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News posted on Monday, 10 August 2015

Wine tax rorts exposed
Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is set to throw an accelerant on a debate in the wine industry with the release of a discussion paper into the wine equalisation tax (WET) rebate. It is understood that the discussion paper, to be released within the next two weeks, will not make any recommendations but will include case studies that show how the WET rebate is being manipulated and rorted.

Treasury's Mike Clarke stockpiles top-end wines, but retailers seek more profit
Mike Clarke is holding back luxury wines to smooth out profits, while retailers eye more of the pie too. But is this the one that got away from private equity bidders? It's the corporate equivalent of having the best-stocked cellar in the street, where invitations to dinner are sought after by those in the neighbourhood. Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Mike Clarke has been sitting on $400 million worth of high-end luxury wines that he's been squirrelling away to ensure he's better able to deliver more consistent profits year after year, in a company with a history of extreme fluctuations.

Croser family wrests back winery lost in hostile 2001 takeover
ABOUT 14 years after suffering a demoralising takeover, the tenacious Croser family has its Adelaide Hills winery back — and has opened a new Piccadilly Valley cellar door. According to Lucy, one of three Croser daughters, this time it’s back for good. “We will be keeping it in the family from now on,’’ she said. Lucy was in her early 20s when she had to watch her parents crumple in sadness during the takeover. “My dad was devastated, the label was lost, but we always hoped to get the land back.

Chris Hancock releases own label wines
Australian wine legend, Chris Hancock, has released the first wines under his own label, Hancock & Hancock, along with his brother John, based at their McLaren Vale South Australia vineyard, La Colline. The two red wines released this month comprise a Shiraz Grenache and a Cabernet Touriga from the 2014 McLaren Vale vintage. Winemaker Hancock told TheShout, they plan to take on the crowded wine market by producing interesting blends that are immediately drinkable.

Swinney and Dawson's new partnership buys Powderbark Ridge Vineyard
Swinney Vineyards and former head winemaker with Hardy's and Constellation, Peter Dawson, have established a partnership to buy the Powderbark Ridge vineyard. Powderbark, in Frankland River, is one of the Great Southern's most reputable vineyards. Matt Swinney, the executive director of Swinney Vineyards, told TheShout: "Powderbark has a reputation for producing very high quality fruit so we are obviously keen to maintain that and to enhance quality where we can.”

Realities of passing on the reins
Working in the family business was a lonely experience for Gordon Vogtherr. "I couldn't get away from my father because I lived and worked with him 24 hours a day," he said. "I didn't really have any friends but I have a lot to be thankful for. All I have, I have to thank my father for." The Holly Bacon Company was founded in Hastings in 1914 and the transition from the second to third generation was smooth because Gordon's father took ill in 1961.

Focus on quality foremost
The largest research and development program undertaken by the New Zealand wine industry is under way, in the hopes of putting New Zealand at the forefront for high quality, naturally produced ''lifestyle'' low-alcohol and low-calorie wines. But what role does Central Otago have to play? Liam Cavanagh reports. Before winning the Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year competition last month, Mike Winter gave a speech at the annual black-tie winemakers Feraud dinner in Cromwell.

English wine industry continues 'exponential growth’
The English wine industry is still undergoing "exponential growth", UK Vineyard Association general secretary and wine consultant Jo Cowderoy said at Fruit Focus. "There is a massive amount of new planting. It's difficult to know exactly what's happening but the contractors and the consultants are working flat out - we don't have enough of them to meet the need." Dismissing the possibility that this will lead to overproduction, she said: "Wine consumption is always there and there is a strong interest in drinking as well as eating local produce.

2015 Spiegelau International Wine Competition results
Trophies were announced last night at a special awards dinner to celebrate the results of the 2015 Spiegelau International Wine Competition. Held at a prestigious central Auckland location, over 100 wine industry guests enjoyed the gold medal wines and a chance to hear first-hand which wines had been awarded the trophies. New Zealand, Australia and France were recipients of trophies.

Wine: Italy’s alternative to the usual suspects
When most people think of world-class red wines, the grapes in the bottles are usually from the international quartet of Cabernet/ Merlot/ Syrah/ Pinot. But not in northern Italy. Step forward Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, and Corvine/ Corvinone/ Rondinella. Too many of the wines from these grapes are under-rated, says one of the most distinguished of their growers. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, argues Baron Francesco Ricasole.

Industry fears for Swiss wine’s market share
Winegrowers in Switzerland are concerned that a low volume grape harvest for the third successive year could mean Swiss wine loses out to foreign competitors on supermarket shelves. The dry, hot summer means wine fans can look forward to a high-quality vintage this year, however the quantity of wine produced could be below average, industry figures told the Tribune de Genève.


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