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News posted on Thursday, 8 December 2016

A bug’s life for sustainability? It’s only natural,
As one of Australia’s premier wine producers, Adam Torpy knows the importance of preserving the natural value of the land. And he’s enlisted an unlikely insect army to help. It was after visiting a vineyard in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley with his family that 16-year-old Adam Torpy learnt the lesson that still drives him today. Even though he was not legally allowed to drink, the future wine executive immediately realised how the natural landscape was intimately entwined with what came out of the bottle and promptly enrolled in a wine course to find out more. “It was like – wait – back up there,” Torpy says today as CEO of Goelet Wine Estates Australasia.

Climate change battle heats up for Australian winemakers
When an unprecedented heatwave hit South Australia state, home to the world-renowned Barossa Valley winemaking region, viticulturists fretted about the impact on their grapes. The crops survived, but the extreme weather last year was a reminder of how climate change can hurt a resurgent $2 billion export industry boosted by Chinese thirst for Australian premium red wine. "I've been here for 20 years ... and we're seeing more severity in the weather," winemaker James Sweetapple told at his vineyard in Orange, a picturesque town 250 kilometres northwest of Sydney. "The wet years are much, much wetter; the dry years are much drier and much hotter."

Heathcote wineries to benefit
Australian Vignerons has welcomed the recent announcement by Canberra in regard to reform of the wine equalisation (WET) rebate. And so will the Heathcote wine region’s many small family-owned and operated wineries, for whom the rebate was originally intended. Well-intentioned changes in the 2016 budget to redress unintended consequences of the rebate created concerns across the wine industry, in relation to the eligibility criteria and outcomes. “Thankfully, the government has listened to concerns raised across the wine community,” AV chief executive Andrew Weeks said.

McLaren Vale making ‘best grenache’ in OZ
Producers in the McLaren Vale are united in their opinion that they are currently making the best expressions of Grenache in Australia at the moment. Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to the region, Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg was the first to throw down the gauntlet. “I think the McLaren Vale is the best place for Grenache in Australia right now. It’s so fragrant and is halfway between Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côte Rôtie in style. “Most of it comes from old vines, some of which are over a century old and nearly all dry grown. For us it’s like Pinot Noir – the Everest challenge we’re trying to climb.

Talijancich Wines: family comes first for winemaker
IT IS going to be a very Talijancich Christmas for the third-generation family of Swan Valley winemakers. It was a very busy but exciting year for the Herne Hill winery, which took out a host of awards at the Swan Valley Wine Show Awards in August, including Wine of the Show for the Julian James White Liqueur. However, for head winemaker James Talijancich, nothing is more important than family. “All of our four kids, who are aged between 23 and 30, will be home for Christmas this year,” Mr Talijancich said.

Rockburn Wines appoints Rebecca Poynter as new GM
Rockburn Wines is pleased to announce that Rebecca Poynter has been appointed as their new General Manager, following the resignation of Paul Donaghy who, after six years with the winery, is leaving to pursue new projects. Ms. Poynter has extensive wine industry experience in general management, sales, marketing, FMCG and export market development for Australian and New Zealand wineries, and will return from over ten years in Australia to take up this position. “I am excited to be returning to New Zealand to work for Rockburn, a Central Otago winery with an excellent reputation both in New Zealand and its export markets”, says Ms. Poynter.

NZ winery reveals plans for ‘vineyard village’
A New Zealand winery has unveiled plans for a vineyard village in Central Otago, which if approved will result in the development of a community complex featuring residential accommodation and commercial outlets within a working vineyard. Founded in 2002, the Wooing Tree Vineyard is a family-owned and operated vineyard in Cromwell, Central Otago. Its owners, Geoff and Jane Bews and Steve and Thea Farquharson, are hoping to build the ‘Wooing Tree Estate’ within the 26-hectare vineyard, which while remaining home to its winery operations and vineyards, will also become home to various community amenities tourist attractions, retail outlets and residential accommodation. Co-owner Geoff Bews said the plan represented a step towards “growing Cromwell in a way that will support its tourism, wine and residential interests”.

Bulk wine trade facing global supply shortage
An impending “global shortage” of bulk wine, resulting from a small 2016 harvest, will drive prices higher in the next 12 to 18 months, one industry expert has warned, with smart buyers already securing supply into 2017. In 2015, global bulk wine exports reached a record 36.3 million hectolitres – a 3% increase on 2014 – but dropped in value by 13.7% to US$3.1 billion, according to Italy’s Il Corriere Vinicola. This volume growth was driven by Spain (+10%), still the world’s biggest bulk wine producer, and Chile (+15%). But while a healthy supply in 2015 kept bulk wine prices low, prices are already increasing with the reduced 2016 vintage threatening global supplies.

English wine awards launched
England’s first independent wine competition will launch next March to shine a light on the best still and sparkling wines being made in the country. The Independent English Wine Awards (IEWA) is a consumer facing competition founded by Alex Taylor of Wine Taste Bristol. Taylor is keen to raise awareness of English wines among consumers and the quality that can now be found in the category. “The quality is fantastic, but English wine is still mainly enjoyed by those ‘in the know’. Big wins against Champagne at blind tasting events and news of a £100 million a year industry are remarkable,” he said. “In particular, Blighty’s bubbly profile is fizzing but for the regular consumer, the rest of the country’s wine is still a relative mystery.

Denver wine collector loses $1.7 million to crooked vendor,
Insurance company AIG denies claim for nearly 2,500 bottles of wine the collector never received. A Denver wine collector who once ran the nation’s fourth largest HMO has sued an insurance company for failing to cover his losses after a California vendor took the collector’s payment for $1.7 million and instead of using it to buy wine, spent the money to hire female escorts, buy luxury cars and pay his daughter’s college tuition. The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver on behalf of Dr. Malik Hasan and his wife, Seeme, against AIG Property Casualty Co. of Pennsylvania by Denver attorney Glenn Merrick.

Cold weather kicks off Okanagan ice wine harvest
As soon as it was obvious the mild fall was over earlier this week and temperatures in Kelowna dropped below -7 Celsius, pickers at the Summerhill Pyramid Winery began preparing for the annual tradition of grape picking in the middle of the night. Weather cold enough to freeze grapes for ice wine arrived a week later than last year, but Summerhill GM Eric von Krosigk says the harvest hasn’t suffered. “It’s been a fantastic year,” he says of the unusually mild summer. “We don’t usually see rain in November, the water can get in the stems and starts the rotting process but it looks good so far. A beautiful growing year."

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