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News posted on Monday, 11 May 2015

Vineyard fears bureaucratic rescue of ‘non-existent frogs’
One of Australia’s more esteemed makers of shiraz is locked in an existential struggle with bureaucrats intent on turning his historic winery into a haven for a frog he says hasn’t been seen on the property for 50 years. Pat Carmody, whose Craiglee Vineyard sits on Melbourne’s western outskirts, discovered by chance in 2013 that his property had had a growling grass frog overlay placed on it covering 75 per cent of the property. On a horseshoe bend of Jackson’s Creek at Sunbury, the vineyard produces a few thousands cases a year of some the ¬nation’s finest shiraz, regularly ranking in Halliday’s top 100.

May 2015 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The May 2015 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. The annual vintage report is featured this month with a wide range of Australian wine regions commenting on their ‘fast and furious’ 2015 harvest season. The May issue also looks at the latest in post-harvest vineyard care, pruning, frost management and oaks. We also feature an in-depth look at boutique wineries, inviting a number of industry leaders to share their opinion on what it takes to be small and successful.

Aus winemakers see red over 'absurd' subsidy for NZ growers
Australia's winemakers have given the Government legal advice on how to end what they describe as a "perverse" and "absurd" subsidy for the New Zealand's industry. The wine equalisation tax (WET) was introduced to make up the difference when the GST replaced higher wholesale sales taxes. In a move initially designed to support smaller winemakers and grape growers, the Government allowed them to claim a rebate of up to $500,000.

Low yields pave way for high quality West Australian vintage
Despite hail storms, an unusually warm spring and low yields, West Australian winemakers say they have finished a successful vintage. Growers in the south of the state say low volumes led to excellent quality in some varieties. Whereas further north, the Swan Valley pick is set to be one of the best vintages on record. For many growers, this year's harvest was quite a long one. Some of those in the Swan Valley wine region kicked off their pick in December. Yet others were left wrapping up at the end of April.

Delegat Group's harvest hit by bad weather
Delegat Group's New Zealand harvest has fallen by more than a quarter but the wine company is still confident sales will rise this year. Delegat's said it harvested nearly 27,000 tonnes of grapes for the 2015 season. The New Zealand harvest has accounted for 25,000 tonnes, 26 percent lower than last year. The company said that was partly due to higher than average yields the previous year and lower than average yields this year.

Grape quality 'exceptionally good'
It was an ''intense'' wine harvest for Central Otago vineyards this year but fruit quality is ''exceptionally good''. That is the word from Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey who said harvesting was all but finished for the region. ''We are overjoyed with the quality and quantity with what we have got,'' he said. Grapes going through fermentation were very aromatic with concentrated, intense colours, Dicey said.

Scientists prefer aluminium screw tops for fine wine
They don’t stand on snobbishness when it comes to making wine at Washington State University. For the past six years, every wine made by a Washington State oenology student or researcher has come with a screw cap. Cork used to be the only method for sealing a wine bottle. But that has changed, as aluminium screw caps have become more popular. Screw caps help winemakers avoid cork taint, which can wreck as many as seven bottles of wine out of a hundred. Cork taint leaves a mouldy, musty, off-putting smell inside a bottle.

Spanish winery becomes third biggest in the world after €40 million expansion
A SPANISH winery is hitting the bottle hard with a €40 million (A$56m) expansion. After the investment, Felix Solis Avantis will be in the world’s top three wineries. Famous for its Vina Albali, the company’s annual production will grow from 200m to 300m litres (that’s 400 million bottles) by the end of 2016. The investment will go mostly boost technologies, automation and capacity to start a new range of sparkling wines. Solis Ramos, the firm’s international director said: “The first new brands of sparkling wine will be called Provetto and Penasol made from the Viura and Airen grapes.

Clarke traces wine history bottle by bottle
The British wine writer offers an off-kilter history of wine's development. What do the Bordeaux first growths, Tokaji, Blue Nun and Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc have in common? For British wine writer Oz Clarke, they all mark crucial steps in the development of wine. Clarke's new book, The History of Wine in 100 Bottles From Bacchus to Bordeaux and Beyond, is an ambitious task, as the author himself acknowledges in the preface. "This isn't just a history of 100 bottles.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 opens for entries
The search for the best wines on sale in Asia has begun after the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 opened for entries, with DecanterChina columnist professor Li Demei appointed as a vice-chair for this year’s competition. Entries are now open for the fourth annual Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA). The competition gives wineries a chance to gain independent recognition for quality, while offering the region’s consumers a guide to the best wines available in their area in a range of styles.

Signs point to excellent Tassie vintage
AFTER a low-yielding 2014 vintage, Tasmania’s wine producers say early signs point to a much better yield this year. Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies said she expected this year’s vintage to be similar to the ‘‘excellent’’ vintage of 2005. Davies said although she would not consider the yield a ‘‘bumper crop,’’ it was a marked improvement on 2014. "It’s looking really, really good, lots of producers right around the state are pleased with what they’re seeing for 2015,’’ she said.

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