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News posted on Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Amateur winemakers tested on reality TV program PlonkMasters
It’s finals week and the atmosphere is tense. The remaining contestants struggle to complete another seemingly impossible challenge. “Three months to go,” yells Gary, while George and Matt look solemnly on. The amateurs snap to attention; time has clearly gotten away from them again. “If you haven’t finished picking your grapes by now, I would be worried!"

2016 Coonawarra Vignerons Cup
A fixture on the South Australian events calendar for the past 33 years, the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup is tradition for the region’s makers and lovers of wine. Started by industry stalwarts Bruce Redman, winemaker at Redman wines, Doug Balnaves, GM at Balnaves of Coonawarra, and Doug Bowen, owner at Bowen Estate, from humble beginnings in 1982, the Cup now attracts more than 3000 visitors to its eight-race program.

SA food and wine exports hit targets
According to Premier Mr Weatherill, South Australia has a burgeoning food and wine industry. “Exporting premium food and wine to the world is one of our State’s Economic Priorities and we have already reached some of our three year targets in just one year,” he said. “The State Government’s latest Food and Wine ScoreCard Food shows a $1.1 billion increase in gross food and wine revenue for 2014/15 over the previous year.”

New tax study not credible, says WFA chief
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has slammed a Monash University study into the impact of increasing wine taxation on at-risk consumers. Paul Evans, WFA chief executive, said the study was poor in its method and its outcomes were not credible. “The study calls for a minimum floor price on alcohol – a notion already discredited by the former Australian National Preventative Health Agency – or an increase in wine taxes and it claims these will reduce consumption by at-risk or heavy drinkers,” he said.

MARLBOROUGH: Spotlight on regional and stylistic diversity
Over 300 guests will descend on Marlborough in early February to take part in the first ever International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration. Delegates from 18 countries will hear from some of the world’s most renowned wine writers and educators, and have the opportunity to taste over 400 wines from 1-3 February 2016.

Sileni Estates secures nationwide distribution in China
Sileni Estates has launched nationwide distribution of its wines into China via a new relationship with China Resource Vanguard Co. Ltd (CRC). Sileni wines will be distributed via high-end supermarket chains, Ole’ and blt, the flagship retail offering from CRC, one of the largest retail chain enterprises in China. The new business relationship is the culmination of four years of negotiations with CRC by Sileni Estates CEO and President, Sir Graeme Avery.

Insights: Is UK bottling the way forward for bulk wine?
As more and more top-selling wine brands in the UK move their bottling over here, Angela Mount looks at the benefits: does it make more sense to ship in bulk? Whether to bottle in the UK or at source is a long-standing debate that continues to divide the wine industry. Advocates reel off benefits such as cost savings and increased sustainability, in addition to safer quality control and speed of response to forecast fluctuations.

Legendary winemaker turns global spotlight on Burgundy’s vineyards
The French winemaker whose prestigious Romanee-Conti is one of the world's most expensive wines has helped put the vineyards of his beloved Burgundy on the global map of cultural landmarks. Aubert de Villaine, a reserved 76-year-old, took up the mantle to get the Burgundy region's unique wine-growing tradition onto the Unesco World Heritage list. That effort succeeded in July and led to his being named a 2016 “man of the year” by the monthly French Wine Review.

Napa Activists: No More Mr Nice Guy
The gloves come off in the battle between pro- and anti-development factions in Napa. Bedeviled by traffic jams and rising housing costs, Napa County lawmakers and activists spent much of 2015 trying to hammer out a plan to limit wine industry growth. In the last week of the year, the county attorney may have casually overturned an agreement that was months in the making.

Premier Cru owes customers almost $70 million for wines it never delivered
Premier Cru, the troubled California wine retailer and importer once known for unbeatable prices on wines promised for future delivery, has filed for bankruptcy. On Jan. 8, the Berkeley-based firm, under its corporate name, Fox Ortega Enterprises, petitioned for Chapter 7 protection under federal bankruptcy law. Premier Cru's 1,401-page filing lists just $7 million in assets, including $6.8 million worth of wine, and $70 million in liabilities.

Linfield Road, Jericho, Whistler: winemakers look to the new
It’s a conversation that eventually takes place around the kitchen table in most winemaking families. The older generation has done things a certain way for years; the younger generation wants to try something new and radical. Things can develop in many different directions from here: sometimes the older generation resists — nup, that’s that; sometimes dad indulges his kids’ experiment; and sometimes the family embraces change with gusto.

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