines. A decade ago, it was unusual to see reds hit the bottleshop shelves in the same year they were harvested, but in the past few months I’ve slurped my way through dozens of crunchy, juicy, smashable 2015 vintage pinots and grenaches and gamays and shirazes.

Tasmania: High risk and high reward
There are a lot of challenges growing wine grapes in Tasmania, but the rewards balance these out. Wine grapes are in high demand but the vineyard area is being expanded at a steady pace. There seems to be a positive story wherever you look. Nathan Gogoll reports.

Protection for river critical to wineries
Hawke's Bay's wine industry is welcoming Fish & Game NZ's application for a conservation order to protect the waters of the Ngaruroro River. The application was lodged this week by Fish & Game on behalf of Forest and Bird, Jet Boating NZ, Whitewater NZ and iwi group Ngati Hori ki Kohupatiki. If granted, a water conservation order (WCO) would protect the upper Ngaruroro catchment above Whanawhana in its near-natural state.

New winery Falcon Ridge Estate toasts success
The very first vintage from new Spring Grove vineyard Falcon Ridge Estate has impressed New Zealand wine judges. Falcon Ridge's 2015 Sauvignon Blanc was recently awarded a silver medal at the New Zealand International Wine Show, a bronze at the Bragato Wine Awards, and a pure bronze at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. Owner Alan Eggers was pleased with the result, saying it reflected his commitment to building the right soil and conditions for growing.

Concern as EU relaxes rules on vineyard planting rights
Controversial new rules that make it theoretically possible for anyone to get commercial vineyard planting rights on any piece of land - such as on the banks of the Seine in Paris - have received a cautious reception from French winemakers. The long-mooted and much-debated deregulation of vineyard planting rights across the European Union came into effect on 1 January 1 2016.

China has the grapes but needs its own wine vision
In a country renowned for forgery, winemaker Jose Hernandez worries China’s burgeoning viniculture industry will suffer from blatant copying of Bordeaux’s output. China has the world’s second-largest grape growing area, but experts say its winemakers need to innovate rather than imitate established European or New World regions if they are ever to join their ranks.

Premium lagers expected to cut into UK Prosecco share in 2016
Women in the UK will continue to ditch sparkling wine such as Prosecco for premium lagers in 2016, a beverage distributor in the country has forecast. Citing YouGov data from late last year, Matthew Clark said the trend has so far helped beer go "from strength to strength" in the UK and is expected to continue into this year. The research, which surveyed 1,000 women in September, found that females in the country are drinking less sparkling wine and moving on to premium lagers, while more women are drinking beer than Prosecco.

Scientists studying Botrytis Rot discover link to winegrape ripeness
Dr. Dario Cantu, an assistant professor at the University of California at Davis, is a longtime devotee ofsweet wines, and it's little wonder: For the past 11 years, he's made it his business to study Botrytis cinerea, the fungal infection that can elevate grapes to honey-rich wines by producing so-called noble rot—or rapidly devastate acres with gray rot.


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