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News posted on Monday, 13 February 2017

Wine industry looking forward to strong vintage
SOUTH Australia’s sweltering heatwave has grape growers thanking the weather gods. The hot, dry weather helped dry out vine canopies and grape bunches, which have suffered from the earlier unusually high rainfall and cooler temperatures. The unseasonal weather has delayed grape harvests across the state by three weeks and provided suitable conditions for disease to flourish. GrowCare plant pathologist Peter Magarey said last week’s scorching temperatures, while painful for most, was “good news” for viticulturists.

Sustainability requires a united approach
Matt Pooley went looking for a sustainability ‘silver bullet’, but came back with a much better idea of how to do without one. And the key is a common approach and sense of purpose. As the 2013 Wine Australia Nuffield Scholar, the viticulturist for Tasmania’s Pooley Wines spent a year examining sustainability programs in Australia, the United States (US) and New Zealand, assessing the value of environmental assurance to small wine producers, and identifying emerging technologies and practices Australia could and should embrace. He was largely heartened by what he saw and heard.

How Australian wines breached China
Chinese drinkers are showing an increasing thirst for Australian wines, making them the toast of exporters whose businesses are benefitting from the discerning palates of the country’s growing middle class and a multitude of buying options. Australian wine exports to China grew 51 per cent in the 12 months up to September last year, making Australia the top exporter to China by value and second by volume, after France. China in turn is Australia’s top market, surpassing the United States last year. China’s growing middle class, its varied and increasingly sophisticated market and a wealth of online buying options are driving the growth.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 25
POP the champagne and let them eat cake — the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is turning 25. Restaurateur and MasterChef Australia judge Gary Mehigan is celebrating the milestone, having been involved with the event since its inception in the early ‘90s. “I go back with the festival to about 1993 with the various restaurants I’ve been involved with,” he said. “It’s been interesting to see how it’s snowballed into one of the world’s best food festivals."

New factsheet helps tackle the scourge of gazanias
Celebrity gardeners aren’t joking when they describe gazanias as hardy plants suited to a range of tough environments. Unfortunately, that’s not such good news when you’re trying to get rid of them. Gazanias have become such a problem to some grapegrowers in the Riverland that the Riverland Wine Viticulture Technical Group (RWVTG) organised a comprehensive two-year trial to work out how best to eradicate them.‘They are virtually indestructible and don’t need any water so they are either a great plant or an awful weed’, said Riverland Wine’s Chris Bennett.

Why don’t labels show nutritional information
Ever wondered why you can't find ingredients lists or nutritional information on alcohol labelling? So have we. When a delicious "adults only" bottle of Lewis Road Creamery's new Chocolate Cream Liqueur arrived on our desks, we looked at the label, noticed the absence of information about sugar and general calorie content, and began to wonder. Why do alcohol products not list what's in them? This isn't an issue unique to booze in New Zealand – the world over, all wine, beer, and spirit products are except from the legal food standards that require nutritional information to be listed.

Tumultuous start follows shaky end
I saw this great headline a few weeks back that basically summed up the weather so far this year: “2016, the hottest on record, but summer doesn’t appear to have got the memo.” How true is that? With just one month of the official summer period left, New Zealand has suffered from an avalanche of weather events. Bomb low weather systems, flooding, severe wind, near zero temperatures, sleet, hail, snow. The one thing missing has been the balmy summer days we hang out all year for. Let’s just hope the conditions calm down in time for the upcoming vintage.

Oak sweeter than sugar for wine
How can wine taste sweet without any residual sugar? It might be down to an unexpected source. Have you ever tasted a white wine that seemed to have a hint of sweetness only to be told that it was completely dry? You're not alone. The phenomenon has caused many wine tasters to raise their eyebrows quizzically and question their palate when faced with a dry wine that seemed to contain a splash of sugar. However, it would appear that a spoonful of quercotriterpenosides helps this particular medicine to go down.

Pink Pinot Grigio the most authentic version?
A wine merchant told me that rosé Pinot Grigio is actually the authentic, traditional Pinot Grigio of Italy and that the white is an innovation. The reason given was that Pinot Grigio has pinkish skin. I always assumed that rosé Pinot Grigio had some red wine added and was just a bit of commercial fakery. Who is right? David Gleave MW, is managing director of Liberty Wines, replies: Pinot Grigio grapes have a red (not pink) skin. Traditionally, there were wines that had a ramato (coppery) colour, which was derived from contact with the skins.

The science to age whiskey in days
Over many years, the chemicals in the wooden cask mix and react with the chemicals in the spirit fraction to give the whiskey its characteristic taste. After the maturation process, the whiskey is distilled once more to get the taste just right, before it is sold to you. Each Scotch is unique because manufacturers can change so many variables in the process to create the hundreds of whiskeys marketed around the world. The longest step in the process is the maturation process, and if you are able to shorten it without losing out on the flavor then a producer could save lots of money. Researchers in Spain have tried to do that with aging brandy, which is made by distilling wine.

Wine’s Japanese fling
What do we call it? Acceptance? Absorption? Adoption? Whatever word you prefer, the process is well under way: sake now seems to belong on wine lists and in wine magazines. Wine lovers revealing ignorance of or disaffection for this newly fashionable drink court opprobrium. This year’s most commented-on (and thus perhaps influential) Wine Advocate review did not cover Bordeaux 2015 or Napa 2014, but was a report written about sake by Chinese contributor Liwen (Martin) Hao, a journalist whom I have had the pleasure of tasting wine with at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards in the past.

Langhorne Creek Wines put to the test
Entries are now open for the 2017 Langhorne Creek wine show, supported by William Buck. Heading towards the 4th official wine show, Langhorne Creek is once again excited to be calling for entries in all classes, including the multi-regional blends class. Nick Ryan is back on board this year to Chair the show and is joined by David Brookes and Sue Bell.

Exploring the Bulk Route to Boost your Winery’s Sales
Like many wineries, if your sales numbers have been stagnant over the past few years, there is a new approach that you must explore. Make your winery profitable again by delving into how bulk wine can help sales thrive and ways to get started […] Continue reading.

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WID 2017