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News posted on Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Future hinges on 2016 prices for Murray Valley growers
Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW) has warned that grapes prices must increase next year to help secure the future of the winegrape industry in the Murray-Darling and Swan Hill regions. An annual growers’ survey conducted by MVW to track changes from the previous year has revealed a net loss of 1818 acres of winegrapes since this time last year. In two years, more than 3700 acres have been discarded due to prices that have been among the lowest in 10 years. Growers harvested 285,000 tonnes this year, down 45,000 tonnes on the 2014 vintage.

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.

NZ government watching as Aus wine sector debates tax reform
Discussions about tax reform between the Australian wine industry and the Federal Government are being closely watched by their counterparts across the Tasman, according to New Zealand's minister for food safety. In a wide-ranging interview with ABC Rural, Jo Goodhew said there was recognition within New Zealand's wine industry that Australian winemakers were displeased with the current arrangement.

The sparkling trend: Prosecco
It’s been a huge year for Prosecco so far in 2015. Far from a poor man’s Champagne, the newest trend in sparkling wine has taken the world by storm with sales so strong there was even fear of a ‘global Prosecco shortage’ crisis. Building a reputation as a premium sparkling wine, the Italian variety overtook Champagne as the most popular choice of bubbles across the globe.

Wine Australia Award to unveil Chinese winners
Organised by Wine Australia, the annual Wine Australia Award winners will be announced on October 27 in Shanghai, commending companies or individuals that made significant contribution to the effort of promoting Australian wine in China in the year. Candidates for best importers or distributors, best retailers, best restaurants or sommeliers, best educators came from 135 Australian Wine Trade Specialists certified by Wine Australia.

NZ dominates 2015 Six Nations Wine Challenge
The Six Nations Wine Challenge has wrapped up for another year with New Zealand dominating the competition. New Zealand went home with the title of Nation of Show, Wine of Show, five Class Trophies and a haul of gold medals. Australia came in second with one class trophy. Wine of Show was awarded to Framingham for its 2014 vintage Noble Riesling. The trophy was presented by New Zealand’s Consul General Ms. Billie Moore to winemaker Dr Andrew Hedley.

Cloudy Bay celebrates its 30th vintage wine
Stories of entrepreneurs are usually inspiring, but not many tales are as dramatic as that of Cloudy Bay wines, whose makers are celebrating its 30th vintage. This is the stuff of urban legend. One minute, a gung-ho Australian takes a couple of sips of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (1983), the following year he is travelling to Marlborough and unwittingly planting the seeds of one of the most successful wine brands in the last half century.

Bordeaux winemakers plant hedges to cut pesticide risk
Bourg producers north of Bordeaux are to plant 1,200m of hedgerows around vineyards in 27 ‘sensitive sites’ around the appellation, including crèches, schools and sports fields. The planting programme, which is underway and will continue over winter 2015/2016, comes one year after 20 children and their teacher were affected with headaches and nausea following a pesticide treatment carried out on vines belonging to Château Castel la Rose and Château de Barbe in Villeneuve, Bourg. The plots were located directly next to the schoolyard.

Chilean firm starts wine war in Korea
Chile, one of the world's major wine makers, believes it is ready to compete with the leading wines of Europe. At the "Seminary Chilean Wine Ambassador," hosted by Chilean government trade and export organization Prochile, representatives from Chilean premium wine producer Top Winemakers gave a presentation under the topic "A Historical Camenere of Chile" and introduced 14 premium carmenere variety wines.

Call of duty: wine trade argues for budget relief
Over the last few months, the Irish Wine Association and other groups have made a persuasive argument for a decrease in the excise duty on wine. We pay an extortionate €3.19 excise duty on every bottle of wine we buy. Add 23 per cent VAT to the price and the Government takes more than half the money you spend on a €10 bottle of wine. Sparkling wine, for some reason, is double that. Aldi and Lidl currently both have one for sale at €10.49; the duty and VAT make up an incredible €8.34 of that. Can they be making a profit?

On the unstoppable rise of vineyard geology
The relationship between wine and the vineyard earth has long been held as very special, especially in Europe. Tradition has it that back in the Middle Ages the Burgundian monks tasted the soils in order to gauge which ones would give the best tasting wine, and over the centuries this kind of thinking was to become entrenched. And why not? The vines were manifestly taking up water from the soil, and, presumably, with it everything else that they needed to grow and make grapes. The belief that the vineyard soil was central to wine flavour was simply self-evident.

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