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News posted on Wednesday, 14 January 2015

January Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The January 2015 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. Ann Killeen’s winning shot of Rutherglen Estate in Victoria features on the front cover, and the top ten pictures from the ADAMA/GW photo competition are included inside. This month, we discuss the latest in vineyard management; yeast and enzymes; laboratory equipment and bottling, labelling and packaging. We also feature a weather wrap up, discussing how the variable conditions throughout spring and early summer could impact on Vintage 2105.

Hunter vignerons turn noses up at use of winery effluent to irrigate grapes
Hunter Valley vignerons say there is no way they would use winery effluent to irrigate grape crops. A three-year trial by the CSIRO has investigated options for the use of wastewater on vineyards - including irrigation, evaporation and disposal. It found irrigation was the most sustainable, and identified a 'safe' level of sodium and potassium in wastewater which does not impact on the health of the grapes. But Andrew Margan, vice-president of the Hunter Valley Wine Tourism Association, said he would never use his treated wastewater to irrigate his vines.

Winegrape harvest underway in the Upper Hunter
The winegrape harvest is underway in the Upper Hunter with Two Rivers at Denman reporting a positive start to picking. Sparkling grapes have been first off the vines, while a test run of the company's whites has returned good results. James Estate at Baerami expects harvesting of its crop will commence this weekend. Brett Keeping from Two Rivers said after a challenging growing season, December rainfall has filled out the fruit. "Surprisingly the tonnages look to be well up," he said.

Treasury appoints new supply chief
Treasury Wine Estates has appointed Bob Spooner, the former head of UK bread business Hovis, as its new supply chief. Spooner has been appointed chief supply officer of the winemaker, which owns the Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Lindemans brands, replacing company veteran Stuart McNab. He will relocate to Australia from the UK, where he has had an extensive career in supply chain management and was most recently chief executive of Hovis.

Should scientists work with industry on alcohol policy?
It’s undeniable that there’s an irreconcilable conflict of interest in the alcohol industry being involved in developing health policy. And by participating in meetings involving industry representatives, scientists risk giving credibility to a fundamentally flawed process that’s unlikely to produce sound policy. The more recent was the Intergovernmental Committee on Drug Policy (IGCD) National Stakeholder Meeting on Alcohol Related Violence and Harm in Canberra in November.

New Zealand Winegrowers launch Mandarin-language website
New Zealand Winegrowers launched a Mandarin-language website to support ongoing marketing activities in China. Featuring information about New Zealand’s winegrowing regions and key grape varietals the website, www.nz-wine.cn, has content mirroring the flagship English-language site www.nzwine.com. The site also includes details of upcoming events in Mainland China, links to popular Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat, and offers insight to the New Zealand wine industry’s widespread commitment to sustainability.

Overseas demand for land on the rise
An extra 270 hectares of Marlborough grapegrowing land was sold, or leased, to overseas investors last year. Figures released to the Express from Land Information New Zealand show 1246.99ha of land was sold, or leased, to 13 Overseas Investment Office (OIO) applicants last year, compared with 976.68ha to nine applicants in 2013. Marcus Pickens, Wine Marlborough general manager, said he was not surprised that overseas investors were buying and leasing more Marlborough land. "This news probably wouldn't surprise anyone involved in the wine industry in New Zealand.

California has no future without sustainable water
It only took several years and before it was done several billion dollars were shaved off the top because the Governor believed it was too expensive. Late in the previous California legislative session, lawmakers got together in small-groups and, together with negotiations with Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., and his staff, hammered out an agreement that eventually became Proposition 1 – the water bond. California voters passed the $7.5 billion (A"$9.1bn) measure in November, paving the way for a host of projects aimed at rebuilding California’s broken water system. Included in that is $2.5 billion (A$3bn) for water storage.

Are wineries going to buy fewer grapes in 2015?
The headline chart is displaying grape purchase expectations for 2015 from wineries. I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear after a third year of record setting yields that we are a bit long on wine. The real question is "how long" and what can growers expect for orders in 2015? If we had a third year of record yields and wine sales hit the skids as happened in the start of the Great Recession, then the answer to "how long are we," would be really long. But that's not where the business is at the moment.

Wine closure firm Nomacorc bought out by founder and Bespoke Capital
Synthetic wine closure firm Nomacorc is set for long-term growth after being bought out from Summit Partners by Marc Noël, current founder and chairman, along with Bespoke Capital. The new owners plan to invest more heavily in Normacorc’s long term growth plan and expand its brand, infrastructure and overall global presence following the deal. The group plan to ramp up its research and development on closures and oxygen management in order to “drive global growth as well as help the company capitalise on the large long term opportunity to consolidate certain attractive segments of the global wine industry.

French winery sues Harrison importer
A French winemaker claims that Pasternak Wine Importers of Harrison conspired with a European rival to limit its sales in the United States. Vignerons de la Mediteranee of Narbonne, France accused Pasternak Wine Importers of breaching a contract to exclusively sell Vigneron's Pays d'Oc wines in the United States. Vignerons also accused Pasternak of selling the distribution rights to Vigneron's French competitor, Domaines Barons de Rothschild.

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