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News posted on Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Contribute your ideas for $50m investment
Wine Australia is inviting the Australian grape and wine community to submit new, bold, exciting and engaging ideas to help increase wine exports and inbound tourism to wine regions. Submissions are sought from the wine sector and wine-region tourism operators to contribute to Wine Australia’s activities under the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package. Wine Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the consultation will help to shape how the support package will benefit regional wine producers and assist export-focused businesses to continue to grow.

Australia gains 3rd master sommelier
Ben Hasko has just become only the 3rd Australian to complete from the Master Sommelier examination. Sydney based Ben, who runs Cru Wines (a specialist wine importer and distributor) and Bootleggers (an equally exclusive online wine retailer) joins Franck Moreau MS of Merivale and Sebastian Crowther MS of the Rockpool Group, who have also passed one of the hardest exams known to man to earn the right to put the letters MS after their names. Ben’s achievement is even more unique and impressive when you take in to account that he passed on the first attempt; something that has only happened a handful of times.

Graham Norton ‘tickled pink’ with his wine success downunder
Global TV celebrity, Graham Norton, had every reason to be tickled pink as his collaboration with Invivo Wines has produced a Blue Gold medal for his debut Kiwi Rosé and a Gold medal for his South Australian Shiraz in the 37th Sydney International Wine Competition. The inaugural Graham Norton’s Own 2015 Shiraz is a blend of grapes from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek which ‘Chief Winemaker’ Graham Norton blended the wine at Bantry House in County Cork, Ireland with the Invivo team. The 2016 ‘Pink by Design’ Rosé is produced from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes grown in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay.

Exercise, entertainment and wine all in one day at Grapest
With summer just around the corner, Aussies are looking forward to two things – getting out into the great outdoors and enjoying their favourite drop of summer wine with friends. Centaur Outdoor Events has combined both of these great summer activities to create the ultimate outdoor health and fitness event - The Grapest 5k Run – sip happens! The event includes five or ten kilometres of healthy outdoor activity in the form of a fun run, topped up with a 1km wine tasting walk with some of the best wines Australia has to offer. The inaugural run will be held in Victoria’s stunning Bendigo Wine Region in February 2017, with events in seven other Australian wine regions including Shoalhaven and the Hunter Valley in NSW, Alexandrina in SA, WA’s Margaret River, Launceston TAS, QLD’s Brisbane, and Lake George outside of Canberra ACT.

New Zealand Wine Growers annual tasting high above London
New Zealand Wine Growers hosted its annual tasting high above London in the Penthouse of New Zealand House this week. The New Release and Discovery Tasting gave visitors the chance to be among the first to taste wines from New Zealand’s 2016 vintage, alongside wines from previous vintages, with some 160 wines on pour from around 50 producers. In particular, the tasting sought to highlight New Zealand’s growing diversity, with 18 varieties on pour, as well as sparkling, lower alcohol, rosé and dessert wines, alongside Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

The sauvignon blanc juggernaut ‘cannot be stopped’
The ‘juggernaut’ of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc success is set to continue unabated as new consumers ‘come up through the ranks’, according to Hugh Crichton, winemaker at Hawke’s Bay’s Vidal Estate. Speaking to db as he unveiled Vidal’s 2016 Estate Sauvignon Blanc in the UK, the winemaker said that so long as producers maintained their commitment to quality and yield control, consumers demand would continue to at its current high level. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is one of the biggest wine industry success stories of modern times.

Jim Barry Wines produces Australia’s first Assyrtiko
Jim Barry Wines has made history, producing Australia’s first Assyrtiko. After a 10 year journey, the Barry family officially launched the notable Greek wine variety today, Tuesday 8 November, with a limited commercial release in Australia. It’s a wine that is already capturing attention, having last week won the ‘chief judge’s wine to watch’ award at the 2016 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. Peter Barry, the managing director at Jim Barry Wines, first tasted Assyrtiko in 2006 while on holiday with his wife Sue on Santorini. Ten years on, after a lengthy process of importation and quarantine, the 2016 Jim Barry Assyrtiko can now be shared with Australian consumers.

Wine shortage looms after worst harvest in 40 years
“This isn't so much a harvest, as a hunt for grapes,” said French winemaker Jean-Jacques Robert, with a rueful laugh as he unloaded grapes still warm from his vineyards around Fuisse in Burgundy. “It's a catastrophe, the worst harvest for 30 or 40 years,” said the normally cheery 64-year-old owner of Domaine Robert-Denogent. The organic winemaker lost between two-thirds and three-quarters of his harvest in one hailstorm in April. He is not alone. For thousands of French winemakers, 2016 will go down as an annus horribilis, with vines destroyed by frost, heavy rain, hailstones “as big as ping pong balls”, mildew and drought near the Mediterranean.

Wine Conferences: Soporifics Or Nuggets Of Information?
I read that about 2,000 wine blogs crowd the online world . I’ve also read that, while the number isn’t quite as high, wine conferences held each year is in the double digits, including of course the annual Wine Bloggers Conference. Is all that conferencing fruitful? According to Trezise, the organization he heads created “a mini-poster on our website that illustrates the annual value of the New York grape and wine industry to New York State’s economy.” He says, the number is $5+ billion, and that’s just New York’s wine economy.

There’s a spa in Japan where you can actually swim in wine
That’s right, just 100km west of Tokyo, you can spend all day swimming in giant hot tubs filled with Merlot or Bordeaux. The Yunessun Spa Resort, which calls itself a ‘spa theme park’, bases its red wine pools on the fact that red wine is not only delicious, but also contains the anti-oxidant resveratrol, which is thought to have anti-aging properties. The ingredient, found in grapes (as well as peanuts, cocoa and some berries) is believed by some to help fortify the skin, reduce inflammation, strengthen circulation and protect elasticity and collagen fibres.

Jackson Family Wines launches new international distribution strategy
Jackson Family Wines (JFW) has upped the global distribution of two of its top Californian wineries, Cardinale and Vérité, to increase supply outside of the US and Canada. Starting with the 2013 vuntage, Verite and Cardinale will be represented by five additional Bordeaux negociants. The groups long term partner, Mahler- Besse, will also continue to distribute Verite.

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