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News posted on Friday, 10 July 2015

Entries open for National Moscato Challenge
Following a successful inaugural event last year, the National Moscato Challenge is returning this year and organisers are looking to make the event bigger and better. Entries are open now to any winery in Australia who produces a Moscato style wine, giving them an opportunity to benchmark their Moscato’s against wines of similar style in a class all of its own. Chris Dent, National Moscato Challenge organiser, said the lure of Moscato’s sweet, fruity and low alcohol style has seen dramatic growth in the marketplace in recent years.

Recruiting the next generation of talent into our wine industry
There are positive global signs for the Australian wine industry through potential new markets, but the sector could be facing a major dilemma through lost talent as its ageing growers and winemakers enter retirement. Mary Retallack, viticulturist and industry leader, said the vast majority of people running vineyard properties and making wine were aged 55 and above. “As these people transition into retirement, there is a real possibility that we will lose an immense amount of knowledge and experience from the industry.”

There’s no middleman when it’s straight From the Producer
Online wine sales have become more popular than direct purchases for the first time ever, according to a recent report by Wine Intelligence, with one-in-five wine drinkers shopping online. Market estimates put the size of the Australian online wine market at about $500 million with annual growth at 20 per cent. While the numbers are up, many online wine channels drive prices down, and the returns to the winery in a heavily discounted environment are meagre.

ARC grant for wine research at CSU
A new two-year study led by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) researcher will aim to change the way the Australian wine industry puts research into practice. The Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project was announced on Tuesday 6 July by the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP. It will receive ARC funding of $191 394. The study, Information Seeking and Research Adoption: Assessing Communication Strategies will be led by CSU Professor of Information Studies Lisa Given.

Penfolds Re-corking Clinic unearths rare Grange collections in Taipei
For the first time in Penfolds 171 year history, Peter Gago, chief winemaker, delivered the Penfolds Re-corking Clinic to fine wine collectors in Taipei. The ultimate in after-sales service, the winemaking team inspected Penfolds red wines aged 15 years and older, by appointment, at W Hotel Taipei on 7 July 2015. Highlights of the collections assessed included rare Grange vintages dating back more than four decades as well as well-cellared collections of Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Henri Shiraz, and Special Bin Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon wines collected in Taiwan from around the world.

US market offers huge potential for New Zealand wines
New Zealand wine exports to the United States are growing faster than to our traditional international markets of Australia and the UK, and that pace is being matched by increasing recognition at the top competitions. In the five years from 2010-2015, exports of Kiwi wines increased three times faster than the UK and Australia. For the 12 months ended April 2015, New Zealand exported 5.88 million cases of wine to the US – up three million since 2010. During that period, exports to Australia increased to 6.4 million (4.8 million five years ago).

Caleb sets sights on national final
For Craggy Range viticulturist Caleb Dennis it was a case of third time lucky when he picked up the Bayer Hawke's Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year title last week. "I was pretty ecstatic to have won this year as it was the third time I had entered," was how he summed it up. The 27-year-old beat seven other contestants at the Te Awa Winery-staged event to take the Hawke's Bay title and now goes through to the national final against the rest of the industry's best young viticulturists.

'First ever' criminal investigation in France into wine grower's death from pesticide use
A French criminal court has launched an unprecedented inquiry into the “involuntary homicide” of a Bordeaux wine grower who died of lung cancer after using a toxic pesticide on his grapes for 40 years. James-Bernard Murat, died in 2012 after spraying his vineyards in southwestern France with three pesticides containing sodium arsenite, which is now banned as a carcinogenic poison. His cancer was officially confirmed to be “linked to his profession” in 2011.

Valmira Raises the Bar for Spanish Wine Prices
It might be from the less-favored region of Rioja Baja, but it costs more than Vega Sicilia. Rioja Baja's most expensive wine is set for release, and it will be one of the costliest in Spain. Alvaro Palacios' single-vineyard, 100-percent Garnacha called Valmira, from Alfaro in the far southeast of Rioja, will hit the shelves at €380 ($425) – more than Vega Sicilia's Único. Rioja is no stranger to expensive bottles – Artadi's Vina el Pisón, and Bodegas Contador come to mind – although when it comes to price, nothing beats Ribera del Duero or Priorat.

Matthew Clark boosts boutique range to cash in on premium wine growth
Matthew Clark has added more than 30 boutique wines to its portfolio as demand for premium wines in the on-trade continues to grow. Company stats show that sales of premium wines are up 10 per cent on last year, with restaurants (up 14.5 per cent) and gastropubs (up 52 per cent) putting in a particularly impressive performance. "We're delighted to welcome so many new top producers to our 2015 list," said purchasing director, Simon Jerrome.

Meet the Chicago startup that wants to purify your wine
You may have seen the small label at the bottom of your wine bottle that reads "Contains Sulfite" and wondered, what is this? Is sulfite bad? Is that what's giving me wicked wine hangovers? There's some debate about the health risks of sulfites (no, it's probably not what's giving you headaches), but for a certain segment of the population, sulfites are indeed harmful and prevent people from consuming wine. Those with asthma can have severe sulfite sensitivity, and others are just simply allergic to it.

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