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News posted on Thursday, 11 December 2014

Second hail storm in less than a week for Bulga residents
Residents of Bulga in the Hunter Valley will spend the day counting the cost after a second savage hail storm hit the area in less than a week. The storm late yesterday dumped up to 80 millimetres of rain and hail on the area leaving paddocks awash and adding to a mounting damage bill. Hail dumped last Friday damaged winegrape crops in the area, with some vineyards losing all of their fruit for the next vintage.

Report slams trade’s influence on policy
The alcohol industry’s ability to shape alcohol policy nationally and globally needs to be “curtailed” because of a fundamental conflict of interest, according to a recent study. That was the conclusion drawn by researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia, London’s King’s College and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The study, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, claims that lobbyists within the alcohol trade in Australia and the UK are hampering efforts to curb drinking rates, despite levels of consumption having dropped.

Winemaking degree at Margaret River campus scrapped by Curtin University
The only undergraduate winemaking course in Western Australia has been scrapped due to falling student enrolments. Curtin University's viticulture and oenology bachelor degree based at its Margaret River campus provided students with hands-on skills in wine making and boasted a 92 per cent graduate employment rate.

Asian rip-offs: Aussie businesses “day to day” battle with copycats
Increasing numbers of Australian businesses are becoming embroiled in legal battles with businesses in Asia which are ripping off their names, logos and businesses. As SmartCompany reported last week, Australian restaurant chain Meat and Wine Co is pursuing a Malaysian business which has copied its name and logo, but the steak chain is not alone. The Penfolds trademark has been reproduced sometimes identically and sometimes with slight alterations like “Benfolds” instead of Penfolds.

New market report: wine in New Zealand
The profile contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the market. Essential resource for top-line data and analysis covering the New Zealand wine market. Includes market size data, textual and graphical analysis of market growth trends, leading companies and macroeconomic information.

Long term investors buy majority shareholding in Dry Hills
The future of one of Marlborough’s leading wine producers is looking particularly rosy. Strong confidence in the quality and potential of Lawson’s Dry Hills, a pioneer of the Marlborough wine industry, has enticed two of the company’s long-term partners to invest further in the company. After a 15 year involvement, investors Tim and Pauline Evill have purchased additional shares previously owned by the Lawson family, so as to take a majority interest.

Russian regulator bans sale of 200 batches of imported wine totalling 3,000 litres
Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor sanitary and consumer rights agency has banned the sale of more than 500 batches of wine, including more than 200 batches of imported wine totalling 3,000 litres after recent checks in which about 7,000 wine samples were tested. According to the consumer rights watchdog, the share of counterfeit wine is three times higher in imported products.

Global vineyard shrinks and diversity lessens
A new report shows the increasing "internationalisation" of the world's vineyards at the beginning of this century. The global vineyard is shrinking and so is the choice of wines as available grape varieties become more homogenous, according to a new study. The report in the Journal of Wine Economics compared vineyard area and the diversity of grape varieties planted throughout the decade 2000-2010 and found that both were getting smaller.

California drought amounts to mixed blessing for winemakers this harvest
When you walk around Tablas Creek vineyard in Paso Robles, there are few obvious signs that California is in one of its worst droughts on record. “It actually looks less different than you would expect grapevines have evolved to grow well in climates that are dry,” says Jason Haas, who runs this vineyard. Grapes have their origins in the Middle East and Mediterranean, two regions with similar and sometimes even drier climates than the Central Coast.

National Wine Tourism Conference is heading to Loudoun
Loudoun County will host hundreds of wine industry and tourism leaders from across the country and the world at next year’s national Wine Tourism Conference — a development that Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Governor and local tourism officials have hailed as a milestone in the ascent of Virginia’s wine industry. In a statement, McAuliffe said Virginia was already well on the way to becoming a “premier international destination” for lovers of wine and food.

Kate Harvey appointed to new AGWA role
Andreas Clark, Australian Grape and Wine Authority's (AGWA) acting chief executive officer, today announced that Kate Harvey has been appointed to a new leadership role. Harvey said she was excited to commence her new role as general manager of corporate affairs and strategy on 1 January 2015.

Over-65s spend less than £4.99 on wine
New research from Wine Intelligence suggests that 28 per cent of over-65s spend £4.99 (A$9.40) or less on a bottle of wine for a party or celebration, compared with 15 per cent of under 35s. The survey, conducted among 1,000 UK regular wine drinkers, also found middle-aged wine consumers were least likely take cheap wine to a party. Just 13 per cent of 45-54s said they would spend less than a fiver on party wine.

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