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News posted on Monday, 9 February 2015

Support for storm-struck growers
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has written to the Prime Minister, requesting that the states growers be given equal access to funds, if NSW succeed in their campaign for grants to help pay for storm damage. In a letter to the Murray Valley Winegrowers, Andrews said the Victorian government supports further assistance for growers whose properties sustained severe damage from storms in early December. Andrews said the NSW and Commonwealth governments were assessing growers’ eligibility to receive grants under Commonwealth Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery arrangements.

Barossa winemakers short of grapes due to frost
Some winemakers in the Barossa Valley say they may have to source grapes from other regions due to a Shiraz shortage. Peter Lehmann wines viticulturist Nigel Blieschke said late frost in October affected vines throughout the Barossa near Adelaide and the Clare Valley. "[In total] we crush nearly 10,000 tonnes and we've probably lost about 1,500 tonnes, which is probably about 60 per cent of our shiraz production," he said. "I think we'll be able to cover some of that with extra purchases, but there's not going to be a lot of excess stock anywhere, I think, in the Barossa."

Winemakers predict 'exceptional' Margaret River vintage on the back of lower volumes
Winemakers from Western Australia's Margaret River region are predicting an exceptional 2015 vintage on the back of lower volumes. Harvesting began for a number of chardonnay crops last week with table wines and sparkling wines also starting to be picked. AHA Viticulture's Colin Bell said early indications were that crop volumes would be "slightly" below average. "Certainly for growers, they like to get their target yields but for the quality of wine, it's probably going to be an exceptional vintage on the back of it," he said. Mr Bell said cooler and windier conditions in November were possibly to blame for lower yields, as they would have affected flowering.

Australian researchers attempt to develop the world's most accurate grape calculator
Australian researchers are trying to develop the world's most accurate calculator for wine grape yield. With the help of a robot, the trial involves taking specific measurements of thousands of grapes across Australia. The work has the potential to revolutionise wine production in Australia through improved accuracy and savings in labour costs. Some of the trial's work is taking place at Justin Jarratt's vineyard near Orange in central west New South Wales. For his workers, the job of calculating yield is monotonous, they count by hand bunches of grapes to estimate the vineyard's total production. Jarrett admits it is guesswork. "The whole concept of yield prediction is difficult in vineyards,"he said.

Why you should be drinking organic wine
Once there was a time when people, both in the wine industry and the general consumer, would actively avoid organic wines, if they even knew they existed in the first place. But according to the most recent figures from the 2014 Australian Organic Market Report, organic wine is on the rise among wine lovers, accounting for 6.9 per cent of the total organic market in Australia, with organic grape production increasing by 120 per cent between 2011 and 2014.

NZ wine goes head-to-head with Australia and England to celebrate the Cricket World Cup
The cricket pitch is not the only place New Zealand will be competing with the two sporting behemoths, Australia and England, during the upcoming Cricket World Cup. New Zealand wine is battling it out with Australian and English wine in a series of cricket-themed blind tastings this month to celebrate the start of the competition. To kick-off the celebrations, New Zealand sparkling wine will compete with English sparkling wine in the “Battle of the Bubbles” on 19 February in Wellington. 12 wines from each country will be tasted blind by two teams, each headed by one Wine Captain.

Kiwi musicians provide quality vintage on winery tour
Among picturesque hilltop grapevines last night legendary Kiwi musicians entertained a middle-aged and middle-class crowd indulging themselves on wine, gourmet picnics and gorgeous weather. The ninth annual Winery Tour hit Matakana North of Auckland in fine form for the third show of an 11-show run. The tour is a slick, well-managed operation, and even with close to 4000 punters dancing around the vines at Ascension Wine Estate, the toilets were still clean towards the end of the night, lines for drinks and food short and the mosh pit a friendly family affair.

The worldwide market for wine and spirits looks... tentative
These are neither the best of times nor worst of times for the global wine and spirits markets, but it is a time of uncertainty about the economy, politics and societal changes that make predictions about the future more difficult than it's been in a long time. For while the 1980s and 1990s were a period of soaring expectations--and not a little hype--it did seem the whole world was becoming more interested and could better afford to buy more wine and spirits than at any time in history. Then came 9/11, the debacle of 2008, the economic collapse of Greece, Ireland and Spain, and increasing terrorism in major cities.

Vintage year as wine firm celebrates big expansion
A Warton-based wine import and wholesale business has become one of the largest operators in the UK following a successful acquisition supported by a multi-million pound finance package from Yorkshire Bank. EWGA Wines, which supplies wines from across the world to the hotel and restaurant market, has recently completed the acquisition of assets owned by Heritage Wine Company in Gloucestershire and Helvan, based in Bristol. The merger has increased business revenue by 40 per cent and means EWGA now owns two of the five bonded warehouses owned by wine merchants in the UK.

Enzyme rapidly reduces sulphites in wine
Sulphites are added to wine as a preservative, to prevent adulteration by unwanted microbes. However, some are concerned about the health risks. This has prompted research about sulphite removal. Sulphites are commonly used to increase the shelf-life of wine (including sulphur dioxide and sodium metabisulphite.) To an extent, sulphites occur naturally in all wines. They are, in mass produced wines, also added to slow down fermentation (at the required time), and to increase the shelf-life of the wine (to prevent the fine grape juice from turning into vinegar). Through these different steps, white wines tend to contain more sulphites than red ones.

UK's Chapel Down doubles vineyards
English wine producer Chapel Down has completed two long term land leases, increasing the total by 181 acres to 326 acres, to “satisfy demand for 25 years”. The first site is at Street Farm in Boxley on the North Downs (131 acres) and the second is Scurms Farm in Sandhurst (50 acres). Both sites offer “prime viticultural land” according to the producer. Frazer Thompson, Chapel Down chief executive, said, “This is more exciting news for us. The Boxley site is close to our existing vineyard at Kits Coty and our other previously announced new site at Court Lodge Farm on the North Downs.”

How much tannin will you get in your wines?
The amount of tannins extracted from red grapes strongly influences the colour and texture of red wines. Tannins are present in the pulp, skins and seeds of grapes, but the amount which finds its way into the final wine can vary significantly. There is now a practical test for red grapes to estimate the amount of tannin likely to be found in the final wine.

Eco Trellis launches new website
The innovative new trellising system, Eco Trellis, has launched a new website that further promotes this great product. Featured are product details on all of the patented components of the system, the Eco Trellis team, along with testimonials from some of the most influential and satisfied Vintners in N Z and Australia. The Eco Trellis ‘advantage’ shows clear benefits to Vineyard operators and you can also sign up to receive regular updates and news from Eco Trellis Visit www.ecotrellis.com for more details.

YEAST STRAINS – ViniFerm
Natural “WILD TYPE” Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains. ViniFerm yeasts are the first active dry yeast strains in the world that combine the flavour diversity of Non-Saccharomyces yeast with the fermentation security of Saccharomyces yeasts. ViniFerm yeasts give a broad flavour spectrum and emphasise the varietal and terroir character in all wines. ViniFerm Cool White is suited to the fermentation of all white wines ViniFerm Extra Red is suited to the fermentation of all red wines.

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