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News posted on Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Premium wines drives resurgence in North America
SALES of premium wines from Down Under are heading north as American drinkers discover there is more to the Australian story than kangaroos peddling Yellow Tail. Australian wine exports to the United States increased 3 percent in 2016, to AU$458 million. This was led by premium wines as exports above AU$10 per liter FOB grew by 23 per cent, to AU$41 million and the number of individual wines retailing at more than US$12 per bottle increased by 59 percent. It is a similar story in Canada, with exports of premium Australian wines (A$10 and above FOB) growing 9 per cent to C$26 million in 2016.

Yellow Tail's Super Bowl ad 'humiliates' Australia
Thirty-second spot features an oddly muscular kangaroo, a ‘fun’ guy in a yellow suit and Ellie Gonsalves in a white bikini. The wine brand Yellow Tail has been accused of embarrassing Australia on the international stage with its Super Bowl advertisement featuring a woman in a bikini and a kangaroo in an apron. The Australian company’s 30-second spot in the first half of the Super Bowl introduced an estimated audience of 120 million viewers to a muscular, wine-slugging kangaroo: “If you see a roo at a party, it’s a good party.”

Vintage looms in ironstone country
Yangarra's Ironheart Vineyard Shiraz (which grows just across Philip White's front fence in the McLaren Vale region) is well into veraison, or colouring, and looking very healthy, in spite of the warm, wet and humid summer. These biodynamic/organic vines have been hand-plucked three times this season to remove extraneous leaf so the bunches get dappled light and plenty of breeze. This breeze dries the bunches and bark during humid spells, so reducing the requirement for fungicide spray.

Great wine regions you've probably never heard of
Burgundy, Napa Valley, Marlborough, Tuscany -- true wine fans have probably already ticked the great grape regions off their lists. Thankfully, these days, there are even more wine worlds to conquer. Recent years have seen new or lesser-known vineyards produce outstanding vintages that are redrawing the wine map. From Myanmar, Canada, to Portugal, here are some hidden and beautiful wine locations ripe for exploring.

Shottesbrooke Vineyards eyes expansion
McLaren Vale winery, Shottesbrooke Vineyards, is expanding its east coast footprint after signing a distribution partnership with The Wine Company (TWC). A second-generation wine business, Shottesbrooke boasts an extensive portfolio of wines produced from McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. The company also owns a state-of-the-art winery complex which has recently undergone a major transformation. Speaking of the new partnership, Shottesbrooke General Manager and Winemaker, Hamish Maguire, said that the company had been seeking a strong distribution partner on the east coast for some time, and had approached TWC with this goal in mind.

Alice Baker discovers winemaking
In a well worn pair of Birkenstocks, Alice Baker divides her time between growing cactus, cooking, and creating boutique wines. Her and partner Tom Davidson live on a 1.6 hectare block in Robe, on the edge of the Southern Ocean in South Australia, so naturally they spend a bit of time at the beach too. A weathered, multi-coloured stage adorns the hill in their front paddock where chooks scratch through crunchy grass and veggies grow in abundance. After studying a graduate diploma of oenology and viticulture, Ms Baker discovered the charm of winemaking.

Pinot Noir takes Wellington by storm
New Zealand's capital city played host to a celebration of the country's second-most important variety, Pinot Noir. There was no Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in sight last week as 600 Pinotphiles from around the world descended upon New Zealand to discuss the famously fickle variety. The Pinot Noir NZ 2017 conference brought a host of very famous speakers to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. The lineup included world wine authority Jancis Robinson, Japan's first Master of Wine Kenichi Ohashi, and Tool frontman (and keen winemaker), Maynard James Keenan.

'Moment of truth' for NZ agriculture in 2017
New Zealand agriculture faces a "moment of truth" in 2017, according to a report by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank. In its recently-released New Zealand Agricultural Outlook 2017 report, Rabobank says as an industry traditionally characterised by a liberal operating environment, and a key beneficiary of several decades of global shift to freer trade, agriculture faces a period of heightened regulatory uncertainty and change on both fronts. Releasing the report, Rabobank Country Banking general manager Hayley Moynihan said 2017 was ushering in a period of considerable change and uncertainty for New Zealand agriculture.

English wine producers: "The world is our oyster"
Family run Black Dog Hill Vineyard in East Sussex is going global after landing a deal to supply its sparkling wines to 24 countries. Black Dog Hill Vineyard is a family business spanning three generations, with high ambitions to lead the emergence of boutique, grower-style English sparkling wines. Founded in 2007 by husband and wife team Jim and Anja Nolan, the Westmeston-based company is championing the evolution of English Sparkling wine.

Rugby star becomes mud house brand ambassador
New Zealand’s Mud House Wines has appointed British rugby star George North as brand ambassador, it was announced this morning. The appointment of North as the face of the New Zealand wine further cements the position of Mud House in rugby – the brand is already the official wine sponsor of The British & Irish Lions. As a result of the tie-up announced today, North, who was one of the stars of the successful 2013 Lions Tour, will work with Mud House to build on the brand’s sponsorship of The British & Irish Lions and will feature prominently in Mud House customer marketing campaigns.

The Two Wine Industries: Separate and Distinct
It is becoming abundantly clear that there exist today in the United States two very distinct and separately operating wine industries. One, the larger of the two, is dedicated to selling relatively inexpensive wine to the masses. The other is dedicated to selling relatively expensive wine to a smaller group of wine lovers. What’s interesting about these two separate industries is that there is less and less for their members to talk to each other about. Take for example the recent Unified Symposium in Sacramento and one particular seminar entitled, “Adapt or Go Extinct: Removing Barriers to Our Industry’s Success”.

Device keeps wine fresh to the last glass
A new product from a Corridor start-up is attracting attention before it officially hits the market. The Repour Smart Stopper continuously removes oxygen from the air above the wine in a bottle and from the wine itself, keeping the beverage fresh weeks or months after the bottle has been first opened. Tom Lutz, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry and previously has worked in product development, came up with the idea for Repour several years ago.

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WID 2017