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News posted on Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Cheap wine is not a concern
Have you ever seen some seriously cheap bottles of wine at major supermarket retailers and wondered how smaller vineyards survive in a market where there is such disparity? Luckily for many winemakers in the Goulburn Valley, cheaper wines do not seem to be hurting their business. Colbinabbin’s Whistling Eagle Vineyard owner Ian Rathjen said low-cost bottles sold at Coles and Woolworths liquor stores were of no consequence to him because he was not competing in the same market.

It’s been a great vintage!
Ken Helm stands down as Chairman of Canberra International Riesling Challenge after 16 years. After 16 years the founding Chairman of the Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC), Ken Helm AM has stepped down from the role having led and developed the Challenge since its inception. Ken will remain on the CIRC Board, ensuring that his extensive knowledge of the event and the wine industry is not lost to the Challenge. “The CIRC is now bigger than one person and is internationally recognised as a major promotion of Riesling and Canberra,” Mr Helm said.

Adelaide Uni looks to expand winery
The university has flagged plans to more than double the size of its training winery, which is already the biggest of its kind in Australia. The expansion plan includes space for a distillery and a small brewery. Professor of Oenology and director of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production Vladimir Jiranek said the University of Adelaide’s winemaking degree touched on distilled beverages as an elective subject. The existing winery, opened in 1996, has been the centrepiece of a wine hub that has about 150 researchers from the university and co-located partners in wine and grape science – about 70 per cent of Australia’s total research capability.

Wine industry conference alliance to continue
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference Inc. (AWITC) announced today that they will continue their partnership to deliver a combined business and technical conference for the Australian wine industry in Adelaide in July 2019. This announcement follows the very successful alignment of the 16th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference and WFA’s Outlook Conference in July 2016.

Tim James: on the significance of fashion in wine
Fashion in wine is a slippery concept. The first tricky element is the difference between fashionability and long-term trends – perhaps there is none except for the degree of endurance. This is much more of a problem for wine-growers than wine-marketers, of course, because planting a vineyard is a costly business, and it takes some three years for a vineyard to become productive. Should a grower now, for example, rip out the pinotage and plant fashionable grenache or cinsaut?

Pinot takes centre stage at NZ annual tasting
Pinot Noir will be the focus at January’s New Zealand Annual Trade tasting at Lindley Hall, London, New Zealand Winegrowers has announced. he announcement of what will be one of the first major London tasting of 2017 comes as new figures from New Zealand Winegrowers’ Export Report reveal that Pinot Noir exports to the UK are up 10% (October MAT), revealing an increased appetite and opportunity for the variety in the UK market. New Zealand wine exports reached a record high of $1.54 billion in 2015, according to New Zealand Winegrowers. The London tasting comes soon before the Pinot Noir 2017 event takes place in Wellington, New Zealand.

Fast online liquor delivery service launched in Hamilton
Alcohol can now be delivered to a Hamilton doorstep in an hour with a few mouse clicks. Divneet? Bindra came up with the idea for Brewbound, his online alcohol delivery service, while working at his family-owned liquor store. Like clothes, groceries and late-night pizza cravings, the 20 year old thought there just might be a demand. He noticed most liquor delivery services in New Zealand took a couple of days and he wanted to push the on-demand boundaries. "I noticed lots of different people stopping in after work for a six-pack or a bottle of wine. We deliver dinner, so there's no reason why drinks can't deliver liquor, either."

Pinot Gris Virus in More Napa Vineyards
Grapevine Pinot Gris virus (GPGV) has been detected in vineyards in 14 locations in Napa County, but not in other California vineyard locations to date, based on initial findings from a statewide survey started in 2016 and funded through an American Vineyard Foundation research grant. These findings and an update on GPGV were presented by Dr. Maher Al Rwahnih, diagnostic and research lab director at Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at the University of California, Davis, during a day-long extension class, “Current Issues in Vineyard Health,” held Nov. 29 in Davis. Disease symptoms associated with GPGV were first observed in vineyards in Italy’s Trentino Alto Adige region in 2003.

China’s wine imports forecast to grow 25% in 2016
China’s wine imports in 2016 are expected to see an increase of 25% over the previous year, which would make it the highest in the past five years, signalling a strong rebound since 2012. The country imported 505 million litres of wines, worth about US$1.9 billion in the first 10 months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 18.01% in value, according to data released earlier by the China Association for Imports and Export of Wine & Spirits. The fourth quarter, as forecasted by industry insiders, is expected to continue to grow in both volume and value terms as consumers are likely to stock up on wines for the upcoming Chinese Spring Festival on January 28, reported Chinese media ifeng.com.

For London's wine businesses, Brexit has bitter taste
Importing fine foods from Spain has been a good trade for London firm Brindisa, but like many food and wine businesses that rely on the free movement of goods and workers within the European Union, it has been badly hit by Britain's vote to leave. Launched on a shoestring by entrepreneur Monika Linton 28 years ago, Brindisa now employs 300 people in five London restaurants, two shops and a warehouse. It is part of a sector that encompasses more than 27,500 businesses in London, generating an annual turnover above 14 billion pounds (17 billion). Food and wine is one of the city's most vibrant service industries but also one of the most exposed to the process of leaving the EU, known as Brexit.

Houses divided over quality of 2016 vintage in champagne
Reports are mixed about the 2016 vintage in Champagne, with some winemakers reporting ‘disastrous’ conditions and others pleasantly surprised by the quality. Speaking to db during a lunch in London to celebrate the dual launch of its 1996 blanc de blancs and 1996 demi-sec, Anne Malassagne, co-owner of AR Leonble in the Côtes de Blancs said, “It’s too early to decide if 2016 will be a vintage year but the quality of the grapes we picked was unexpected. We were very worried in the middle of August but we enjoyed three weeks of sunny days and cool nights that helped to keep the acidity levels high enough."

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WID 2017