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News posted on Thursday, 10 March 2016

Wine production controlled through new technology
The absence of absolute control over the grape-growing process has always been part of the charm of winemaking. But now a new generation of sensor-driven viticulture tools is giving growers the ability to monitor and measure their vines like never before. Remote sensors with the ability to detect everything from how much water a plant is storing to how much light is falling on the ripening grape are revealing valuable information about just how variable the biosphere of a single vineyard can be.

Hangover looms for wine industry as axe hangs over tax rebate
There are concerns for the future of hundreds of small wine businesses across Australia if the Federal Government moves to scrap a generous rebate paid to producers. The rebate was introduced to support regional wine operators allowing businesses to claim a refund on the amount of tax they pay, potentially up to $500,000 per year. Last month a Senate inquiry into the Australian grape and wine industry recommended phasing it out over five years and re-directing the money for schemes like an annual grant to cellar door operators.

Coonawarra Premium Wines to be launched at ProWein 2016
Kingston Estate Wines announced its launch of Coonawarra Premium Wines at this year’s ProWein trade fair held 13-15 March in Dusseldorf Germany. Bill Moularadellis, Kingston Estate Wines owner, said Kingston would have a stand at the fair for the 14th year in a row and ProWein was a suitably global event to introduce a very special, premium wine offering.

SA Winegrape Growers Summit to be held earlier in 2016
The demand outlook for winegrapes leading into the 2017 season will be a major focus of the third Annual Winegrape Growers Summit in South Australia held on Friday June 17 this year. Peter Hackworth, Wine Grape Council of South Australia executive officer, said the summit was happening a month earlier this year, giving growers more time to take on board the information they gain from the summit prior to the 2017 season.

Sparflex takes over Aussie hood producer
Wine packaging company Sparflex has taken over Pacifix, an Australian producer of wire hoods for sparkling wine bottles. Pacifix, a family-owned company run by Roger Young, is a prominent wire hood supplier for both the Australian and Californian sparkling wine industries. “This acquisition will allow Sparflex to structure and grow its business in Australia and Asia,” a spokesperson for the French company said. The Sparflex Group currently generates a turnover of $90 million and has production facilities in France, Spain and California.

Accolade announces Mud House sponsorship of British & Irish Lions
Accolade Wines announced it has recently acquired Mud House New Zeland wine brand is the official sponsor of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand. At a press briefing in London yesterday Accolade Wines CEO, Paul Schaafsma and the British & Irish Lions COO, Charlie McEwen, confirmed the Lions 2017 tour sponsorship.

Grape crop a hot prospect
Hawke's Bay Winegrowers chairman Michael Henley said the scorchers in January and February meant the region was trending towards the warmest grape growing season in about five years. "If the good weather continues, we're going to have a very good vintage with an early harvest." He said 2013 and 2014 vintages were great while the 2015 vintage was just good, but 2016 looked a strong prospect to top all three.

Sulphur free wines come to London Wine Fair
Fuelled by the Prosecco boom, the consumption and production of sparkling wine continues to grow rapidly year on year with all corners of the wine world now producing quality sparklers, from Franciacorta to Tasmania. The Global Sparkling Masters will judge both sparkling and semi-sparkling wines made in a wide variety of styles.

Wine market lacking cheer amid global economic uncertainty
Amid global economic uncertainty, the wine market is also feeling the pinch, with those in the industry saying that they expect growth to slow over the next few years. Industry experts Vinexpo and International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) expect growth in Asia Pacific’s wine market to slow to 2.8 per cent between 2015 and 2019. That’s a significant fall from the 18.4 per cent growth it logged in 2010 to 2014.

Has the death of $10 wine been greatly exaggerated?
The death of $10 wine, according to the wine pundits, is just around the corner. That corner, though, looks to be in a completely different part of town. How else to make sense of U.S. sales figures for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 24, where 19 of the top 20 selling brands cost less than $10? And that eight of the top 20, all selling for less than $10, showed double digit sales growth in a market has been essentially flat for the past three years?

Tour de France solves disruption threat
The organisers of the Tour de France have reached a sponsorship agreement with French winemakers who threatened to block parts of the route in protest. Last month wine producers in the Languedoc expressed their anger at the news that Chilean wine brand Cono Sur and its ‘Bicicleta’ label had been chosen as a sponsor of the renowned cycling event. Winemakers in the region said they would disrupt the Tour as it passed through the Languedoc this July as part of Stage 11 of the race.

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