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News posted on Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Winemakers cranky Kiwis will keep $25m wine subsidy for now
The hunt for savings in the federal budget will not threaten the $25 million a year the government pays to New Zealand wine producers. In a move that has disappointed the local industry, Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday announced the government would not swiftly overhaul the controversial Wine Equalisation Tax. Instead of moving in the budget, as some in the industry had hoped, Mr Frydenberg said the government had instead asked Treasury to prepare a discussion paper as part of the broader tax white paper process.

WA producers secure aisle in Hong Kong supermarket
West Australian food producers are set to secure a dedicated aisle in a major Hong Kong supermarket following a ministerial trade visit. Minister for Agriculture and Food Ken Baston met with representatives from Hong Kong chain 759 Store about stocking produce from WA. Baston said the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) could act as a facilitator for private deals between producers and retailers. He said many Hong Kong stores were looking for fresh fruit and vegetable and meat, as well as packaged goods like cereal, honey and wine.

Aussie advisers seize Chinese opportunity
The AIOFP has led a delegation of Australian financial advisers and product providers to Shanghai to conduct meetings with high net worth Chinese investors. An initiative of the non-aligned advice lobby group and the Asia Pacific Stock Exchange (APX) - owned by Australian-domiciled AIMS Financial Group - the inaugural Australian Food, Wine and Investment Expo provided opportunities for Chinese investors to learn more about Australian financial services. The Chinese investors attending the expo include high net worth individuals with a minimum of $5 million to invest in Australia.

Granite Belt wine show capturing rural success
It was 1987 when stalwarts of a fledgling wine industry on the Granite Belt promoted a national show involving their peers. Its success is now generating some animosity in the major cities. Col Jackson writes for Blues Country. It was an ordinary Friday night in Stanthorpe; the town was again vibrant as visitors arrived, accommodation filled and locals readied for another weekend catering to tourists looking for something different on the Granite Belt food and wine trail.

Marlborough Sauv still on top after 30 years
The world has never seen a revolution in wine taste like Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It turned the accepted benchmarks upside down. The old world classics were threatened. Sauvignon Blanc had never tasted like this. So pungent; so fruity; so excitingly vibrant; almost shocking to the senses. It was such a revolution that winemakers from France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria came to Marlborough, New Zealand, to be a part of it.

Young winemakers' chance to shine
Young Marlborough winemakers will have to opportunity to show off their skills and knowledge with a new, long-awaited Young Winemaker of the Year competition. The event, organised by a group of wine delegates and Wine Marlborough, with support from New Zealand Winegrowers, will complement the Young Viticulturist of the Year competition, now in its 10th year. It will include three regional competitions, one in Marlborough, one in Central Otago and one in the Hawke's Bay.

Winners and losers in precarious global market
Global total volume growth remains subdued for a second year running, setting it up to be among the three lowest in the last decade, writes Spiros Malandrakis, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International. Beyond the usual Western European patient that ended the year flat-lining, the Chinese slowdown – at just 1.2 per cent growth – is now the most sobering growth figure coming out of the country since the 90s.

Dominance of family-owned wine businesses in the U.S.
Last week’s column about the rise and fall of the Taylor Wine Company of New York raises a number of interesting issues and one of them is the singular importance of family-owned and privately-held businesses in the U.S. wine industry and the very mixed record of publicly-listed wine corporations. In retrospect, a case can be made that Taylor’s downfall began when they made the initial move from family ownership to public corporation.

Vintage variation in the vineyard
In a warm vintage, wine grape growers can step back and let the vineyard do its thing, says Dick Boushey, who grows grapes in Washington’s Yakima Valley and Red Mountain. But in a cool growing season, the timing of viticulture tasks is everything. Vintage variation is what makes wine unique and unlike other beverages. But big swings from year to year in growing degree days, also known as heat units, creates challenges in the vineyard and winery and requires know-how in coaxing the best out of the fruit.

Bulgaria has won hosting duties for Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in 2016
SOFIA: "Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova has just informed me Bulgaria has won hosting duties for Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in 2016. The competition will be held in Plovdiv," Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov posted on Facebook. Bulgaria was selected in competition with the biggest wine producers in the world, such as France, Spain, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and others. The competition is one of the most prestigious and biggest worldwide, and nearly 300 world renowned sommeliers will taste thousands of different kinds of wine from 58 countries.

Wine Victoria to work with state government on $1m tourism plan
Wine Victoria, the peak body representing the interests of the Victorian wine industry, will work closely with the state Government to roll out a $1 million investment aimed at boosting Victorian wine tourism and exports. The $1 million plan was announced this week by Jaala Pulford, Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, as part of the government’s 2015-16 budget. The plan includes the establishment of a Wine Industry Ministerial Advisory Group and funding to develop a Victorian Wine Tourism Strategy.

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