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News posted on Monday, 6 July 2015

New era for wine industry’s environmental scheme
New arrangements for the management of the wine industry’s national environmental assurance program were announced on Friday with management of Entwine Australia transferring from the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) to the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). The Entwine program has grown to include more than 700 vineyard and winery members since launching in 2009.

ASVO Seminar: Vineyard longevity – maintaining the asset
The upcoming Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) seminar in Mildura is an opportunity to learn from industry experts about the latest knowledge on viticultural techniques to enhance end wine quality. There is a fantastic line-up of renowned speakers for July 22 and 23 at the Mildura Arts Centre. Brett McClen, the ASVO vice president (and Brown Brothers chief viticulturist) said the seminar presentations will address the twin demands of keeping vineyards healthy while striving for greater productivity.

Fears funding could be cut for rubber vine research
A group of four people has succeeded in wiping out 99.9 per cent of a weed outbreak in the WA's Kimberley region. They call themselves "team rubber vine", but they are concerned funding could be diverted to "sexier" environmental causes and their good work could be undone. Project coordinator John Szymanski said it had taken several years of hard physical labour to get to this point. "The rubber vine is almost gone from the Fitzroy Valley, and we are so far ahead of it, that eradication actually is achievable," he said.

Crown Cellars broadens outlook on wines from Spain and Australia
Carlsberg UK’s on-trade wine division Crown Cellars has beefed up its Spanish and Australian wine ranges as part of its annual range review. The results are seen in its new 2015/16 portfolio which includes 21 new wines in a range of 750 products. Crown Cellars’ MW Jonathan Pedley said Australia needed more regional identity and they therefore added benchmark wines from Coonawarra and the Barossa.

The weird world of non-grape wine
When you go beyond the grape, you enter a strange and uncomfortable wine world. There's a reason that most wine is made from grapes. The small, sweet berries that make our favourite beverage have the perfect balance of wine-making alchemy: plenty of sugar to convert to alcohol, sufficient acidity for balance and enough tannin to provide structure. But this has definitely not deterred would-be winemakers in regions where it is too hot or too cold to grow grapes.

Waikato winery to make an end of year comeback
You can hear laughter from helpers cleaning the remnants of a fire that tore through the 100-year-old family owned Vilagrad Winey on Rukuhia Rd on Monday. The winery is a family heirloom that has been passed down through five generations to the Nooyen family. There are no tears left to cry, there is no room for grieving, there is only hard work, and a lot of laughing. Positivity is the key to getting through a fire that could have extinguished the business.

Yealands sale transparent, say key players
Key players in the Yealands Wine Group sale to Marlborough Lines have responded to concerns raised over the deal, saying the buyout of one of the country's largest wine exporters was thoroughly researched, with due diligence undertaken independently. The lines company will incur no debt as a result of the purchase, which sees the lines company take up an 80 per cent stake, and there has been no conflict of interest between individuals who have close links to both parties, those involved say.

Champagne's vineyards and wine cellars added to World Heritage register by UNESCO
Champagne's historic vineyards and wine cellars where the world's most famous sparkling wines are produced have been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. In a double victory for French wine, the vineyards of Burgundy were crowned with the same prestigious distinction by the UN cultural body in the German city of Bonn. It picked out the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, where the grand houses sit atop miles of cavernous cellars where millions of bottles of bubbly are aged.

Bordeaux wine gets Geographical Indication status in China
The news follows several months of analysis by the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). Forgery and brand-squatting have long been a concern for Bordeaux wines in the Chinese market and GI protection is expected to help chateaux from the French region to defend themselves. The Bordeaux wine council (CIVB) said GI approval was the ‘fruit of work that began in 2011’. ‘China has recognized not only the brand of Bordeaux but the specific way we produce and control our wines.’

Lidl considers plan to sell wine online
Lidl is considering a plan to sell wine online in the UK, a move that would give the discounter a new way to compete with its rivals. The rapid growth of internet orders has been helping the UK’s big four supermarkets – Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – offset falling sales. Discount retailers have avoided home delivery and online sales because their business model is based on keeping operations simple and efficient to keep prices low for shoppers.

Brand vs. terroir in wine
This week gave anyone interested in wine the opportunity to observe an almost perfect dichotomy of what we think of as "value" in the industry. This morning, UNESCO announced that the 1,247 climats (individual named vineyard sites) of Burgundy has been declared a World Heritage Site. This designation (though not the first in the wine world -- the vineyards of Austria's Wachau, Italy's Piedmont and Hungary's Tokaj regions are already on the list, and Champagne was also added today) represents an incredibly significant declaration of cultural value.

UK vineyards included in tax relief scheme
Winemakers in the UK will be able to benefit from income tax changes for the country’s farmers, allowing them to average their tax over five years. The measure, announced in March’s budget, extends from two to five years the period over which farmers are able to average their profits before income tax is deducted. For those planting vines for wine production this means that they will be able to account for the unproductive period when the vines are taking root. It takes roughly seven years for vines to become fully productive.

Quadruple trophy triumph for First Creek Wines
Hunter Valley Producer First Creek Wines has scooped the pool at the highly regarded Brisbane Wine Show with their 2014 Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay. Competing against some of Australia’s best wines, the First Creek chardonnay not only won all Trophy’s in its class, but also Grand Champion – Best Wine of Show. These accolades come as chardonnay undergoes a strong renaissance. After being out of favour for many years with Australian wine consumers, this resurgence according to First Creek Chief Winemaker Liz Jackson is not simply part of a cycle.

Bordeaux wine gets Geographical Indication status in China
The news follows several months of analysis by the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). Forgery and brand-squatting have long been a concern for Bordeaux wines in the Chinese market and GI protection is expected to help chateaux from the French region to defend themselves. The Bordeaux wine council (CIVB) said GI approval was the ‘fruit of work that began in 2011’. ‘China has recognized not only the brand of Bordeaux but the specific way we produce and control our wines.’

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