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News posted on Thursday, 12 February 2015

Tenders sought for vineyard biosecurity projects
Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) is seeking tenders for two projects aimed at securing a sustainable future for national biosecurity management in viticulture. Funded by contributions from a range of grapegrower organisations, the initiative will reinforce viticulture’s commitment to long-term sustainability of vineyards, despite difficult economic times. Lawrie Stanford, WGGA executive director, said the wine industry has consistently demonstrated an understanding of the important of biosecurity. “We are delighted to be able to initiate these projects for on-going biosecurity management in the wine sector and across the viticulture industries.”

Federal drought funding in SA coming to an end
Drought can have a crippling effect on farmers, and few know that better than the winegrowers and citrus growers in South Australia's Riverland district. At the height of the drought in 2009, more than 170 of the region's growers accepted federal funding to sell their water entitlements and walk off the land for five years. Those agreements are now coming to an end, and many are looking for ways back into the industry. The ABC’s PM program speaks to growers in the area about the changes to drought funding and how it will affect their crops, and lives.

Australia’s wine on the rise again
A couple of decades ago, Americans were enthralled with Australian wines. We fell for their lush textures, vibrant fruit, relaxed prices and cute brand names. Then the popularity of Australian wines in the U.S. began to slip. Today, they still can be found in U.S. markets, but they don’t generate the buzz they used to. Only eight per cent of all wines imported to the U.S. are Australian, according to the Australian wine-trade group Wine Australia. Why the fall in grace for Australian wines? Various explanations are advanced. A common complaint by consumers is that too many taste alike.

Wine festival brought to life
Undercover ploys to promote the Marlborough garlic industry by flavouring some Marlborough wines with the bulbous herb are among secrets revealed in a new documentary film. Vintage Marlborough by Marlborough film-maker Paul Davidson and Wellington researcher Barbara Gibb provides a 50-minute insight into the people who had the "courage and the party spirit" to raise the region's wine brands with an annual, day-long wine and food festival. The documentary will have its premiere screening in Blenheim tomorrow night, three days before the 31st Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is held at Brancott Estate near Blenheim.

Delicious duo from Sacred Hill
Sacred Hill’s newly released 2014 Orange Label Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are a perfect example of why New Zealand wine lovers have never had it better. The delicious duo showcase the fruit of the stellar 2014 vintage and Sacred Hill Managing Director David Mason says the wines from this vintage are very special given the quality and value they represent. “With our Orange Label range we aim to produce tempting, quality wines from specially selected vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough that are ideal to share with family and friends” Mason says.

Storytelling is the new wine marketing: Five lessons for brands shifting toward narrative
“How do I tell a story that makes my $15 Cabernet different from your $15 Cabernet?” The roomful of wine industry pros leaned forward in their seats. They’d gathered for a daylong discussion about how wine brands can use storytelling to win consumers’ hearts and minds. This session: “Telling the Story,” a panel discussion moderated by Nomacorc’s Katie Myers, communications manager for the Americas. Her question snapped everyone to attention. “Well, it’s not easy,” replied panellist Steve Heimoff, disappointing those hoping for a quick-fix.

Premium wine sales still growing
Growers need to focus on quality and target fruit for the $15 and up price point, say wine marketers. Positive sales trends continue for Washington’s wine industry, say wine executives from two of Washington’s largest wine producers. Washington wine sales have posted consistent growth for the past two years. Martin Johnson of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Erik Hoins of Hogue Cellars gave insight into Washington wine sales during a panel discussion that was part of an annual grower caucus hosted by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers at Grandview in December.

New wine fraud website will help you avoid fakes
Convicted wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan is safely behind bars, but many of his fakes are still floating around in cellars—along with plenty of other suspect bottles. Just in time, wine consultant Maureen Downey, who helped the FBI bring Kurniawan down, will launch a website in early April to teach fine wine lovers how to spot what’s real and what’s not. “Winefraud.com will be a resource for everyone wanting to do due diligence on rare wines,” she says. “There’s been nowhere to learn about this stuff before.

Japanese wineries bank hope on fruity ‘koshu’ wine
Making wine comes naturally to Ayana Misawa, having spent her childhood in vineyards watching her father and grandfather nurture cherished “koshu” grapes, a unique Japanese variety known for its fresh and fruity overtones. Misawa and other winemakers in the wine hub of Yamanashi Prefecture are set on matching the success of Japan’s automakers and whisky distillers, which have taken the world by storm. White wine from koshu grapes has gained a cult following for its delicate bouquet and affinity with sushi and sashimi. Vintners are hoping to see Yamanashi become a “terroir” the way Burgundy and Bordeaux are for France.

AGWA invites more submissions for Strategic Plan
The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) is still accepting feedback from the wider wine community as it develops a new five-year Strategic Plan. AGWA released a paper to stimulate discussion with grape and wine levy payers about its proposed strategic priorities in December and is currently consulting with industry members across the country to ensure the right opinions are covered. Brian Walsh, AGWA Chair, said the organisation genuinely believes they have the geography, geology, climate and people to be recognised internationally as the world’s pre-eminent wine producing country in the long-term.

Clark confirmed as AGWA’s CEO
After filling the role of acting chief for more than six months, Andreas Clark has been announced as Australian Grape and Wine Authority’s (AGWA) chief executive officer. Brian Walsh, AGWA chair, broke the news yesterday stating that Clark would assume the position immediately. Walsh said Clark’s professional background, deep knowledge and experience in the wine sector made him well qualified to lead AGWA towards a bright future. “We’re pleased Andreas has agreed to continue in this key leadership role,” Walsh said.

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