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News posted on Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Brokers sour on Treasury Wine Estate outlook
Treasury Wine Estate's announcement last week that it had made significant changes to its supply-chain network in the US and Australia and further opportunities had been identified to help in cutting overhead costs has failed to rejuvenate confidence, judging by analyst's commentary. Both Citi and Deutsche Bank have sell recommendations on the stock with the former setting its 12-month price target at $4.90. Deutsche Bank is particularly bearish on the company with its price target of $4.00, some 25 per cent shy of the company's current trading range.

Winemaker lads set up shop with a crowd of support in Preston
Thornbury’s Cam Nicol and winemaker mates Sam Vogel and Alexander Byrne last month teamed up to launch Noisy Ritual, a crowdfunded winery and pop-up bar on High St, Preston. Noisy Ritual guides members through the winemaking process, from grape to glass, by inviting participants to stomp their own batch of grapes, press them, and then bottle the finished product. Nicol said the decision to launch an urban winery came after moving into his Thornbury home last May, where he discovered a square concrete wine fermenter in the basement.

Canberra biodynamic winemaker lets the lunar cycle determine harvest
"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world," is a quote from philosopher Louis Pasteur. For one Canberra winemaker it is the teachings of a philosopher that has shaped his wine. Dr Dave Carpenter has operated Lark Hill winery, north-east of the nation's capital, for over two decades after previously working in mathematics and physics. His picking of grapes and making of wine is based largely on work originally carried out in 1924 by Dr Rudolf Steiner, who established biodynamic agriculture.

Record entries but no records broken at annual Bago Grape Stomp in northern NSW
It is the highlight of the wine grape harvest in the Hastings Valley in northern New South Wales. But while the Bago Grape Stomp attracted record entries this year, the record was not broken. This year marked the 17th event and hundreds of people from across the region and the state turned out for the championships at a winery near Wauchope. "There were over 40 entries, so 80 people have put their names down for the stomp, as well as a full field in the media grape stomp," organiser Ian Adams said.

Plans to refresh Entwine Australia
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) announced some upcoming changes to Entwine Australia, the industry’s environmental assurance program. Through a series of free workshops across Australia, the program will be assessed with any issues discussed by WFA together with the broader wine community. Damien Griffante, Federation natural resource policy and programs manager, said continuous improvement was a cornerstone of Entwine. “We are excited about Entwine’s uptake and its next steps to make the program even better which we want to explore at the workshops with industry and stakeholders,” he said

New flights to connect wine regions
Wine enthusiasts could soon be flying from one grape-growing region to another as Sounds Air plans a direct flight between Blenheim and Napier. Managing director Andrew Crawford said the company was considering introducing the flight to allow people to commute between the wine regions more freely. The new route would likely operate twice a week, Crawford said. "I think there's a lot of people who travel back and forth," he said.

Aussies jealous as NZ dollar approaches parity
The Aussie dollar has staved off parity with the Kiwi ... for now. A rate cut reprieve from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Tuesday saved what the Aussies called an embarrassment: parity with the Kiwi. However, the market still expected the New Zealand dollar to achieve parity sooner than later as the RBA looks for a lower exchange rate to stimulate the economy across the Tasman. If the gold kiwi grows wings and soars above the golden kangaroo, the New Zealand dollar will be worth more than an Australian dollar for the first time since October 1973.

California’s drought may result in tastier wine
California is struggling with water resources for the fourth year in a row during a historically bad drought. This week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order requiring cities and towns to cut 25 percent of their water use over the next nine months. Meanwhile, the winemakers have actually been producing tastier wine. With a drought that’s affected more than 98 percent of the state, the prediction was that the California wine industry may be reaching the end of the vine.

Norwich-based Naked Wines toasts surge in Easter sales
The Norwich based firm, which crowd funds nearly 150 independent winemakers in 13 countries, has reported a 37pc surge in sales of rosé wine in recent weeks as customers get ready for spring. The company has also seen an 18pc increase in sales of champagne and other sparkling wines helping year-on-year group sales figures to climb by 20 per cent. Naked Wines saw strong demand for all three Rosé wines in its portfolio, with Richard Kershaw’s Richard Rose leading the field.

The current Chinese wine market seen through the eyes of wine experts
During the 49th edition of Vinitaly, its strategic arm abroad, Vinitaly International, chose to dedicate three complimentary seminars of its “Talk Business Series” to the Chinese wine market: importers, wine educators and sommeliers offered their different points of view for a 360 degree overview of a country where many factors are today concurring to a slow but constant increase of Italy’s wine market share.

Grapes and wrath: Why wine critic Robert Parker is skipping the famous Bordeaux tasting
It’s tasting time in Bordeaux, when the wine world flocks to the banks of the Garonne to discover what the latest vintage has to offer. For the next few weeks critics and merchants will sniff, snort, swill and spit their way through hundreds of tastings before passing judgement on the wines of 2014. This year, though, there will be a huge gap at the table. Robert Parker Jr, unquestionably the most powerful man in the world of wine, the critic who can make or break the reputation – and value – of an entire vintage, will not be there.

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