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News posted on Thursday, 9 July 2015

WGGA team up with Woolies, ProScare and Grope Hamilton Lawyers
Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) announced Woolworths Liquor Group, ProScare and Grope Hamilton Lawyers as three new sponsors for 2015/16. Assisting WGGA with legal expertise, insights into wine consumption trends and vineyard management solutions, the new sponsors were “all are committed to seeing a better future for Australian grapegrowers”, according to a statement released by WGGA yesterday. Mark Hamilton, Grope Hamilton managing partner, said Grope Hamilton Lawyers was very pleased to sponsor WGGA.

Rockpool bartenders will help Qantas select the perfect drop
Qantas will focus on matching its lounge and premium cabin food offerings with the right cocktail, spirit or champagne as well as wine now that a new team of beverage experts from Neil Perry's Rockpool Restaurant Group is taking charge of the selection process. The airline last month disbanded the Qantas Wine Panel, comprised of three Australian winemakers, which had been in charge of beverage selection for a decade. In its place, a new team called The Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers will take over the task of tasting 1200 Australian wines and French champagnes.

Wine industry's goon bag of tax goodies
Australians are paying more in income tax than goon companies. That's according to an independent think tank, which wants cheap wine to be taxed the same way as beer. At the moment, cheap wine attracts only $3 in tax per litre of alcohol while bottled beer reaps ten times that at $35, and premium wine at $55. The Australia Institute believes the unfair tax treatment is corporate welfare at its worst, with a majority of wine producers paying almost nothing, reports SBS.

Harvest of plenty as SA food and wine producers band together
One of South Australia's most exclusive clubs is about to get a bit larger. A second set of businesses will shortly be awarded the Barossa Trust Mark, an initiative designed to highlight the area's most respected producers and operators. Twenty-five local businesses made last year's inaugural list, including a bakery that uses both an oven and recipes dating back to 1924, a bed and breakfast where you can wander into the cellar to choose a bottle of wine for dinner, and a winery tour that lets visitors taste a 100-year-old port.

Cellar doors hold selling power for wine brands
NEW research has shown that a visit to a winery's cellar door has a lasting effect on consumer behaviour, influencing their buying habits for months afterwards. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute tracked behaviour of more than 3,300 visitors to 79 cellar doors across Australia over a six-month period. The results reveal the power of the cellar door in promoting a winery or region's brand. During the six-month period after a cellar door visit, the buyer group (54% of visitors) bought an average of 9.1 bottles of the winery's wine, and the likelihood of making future purchase is 47% on average.

Black widows slip lax biosecurity web
The discovery of black widow spiders in imported grapes highlights once again the Government’s lax attitude to biosecurity risks, Labour’s Primary Industries and Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI officials are trying to talk down the find, saying the spiders don’t pose a danger to the horticultural industry. “I’m assuming they are taking the proverbial. Certainly there might be more sniffer dogs at airports to check baggage, but there’s clearly insufficient scrutiny of commercial and container imports.

China no reason to talk ourselves into a recession, say experts
After being lauded as the world's rock star economy, is New Zealand's bubble about to burst? Three surveys of confidence in recent days show the mood is turning gloomy, sparking warnings about talking the economy into a recession. There are good reasons for jitters, including sinking commodity prices, the Greek debt crisis and panicked share trading in one of our largest trading partners, China. But a quick survey of some leading economic observers suggests the optimists still outweigh the pessimists about the outlook for New Zealand in the next two years.

China makes big bet on turning desert into wine region
When you think of wine, France, Italy and California likely come to mind, but in China, the world's fifth-largest consumer and producer, winemakers are determined to add that country to the list, CBS News' Seth Doane reports. The desert in Ningxia is being transformed. It's taking billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields there each year and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to make it China's wine country.

Wine: Time to get rid of the VQA?
Years ago I suggested that the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) should be disbanded. To be certified VQA Ontario, a wine must be made from specified grape varieties grown in Ontario. To be certified VQA from a smaller region (such as Niagara Peninsula or Prince Edward County) or a sub-region of Niagara Peninsula (such as Beamsville Bench), a specific percentage of the grapes must grow there. There are other conditions a wine must meet, including chemical analysis and label approval.

With so many great wine options available, varietals no longer rule
There never has been a better time to be a wine enthusiast, with more tasty juice coming from more places than ever before. As a result, we can boldly go where we have never gone before — to Uruguay or France’s Madiran for a lusty tannat; to Switzerland or Italy’s Alto Adige for a refreshing kerner; to South Africa for a delicious rendition of the grape formerly known as steen (chenin blanc), or to California for the red blends that continue to soar in popularity.

Locally made wine raises money for children with cancer
Local nonprofit Jack’s Helping Hand is partnering with Biddle Ranch Vineyard to create a limited edition wine to raise money for children with cancer and special needs. Biddle Ranch Vineyard will donate a portion of proceeds from all 425 cases of its 2014 Pinot Grigio wine to the nonprofit organization, according to a news release. It will be available until the end of the year in the winery tasting room, at Biddleranch.com or in participating local restaurants and stores.

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