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News posted on Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Rain sparks disease in Sunraysia vineyards
Wine grape growers are hoping for cool and dry conditions after rain triggered a downy mildew outbreak in grapevines across Sunraysia. About 30 millimetres fell on most vineyards, but Brian Englefield, Murray Valley Wine Grape Growers chair, says they can't use chemical sprays to fight the disease because vintage is approaching. "No it's not ideal. It's a bit unfortunate at this stage in growing period to have a rain event. That's not unusual, it's just putting adding pressure on growers trying to complete this season and get this harvest off that some of them have already commenced."

Hunter Valley winemakers look forward to outstanding vintage, if the rain holds off
“It could be spectacular, but it could all go pear shaped in a hurry.” Those are the words of Rod Kempe, speaking on behalf of Hunter winemakers who are experiencing some restless nights as rain threatens to bring unstuck the potentially outstanding 2015 vintage. In short, Hunter winemakers are on the verge of a third cracking vintage in succession – if the weather behaves over the next couple of weeks. “I’ve been saying for the last month that this could be another vintage to look out for,” Kempe, head winemaker at the iconic Lake’s Folly winery, said.

Queensland winery rises from the ashes
A Queensland winery owner says after years of hardship and a bushfire that wiped out the majority of their crop, they are finally back on their feet and looking to the future. The Gecko Valley Winery in Gladstone was established in 1996. In 2010 it was damaged by floods, the global financial crisis hit the owners and their plans to build a residential block on their land, and finally bushfires in 2011 burnt the majority of their vines, ruling out any further production. But owners Tony and Coleen McCray have found the silver lining in this series of unfortunate events.

Blue Penguin Wines makes wines using natural processes
Blue Penguin Wines is a world away from a bustling Queensland legal firm. In 2002, Alan Irish quit his day job, moved to Birches Bay in Southern Tasmania, and started exploring his love of wine. Irish made his first foray into winemaking when he started the Grandview Winery at Birches Bay that same year. "I had developed a keen interest in the process of how wine was made, but was really keen on turning my theoretical knowledge into something more tangible," he said. Seven years later, Irish and his wife Marji established Blue Penguin Wines when they moved into their sprawling Revell Lane property at Penguin.

Highest priority to sign FTA with India by end of year
Reaffirming its commitment to boost bilateral trade with India, Australia today said it accords the 'highest priority' to the conclusion of a free trade agreement with with New Delhi by the end of this year. Pointing out that Australia has inked FTAs with china, Japan and Korea, the country's minister for trade and investment Andrew Robb said, "Our highest FTA priority is now the conclusion of a bilateral trade deal with India." Describing Australia and India as world-renowned agriculture producers, Robb said: "We see India as a major market for our premium products like pulses, wool, dairy and wine.”

MP sells interest in vineyard estate
Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith and his family have sold their 25-hectare vineyard estate in Marlborough. The National MP, who owned the property with wife Julie and her parents Ken and Jill Small, sold their Wrekin Rd property to Colin and Paula Hill, Hill's daughter Charlotte Bray, and her husband Brendon Bray, who took over early last month. Smith said the decision to sell the property was made because of work commitments. "I had other commitments with work, so [selling] just worked out and it all sort of fell into place," he said.

Vineyard sub-division gets go-ahead
A housing sub-division to build 230 homes at Colonial Vineyard can go ahead after an appeal was dismissed by the High Court. Marlborough Aero Club Incorporated and New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust lost its five-year fight to have the Burleigh housing development scotched. Following an appeal hearing in Blenheim High Court last August, Justice Lowell Goddard dismissed the appeal in a decision just before Christmas. Colonial Vineyard is 21.4 hectares of flat land planted in Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Stomping out grape disease one vineyard at a time
Cracking the genetic code of a common disease affecting grape production could improve vineyard management and help protect the multi-billion dollar industry that includes raisins, juice, jam/jelly, fresh grapes, grape-seed extract and oil, vinegar and wine. A Rochester Institute of Technology scientist and an RIT alumnus are close to completing the genetic blueprint, or micro-biome, of grape crown gall tumour disease—the bane of vineyards worldwide.

FAA approves the use of agricultural drones; could be a 'game changer' for wine industry
It's a big step forward for technology in agriculture. The FAA has issued an exception to the current ban on the commercial use of unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles, or drones. The agency has approved the use of drones to monitor crops and survey farm fields. This means, growers can hire outside companies to use drones as a commercial service for crop monitoring and surveying purposes. By doing so, it will take hours, instead of days to conduct certain studies. Farmers say, the benefit is that they can catch any vineyard disease or threats to prevent loss of production, with the potential to save them billions of dollars.

Sparkling wine supplier Frizzenti hits back over Prosecco legal battle
Daniel Spinath, director of sparkling wine supplier Frizzenti, has hit back at claims that selling Prosecco on tap will be “illegal” if Italian producers of the wine win the legal right to fine bars and pubs that sell the drink by the keg instead of bottles. Following reports that Italian producers of Prosecco are attacking British pubs and bars, Spinath said it is not illegal to sell the sparkling wine on tap. However he did point out that calling it Prosecco is against a European law passed in 2009 that dictates what can be labelled and sold as Prosecco.

Unpretentious millennials are changing the way we drink wine, Barefoot's CMO says
When it comes to successful family businesses, it's hard to find a more American example than E&J Gallo. Now in its 81st year, the winery is the largest on earth (16,000 acres in California) whose 60 brands have a lock on nearly a quarter of the U.S. wine market—and it's still being run by the family. But you won't find Stephanie Gallo with her feet up at her desk. As one of the third generation of Gallos in the business (she's vice president of marketing, the equivalent of the CMO), she instead thinks about all the Americans who aren't drinking wine—like the millennials who prefer to order cold beers and fizzy cocktails instead of a glass of Barefoot Riesling.

Ann Killeen wins ADAMA/GW photo competition
A big congratulations to Ann Killeen, whose winning photograph is featured on the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine's front cover this month. Ann, an amateur photographer, took the stunning shot at Victoria’s Rutherglen Estate vineyard in the early hours of the morning. “It was worth getting up before dawn to get the photo,” she said. “There is a big irrigation dam at the back of the vineyard that gets some amazing fog. I was standing at the top, looking down on the dam.”

The top 8 reasons it makes dollars and sense to move to the Cloud
It took us some time to move to the Cloud for our own internal systems but we're glad we did. Now we're helping wineries of all sizes make the transition to VINx2. For a number of years we used accounting software configured on a PC within our own network. When travelling we weren't able to get access to key accounting information to answer even the simplest of billing inquiries. All requests had to go via the office and tied up another staff members time. You may have the same problem when visiting a distributor, customer or custom crush client. It's often critical to get your hand on account status, inventory levels, wine composition and analysis in order to make decisions and close deals. The Cloud gives you that advantage.


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