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News posted on Wednesday, 9 November 2016

US investor spends $20m on Laurence Wines
One of Australia’s best known winemaking families, the Oatley Wine Group, will open a cellar door in the Margaret River region, part of what’s believed to be the largest value sale ever for a winery in Western Australia. The winery – Laurance Wines – has been sold to a US-based investor, reportedly New York-based real estate developer, philanthropist and wine enthusiast Howard Milstein, in a deal worth $20 million. Part of the Laurance property will be leased to the Oatley family, with another part of the estate to go to local winemaker Larry Cherubino Wines.

Nordic opportunities for wine
The Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland and Norway offer growth opportunities for Australian wine exports and, unlike some of the traditional European markets, they are generally quite open to wines from around the world. Growing winegrapes is difficult due to cold weather and the low number of winter sunlight hours. As a result, Nordic countries do not have significant domestic wine production and wine is primarily imported. Additionally, there is no strong preference for a specific style of wine, which offers opportunities to producers of both traditional and alternative wines.

Chalmers Wines at Merbein grows
For about 15 years from the mid-1990s, the Chalmers were the go-to family for grapes and vines. There was a time their property at Euston, near Mildura, was the largest privately­-owned vineyard in Australia, with 600ha under vine. And the associated Chalmers Nursery also, for a time, was the largest wholesale grapevine nursery in Australia, renowned for its imported new varieties from around the world. “Over the years Chalmers Nurseries propagated at least 30 million vines, averaging 2 million a year,” Kim Chalmers said.

The inaugural taste orange @ Barangaroo
The inaugural Taste Orange @ Barangaroo cool climate wine, food, cultural and tourism showcase event will be held at Nawi Cove, Barangaroo Reserve on Sunday 20 November from 11am-5pm. Proudly sponsored by Orange City Council as part of its ‘Visit Orange’ campaign, Taste Orange @ Barangaroo will be a day of cool climate wine tasting, sampling the region’s local produce and exploring the cultural and tourism opportunities the Central NSW region offers. Two of Australia’s leading wineries, Philip Shaw Wines and Ross Hill Wines, along with award-winning local cider makers Small Acres Cyder will be present along with an additional eight local wineries.

McLaren Vale’s wine royalty
Well-known McLaren Vale winemaker and industry icon Steve Pannell, of SC Pannell Wines, has been crowned as the 2016 Bushing King - his second consecutive win of the region’s top award in the McLaren Vale Wine Show. The prestigious title was awarded at the 52nd annual McLaren Vale Winemakers Bushing Lunch, held at Serafino Wines, October 28. The 2015 SC Pannell Touriga Cabernet Mataro was the highest scoring wine of the 2016 Wine Show as judged by an impressive panel of international and Australian judges.

Fitting like a glove into Mahana Estates winery
Michael Glover is a local lad who has come home to the place he loves, Upper Moutere, as the winemaker for Mahana Estate. I first met Glover when he was a teenager hanging around his parent's winery, Glovers Vineyard in Gardeners Valley, and it is fair to say his father's singlemindedness and stubbornness has rubbed off on Glover junior. Back in those days he was a lean, mean racing machine of road cycling. He was a member of the original Upper Moutere Wheelers that was established as a breakaway from the Nelson Club, now called the Tasman Wheelers it is one of the strongest road cycling clubs in the country.

Marlborough contracting company forgoes tractors for horses
A Marlborough couple is saying 'neigh' to tractors and banking on horse power to deliver spraying services to vineyards around the region. Since the industrial revolution, the equine beasts have fallen out of favour with farmers and other agricultural types, but they could be making a comeback. Stephen and Melisa Rae started their contracting company Horse Power Contracting after buying two clydesdales from Marlborough wine company Seresin Estate.

Inside Bright Cellars, a MIT-Born Wine Subscription Startup
Founded in Boston by Yau and his MIT roommate Joe Laurendi, Bright Cellars, a monthly wine subscription startup, fell in love with Milwaukee during the accelerator program and turned the 3-month stay into a permanent headquarters. Bright Cellars is a personalized monthly wine subscription company that delivers four bottles of wine per month, based on a user's preferences. People take a quiz, and based on their responses Bright Cellars sends them bottles it thinks they'll like. People rate how they liked each bottle, and Bright Cellars' algorithm learns and gets better over time.

Tech takes hold of one of wine's oldest strongholds
Grapes have grown on these quiet hills for centuries, but modern technology could take Spanish wineries to new heights. Iberian winemakers have tended vineyards by hand since before the Roman Empire. Today, traditional winemaking techniques still hold sway in the third largest wine producing nation in the world. But 2016 could be the year it all changes. Even though less than 10 percent of Spanish wineries use advanced technologies now commonly seen in places like Australia and the United States, "there are many that have tried them this year," says Fran Garcia Ruiz, director of agricultural data company AgroMapping.

French wine harvest among smallest for 30 years
This year's French wine harvest is among the smallest in 30 years, down 10 percent from last year although not quite as bad as feared, authorities said Tuesday. French grape growers have produced 43.2 million hectolitres, according to data released by the French agriculture ministry, saying the November 1 harvest estimate was six percent lower than the average of the last five years. Hail, frost and mildew have ravaged French vineyards since the spring, even if "precipitation since mid-September has benefited vines where harvest had not yet started," said the ministry's Agreste statistics service.

Las Pizarras ‘beyond icon wines’
Viña Errázuriz’s new project in Chile’s Aconcagua Costa, Las Pizarras, is a step on from Chile’s well-known premium icon wines, says head winemaker Francisco Baettig. “This is the most exciting thing I think I’ve ever worked on,” enthused Francisco Baettig, Errázuriz winemaker and now it seems, part scientist/part geologist. Not content with making more ‘icon’ wines; he’s already made three for Vina Errázuriz – Don Maximiano Cabernet Sauvignon, Kai Carmenere and Le Cumbre Syrah – Baettig set off to uncover an area by the coast where wines could best express their terroir. In short, a Burgundian approach to making wine, not seen before in Chile.

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