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News posted on Friday, 9 January 2015

Penfolds Grange Wine: ‘New World’ Order
Dubai wine dealer Le Clos has pulled off an incredible feat in assembling 61 bottles of wine from Australian producer Penfolds Grange covering 60 years of wine history. The collection, spanning award-winning and ‘hidden’ vintages, is yours for $660,000. The idea germinated two years ago. “We had a strong collection in Bordeaux and ‘Old World’ wines in general and decided it was time to broaden our appeal to a wider audience,” says Oliver Dixon, head of wine at Dubai wine dealer Le Clos. “We didn’t have time limits, but all the same what we had in mind we knew wouldn’t be easy.”

"Stressed" grapes make for a promising 2015 vintage in little-known winegrowing area
A good lush canopy and keeping the grapes slightly stressed is the aim of one winemaker. This has helped him enjoy success with his Shiraz produced in an area of New South Wales not renowned for its wines. Conditions for the start of 2015 has Jason Brown confident that his Moppity Winery at Young will produce a good Shiraz while his Coppabella operation at Tumbarumba in the higher cold country will also come up trumps for his whites. Like all primary producers Brown and his wife Alecia have at times wondered whether they would still be producing at the end of the each year.

Vintage still looking good despite December hailstorm
THE challenges of growing top quality grapes to produce award-winning wines are part and parcel of life on the land for local vignerons Geoff and Barbara Brown, of Ascella Estate Wine. And, this season has been particularly challenging for the Browns with a torrid hailstorm hitting the Milbrodale district vineyard on December 5. Their reds were more damaged than their whites when the hailstorm, with hail as big as tennis balls, struck the district five kilometres from Bulga.

South Australia expected to see up to 150mm of rain in some areas
With some of the most ferocious bushfires since Ash Wednesday and then the potential for the heaviest rainfall event in 30 years, Mother Nature has taken aim at South Australia. Grapegrowers have been warned of the threat of downy mildew, but Simon Berry, Wine Grape Council of South Australia chairman, said most crops, which are close to harvest, would not be affected. “At this time of the year the berries are largely resistant to downy mildew, unless there is fresh tips or young vines which could be infected,” he said. “For the rest of the crop, the risk is extremely low.”

Start-up creates giant social network for wine lovers
Vivino is a start-up that is opening up the world of fine wine for everyone through a clever app. If you see a wine that interests you, you take a photo of the label. That takes you to a page on the app for the wine, and you can see reviews and rankings on your phone. Vivino isn’t a small, niche community. It told us that on an average Saturday, 400,000 wines are scanned using the app. And in total, almost 100 million bottles of wine have been scanned. Vivino also has over 7 million users using the network to scan and rate wine.

Investment 'paves the way for growth' at Giesen Wines
Investment in new equipment is helping Giesen Wines to replenish the soil in its vineyards, allowing for healthier vines, high quality fruit and ultimately excellent wine. The winery has just taken possession of a ‘Crawler,’ which will perform a multitude of tasks in its organic vineyards including under vine weeding, crop spraying, and trimming. The Italian whizz replaces the hefty 2.5 tonne tractor Giesen has previously used at the organic Clayvin and Ridge vineyards.

Home of first red wines still excels
If ever there was a name synonymous with winemaking and its colourful history in Hawke's Bay, that name would be Tom McDonald. He was, quite simply, the king of red wine - which is hardly surprising given he began working in the industry in his boyhood. McDonald clearly learned fast, working the vines planted back in 1897 by a chap from Luxembourg by the name of Bartholomew Steinmetz, and the small winery he had set up off Church Rd.

English wine sparkles as exports look set to break £100m this year
English wine is to be the toast of the country’s farmers this week, with more than £100m (A$187m) in sales expected this year for sparkling and still varieties combined. Sparkling wine is expected to fare particularly well, as many English vineyards are based on similar soil and weather conditions to the Champagne region of France. There are now about 470 vineyards in the UK, with an acreage of more than 4,500, up from less than 2,000 a decade ago.

Innovation may save drought-stricken California
California is facing one of the worst droughts in their history, causing a State of Emergency that has been in place since January 2014. Nearly a year ago, Governor Jerry Brown asked residents to reduce their water use by 20 percent. Water has made history in many ways. Settlements have traditionally formed around sources of clean water, and it wasn't until fresh water could be transported to all areas of the world that populations really flourished. But those blossoming populations may have overextended their resources.

FUN FRIDAY: Man breaks sabrage world record
A New Yorker has broken the world record for opening the most bottles of Champagne with a sabre in one minute. Frank Esposito, a restaurant manager from Long Island, sabred 48 bottles of Champagne in one minute during the world record attempt on Wednesday, as reported by ABC News. The previous record was held by Mirko Rainer of Switzerland who sabred 47 Champagne bottles in one minute in September 2014, according to the Guinness World Record’s website.

Maha strawberry farmers get into winemaking
This summer, tourists can look forward to some strawberry wine in addition to the usual strawberry products. Strawberry farmers in Maharashtra have now decided to get into winemaking. India’s wine industry, which is barely over a decade old, has just begun to make its presence felt in a market dominated by spirits. Of late, globally there has been a trend where fruits other than grapes are being used for making wine. An entirely new market is opening up for fruit wines in the country.

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