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News posted on Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Riverland grape growers kept in the dark on prices
A leading wine industry group in South Australia's Riverland region says members are fed up with "being treated like mushrooms" over prices for the coming 2017 winegrape harvest season. Riverland Wine Executive Officer Chris Byrne said after years of trust building initiatives, the lack of certainty provided by the big wineries was causing growers anxiety. Wineries that are signatories to the Australian wne industry code of conduct such as Accolade Wines and Pernod-Ricard, are required to provide their Riverland growers with indicative regional prices by December 15 each year.

Blue Pyrenees: Attention to soil structure bears fruit
Decisions being made in the vineyard at Blue Pyrenees Estate at Avoca are having an impact on production long ­before the winemakers put their hands on the fruit. However, viticulturist Sean Howe says it is the Remy ­Martin family — who set the property up — who still have the most influence on the type and quality of wine produced. “A lot of the benefits I have are from the decisions someone I never met made 50 years ago on selecting the site,” Sean said. “They knew the soil types they wanted were associated with alluvial goldfields, and they knew the climate they wanted.

Digby English Sparkling Wine Enters Australia
Digby Fine English has become the first English sparkling wine brand to secure a major entry into the Australian wine market after securing a listing at the country’s #1 drinks retailer, Woolworths Limited, in time for the peak Christmas trading season. Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy’s has launched Digby’s Non Vintage Brut priced at A$89.99 this week in 40 of its top-notch stores, at a time when Champagne sales in the continent-sized country are booming. It is a reversal of roles as Australia, the #1 wine exporter to the UK by volume, is more accustomed to sending bottles in the other direction.

Trio will champion as Tasting Australia ambassadors
They represent three different South Australian regions, but walk in tandem in their love for food and wine – and now the dynamo identities are coming together as ambassadors for Tasting Australia 2017. Adelaide Hills winemaker Taras Ochota, Karena Armstrong, head chef at Salopian Inn in McLaren Vale and Fino at Seppeltsfield co-owner and front-of-house Sharon Romeo, will champion their food bowls at the eight-day eating and drinking festival, which kicks off on April 30.

De Bortoli wines celebrate a wining 2016
De Bortoli Wines will be popping the bubbly on 2016 in celebration of receiving one of its biggest medal hauls, with 523 domestic and international wine awards further cementing the Australian family-owned winery’s reputation for producing premium quality wines. Headlining the tally are 24 trophies across eight different wine brands, from the iconic Noble One Botrytis Semillon, premium cool climate Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and new Villages Shiraz Grenache from Heathcote to the popular Sacred Hill Chardonnay.

French variety a welcome new addition
Petit Manseng is not a grape that regularly trips off the tongue of New Zealand wine lovers. However, a small band of pioneers already has great hopes for this unsung French white variety. Hailing from southwest France and the little-known appellations of Jurancon and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh, which snuggle up against the Pyrenees mountains, the golden age for this grape was said to be the 15th and 16th centuries when it was reportedly a favourite of royalty. The first New Zealand plantings were made by Churton winemaker Sam Weaver in 2007 and 2008 (there simply was not enough vine-stock to plant it all in one year).

Wild pines threaten Marlborough wine industry
The Government says the spread of wilding pines has got so bad in Marlborough it could threaten the region's lucrative wine industry. Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said the Government had committed $1 million to fight the spread in the area. "Not only are they taking over pastoral land, they're also having a flow-on effect, so that the water that these big trees are absorbing means that sooner or later it's going to compromise the ability of the Marlborough wine industry to grow grapes."

Travelers can buy wines at duty-free prices
The world’s leading luxury travel retailer, DFS Group (DFS), is offering travelers arriving in Singapore the chance to purchase an unlimited amount of wine from a selected collection at duty-free prices. By absorbing all duty free and GST, DFS allows customers to purchase as many bottles as they desire from this set collection of wines. The wines range in price and variety and start from as little as S$28.00, with travelers enjoying savings of up to 70% versus domestic prices. This is on top of the Singapore Custom’s duty-free allowance of either one litre of spirits, one litre of wine, one litre of beer; or two litres of wine, one litre of beer; or two litres of beer, one litre of wine.

Prosecco bests Champagne’s with growth across Europe
Prosecco sales across Europe hit €789m in 2016, compared to Champagne sales worth €1.4bn, according to the latest figures from IRI, the provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers. But while Champagne is outstripping its lower-cost rival by almost double in the market value overall, the figures show that Prosecco continues to be the fizzy drink of choice among consumers, with 77m litres bought — 25% more than Champagne and with growth of 24% in value and 23% in volume.

McGuigan Wines targets UK after record trophy win
McGuigan Wines is targeting UK independents with wines showcasing regionality, distinctiveness and personality after winning IWSC Winemaker of the Year for a record fourth year running. The Australian brand has enjoyed strong growth, with sales up 9.6% to £120 million (IRI, year to July 2016) making it Britain’s fifth bestselling brand. It has an average price point of £5.15 and aims to raise this by targeting indies and the on-trade with more nuanced wines.

UV light box offers hope for vegan wine lovers
A new device that claims to soften tannins in young wine by exposing the juice to ultraviolet light could also help increase the number of wines available for vegans, according to winemakers taking part in early trials. A Swiss company claims to be offering winemakers a new weapon against harsh tannins and underripe wines. Some winemakers also believe that the firm’s namesake gadget, Vino Flux, could make it easier to produce vegan wines. Vino Flux is trialling its namesake device with 150 Australian wineries, and it claims that its UV light rays will soften tannins and speed up the maturation process.

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WID 2017