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News posted on Monday, 12 October 2015

Australia’s biggest name in vine establishment
Always the innovator, GroGuard have an improved “back clip“ for use on windy sites. The back clip secures the GroGuard VineGuard to the drip wire, ensuring the vineguard stays put. Formerly made from wire, the new improved clip is made from UV stabilised polycarbonate. With helpful input from Rick Milland of Fowles Wines, the new clip is larger, sturdier and easier to use.

Vine health focus for Orange and Murrumbateman
Two spring vine health field days hosted by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will see wine grape growers from Orange and Murrumbateman benefit from the latest research and practical management options. Held at Highland Heritage Estate in Orange on Wednesday 21 October and Four Winds Vineyard in Murrumbateman on Thursday 22 October, the field days will feature DPI viticulture development officers, Darren Fahey and Adrian Englefield joined by some of Australia’s most respected scientists and viticulturists

Free trade deals fuel hopes of a new wine export boom
Australian winemakers produce many wonderful drops but it's a drop in overseas trade tariffs that's got them giddy. A string of new free trade deals, culminating in last week's long-awaited 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, are bringing down barriers to markets across Asia and the Pacific. Coupled with a weak Aussie dollar, the deals are fuelling hopes of a new boom in wine exports. After a decade of stagnant international sales, things are finally looking up. "There's a slow return to optimism," says Tim Kirk, chief winemaker of Clonakilla Wines.

Treasury Wine Estates starts phase two of savings program
Treasury Wine Estates has entered the second phase of its supply chain optimisation program that should bring in an annual saving of around $50m by fiscal-2020. In a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange earlier this week, the company said it has completed the first phase, which was announced at the end of March. At the time, the company said it expected the first phase, which would mainly effect its operations in Australia and the US, to result in a write-down of around $50m.

Wine by the half proving popular with fit boomers and young turks
Wealthy baby boomers and young professionals focused on health are increasingly turning to half bottles of wine. And hundreds of wine companies are responding with mini-me versions of their mainstream bottles. Sydney-based online business halfbottles.com.au, which began as a side venture for the owner of the Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop in Sydney's affluent eastern suburbs, is growing quickly as customers opt for the smaller 375ml bottle size over the usual 750ml bottle, which is the traditional size in Australia's $4 billion wine industry.

Robert Oatley wines to join Hatch Mansfield portfolio
Hatch Mansfield will take on the UK agency for Australia’s Robert Oatley Vineyards from January 1. It will take over from North South Wines and add Robert Oatley to a portfolio that includes Chile’s Errazuriz, New Zealand’s Villa Maria and Champagne Taittinger. Hatch Mansfield managing director Patrick McGrath MW said the breadth of wines being offered will complement the company’s existing portfolio.

From a single vineyard grew a family dynasty
David Babich has a view from his office window to die for. Twenty minutes after battling through traffic from his home in Auckland's bustling suburb of Pt Chevalier, he is relaxing at his desk at his family firm in a lush city oasis. The 47-year-old is general manager of Babich Wines, one of New Zealand's oldest family-owned wineries. Yesterday he raised a glass to the company being in business for 100 years.

Vilagrad Winery fires back into life
If overcoming adversity is a typically Waikato trait, then the Nooyen family personify it. The family behind the 100-year-old Vilagrad Winery could hardly be blamed for being tempted to throw in the towel after fire tore through the Rukuhia Rd business in June. The blaze destroyed the winery offices, kitchen, and parts of the 100-year-old wine cellar. It could have been a killing blow and yet - true to their bold predictions made just a day after the disaster - the family have just resumed operations with the first of their regular grand Sunday lunches, three months and 10 days later.

Sauvignon scam rocks Friuli Wine
The world of Italian wine is still reeling after Italian authorities raided 17 wineries and the laboratory of at least one winery consultant in north-eastern Italy last month. According to reports published in Italian media, investigators suspect them of using prohibited additives to enhance the aromas of their wines. Although they are confident that the additives pose no health risks, Italian officials believe that winery consultant Ramon Persello used an unspecified "magic potion" to create atypical aromas for Sauvignon Blanc.

How big is China's counterfeit-wine problem? French report calls it an industry
China's thriving counterfeit wine sales have pushed advisors at the French Foreign Trade Advisory Board to quietly leak a controversial report on fake wines in the Asian nation, despite opposition by French government officials. The report details the depth of the counterfeits problem, showing that fake wines are not just the work of a few criminal rings but a sizable underground industry.

Indian wine body to seek removal of excise on blended wines
New members of the All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) have decided to seek the removal of 100% excise duty on blended wines. “The association will be seeking the removal of 100% excise on blended wines, said Yatin Patil, the new president of the association and owner of Vintage Wines. The government has imposed the duty on blended wines even if the grape varietals have been sourced within the state. This is hurting the industry, he said.

Winemakers praise climate of Montreal's North Shore
There are more than a dozen vineyards in Montreal's North Shore — from Oka to Repentigny — and the number of bottled products is growing every year. "People think that because we are more north, it is colder, but that's false," said Mario Plante, the co-owner of Vignoble Négondos in Mirabel. "In terms of heat, we are pretty much identical with the Montérégie. We have hills and rocky ground. It’s interesting."

Time called on ChAFTA delays
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has urged Parliamentarians to turn on the green light when debate starts on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) implementing legislation. The draft legislation was introduced in September and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was expected to lodge its report on ChAFTA sometime this week. “Any delays would cost the wine industry over $50 million – and the clock is ticking,” Paul Evans, WFA chief executive, said.

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