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News posted on Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Australian Vignerons will wind up if support fails to increase
The national advocacy body Australian Vignerons, is in danger of winding up if support fails to increase in coming months. The organisation has written to stakeholders making it clear that unless support is forthcoming the board will have no alternative but to start the wind-up process. Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) was formed more than a decade ago to provide a national voice for Australian grape growers. It has recently undergone a structural reform and change to trading name to ensure its relevance to industry stakeholders. The changes to membership, board and structure proposed in a new constitution received unanimous support when offered to members at the special general meeting in September 2016. However, this support has not been reflected in increased membership outside of South Australia and Western Australia.

Future Leaders 2017 applications now open
Applications for Future Leaders 2017 are now open to those who are ready to step up and be next in leading Australia’s grape and wine community to future prosperity. Over the past decade, Future Leaders, funded by Australian Vignerons, Wine Australia and Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, has helped the Australian wine community prepare for the challenges of tomorrow by building today the capabilities of the next generation of leaders. The 91 Future Leaders alumni include winemakers, grapegrowers and viticulturists, business managers and marketers, suppliers and researchers, who have already demonstrated the strong leadership and vision required to position Australia as a fine wine leader on the global stage.

Winemakers “must be active” to take advantage of FTAs
With Free Trade Agreements (FTA) seeing tariffs on imported wines being cut in many key Asian markets, the Winemakers Federation of Australia has reminded its members that they need to be active in taking advantage. The Federal Government’s Free Trade agenda has seen competitive advantages given to Australian winemakers in Japan, South Korea and China, by reducing and in some cases eliminating existing import tariffs. Last week TheShout reported that the tariff paid on Australian wine imports into China fell to 5.6 per cent, compared to the 14 per cent most other wine imports continue to pay.

2016 a good year for alcohol sales
It was a good year for grog sales. Revenue at alcohol giants Treasury Wine Estates and Carlton & United Breweries grew by 19.1 per cent and 15.7 per cent last year. The growth catapulted the two into Australia's top 10 food and drink companies for 2016, as compiled by researchers IBISWorld and trade publication Food & Drink Business. Treasury Wine Estates (whose brands include Penfolds) came in at No. 9, and CUB at No. 10. They were joined in the top 10 by Japanese alcohol giant Kirin, which makes beer brands Hahn, Boag's and XXXX, as well as dairy brands such as Pura.

Beer vs wine: crowds pack breweries and wineries in WA
Visitor numbers are booming in WA’s South West as boutique breweries go head to head with the region’s wineries in a battle of the booze. Some of the biggest crowds packed the region’s breweries and wineries this week, where a tussle of the tipples was being fought. Margaret River Wine Association president Cath Oates said wineries had been doing a roaring trade amid “healthy competition” with brewers. “There is always a bit of friendly rivalry but I think the more diversity we have in the region, the better,” she said. Despite Margaret River’s wine dominance, a swag of new breweries have sprung up in the region, proving popular this week as punters quenched their thirst with a cold craft beer.

John Saker: Up next, Kiwi martinis
Kiwi gins are everywhere. We also now make excellent tonic water in this country. Where to next? In a wine-producing country such as ours, the signposts all pointed to vermouth. That destination has duly been reached with the arrival on the market of two New Zealand dry white vermouths. The age of the all-Kiwi gin martini is upon us. Vermouth – wine stiffened with added spirit and laced with interesting botanical flavours – is nearly as old as wine itself. Variations have popped up in different places at different times. The big invariable though, if the drink is to be called vermouth, is the presence of wormwood.

An urban Vino
It’s somewhat fitting that a historian should want to set up shop in Dunedin’s historic precinct. However Brendan Seal isn’t establishing a bookbinders, art gallery or even a whiskey distillery, his vision for an urban winery is now a reality. Historically, Seal has been connected to the wine industry for the best part of two decades. After talking his way into a vintage at Villa Maria in 1997 and then heading offshore to Oregon, Seal landed back in Dunedin where he wrote his Masters’ thesis on the wine industry.

Spain’s top women winemakers
From fearless bullfighters to its World Cup-winning football team, Spain is a country that celebrates the traditionally masculine qualities of physical strength, courage, assertiveness and confidence. For a woman, getting to the top of your game in the male-dominated wine world is hard enough – doing so in a macho country such as Spain is all the more impressive. While a number of the women on our list, including María José López de Heredia and Mireia Torres, were born into famous wine families and have worked hard to emerge from their fathers’ shadows, others have entered the game out of a pure passion for wine, rising to the top through sheer determination and true grit.

Wine skips from officials to public as market re-emerges
China’s wine market is emerging from a recent state of flux to offer cheer to the growing number of wine businesses that are invested in one of the world’s biggest import markets. According to a newly released report, the evolution in tastes and wealth of wine’s Chinese consumer base has been central to a recent turnaround in demand for imports. Marc Soccio, Rabobank senior analyst and author of the report, said the Chinese market had substantially changed in terms of how wine is being marketed, bought and enjoyed. Until recently, imports of wine were traditionally used to cater for demand mostly from government officials and corporate high-flyers.

ProWein highlights innovation and inspiration
ProWein, one of the wine industry’s biggest trade shows, will once again open its doors in Düsseldorf, Germany, from March 19–21. More than 6,300 exhibitors from 60 countries are scheduled to attend the event, topping last year’s record count of 6,200 from 59 countries. Ecuador, Poland, Indonesia and Myanmar (formerly Burma) will present wines for the first time this year. While wine is ProWein’s predominant focus, approximately 400 spirits exhibitors are also expected. Both the Champagne Lounge and Organic World are slated to return, while the FIZZZ Lounge—a creative space dedicated to mixology, craft beer and even coffee—seeks to push its boundaries.

Health nannies waging war on moderate drinking
January marks the 98th anniversary of the ratification of the 18th Amendment, more commonly known as Prohibition. While Prohibition is remembered as one of America’s greatest failed experiments, today we’re seeing something of a revival of prohibitionist thinking among the public health community who have begun to attack even moderate alcohol consumption in earnest. There is long-standing consensus about the negative health and social impacts of excessive alcohol consumption. But for decades there has also been widespread agreement about the health benefits from a regular glass or two of your favorite beer, wine or spirit.

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WID 2017