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News posted on Friday, 12 December 2014

Cool weather slows grape development
Grapevines in Central Otago are about a week behind where they normally are but the region's wineries are in good shape, an industry leader says. James Dicey, Central Otago Winegrowers Association president, said an ''exceptionally'' cool November had slowed shoot extension and vine growth. There had been few damaging frosts, however.

The trials of being organic
Last week, the New Zealand Organic Focus Project gave a public presentation on three medium to large NZ wineries who participated in a side-by-side organic versus conventional agriculture trial. The aim was to demonstrate the relative ease or difficulty of conversion to organic viticulture. Two of the three wineries were convinced enough by their results to want to continue – but Wither Hills, the biggest, most well-known producer, could not apparently reconcile their business drivers with the decidedly lower yields from the organic plots.

Drop in Aussie dollar revives slump in wine exports
A falling Australian dollar is bringing some relief to wine exporters trying to revive a slump in overseas sales. Earlier this week the dollar hit a four-year low and today it's trading around 83.2 US cents. Robert Fiumara, Southern New South Wales winemaker, sent his first pallet of wine to Hong Kong this week and says the improved exchange rate will be a big help.

Sustainable Australia Winegrowing presentation shows sustainability is on the rise
The Sustainable Australia Winegrowing presentation on Thursday December 4 revealed an impressive 9.1 per cent improvement in sustainable practices across 116 members for the 2014 season. By comparison, the previous season recorded a 3.5 per cent improvement. Sustainable Australia Winegrowing is an initiative of the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association, led by sustainability officer, Dr Irina Santiago Brown.

The incredible story of starting the world's largest wine brand, Barefoot Wines
This is the story of how two people overcame remarkable odds and built a beloved brand that transformed the wine industry. It is hard to believe that such an iconic brand as Barefoot Wines began in a laundry room of a rented farmhouse in the Sonoma County hills. Even more surprising is that the people who started it were just an average business couple, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey with virtually no money and no wine industry experience.

Winery giant releases consumer wine trends
Wine's standing as a social stalwart continues to be a trend in today's social-media driven world, say the results of the 2014 Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey conducted by Libran Research & Consulting on behalf of Gallo. The Libran survey revealed interesting facts about social media use and wine, as well as many other areas of consumer choice and habit.

Wines from Argentina putting in ‘serious effort’ to drive UK growth
Wines from Argentina are enjoying a “unique time” in the UK market, and the country is putting in serious effort to drive growth, says the generic body’s European head. Andrew Maidment, Wines of Argentina’s European and Asian director, said Argentinian wine is “continuing to do very well in Europe, particularly in the UK”.

FUN FRIDAY: Mercer’s wine-infused ice cream is the stuff dreams are made of
Based in Boonville, New York, Mercer’s offers six different wine-infused flavors, each containing an alcohol content of five per cent: Cherry Merlot, Chocolate Cabernet, Peach White Zinfandel, Port, Red Raspberry Chardonnay, and Riesling. According to their blog, they offered a spiced wine flavor once upon a time; alas, it appeared to have been a seasonal selection, as there was no evidence of its existence on Mercer’s website.

Biodynamic wine tasting event returns to Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
The world's top biodynamic vignerons will meet to exhibit their wines at next years Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Return to Terrior is an international gathering of more than 40 biodynamic wineries, returning to Melbourne following the success of their 2011 tasting at the MFWF. The event offers examples of biodynamic wines poured by the winemakers themselves. Champagne F. Bedel, Coulée de Serrant, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht and Nikolaihof are among the line-up, alongside Australia’s biodynamic wineries Castagna, Cullen, Jasper Hill and Ngeringa.

Way now clear for haze-preventing enzymes in Australian winemaking
Australian winemakers can now use with confidence the protease enzyme mixture known as Proctase to ensure haze-free wine. An application to Food Standards Australian New Zealand (FSANZ) has just been approved, confirming that the enzymes are allowed for use in Australian winemaking for wines sold domestically or exported to New Zealand.

FUN FRIDAY: Wine and love: a vintage twist to a Naked tale
WINE has been helping people fall in love for thousands of years, and for winemakers Adrian and Rebecca Santolin it has fuelled a classic tale of "boy meets girl" culminating in an epic romance. The young winemaking couple met among the vineyards back in 1999, and shared a dream of one day building a successful wine business together. In July 2012, with the help of Naked Wines, their dream finally became a reality.





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