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News posted on Wednesday, 14 October 2015

US market primed for Aus premium wines as economy rebounds
With signs the US economy is picking up, a leading international wine judge believes now is the time for Australian premium winemakers to renew efforts in selling across the Pacific. Rieslings from the US, Germany, New Zealand, France and South Africa — and for the first time the Czech Republic — are up against the Australian product at this week's International Riesling Challenge in Canberra. A member of the judging team is International Riesling Foundation president Jim Tresize, from New York.

Riverland grapegrower reaps rewards of farm diversification
Riverland grape producer Shane Nettle is grateful to no longer be at the mercy of big wine corporations. After returning to the family property near Cobdogla several years ago, the innovative farmer decided to diversify in a bid to stay profitable. His 130 acre block still supports a productive vineyard, but now also produces lucerne, cereal hay, fat lambs and wool. With much of the farm's produce sold through their on-site fodder store, the family certainly have their hands full managing the multi-faceted business.

Coonawarra winery inflicts vineyard drought for climate change research
The winery Wynns Coonawarra Estate has forced a drought on part of its vineyard in the name of climate change research. Coonawarra wine region suffers extreme seasonal conditions, including frost, drought, cold flowering and high precipitation. Chief winemaker from Wynns, Allen Jenkins has been at the helm of the climate research for the past 14 years and said understanding how these factors impact yield potential is critical.

Canberra International Riesling Challenge launched
The biggest Riesling event in the southern hemisphere was launched this week in Canberra, with almost 500 wines from seven countries up for judging. Canberra International Riesling Challenge chairman Ken Helm said there would be plenty of opportunity for the public to get involved in the event, which he said was not "just a wine" show. Events include master classes and seminars on Friday showcasing wines never seen in Australia before, an awards ceremony on Friday and a public wine tasting of all 500 Rieslings on Saturday.

Vale Don Buchanan
Industry Veteran Don Buchanan passed away on the Sunshine Coast in September after a two-year battle with cancer. Judy Buchanan has shared a summary of Don’s proudest moments throughout his wine career which spanned more than four decades. "Don’s life was certainly full of good experiences and ventures among them piloting his own 2-seater Ultralight plane. Don came from Melbourne and with a passion for wine making, studied Agricultural Science at Dookie and then onto Roseworthy College where he graduated in 1973 in Oenology."

'Wine Grenade' may have explosive effect on industry
A year on from winning the University of Auckland's Dragon's Den-style business competition, a wine industry start-up's "grenade" is already in commercial trials with a major Hawke's Bay winery. Wine Grenade, a micro-oxygenation tool that removes the cost and complexity associated with maturing wine, won the Spark $100k Challenge in 2014 and has now been named as a finalist in the New Zealand Innovators Awards.

Deadly wine? Syrian vineyard stays open despite Daesh threat
It has been called “the most dangerous wine in the world.” But it is those who produce the Bargylus vintage, not those drinking it, who must tread carefully. For its rich flavours have been cultivated in a vineyard in war-torn Syria where shells rain down and where lashes are handed out by the dozen for dealing in alcohol. Vineyard owner Karim Saade reveals: “Every six or seven months we get some shelling. “We haven’t had any major human casualties, thank god. The only damage was material, and material can be replaced.”

How fair is fair trade wine?
Only about fifty wineries are fair trade-certified, all from South Africa, Argentina, and Chile. Producers must be in the “Global South” to apply for the program and right now, that’s the Global South for wine. “Global South” refers more to development status and national wealth, not so much to physical geography; New Zealand and Australia are in the global south, but not in the Global South. So, don’t blame poor selection when you don’t see Italian or Californian fair trade wine at your local shop.

Why it’s difficult to sell wine in China
After we stepped into the new millennium, wine and its culture have been widely spread across China, and became a fairly common topic in people’s daily lives. It’s fair to say that compared to its peers, wine as an alcoholic beverage gets the most exposure through various media. However, the actual sales of wine are not in proportion to the amount of exposure it gets. It seems everyone is talking about wine, but in fact wines are not selling as well as you would expect.

Innovative wine packaging formats driven by Millennials
The wine market is riding a wave of popularity and new packaging formats are lifted along with it. In terms of popularity, demand for wine packaging in the U.S. is forecast to reach $2.9 billion in 2019, with an increase of 4.4% annually, according to a recent report from The Freedonia Group (Cleveland, OH). Growth will benefit from steady, favourable gains in domestic wine consumption and production and increases in disposable personal income among Millennials.

It's time to take Sauvignon Blanc seriously
"If you held a conference about Sauvignon Blanc, it'd be all over by the time you had a cup of morning coffee." That quote, from the ever-quotable Richard Riddiford (recently retired CEO of Martinborough's Palliser Estate winery), dates back to 2002. Poor old savvy b (as my eldest daughter likes to call it). It has had to endure some dissing over the years. But it's easy to see why. Cropping at gluttonous levels, winemaking by numbers, chasing sameness rather than singularity…

It's time to take Sauvignon Blanc seriously
"If you held a conference about Sauvignon Blanc, it'd be all over by the time you had a cup of morning coffee." That quote, from the ever-quotable Richard Riddiford (recently retired CEO of Martinborough's Palliser Estate winery), dates back to 2002. Poor old savvy b (as my eldest daughter likes to call it). It has had to endure some dissing over the years. But it's easy to see why. Cropping at gluttonous levels, winemaking by numbers, chasing sameness rather than singularity…

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