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News posted on Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Casella Family Brands sets up European subsidiary
Casella Family Brands (CFB) has announced plans to establish a European subsidiary to be based in Cambridgeshire, England. Casella Family Brands Europe Limited will initially manage Yellow Tail wine in Great Britain with long-term plans to expand to the European market. Simon Lawson, CFB Europe general manager, said the company was focused on achieving ongoing growth of Yellow Tail in Europe

Aussie wine exports to China grow to $370m
Fresh off the back of a 66 per cent increase in Chinese wine export values in 2015 – making China Australia’s third most valuable export market – a contingent of Asian wine influencers toured the Barossa last Friday as part of Wine Australia’s visitors program. A total of 22 guests – including trade, media and sommeliers – from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan were hosted by several Barossa winemakers for the day before being treated to a regional tasting and dinner at Murray Street Vineyards.

Neil McGuigan says that the world is over 'big' Australian wines
Australian Vintage chief winemaker and CEO Neil McGuigan said he has noticed a clear trend by international buyers away from high alcohol Australian wine. Speaking with TheShout on the first day of ProWein in Düsseldorf, McGuigan said he has noticed the change in the attitudes from international buyers at the show. “There’s no doubt that the buyers are looking for more balance in Australian wine. No buyer has said they want the alcohol higher, not one person – so thank god we are over that.

Cutting-edge grape harvesting machine is the pick of the bunch
IT’S the latest thing in grape harvesting and a sure sign that Tasmania’s wine industry is coming of age. Normally, it takes a crew of 24 pickers up to seven hours to harvest one hectare of grapes but this $500,000 Pellenc 4680 made short work of 11ha of sparkling grapes in 20 hours at Ian Roberts’ Riversdale Estate at Cambridge recently. “The machine has cut labour costs by up to 80 per cent, it’s huge,” Roberts said.

Pernod Ricard mired in red of a different kind
Pernod Ricard's local business which makes Australia's No.1 wine brand Jacob's Creek tumbled to a loss of $31 million in its latest financial year even though the Australian arm lifted sales revenue by 4 per cent to $518 million as it battled against its two larger rivals Treasury Wine Estates and Accolade Wines. Jacob's Creek sells more than 6 million cases of wine annually and is made at Pernod Ricard's Barossa Valley production site in South Australia.

Predicted growth to provide challenges for Marlborough wine
The Marlborough wine industry is so optimistic about the future that predictions are for an increase in producing vineyards of nearly 25 percent in the next four years. But with that growth will come challenges, according to a Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, and Marlborough District Council labour market survey. Undertaken last year, the survey shows that the industry is set to grow by 6,444 hectares by 2019/2020.

Spy Valley focuses on quality with winery expansion
Marlborough wine company Spy Valley has made a $1.2 million investment to ensure the quality of its wine and expand production at its Waihopai Valley winery. The wine company secured resource consent from the Marlborough District Council in 2013 to increase its processing capacity from 2000 tonnes to 3000 tonnes of grapes. Spy Valley marketing manager Nicola Clark said four new wine presses were installed last week.

The Changing Tastes of US Wine Drinkers
The Wine Market Council's latest research shows up some unusual trends. The hottest expensive wine in the United States is rosé. It's not surprising to see rosé sales are up. But the magnitude of sales growth for rosés over $11 is staggering: up nearly 60 percent last year, according to Nielsen. Rosé over $11 may seem like it's still a small market, at 0.2 percent of all table wine. But it's not that small: that's the same size as the entire US wine market for all wines from Portugal or South Africa.

CIVC send in the clowns against Champín
Champagne's lawyers go into overkill mode – again – over a Spanish soda. Around the age of five is when we learn – along with basic addition and how to spell our own names – that only wine made in the French region of Champagne can be called Champagne. California sparkling isn't Champagne (except when it confusingly is), Methode Cap Classique isn't Champagne, and Lindauer sure as heck isn't Champagne.

Meet the 94-year-old behind LA’s longest-running winery
It’s difficult to imagine Downtown Los Angeles as anything other than what we know and love today: a sprawling maze of lofts and lawyers. But stare down Alameda Street, open your mind’s eye, and imagine a time, less than a century ago, when rows of vegetables, fruits, and vines dominated the sloping landscape. For many of us, manifesting this vision would require some Hollywood CGI. But Stefano Riboli relies solely on memory.

Will California's drought trigger a wine-pocalypse?
California’s unprecedented dry spell began in 2011, and has developed into a full-scale water emergency. Across the Golden State, whole populations are going unshowered, millions of toilets are left unflushed. Water wars rage in the Central Valley, the nation’s breadbasket. Lawns are going brown in Beverly Hills. But what about the vino? How has something as basic as lack of water affected one of the world’s most celebrated luxury trades?

Three month countdown to ICCWS 2016 begins!
This May the UK will host the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS 2016). Global experts in the wine world from eight different countries are speaking across three days making this a once-in-a-lifetime event not to be missed from 26-28 May 2016, Brighton. The ICCWS 2016 is a three-day international symposium for all involved in making, marketing and selling cool climate wines.

Wine now neck-and-neck with beer as Australia’s favourite alcoholic drink
WOMEN and their beloved wine have turned the booze-popularity table on its head. Forty years ago, beer was the Aussie drink of choice. About 70 per cent of drinkers chose beer, 20 per cent drank wine, and 10 per cent had spirits. According to Australian Hotels Association SA general manager Ian Horne, times have changed. He believes a huge shift in women’s incomes, social and drinking habits over the past four decades, their drinking “presence” and preference for wine has toppled beer as the bar favourite.

The future of wine festivals
When the Prosser Wine and Food Festival announced this winter that it was ending after 34 years, I was struck by a wave of nostalgia and melancholy. Two decades ago, it was the first wine event I ever attended. My wife and I — recently married and knowing little about wine — thought it would be fun to go. It turned out to be much more. It was there on the football field at Prosser High School where we fell in love with wine. It was an event that led me down a new path: a career in wine writing that has brought immeasurable levels of joy and gratitude.

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