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News posted on Friday, 10 February 2017

Future Leaders 2017 applications now open
Applications for the Future Leaders 2017 program are open till early March, to members of the grape and wine community who are early to mid-career and demonstrating leadership potential. Funded by the sector and coordinated by Wine Australia, Future Leaders is a unique leadership program that’s been specifically designed for the needs of the Australian grape and wine sector. The program is an opportunity to bring together emerging leaders from the sector right along the value chain and help them develop the skills to work collaboratively and creatively toward a common goal for long-term prosperity.

How will we impress the World's 50 Best judges?
Wine Australia, Official Wine Partner of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, will also invite 50 of the best sommeliers in the world to discover Australia’s wine offering in April. The group will include sommeliers from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the Best Sommelier in the World competition and top sommeliers in New Zealand and Australia. Wine Australia has also selected a panel of renowned Australian wine experts to choose the wines being served across the official program of events.

Compelling evidence
The new Loxton Research Centre (LRC) adds another volume of compelling evidence of the power of the Riverland and Mallee community when shoulders are put to the wheel and the gifts of imagination, energy and passion are combined with attitudes of open mindedness, co-operation and ‘can do’. The vision began more than seven years ago in 2009 when it was blindingly obvious the old LRC had run its race. It had run out of puff. Research activities and scientists had been syphoned off as programs and projects were consolidated and absorbed into larger research institutions including AWRI, CSIRO and universities around the nation where true ‘Centre of Excellence’ could be established and strengthened.

Australia Day Tasting in UK
With more exhibitors, new wineries, product launches and a new venue in London, the 2017 Australia Day Tastings (ADT) in the UK and Ireland had some of the region’s most influential wine professionals heralding the quality and finesse of Australian fine wine. Almost 1200 people attended the event series that took place in London (B1 Victoria House), Dublin (Royal Hibernian Academy) and Edinburgh (Balmoral Hotel). There were 58 wineries exhibiting at the ADT for the first time among the 230 that participated this year.

Life lines: Wine, women and work
I’m writing this column with a glass of wine beside me. That means I’m one of the millennial women who are drinking more, a fact that has spurred countless articles. I’ve seen friends sharing and commenting on stories about how women are drinking to cope with stress, how frightening these numbers are. These numbers came from a study done by the University of New South Wales in Australia and Columbia University. The results, which ran in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, plotted the drinking habits of men and women, separated into different age blocks, from the turn of the century through 2000.

New Zealand steps up Albariño ambitions
An increasing number of New Zealand winemakers are investing in the Spanish variety Albariño, believing it to offer the acidity, salinity and softness to become an appealing, albeit small volume, alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. Native to north-west Spain and north-west Portugal, and Spain’s Rías Baixas in particular, Albariño is known for its saline, mineral character, bright acidity and aromas of citrus, apricot and peach, depending on the handling of the grape and the climate in which it is grown.

Bay Area wins big in wine comp
If you want to drink well in the Bay Area, there’s plenty of stellar wine to choose from. The results of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the nation’s largest, are out and Bay Area wineries excelled, with 64 East Bay and South Bay wineries capturing 348 best of show, double gold, gold, silver and bronze medals. Some 60 wine experts swirled, sipped and spit their way through 7,000 wines from 28 states. In the end, 11 best-of-class medals, 26 double golds and 68 gold medals went to local wineries.

US wines 22 years of consecutive growth
Last year wine sales in the US achieved their 22nd consecutive year of volume growth as it ended the year up by 1.7% at 357.4m nine-litre cases. Still wine drove the addition of 4.5m nine-litre cases on a 1.4% growth rate over the previous year. Sparkling wine saw the strongest growth, up by 8.1% adding 1.6m nine-litre cases last year. Three of the top five leading brand volumes declined (Franzia, Carlo Rossi and Sutter Home) amid the trend of consumers trading up to more premium-priced (over $10.00) products.

Cognac leads record French alcohol sales
France notched up record exports of wine and spirits for a second straight year in 2016 thanks to brisk sales of Cognac but the amount of wine sold declined, industry figures showed Thursday. Sales abroad rose 1.2 percent to 11.9 billion euros ($12.7 billion) last year, with spirits making up a third of the total and Cognac alone hitting an all-time export high, according to the French Federation of Exporters (FEVS). The figures showed that while the amount of wine sold declined -- France fell behind Italy as the world's biggest wine producer two years ago -- the product that was sold was of higher quality than in previous years and hence sold for a higher price.

Will Chinese law change hurt purchases?
January saw the now-usual announcement of a Chinese property purchase in Bordeaux. This time it was Domaine de Bellair in Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux to Golden Field, a food and drinks company based between China and Taiwan. A few months earlier it was Domaine de Corteillac in Bordeaux Superieur to Daohe Wine and Spirits, a Chinese conglomerate with a wine and spirits subsidiary. The company that seems to be racheting up these sales, MSB Christies International Real Estate in Bordeaux, estimates that these two purchases bring the number of chateaux in the region under Chinese ownership to somewhere around 160, which seems to me either about right or slightly low.

Prosecco reigns but Italian reds set for growth
Prosecco may be Brits' favourite wine, but lesser-known Italian regions are poised for greater popularity, according to a leading wine expert. Brian Howard, co-founder of analysts Wine Intelligence, told The Morning Advertiser (MA) Prosecco's popularity was unlikely to wane any time soon. He said: "It's a clear number one and I don't see it falling off the cliff, although Italy and a lot of importers are working hard at finding alternatives. It seems to take a long time - maybe five to 10 years - for a new wine region or style to become really embedded in the UK drinking culture.





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WID 2017