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News posted on Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Natural disaster declared over Swan Valley
Perth's wine producing region, the Swan Valley, has been declared a natural disaster zone — along with areas from the Pilbara to the Goldfields-Esperance region — following severe flooding over the weekend. Unprecedented rains and floods caused widespread damage to towns along the Avon River catchment, with some Swan Valley wine producers inundated. Premier Colin Barnett said declaring the area a natural disaster meant funds were available to those in need.

Barringwood expects to harvest vintage in May
Owners of the award-winning Barringwood Vineyard expect the 2017 vintage to begin to be harvested at the start of May – a month later than last season. However, Lower Barrington vigneron Vanessa Bagot said it meant the grape harvest was back to normal. “Last year all our grapes were off by April 20 – but that was really early,” Mrs Bagot said. “Normally for us it’s the first week of May. We expect it to be around then for this vintage, it is a little slow but this vintage is more normal than last year.”

Treasury Wine posts record half-year profit
Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Ltd, the world's biggest listed stand-alone wine company, posted a record half-year profit as it catered to China's thirst for mid-range product and benefited from a United States purchase. Net profit for the owner of the Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount wine labels more than doubled to A$136.2 million ($104.1 million) for the six months to Dec. 31, helped by an earnings contribution from the recently acquired U.S. wine business of Diageo Plc.

Funding available to help boost trade to China
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is seeking applications from Australian farm businesses and organisations looking to undertake projects and trade missions to boost the agricultural trading relationship between Australia and China in 2017. Australia’s $12.7 billion two-way agricultural trade relationship with China is set to be further strengthened, with applications now open for funding through the Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) programme.

Yellow Tail campaign targets ‘wine snobbery’
Just one week after Casella Family Brands launched its Yellow Tail Super Bowl ad across 85% of the United States, the brand has launched its Australian campaign, focusing similarly on the idea of ‘fun.’ Created by CommonVentures, the new ads feature different household objects such as a BBQ, a chair and a wooden spoon, being described in long sentences using complex adjectives, poking fun at traditional wine brand ads.

#V17 tip
#3: Provide training for all vineyard staff, including contract and casual labour, on hygiene protocols. #Vinehealth

Kiwi wineries risk with 'wine of Australia'
The Commerce Commission says New Zealand wineries putting cheap Australian wine in their bottles and selling it as theirs may not be covered legally by putting "wine of Australia" in small print on the back of the bottle. Fair Go reported more and more iconic Kiwi brands are filling their bottles with what the programme called "cheap Aussie plonk". The programme said the law is really clear on labeling, with the Fair Trading Act stating it's illegal to mislead customers.

Wairarapa rebrands as Wellington wine country
Winemakers in New Zealand’s Wairarapa Valley, which includes the boutique Pinot Noir heartland of Martinborough, have collectively rebranded as Wellington Wine Country in an effort to better communicate the region and its wines. Located on the north island, east of Wellington, the Wairarapa Valley comprises the Martinborough GI, Gladstone GI and Masterton, regions connected by the Ruamahanga river. The most planted varieties across all three regions, now known as Wellington Wine Country, are Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, with smaller plantings of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Syrah.

Uncorking innovation with Treasury in Napa
The ancient craft of wine making conjures romantic notions of hand-picked vines, and bare feet crushing grapes. However, wine production today is a thoroughly high-tech affair. Degree programs in viticulture and oenology, from Cornell University to UC Davis, reflect advances in the industry. Professors and courses there now focus on topics like “environmental control, and modified atmospheres,” “the genetic engineering of industrial microorganisms,” or “analytical instrumentation,” to name a few. What wine makers are going after with applied technology and science is a more profitable piece of an already sizable market.

The Evolution of Lebanese Wine
If you ever need a new nose for your 1983 Mercedes 230E, Chtaura in the Bekaa Valley is the place to go. It’s full of workshops keeping Lebanon’s extraordinary range of 1970s and ‘80s European and American cars on the road. Yet, while this area looks like the last place you’d expect to find a world-class winery, at the edge of town, set back from the road, is a fine collection of 19th-century buildings that make up Domaine des Tourelles. At one point, this winery would have been somewhat isolated, but gradually the suburbs of Chtaura have engulfed it.

Utah’s liquor markup among highest
Discovering a $13 bottle of wine at the liquor store may sound like a deal, until Utahns realize more than $6 of the cost goes to the state. The extra 88 percent — a combination of markup and freight— that Utah consumers pay on a single bottle of wine is the highest among all liquor-control jurisdictions in the country, according to numbers from California's Alcohol Research Group. And Utah's drinkers could be paying a few cents more if the Legislature approves a bill being drafted by House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, and Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton.

Gatineau sommelier to pair wines at 30,000 feet
World-renowned sommelier Véronique Rivest is rising to new heights — from her Gatineau wine bar to 30,000 feet in the sky. "That's something I'm looking forward to test a bit more," she said Monday on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. "You're obviously in a different environment — in a cabin up in the air, there's the altitude but I think there's, especially, the very dry environment of the cabin, which is said to really reduce our perception of fruitiness in wine and accentuate acidity and tannin."

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WID 2017