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News posted on Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Hunter growers assess weekend hail damage
Some Hunter Valley vignerons say they lost nearly all their grape crop in the hail storm that lashed parts of the region at the weekend. A large hail storm moved through the northern part of Broke Fordwich on Friday night, bringing with it more than 34 millimetres of rain. Andrew Margan of Margan Family Wines says it could have been much worse, and is hopeful the tropical humidity is over.

Plan to raise premiums on Australia wine, boost competitiveness
It's time to refocus attention on Australia's best wines, sell more overseas and attract a higher price for them, according to the Australian Grape and Wine Authority. In a discussion paper about its new strategic plan for 2015-2020, the peak body for the wine industry says it wants to both boost demand and the premium paid for Australian wine, and the competitiveness of the industry.

"Bullet proof" grape making good wine in NSW
A "bullet proof" French-American hybrid grape is tipped by several local winemakers on the New South Wales far south coast to provide the best variety for the region. Bottling for 2014 at the small Tilba Valley winery between Tilba and Narooma has been completed by winemakers Clint Bradley and Sue O'Rourke.

Winemaker David Lowe says low alcohol wines could pave way for healthier future
Winemaker David Lowe says the concerns about Australia's binge-drinking culture are real, and aren't going away, so there's a role for quality winemakers in taking up the challenge and creating a new culture around drinking. Lowe, from Mudgee in New South Wales, says he is one of a group of winemakers who have received funding to commercialise low alcohol wine.

What one of China's most respected bankers thinks about Australian business
Dr Ma Weihua, former chief executive of the China Merchant Bank and executive chairman of China Entrepreneur Club, whose members include industry captains like Jack Ma of Alibaba and Liu Chuanzhi of Lenovo, is one the country’s most highly regarded bankers. Ma thinks Australia’s wine industry is much more open about exporting to China as well as accepting foreign investment.

Yealands looks to fast-track expansion
New Zealand’s Yealands Wine Group is looking at funding options in order to fast-track expansion plans and increase its vineyard holdings. The group is undertaking a strategic review to assess capital requirements in order to take advantage of the “significant opportunities” it sees for New Zealand wines internationally.

Award-winning winery's block for sale
An established Hawkes Bay vineyard owned and operated by the award winning Villa Maria winery on the edge of Hastings is for sale. Karamu Vineyard is located on a high-profile site at 236 State Highway 2 in Mangateretere and is also close to Napier and Havelock North.

Government crime unit to probe UK wine fraud
The issue of wine fraud is moving up the UK political agenda after it emerged a newly-established unit of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is to investigate the issue. The Food Crime Unit (FCU), which officially launches next month, is being established in the wake of last year's horse meat scandal. The unit's remit will also include probing the issue of fake wine.

Indian grape sector strengthened by 2014 export campaign
An Indian subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) sold 668 containers equalling 9,400 tonnes of grapes to overseas markets during the 2014 export campaign, signalling a solid improvement in quality and productivity in the Indian grape sector. Around 500 grape farmers gathered at a ceremony in Nashik, in the main grapegrowing state of Maharashtra, in December to celebrate an excellent export campaign.

Are wine industry events a good investment?
It’s that time of the year. Most wineries are considering their 2015 calendar and one of the biggest decisions will be whether to participate in industry events. We are often asked whether wine industry events are a good investment. Most of our winery clients have participated in industry events and most were underwhelmed with the results. Not all visitors have the same objective and we’ve seen that there are at least three prevalent guest segments.

Chinese hotel group to buy 37ha Bordeaux estate
One of China's largest hotel companies, New Century Tourism Group, has provisionally agreed to buy Chateau de Birot in the Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux appellation, as Chinese investors continue to pursue vineyard deals across France. Christie's Real Estate is understood to have brokered the sale of the 37-hectare property, which is owned by Eric and Helene Fournier-Casteja and has been run by their son, Arthur, since 2010.

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