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News posted on Thursday, 14 May 2015

Australia’s First Families of Wine launch in North America
During Aussie Wine Month this May, some of Australia’s leading family wineries will tour North America to showcase the heritage and modern diversity of Australian fine wine. Australia’s First Families of Wine Chairman Robert Hill-Smith will lead family member representatives from the 12 family-owned wineries on a North American tour coordinated by Wine Australia. The tour will start with trade and consumer launch events in San Francisco on 18 May and New York on 20 May, before heading to Canada.

Tariffs going, going, gone
DEALS have now been completed with Australia’s “big three markets” after years of negotiations, says Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) assistant secretary of the free trade agreement (FTA) division, Michael Growder. “The basic point is; tariffs are going and they’re going in a big way,” he said. “The countries themselves are the economic powerhouses of Asia growing five per cent per year, dozens of times the size of the Australian economy - 14pc of our investment is from these three countries, but it’s growing really quickly.”

Small business commissioner wants better treatment of Riverina growers
The NSW small business commissioner says she is appalled by the way some wineries are treating grape growers in south-west New South Wales. This week Robyn Hobbs joined state and federal business agencies in Griffith, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Taxation Office and Rural Financial Counselling Service. They met with grape growers and small businesses in response to concerns from the Riverina Winegrapes Marketing Board.

Is there Australian confidence for wine in the UK?
Since establishment of the business in 1979 boutique Australian producer Maxwell Wines has been building a following in Australia and around the world. The brand has seen steady growth in all markets since its launch except for the United Kingdom. Maxwell Wines saw firsthand the catastrophic decline of Aussie wine in the UK as their distributor went out of business in 2005 leaving the brand without representation at a time when Aussie wine was on the nose.

Wine export sales hit record growth in Great Southern
Great Southern wines have experienced record growth in export sales in the past 12 months with export wine volumes growing by 90 per cent and export wine values up 95 per cent, bringing in about $2.2 million to the local industry. Peter Bailey, Australian Grape and Wine Authority analyst, said this was great news for Great Southern wine. "The other point is that it's coming at a relatively high average value of $8.42 per litre which reflects Great Southern's premium offering," Bailey said.

Alcohol rules 'going back to the old days'
Aucklanders will soon no longer be able to buy their bottle of wine or box of beer from their local supermarket before 9am or after 9pm following the Provisional Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy being passed at the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee today by 14 votes to one. "Going back to the old days when wine sections were roped off is definitely a ‘back to the future’ step. I don’t believe penalising early morning mum or dad grocery shoppers or the likes of shift workers in the evening will make any difference whatsoever.”

Get to know a new grape or two
One of wine's chief attractions is its astonishing diversity. The drink may come in only two colours (well, three if you count pink), but beneath that there are hundreds – nay, thousands – of subsets and possibilities that imbue the act of opening a bottle of wine with a sense of adventure. Different vintages, different countries, different vineyards, different winemakers… all play a role in giving a wine its own personality. And then there's grape variety. Here we find a breadth of vocabulary few other plant species can match. There are more than 10,000 known varieties of Vitis Vinifera in the world. Of these, around 800 are made into wine.

Marks & Spencer wine triumphs at international awards
If you're looking for a new favourite wine, you needn't look any further than your local supermarket. For the second year in a row, Marks and Spencer have topped the medal chart at the International Wine Challenge. The retailer received 169 accolades in total, including 12 gold, 52 silver, and 102 bronze medals. The IWC said the retailer "continued to prove it is at the top its game when it comes to selecting exceptional wines for consumers", adding that their Mount Bluff NV Sparkling Chardonnay is "expected to be a particular favourite with customers."

California farmers in line for more drought cutbacks
California’s water regulators spent last week hammering cities and suburbs, implementing first-ever cutbacks in urban water use in response to the state’s prolonged drought. Now they’re turning their attention back to agriculture. State Water Resources Control Board officials said Monday that they expect to issue “curtailment orders” soon to the state’s most senior water rights holders, effectively shutting off the flow of river water to some of the major agricultural districts in California.

Wine growers are toasting biodynamic methods
Wine making is a complicated business. The vagaries of the weather, the impact of pests and diseases, the condition of the soil and the threat of sour grapes have no doubt driven many an ill-fated viticulturist to drink. And in recent years, things have become even trickier, thanks to the growing popularity of biodynamic wine in a world where organic is old hat. While biodynamic agriculture follows the central tenets of organic, it adds spiritual and philosophical elements to produce what some experts describe as the "purest" wine possible.

Survey shows how consumers use mobile in wine aisle
Wine brands can no longer afford to downplay the importance of mobile optimisation. With Google’s recent mobile algorithm update, having a website that is not just mobile optimized but gives your customer the best possible experience is necessary to compete and win not just online sales and tasting room visits, but in the grocery store aisle as well. In Angelsmith’s ground-breaking Digital Consumer Survey of U.S. wine drinkers, the mobile wine buying statistics reveal how mobile devices have dramatically altered the wine purchase ecosystem.

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