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News posted on Friday, 6 February 2015

Shiraz shortage looming for Barossa wineries
Grapegrowers in the Barossa Valley say they're expecting another light Shiraz crop this vintage and it could put pressure on winemakers. Parts of the region, iconic for its Shiraz wines, were hit by severe frosts in October last year, with the true extent of the damage only becoming apparent now as growers prepare to harvest the grapes. Nigel Blieschke, viticulturist with Peter Lehman wines, said the winery was definitely looking at a lighter crop. "Probably across the board we crush nearly 10,000 tonnes and we probably lost about 1,500 tonnes," he said.

Grower ultimatum: Property owners to surrender water licences, rip out crops
In an historic act of protest at the loss of their water security, six property owners on the lower Darling River will surrender their high-security water licences to the NSW Government, and remove their permanent planting of citrus, wine grapes and stone fruit. The six properties of the Lower Darling Horticulture Group Pty Ltd, provide livelihoods to at least 10 families. Several already combine irrigated crops with grazing and cereal cropping, but nevertheless, each is confronting a major change in lifestyle.

Beer and spirits bosses go toe-to-toe against wine industry
Australia’s beer and spirits companies say wine companies aren’t paying their fair share of the $6 billion in alcohol taxes collected each year by the federal government. The wine industry is pleading special circumstances, arguing its 2500 companies shouldn’t be taxed more because it has one production cycle a year, following grape harvest in February and March. Intense lobbying is happening in ¬Canberra for favourable treatment in the May budget, creating angst between rival parts of the alcohol industry.

TWE hires new agency to oversee global marketing
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has appointed marketing company J. Walter Thompson Company to provide marketing and public relation services for every TWE brand around the world, except Penfolds. Specialising in trade, shopper and digital marketing, Simon Marton, TWE chief marketing officer, said the new partnership with J. Walter Thompson will play a key part in supporting TWE’s move into consumer marketing. “Our partnership with J. Walter Thompson as TWE’s global marketing services provider will help us build stronger brands in markets across the globe."

Lillypilly and Toorak ready for a big vintage
This year’s vintage in Leeton shire is shaping up to be one of the best in many years thanks to a mostly mild summer, according to the town’s two wineries. While the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a hot week coming up, both Lillypilly Estate Wines and Toorak Winery are hopeful of a fruitful harvest this year. Conditions have been perfect so far this year, according to Lillypilly Estate winemaker Robert Fiumara. “We are very pleased with how things are looking this year,” Mr Fiumara said.

US fans raise their glasses to Kiwi wine
The United States is likely to become New Zealand's leading wine destination this year. Although more litres were shipped to Britain last year, the US is tipped to soon overtake that amount. In terms of value, Australia is just ahead of the US, but that should also change this year. For the year ended November 2014, wine exports to the US were worth $348 million, to Australia $360m and Britain $332m. During the same period 53.9m litres were shipped to Britain, 51m litres to Australia and 50.7m litres to the US

FUN FRIDAY:Wine barrels made into skateboards
Making the old new comes naturally to a young Marlborough couple transforming aged wine barrels into beautiful longboards. Indigo Greenlaw and Wills Rowe craft these long-decked cruising skateboards from recycled French oak, using crushed glass for grip on a rough-hewn top and elegant designs on a silky smooth base. The one I see also wears the mark of its past life: "That's pinot noir," said Greenlaw happily. "Probably my favourite thing about the boards is the depth of story and the breadth of it."

Deadly vine diseases 'top priority' for French
Grapevine trunk diseases are a growing concern for French winemakers with the latest government figures showing more than 100,000 hectares of vineyard lost in 2014. Diseases known as esca, black dead arm and eutypa lowered potential wine production by 13% in France in 2014, according to the agriculture ministry and French Wine Institute (IFV). The diseases are costing France the equivalent of 1bn euros ($1.14bn) annually in lost wine production, IFV said.

Georgia toasts to booming wine exports
Many drinkers in the West would probably turn their noses up at the thought of drinking wine from the former Soviet Union, but Western, and indeed Asian, noses have become more receptive to the fruits of Georgia’s growing wine industry. In Forbes’ list of “Nine Wines and Spirits to Start Drinking in 2015”, the magazine named wines from the relatively unknown winemaking state of Georgia - that is the former Soviet state located in the Caucasus region at the border of Asia and Europe, not the U.S. state.

Closure of Vinopolis raises questions for Bordeaux
As Bordeaux's Cité du Vin approaches completion, London's wine tourism centre shuts its doors. Vinopolis, the London wine tourism center, is to close at the end of 2015, 16 years after it opened. According to its owners, the labyrinthine "city of wine" under the railway arches in London's trendy Bankside has been sold – for an undisclosed sum – because it had "come to the end of what could reasonably be achieved with the wine experience". Vinopolis offers a "self-guided wine tasting experience" of the world's wine regions, as well as wine tastings, masterclasses, corporate events, and parties.

OPINION: New World's battle to be taken seriously
Southern Hemisphere's wine producers find themselves at a crossroads, with efforts to encourage trading-up battling against consumers' perceptions. Chris Losh takes a look at the quandary facing the likes of Australia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa. “I feel a bit sorry for the Chileans,” said the wine merchant at a recent giant Aussie wine tasting in London. “Their basic offering is so good that they’ve removed any incentive for people to trade up.” At first glance, this may seem a somewhat sardonic assessment of the state of the New World wine market.

Viazym Clarif Plus for clarifying white juice
Viazym Clarif Plus is a Pectolytic enzymes derived from microfungi such as Aspergillus niger and when added to juice or must quickly and efficiently breaks down pectins, giving more wine per tonne of grapes and cleaner ferments without the formation of volatile phenols. Grape pectin provides the living cells with physical support during ripening, and accumulates in all grape varieties to about 1g/L. For the winemaker this sticky, gelling colloid impedes juice extraction and impedes settling of both juice and wine. Viazym Clarif Plus is an economical, efficient and concentrated enzyme for breaking down these pectins.

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