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News posted on Monday, 11 January 2016

Winemaker and Wild Oats XI owner Bob Oatley dies at 87
Australian entrepreneur Bob Oatley has died. He was 87. Oatley was a winemaker and businessman but was probably best known in Australian life as the owner of Wild Oats XI, the eight-time winner of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. He made his fortune in wine, establishing the Rosemount wine business in 1969 and selling it to Treasury Wine Estates back in 2001 for a stunning $1.4 billion.

Increasing tax on alcohol key to reducing consumption, says study
Increasing the cost of the cheapest alcohol could reduce consumption by nearly 12 standard drinks a week for low-income wine consumers, a new Monash University study says. Called Are Alcohol Taxation and Pricing Policies Regressive? Product-Level Effects of a Specific Tax and a Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol, the study was conducted by Brian Vandenberg and Anurag Sharma. Mr Vandenberg, who is at the Centre for Health Economics, said the study took a year to complete.

Smashing solution to China’s imitation game
The threat of forgeries are among the many risks wineries face when making a push to export into the Asian nation, with trademark theft and squatting another big concern for vintners. Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards winemaker Corrina Wright said the push into China was “difficult” but their links with a Western-educated distributor in Hong Kong had helped to pave the way.

WA growers continue extreme heat and wind trial
A sunscreen and shade trial is continuing to deliver results for Western Australian grapegrowers. The project, being conducted as part of the Western Australia Regional Program funded by Wine Australia, started in 2014 to help growers find ways to manage the effect of extreme heat events on fruit quality – in particular, looking at the use of shadecloth and two commercially available sunscreen products.

Grapegrowers could save thousands using mechanical harvesters to prevent disease
A new disease prevention strategy could save grapegrowers thousands of dollars and improve the efficiency of their sprays. Following the massive 2008 harvest, a Marlborough grower approached New Zealand Winegrowers to ask them to research the use of machine harvesters in controlling crop levels, something he had seen in Australia. The idea was that harvesters would beat the vines, causing them to drop bunches of grapes to reduce the overall yield, but something unexpected happened: it also significantly reduced the risk of botrytis.

Food and wine focus of new Australia Day taste-off
The Great Aussie Taste-Off, a new initiative from Wine Australia for this year’s Australia Day tasting, will attempt to demonstrate the diversity of Australian wines by pitching Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers against each other in a series of wine matching duels. Sessions will ask an MS and MW to pick the best matches for a series of dishes prepared by The Harrow at Little Bedwyn’s Roger Jones. The contenders will have to defend their choices to attempt to convince the audience that their match deserves to win.

Matua winemaker takes up new role at Giesen
The award-winning Kiwi winemaker Nikolai St George has been appointed as chief winemaker of Marlborough-based Giesen Estate Wines, it has been announced. St George takes up the role after having worked for seven years at Treasury’s Matua Valley Wines, the producer of New Zealand’s first Sauvignon Blanc, and wineries in Central Otago and Waiheke Island. He will take up the new chief winemaker position on 25 January, Giesen confirmed.

Drink tea instead of wine, says UK health chief
Dame Sally Davies tells radio listeners people needed to take into account the clear link between alcohol and cancer. England's Chief Medical Officer has defended a move to issue new guidance on drinking by suggesting people should drink tea after a day's work instead of a glass of wine. Dame Sally Davies also said the idea that drinking a glass of red wine a day is good for you is an "old wives' tale".

Cool climate wine hunting
Cool climate wine is heading mainstream in 2016 as winemakers in different countries share their learning, writes Jane Anson - even if no one can quite agree on what the term means. I’m sure you’ve all seen the cartoon that’s doing the rounds this month, where a man is reclining in an armchair with a glass of wine.

Lodi Group finds success with native wines
After wine writer and sommelier Randy Caparoso came to Lodi in 2010 to help promote the region’s wines to consumers, he devised a novel way to bring attention to a few of the area’s best vineyards. His plan was to convince a group of winemakers to do almost nothing in the cellar. Caparoso had been hired by Mark Chandler, the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s executive director at the time, as part of the group’s shift to garner more attention from consumers.

Washington wine growth stays strong
Acreage devoted to wine grapes continues to increase in Washington, as does production, and still, prices are rising — all positive trends for the wine industry. Washington growers harvested 227,000 tons of wine grapes on 51,770 acres in 2014. Early estimates courtesy of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers show growers harvested 233,288 tons on 53,353 acres in 2015.


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