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News posted on Thursday, 11 June 2015

Tax storm brews as NZ whines
Australian taxpayers would be forced to subsidise the importation of Kiwi beer, under a new New Zealand government proposal. Prime Minister John Key’s Government has hit out at the move to stop Kiwi wineries claiming tax rebates of up to $500,000 a year from Australia. They also want independent NZ breweries that export beer across the Tasman to be able to claim up to $30,000 each a year Australia’s brewery refund scheme.

To learn more about smoke taint in wine grapes, scientists need to design better experiments
Many of Australia's wine regions have been exposed to bushfires over the last decade, and scientists have made great strides studying the effect of the smoke on wine grapes, according to a University of Adelaide researcher. Early questions about the chemistry of smoke taint have been answered. The focus of research then shifted to treating wine affected by smoke taint, which cause a smoky, ashy taste.

Trio of Australian Wineries Use Bumper Crop for Kindness
One man’s extra Shiraz is another man’s treasure. The Canberra district of Australia’s wine regions are experience an amazing harvest this year, and with some wineries harvesting more grapes than they can handle, one team of winemakers has decided to sell the wine made from extra grapes and donate the proceeds to Companion House, an Australian non-profit which provides assistance to refugees.

A barrel of possibilities
IT may just be one of the best kept secrets in the Australian wine industry; an innovation in the barrel fermentation of handcrafted Shiraz taking place right here in the North East. But word is getting out quickly about Star Lane Winery’s 2012 Elements Shiraz, uniquely aged in recycled Australian red gum barrels, and there’s already plenty of interest from growing wine markets in Japan and China for the boutique offering.

Peter Yealands denies that Marlborough wine company is sold or on market
Marlborough entrepreneur Peter Yealands has again denied reports his wine company is being readied for sale. The Marlborough region is said to be awash with rumours that Yealands is about to sign - or has already done so - a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The 'market talk' comes just months after he hit back at a report in the Sydney-based newspaper The Australian claiming German investment bank Deutsche Bank had been drafted in to sell "Yealands Estate".

Beer makes wine in volcanic hills
Sean Beer has a unique name for a winemaker and operates in a unique location, Rotorua in New Zealand. The Volcanic Hills Winery run by Beer is the only winery in the Rotorua district, a Mecca for tourism in the country. "We're still a pretty small winery but we source grapes from the oldest vines in New Zealand and crush around 60 tonnes," said Beer. "I've worked in wineries where the crush was 300 thousand tonnes, so we do things differently," Beer said.

Bottle or box? Texas Tech student wins grant to study wine packaging
A Texas Tech University doctoral student won a $10,000 grant to study how millennials respond to the way in which wines are packaged. Nicholas Johnston, who is starting his final year in the hospitality administration graduate program in the Department of Hospitality and Retail Management, has studied consumer behaviour for years, most recently in a research setting but for several years before that as a bartender.

Three top South African wines from new generation of 'fusion winemakers'
These are exciting times for South African wines as a new generation of winemakers come of age, according to Siobhan Thompson, chief executive of trade organisation Wines of South Africa. Master of wine Jancis Robinson agrees, describing what's happening to the industry there as "feeling like a teen coming-of age movie. In the classroom of wine regions, it's the kid who sits alone at lunch, wears weird clothes, but is still strangely confident, and manages to answer the teacher's questions with aplomb."

Sotheby’s appoints new Asia head of wine
Sotheby’s has named Adam Bilbey as its new head of wine for Asia, replacing Robert Sleigh who is taking on a new role in the management team in the region. Bilbey (pictured) joins from Berry Bros & Rudd Hong Kong where he was sales director and he has fourteen years of experience in the fine wine trade having worked in the UK, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. He will be responsible for driving the company’s wine auction and retail businesses throughout Asia.

Who are fine wine buyers listening to?
Fine wine traders Wine Owners have looked into who fine wine buyers listen to and how they gather opinion before splashing out – or not – on fine wine purchases. Teaming up with Spiral Cellars and using data supplied by Effective research, the Wine Owners report shows that consumers use multiple recommendation sources with a bias towards online research but that even the advice of a single merchant or broker remains an important factor. The report was based on a questionnaire survey of 244 people, all Wine Owners members.

UK celebration planned for Bob McLean
Friends and colleagues of Bob McLean, who did so much to champion Australian wine overseas, are invited to a UK celebration of his life next month. McLean, who died in April, entered the wine trade via Pol Roger before working at Petaluma, revitalising St Hallett and encouraging his fellow Australian producers to bring their wines to the UK. His love of the finer things in life led to his affectionate nickname “Sir Lunchalot”. The celebration of his life will take place on Monday 6 July from 12 noon until 3pm at a Fullers pub - a brewer alleged to have been a regular beneficiary of McLean’s custom.

Changing the culture from winemaking to brand building at Treasury Wine Estates
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) global CMO, Simon Marton, is on a mission: To transform the culture of the wine manufacturing business from a production-led, wine-making mentality, to a brand-led and consumer focused one. “We’re changing virtually the whole culture and strategic direction of the business to be about building brands, with the wine making and supply supporting and delivering to our customers and consumers,” he told CMO. It’s a huge task, but one that’s backed by company CEO, Michael Clarke, a former FMCG executive with a nose for consumers who joined TWE last March.

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