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News posted on Friday, 5 June 2015

Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago backs volumetric tax
Peter Gago, the winemaker of Australia’s most prestigious wine Penfold’s Grange, supports a volumetric tax on wine which would see the price of bulk and cheaper rise in contrast to a fall at the premium end of the market. At the launch of a $10 million redevelopment at Treasury Wine Estates’ ancestral home of Grange at Magill Estate today, Mr Gago said the future of the wine industry was at the premium end of the market.

Big turnout at Barossa Pruning Expo
More than 200 people attended the PIRSA Research Station in the Barossa on Wednesday, as grape growers and technical viticulturists gathered from across the Barossa and from Victoria, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and The Riverland for the 2015 Barossa Pruning Expo. The visitors proved a cut above the local entrants in the pruning competition with Peter Clark, from the Taltarni Vineyards in Victoria’s Pyrenees taking out the Individual Rod &Spur; James Brooksby won the Individual Spur and the Annie’s Lane crew of Keith Zubrinich, Stephen McKenzie and James Brooksby won the Team Competition. It was a big day for Brooksby who took home the Wolf Blass Shield for the best combined result across the two pruning disciplines.

The future is alternative according to QLD winemakers
Move over chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Queensland winemakers say alternative wine varieties are on the way. Leanne Puglisi-Gangemi's family has been making wine in Ballandeen on Queensland's Granite Belt since the 1960s. She says despite the cliches and stereotypes surrounding Queensland wine, "things in the industry are more positive than ever". Leanne says Granite Belt growers embraced alternate grape varieties several years ago, and the gamble has started to pay off.

Brian McGuigan and Ian Ferrier to retire from Australian Vintage
Brian McGuigan and Ian Ferrier announced their retirement from Australian Vintage. The two will retire from their roles on the Board as Chairman and Non-Executive Director respectively. Both joined the board in 1991 as Directors of the company, then known as Brian McGuigan Wines. Over 24 years, Brian and Ian have seen the successful merger between Simeon Wines and Brian McGuigan Wines, forming McGuigan Simeon Wines in 2002, as well as the transition to the Australian Vintage name in 2008.

Significance of Hunter wine region overlooked: historian
A historian tracing the story of the wine industry in the Hunter Valley says Australia needs to recognise the importance of its vineyards. Dr Julie McIntyre is a research fellow at the University of Newcastle, and is currently studying the historical and social significance of Hunter wine production and consumption. The Hunter Valley is the country's oldest wine region, but is not protected by legislation like other areas in Western Australia and South Australia. McIntyre said it does not make sense.

Jackson Family Wines enters rising Kiwi segment
Jackson Family Wines has augmented its import portfolio with the addition of New Zealand winery Jackson Estate. Marking its entry into the booming New Zealand wine category, Jackson Family will import Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc (retailing at $22) and Vintage Widow Pinot Noir ($30), both sourced from Marlborough. Named for the Jacksons that emigrated from England in 1842 and acquired the first blocks of land in Marlborough in 1855, Jackson Estate’s wines are now available across the US.

New branding for Hawke's Bay Winegrowers
The Hawke's Bay Winegrowers association have launched their new branding campaign after acknowledging the regions third stellar vintage in a row. They said their new look is about telling the Hawke's Bay story, which will provide them with a great platform to build on. Plans for a new central brand were approved last year and will rovide an umbrella brand that all Hawke's Bay wineries can come under. It's new branding will feature what designers considered to be the heart the industry - the rivers.

‘Major irregularities’ found in 36 Swiss wine producers
Faults were found among almost half of the 1,815 Swiss wine producers inspected in 2014, with 854 showing minor irregularities and 36 major shortcomings. “In particular the companies committing major errors blended wines illegally,” said Philippe Hunziker, head of the Swiss Wine Trade Inspection on Thursday. Improper labelling was also noted in the report of the wine inspectors and cantonal chemists. “All the irregularities were the result of human error or administrative negligence,” said Patrick Edder, a chemist in canton Geneva, adding that small as well as large cellars were involved.

Winemakers turn to apps to save water, perfect wine
NAPA – Wednesday was the last day of bottling at Shafer Vineyards. As the bottles were loaded onto the bottling machine, winemaker Elias Fernandez checked his cell phone. “We’re bottling the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon,” he said. Fernandez wasn’t just checking his phone; he was checking the app that shows him data from the bottling machine. He says Shafer Vineyards is the first in California to use this Italian bottling machine, that’s accessible by smart phone.

Alvaro Palacios reclaims Spain’s greatest unknown wine regions
When you are born into a family with over 350 years of winemaking history, the road is not always as easy as it seems. The expectation to join the family business is no doubt strong, as is the pressure to follow centuries of tradition. But for Alvaro Palacios, the seventh of nine children at Rioja’s renowned Palacios Remondo, following in his forefathers’ footsteps was not an option. It was not that Palacios did not love wine; he grew up playing among the barrels and watching his father do business with local grapegrowers.

Who’s behind South Africa’s wine revolution? Mandela, of course
The most famous name in South Africa is about to become one of the most famous names in South African wine. It seems ordained. The House of Mandela, with a smattering of selections just launched across Canada, could also draw valuable attention to a national industry struggling to gain more ground globally against bargain competition from such countries as Chile and Argentina. Rest assured, it’s not a cheesy commercial-licensing venture destined to insult the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Quite the contrary.

Mature Burgundy fuels Hong Kong wine auctions
Asian buyers have continued to snap up top rated mature Burgundy in a succession of recent Hong Kong auctions, but sales also suggest collectors are searching for a greater diversity of wines. More than half the lots in Sotheby’s sale of Finest and Rarest Wines Featuring Burgundy Direct from Maison Camille Giroud went for sums above their high estimate on 23 May, with the auction 94.6% sold by lot and 96.6% by value. Meanwhile, Christie’s sale of Fine and Rare Wines Featuring Esteemed Connoisseur Mr Yap Chee Meng’s Private Collection, held last weekend, was 90% sold by lot and 92% by value.





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