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News posted on Tuesday, 11 August 2015

HK wine critic chosen for NZ Wine Awards
Ronny Lau will join Grossi restaurant group sommelier Mark Protheroe in judging the country’s premier wine competition, the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. Ronny Lau, from China, is an independent wine critic and has been the co-chairman of the Shanghai International Wine Challenge since 2011. He is a regular wine and spirits columnist for 10 different publications in Hong Kong, China and Malaysia, has written six wine books and is the editor and author of two wine books for the Greater China Wine Critics Association.

Wine industry IR issues not to be overlooked
The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in collaboration with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) will provide the Productivity Commission with feedback from the wine industry after a draft report was released flagging some proposed changes to the IR system. Productivity Commission hearings into workplace relations reform and a second round of submissions will give the Australian wine industry more opportunities to highlight IR issues.

Rules for wine show medals to change
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has announced tighter rules on the use and display of wine show medals following a recent review into the existing Code of Practice for the Display of Awards. Tony Battaglene WFA strategy and international affairs general manager said tightening the code would be of particular interest to national, state and regional show organisations around the country as well as winemakers, retailers and consumers.

Tasmanian grapes turn a profit as others struggle
Almost all Tasmanian wine grapes produced his year sold for a profit, while nationally 85 per cent made a loss, a report has found. The 2015 National Wine Grape Vintage Report also found Tasmania was the most profitable region in Australia. The local industry has worked hard to find new markets before increasing production, meaning demand is outstripping supply. Sheralee Davies from Wine Tasmania said the news was bad for most interstate producers.

Victoria, Korea both winning from KAFTA one year in
Australia is becoming a more important trading partner for South Korea, even with the KAFTA between the two countries a little more than a year old. Business Korea was able to sit down with Patrick Stringer, Commissioner for Victoria to the Republic of Korea, and speak with him about the relationship between South Korea and Australia’s most populous state. Patrick has served for 10 years representing Australian trade in Asia in Hanoi, Shanghai, and now Seoul.

Hunter Valley winemaker optimistic about vintage
A Hunter Valley vigneron is excited about this year's wine vintage, but warns that forecast dry conditions could pose issues for winemakers. It may have been a long, cold winter in the NSW Hunter Valley, but that hasn't stopped the region's vignerons from working tirelessly to ensure the next year's wine vintage is a 'corker'. Winemakers are currently pruning their dormant vines to ensure growth is ideal when the warm weather arrives.

Villa Maria Winery comes out tops at wine competition
A south Auckland winery claims to be New Zealand's most awarded Winery, and it delivered this year at the Spiegelau International Wine Competition, with a number of medals and trophies across several wine categories. “It’s a great night out when our North and South Island winemaking and viticulture teams can walk away with a trophy each," said Villa Maria’s Group Chief Winemaker Nick Picone.

Chinese customs reject foreign wines on quality grounds
Official reports show that excessive preservatives and copper in imported wines are among the top reasons for Chinese customs to reject during the first half of 2015. Forty-nine batches of wine were rejected by Chinese customs during the first six months of 2015, among which 20% were due to excessive sorbic acid and 18% were due to excessive copper, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Riedel vs Hosemaster: resolved
Riedel and Tim Atkin MW have resolved a dispute over a satirical article published on Atkin’s website. Last week Riedel sent California-based writer, Ron Washam aka “Hosemaster of Wine” a letter threatening legal action if he failed to retract an article he’d written which included an imagined “interview” with Georg Riedel. The letter claimed the article was defamatory and that there was, “nothing satirical or funny about the article or the act of libelling Riedel.”

Chenin Blanc makes an audacious U.S. return
After 20 years in which the repertoire of American winemakers seemed to have dwindled to a half-dozen grapes, endlessly repeated, the last decade has been one of intrepid exploration. Myriad grapes once deemed unworthy or too esoteric have been rediscovered and revived by winemakers seeking to make fresh, lively wines that are simply delicious to drink nightly, rather than ponderous wines aiming for trophies.

The continuing grocery store wine revolution
First, Nielsen reported that 42 percent of all wine sold in the U.S. is sold in supermarkets. Then IRI, which also also tracks consumer purchases, reported that wine was the seventh biggest selling item (in dollar terms) in U.S. supermarkets in 2014. Call it one more piece of evidence pointing to the grocery store wine revolution. Yes, part of that sales ranking is because wine is more expensive than most grocery store merchandise.

Last day to register for Clare Valley vs Eden Valley Riesling tasting
Australian wineries have until close of business today (Tuesday, Australian Central Standard Time) to register their interest in the Wine & Viticulture Journal’s forthcoming tasting of Eden Valley and Clare Valley Rieslings. All wines submitted for the tasting will need to be received by no later than Tuesday 28 August. The results of the tasting will be published in the September-October issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal.

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