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News posted on Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Naked Wines Winemaker buys Margaret River vineyard
Naked Winemaker Ben Gould has purchased of a 50-acre Vineyard in Margaret River, following a crowd funded Christmas wine sale, to raise the deposit. As a result of increased sales from Naked Wines and a special wine sale for his mailing list, Gould has been able to finally own a vineyard big enough to produce all the grapes required. “We crowd funded the deposit with wine specials at Christmas time, telling customers the revenue was to be used to purchase a vineyard. The response was overwhelming,” Gould said.

Australian Vintage still has plenty to celebrate
Winemaker Australian Vintage has lately been the subject of been several major developments. The first was the announcement by S&P Dow Jones Indices that Australian Vintage has been removed from the All Ordinaries Index as part of its March 2015 quarterly rebalance. The All Ordinaries rebalances once a year. While this is non-operational in nature, it is not ideal from a share liquidity point of view and is a reflection of the deweighting of Australian Vintage's market capitalisation relative to the largest 500 companies listed on the ASX.

Tourism survey to assess economic impact of Hunter storm
Tourism operators across the Hunter are being urged to take part in a survey designed to assess the economic impact of last week's devastating storm. Tourism Hunter says many businesses have suffered devastating damage to property and infrastructure. There has also been a severe decline in the visitor economy that it says will impact on operators long after the flood waters recede. It says business and wine tourism has been particularly hard hit, with the perception by many outside the region that the Hunter is still not capable of handling visitation.

Mudgee winemakers to schmooze and booze in Sydney
Mudgee will tonight begin its annual campaign in Sydney to raise awareness about wines from the New South Wales Central West district. The annual Pyrmont Festival will be launched tonight. This year's event will include a two-day festival on the shores of Sydney Harbour. The chair of Mudgee Region Tourism, Russell Holden, said the event was about getting more Sydney restaurants to stock the region's wines and attract more visitors to the Central West.

Hunter Valley wine festival to join Wine and Food Month
The Hunter Valley Wine Festival will be moving from its previous October date to Saturday 20 June to join the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Month line up. The festival will be staged at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley boasting over 40 exhibiting vineyards including the Valley’s major wineries, as well as boutique producers. Beer and cider tastings from the on-site Lovedale Brewery, along with a host of food options will also be on offer.

Wine boss accused of kickbacks
The trial of former New Zealand Wine Company chief executive Peter Scutts over allegations of kickbacks continues today in the High Court at Auckland. In a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office, Scutts is facing 16 Crimes Act charges of dishonestly using a document and one Secret Commission Act charge of receiving secret reward for procuring contracts. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

New Zealand wines surging in export markets
New Zealand wines are witnessing a surge in demand and are in top gear in many export markets. The exports marked a record high of NZ $1.29 billion in 2014, which was up by 8.2 percent over the previous 12 months, according to New Zealand Winegrowers. New Zealand wine producers have reason to cheer as the good times are coming after a long slump in prices the past few years because of overproduction.

Growing power of medium-sized wineries
The winery-to-consumer direct shipping market experienced a year of robust growth in 2014. We’ve discussed some marks of this growth with our coverage of the average wine bottle price and the increasing popularity of Pinot Noir from the information in our Direct Shipping Report. Another example of the progress 2014 saw comes from the success that medium-sized wineries experienced. Medium-sized wineries are those that produce 50,000 – 499,000 cases per year.

Diageo pursues global wine operations sale
Diageo is pursuing offloading wine brands including Blossom Hill and Sterling Vineyards after being approached by a number of unidentified third parties. Reports in the press suggest the owner of Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker is considering a sale following an unexpected fall in sales. Issuing a statement to Sky News Diaego said it had "received expressions of interest over the years" adding "as you would expect we have a duty to consider any such interest carefully."

SPECIAL REPORT: Supply chain sustainability
As market interest in sustainable business practice increases, many wine producers are keen to work with partners that have excellent environmental credentials. But what does that really mean and what areas should producers be considering to achieve a truly sustainable supply chain? Liam Maquire explains. Only ten years ago, shipping wine in bulk and bottling it in the UK was practically unheard of. But thanks to improved processes and a greater technical understanding, bulk shipping is enjoying a continued growth.

LVMH to expand Argentinian wine brand
Cheval des Andes, a venture between Chateau Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux and Argentina’s Terrazas de los Andes, may build its own winery as a next step for the brand that brings an upscale French twist to South American malbec wines. Cheval des Andes has used facilities within the existing Terrazas winery since its first vintage in 1999, making about 70,000 bottles a year from its own vats and sorting tables. While director Pierre Lurton says the system works well, a dedicated winery would enhance the brand’s image as an estate.

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