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News posted on Thursday, 5 May 2016

Wine Tasmania: Tax changes to “disproportionately impact” Tassie wine
PROPOSED change to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate announced in the federal budget will “disproportionately” impact on Tasmania’s wine producers, according to Wine Tasmania. Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies said the additional funding support was welcome but the change to the WET rebate would impact on the state’s producers. “Around 10-12 Tasmanian wine producers would be negatively impacted by the proposed reduction to the rebate, with up to $2.5M being added to their combined tax bill,” she said.

Wine tax reform long overdue after major players exploited scheme, Riverland producers say
Small wine producers in South Australia's Riverland have welcomed the Federal Government's plans to reform the controversial Wine Equalisation Tax (WET), but said the changes were needed a long time ago. The Riverland contributes about a third of the nation's annual grape crush and many of its growers have been operating at a loss for several years.

Penfolds in online deal with JD.com to sell Max wine in China
Penfolds has struck a deal for ¬online sales in China of its new Max series of wines, named after legendary winemaker Max Schubert, through distributor JD.com, which has 5000 warehouses. This deal will not yet involve shipments direct from bonded warehouses. But Carol Fung, corporate vice-president of JD.com, told The Australian the inclusion in new customs rules last month of wine in products that could be sold via this route would probably boost sales considerably.

Aussie Chardonnay becoming ‘too lean’
Too many modern styles of Australian Chardonnays show a tendency towards leanness which obscures the regional typicity the grape is capable of, a leading winemaker has said. Speaking at the London Wine Fair, Larry Cherubino, winemaker for Robert Oatley Vineyards, said that some of the country’s Chardonnays showed evidence of “a lot of artifice”, with the style pendulum swinging from one extreme of honeyed richness to another of leanness.

Sky's the limit at Tamburlaine
WHEN it comes to remote-controlled helicopters, the one they’re trialling at the Tamburlaine vineyard at Borenore is somewhat larger than the ones you can pick up at Jaycar. At three metres long, the Yamaha Rmax unmanned helicopter is substantially larger than any toy helicopter that any siblings or children have been tormenting the dog with.

Bellbird Spring gains certification as an organic wine producer
Bellbird Spring has joined a burgeoning list of New Zealand vineyards making the change to organic, wine production. The, family-owned vineyard has announced it has been certified as organic by BioGro, New Zealand's leading organic certification agency. They are one of seven certified organic vineyards in the Waipara Valley.

International #SauvBlanc Day
International wine lovers will celebrate Sauvignon Blanc by marking the 7th annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day on May 6. Festivities will kick off in New Zealand and continue around the globe, following the sun. “New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has come from humble beginnings, and is now a $1.2 billion dollar export earner, boosting New Zealand Wine to be the country’s 6th largest export,” said Chris Yorke, Director of Global Marketing for New Zealand Winegrowers.

Prosecco sales skyrocket and save wine from large decline
Prosecco has continued its recent record as the star performer of the UK drinks market and sales growth of 34% over the past year is propping up a struggling wine category. Still wine is down 2.1% in volume and 1.8% in value to just over £5 billion in the off-trade (IRI, year to March 26, 2016). Toby Magill, head of BWS ?at IRI, told OLN: “Wine faced ?a difficult time in late 2015 ?as the major multiples made range reductions to simplify the shopping experience for customers. This made life much harder for the market as it went into the key Christmas period.”

Bacteria carrying bug threatens wine industry
UC Davis Professor Andrew Walker spent more than a decade breeding a new variety of grapes that is resistant to Pierce's Disease. The grapes from the resistant plants are similar in flavour to your typical red and white wine variety. The only difference is that nameless plants are bred to resist Pierce's Disease.

Similarly named wineries may cause buyer confusion
It's possible some readers went looking for the top two wines that I mentioned in last week's column: the chardonnay from Chateau Montelena and the cabernet from Stag's Leap, both a couple of top Napa Valley wineries. Congratulations if you were able to locate these two in celebration of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the "Judgment of Paris," the French/American wine showdown in which the California vineyards bested those of Bordeaux.

Champagne and the Power of Positive Thinking
Can beaming out good vibes to vines make a better Champagne? Caroline Henry meets a man who thinks so. Champagne has built its reputation on reinventing itself, on turning its weaknesses into its strengths. When its still red wine was rebuffed in favour of red Burgundy, the Champenois decided to make white wine from their red grapes. When wines began to re-ferment in the bottle, they turned this fault into an asset and conquered the world with their sparkling wines.

Wine grape growers - Wanting to save time and money?
Wine grape growers - Wanting to save time and money? - Spagnolo Engineering in Mildura Victoria supply wine grape growers with quality pruning machines and vineyard sweepers. The mechanical vine pruner travels over the row for a complete prune in one pass. Growers are encouraged to call Fred for a free demonstration of the latest machine.

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