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News posted on Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Lower Hunter vignerons claim pesticides killing crops
It appears the impact of spray drift on Hunter Valley vineyards is more widespread than first thought. Last week, grape growers near Denman revealed their plants are being harmed when the weed killer 2,4-D blows over their vineyards. Now a vigneron near Clarence Town has reported his grape crop has been all but destroyed by phenoxy herbicides. Ross Arnott said he does not know where the chemicals are coming from. "It's coming in in plumes," he said.

NZ grapegrowers to take pay cut due to low volume vintage
Grapegrowers are facing a multi-million dollar pay cut this year after the 2015 harvest came in under target. Interim grape prices, released by New Zealand Winegrowers, show grape growers have been paid an average of $1713 per tonne of grapes this year, compared with $1656 per tonne last year - an increase of $57 per tonne. However, with a 326,000-tonne vintage, it can be estimated that growers' total income is about $296m - a pay cut of more than $89 million.

Research helps to curb unwanted pesticide spray drift
Chemical drift from pesticide sprays is an ongoing problem in New Zealand, says Lincoln Agritech crop protection scientist Rory Roten. “When pesticides are used on farms and in forests, the wind can carry droplets of the sprays far away from the targeted area, potentially causing severe damage to neighbouring crops and harming the environment,” Mr Roten says. “Spray drift has wreaked havoc on wine grapes and kiwifruit in several New Zealand orchards recently."

Brunello di Montalcino winemakers sign biodiversity pact
Winemakers and other local businesses have joined forces to agree a legally binding deal to protect the environment and biodiversity across the commune of Montalcino, home to one of Italy's best known wines. Representatives from 47 Montalcino businesses – including Brunello di Montalcino winemakers – signed a legally binding charter, ‘Comitato Promotore Montalcino Bio’, promoting collective biodiversity and environmental responsibility.

Empire Wine's moment of truth
The bill inspired by the legal battle between New York's State Liquor Authority and Empire Wine has reached the Governor's desk. Empire Wine's ongoing case against the New York State Liquor Authority could become a lot more clear-cut this week as a bill limiting the authority's jurisdiction is reviewed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill, A.5920, will "amend the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to limiting the authority of the state liquor authority to penalize licensees based on perceived violations of the laws of other states."

Some science behind canned wine
You don’t need me to tell you that canned wine is kind of hip. Chalk that up to a winning combination of novelty, extreme portability, and the kind of casual anti-snob vibe that appeals to young urbanites with disposable incomes these days. No real mystery that canned wine is hip, and we put everything in cans (Washington State University has been canning a very nice cheese since the 1940’s), so why is canned wine still a mystery to me?

Nova Scotia offers $1M incentive to double grape production
Nova Scotia will spend $1 million to nearly double grape growing in an effort to boost the province's wine industry. "We're putting in a small amount of public money to leverage a lot of private sector money," said Premier Stephen McNeil, who announced the Vineyard Development and Expansion Program Tuesday at the Avondale Sky Winery in Newport Landing, N.S. The program will pay each grower up to $6,550 per acre to cover land clearing, tile drainage, plant material, stakes and contracted labour.

Diversity rules at Sydney wine comp
The Sydney International Wine Competition (SIWC) produced an illustrious list of medal winners, with diversity of wine regions and wine varieties key features of the event. The 36th annual competition featured 1812 wines from nine countries with 100 different grape varieties and blends represented. A total of 288 wines were then selected for TOP 1OO™, Blue Gold, and Gold awards, and 31 of these also received a trophy.

Maxwell Wines: The artistry of a good cellar door experience
If good wine, superb food and beautiful views aren’t enough to entice you back to McLaren Vale, Maxwell Wines’ revolving art collection will soon have you returning on a regular basis. Like the vineyard scenes framed by the cellar door’s large picture windows, the collection of South Australian artwork changes every two to three months. Cellar Door manager and art director Helen Glacken said the medium also changes regularly.

NSW winemaker finds sparkling niche and reaps production rewards
A vigneron in the New South Wales Northern Tablelands is reaping production benefits from the addition of a sparkling wine to his range. As competition increases and cost pressures squeeze, Scott Wright from Wright Robinson said finding a niche made good business sense. He said sparkling wines made up less than 10 per cent of the wine market so his new premium product's potential was promising.

Heathcote winery dominates at Le 25th Concours des vins de Victoria
Heathcote winery Munari Wines has taken out the the top award at one of Victoria’s most prestigious wine competition, Le 25th Concours des vins de Victoria. The small family owned winery called the achievement an “exceptional result which highlights the quality of Heathcote as a super-premium wine region”. Munari Wines Schoolhouse Red Shiraz Viognier 2014 was awarded the French-Australian Chamber Trophy for Best Wine of Show, ‘where Victorian taste meets the French palate’.

The Wine Crèche - Premium contract winemakers servicing VIC
The Wine Creche, located on Melbourne's Northern fringe, now has additional processing capacity on offer for Vintage 2016. We can process through to bottling, batches as small as 1 tonne through to 10 tonnes. For all enquiries, please contact Mark Matthews on +61 (0)432 438 325 or email [email protected]

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