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News posted on Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Candidates asked to show support
Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW) has written to the five candidates for the new NSW electorate, asking them to show their support for wine grape growers prior to the March 28 state election. Following an electoral shuffle, the new seat of Murray encompasses the large Riverina wine region as well as the local government areas of Wentworth, Balranald and Wakool shires which fall within the Murray Darling and Swan Hill wine regions. With the inclusion of the Riverina area around Griffith, the new Member for Murray will be the parliamentary representative for the two largest wine regions in NSW – Murray-Darling and Riverina.

High hopes for wine industry
AUSTRALIAN wines have the potential to be the best in the world, a leading industry body has said. The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) released a paper to stimulate discussion with the grape and wine community ahead of developing AGWA’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020, with chair Brian Walsh setting a lofty goal for the industry in Australia. “Australia has the resources and capability to be recognised internationally as the world’s pre-eminent wine producing country,” he said.

Grape expectations in trade deals
WHEN Swan WA's oldest winery says free trade deals between Australia and the powerhouse Asian economies of China, Japan and South Korea will be one of the biggest boosts to producers in decades. After Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Houghton winery yesterday, the Swan Valley producer welcomed moves to lower tariffs into the north Asian countries as vital and long overdue. In November, Australia sealed years of negotiations by signing a free trade agreement with China, cementing earlier deals with Japan and South Korea.

Good heat and low rainfall brings on strong, early wine grape harvest for Adelaide Hills vineyard
Warm summer days and a lack of rain has brought on the earliest harvest yet for one South Australian vineyard. The Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, which began picking its grapes 10 days ahead of schedule in late February, has already harvested around 250 tonnes of fruit. Manager Marty Edwards said despite the early ripening of the crop, the quality of the wine grapes had been very good. "The wines are bursting with natural acidity at the moment which is the one element we can't really adjust in the winemaking process," he said.

Champagne enjoys an Aussie boom
Australia has once again proved to be an important market for Champagne, with 2014 showing an 8.3 per cent increase in imports. Over 6.5 million bottles of Champagne were imported into Australia last year, making the country the sixth largest market in the world in terms of importing. Elisabeth Drysdale, director of Australia's Champagne Bureau, told The Shout, "Australia, historically has had a great affiliation with Champagne since the gold rush days. Over the last decades, we have always remained in the top 10 markets for importing."

Record wine exports mark the start of vintage 2015
New Zealand wine exports hit a record high last year, rising 8.2 per cent to $1.37 billion, making wine the country's sixth biggest export good. The news comes as New Zealand’s 2015 grape harvest kicks off, with prospects looking good so far – although significantly smaller than the 2014 crop, according to Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers CEO. “Prospects for a high quality vintage are looking very positive due to the superb summer weather said Gregan said.

New Zealand wine industry launches low-alcohol initiative
Villa Maria is launching a range of nine per cent abv wines in the UK market after the New Zealand government teamed up with producers to position the country as the world leader for lower alcohol wines. The program is the largest research and development effort ever undertaken by New Zealand’s wine industry, which has invested NZ$9 million in the seven-year project. The New Zealand government has chipped in $8.24 million, and the team is gauging the UK market to see how interested UK retailers would be in listing New Zealand wines at around eight per cent abv to 10 per cent abv.

Spain becomes biggest wine exporter
Spain has become the world's biggest exporter of wine, after shipping out 22.8 million hectolitres in 2014, a 22.3 per cent rise on 2013. But while the country's exports have risen, because much of its exports were bulk sales with small margins, profits for Spain's wine industry fell by 2.2 per cent. France were the largest importers of Spanish wine, followed by Germany, Portugal and Russia. Spain's exporting of cheaper wines is particularly highlighted in figures from the United States.

1 in 5 Chinese wines close to European standard
31 Chinese wines will be included in Bettane & Desseauve's next wine guide. In the wake of a major tasting of Chinese wines, leading French wine critics Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve have claimed that one-fifth of the country's wines entered were "very good". The pair were in China to select wines for the second edition of the Mandarin version of the Bettane & Desseauve guide. Some 173 wines were tasted by the pair, accompanied by 12 French and Chinese reviewers, in Beijing last week. In total, 31 wines were selected for inclusion in the book.

Local winemaker produces drought-resistant wine
VALLEY CENTER, Calif. — In the midst of one of the worst droughts in California history, a local winemaker is trying to prove he can have a successful wine business with less water. “We’re getting less and less water and because of that water is becoming more expensive,” said vintner and owner of Vesper wines, Chris Broomell. He has been harvesting his wines using the method of “dry farming,” which relies solely on minimal rainfall instead of irrigation water. “You’re basically playing poker with mother nature,” Broomell said. “You kind of have to do knowledgeable of it and react to it.”

How a South African winery is using tea to make a preservative-free wine
In South Africa’s scenic wine growing Western Cape, the Audacia winery wants to revolutionise the region’s famous industry after patenting a new technique that used Rooibos and Honeybush in the production of wine, beer and ciders. With wine lovers globally looking for healthier ways to consume their favourite tipple, research conducted by the Department of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University, found there were powerful antioxidants in Rooibos and Honeybush which may help preserve the wine naturally.





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