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News posted on Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Riverland wine grape growers still assessing the damage
Riverland wine grape growers are continuing to assess the damage from last week's vicious hail storm, which ripped grapes from vines and toppled vineyard rows across the region. Giant hailstones and strong winds swept through the Riverland on Friday, leaving several horticultural industries with a combined damage bill of about $100 million. Some grape growers told ABC Riverland they had lost 50 per cent, 80 per cent or 100 per cent of their grapes on some blocks, just when it seemed the local wine industry was entering a much-needed, positive turnaround.

Storm aid on agenda for special meeting
Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW) has called a special meeting of growers for Tuesday afternoon in Red Cliffs to discuss disaster relief and post-hail vineyard management strategies. The meeting will be at 5.30 in the Red Cliffs Club Function Room, Heytsbury Avenue. MVW Executive Officer Mike Stone says many winegrape growers, particularly in the Cardross/Red Cliffs/Stewart area were hit hard by Friday night’s gale-force winds and hail. NSW growers around Pomona also suffered significant losses.

Australian Wineries Increase Revenue Strongly
Revenue for Australian wineries was up 10.5% year on year to June 2016, according to new research just released by Wine Business Solutions (WBS). “This is the best we have seen it since we started doing our Direct to Customer benchmarking” says WBS Principal, Peter McAtamney. “Whilst direct sales are driving growth (up 12% and again representing 54% of revenue for wineries producing less the 50,000 cases), all channels performed strongly. Very few wineries reported lower revenue than they were achieving 12 months ago. Those that have decreased in total sales value are typical restructuring their business around higher margin opportunities.”

Australian wine drives positive momentum at ProWine China
Australian wine has staged a successful showing in our most valuable export market at ProWine China 2016, held in Shanghai on 7–9 November 2016. The Wine Australia Pavilion included 19 exhibitors who showcased approximately 200 wines, from close to 30 brands, from nearly 20 wine regions, across 5 states. Some of these brands are already in-market while others are seeking distribution in China for the first time as Australian wineries seek to build on the positive momentum for our finest wines that is reflected in the latest export figures.

Accolade wines to acquire lion’s fine wine partners
Lion today announced that Accolade Wines has agreed to acquire its entire Australian premium wine business, Fine Wine Partners (FWP). FWP is a quality fine wine business offering exposure to the attractive and growing premium wine segment in desirable viticultural regions. However, following a comprehensive strategic review it became clear that considerable investment would be required to grow FWP to scale. Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said: “Lion has a range of competing opportunities for investment in its core categories of beer and cider and has been unable to prioritise the investment required to grow Fine Wine Partners to a size justifying its fixed cost base.

New Zealand wineries checking damage after earthquake
Wineries in Marlborough and Canterbury in New Zealand have been assessing the damage caused by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and several reported aftershocks. Yealands Family Wines, in Marlborough, said that ‘while there is some damage at the winery, the winery building withstood the conditions well, as it was designed to do. ‘It remains closed for safety reasons while the damage is being assessed and cleaned.’ The cellar door will also remain closed for the next few days, and visitors are advised to call in advance before coming to the winery. The epicentre of the earthquake was northeast of Christchurch, and the South Island has had hundreds of tremors since the initial earthquake.

Giesen Wines adds to trophy tally at Air NZ wine awards
Giesen Wines has wowed the judges at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards, winning three champion trophies at the prestigious competition announced in Auckland on the weekend. The family-owned business claimed the Open Champion White Wine Trophy with its Giesen Estate Riesling 2015, which also won the Champion Riesling Trophy and the Champion Sweet White Wine with The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014. In total, 18 trophies were presented with Giesen Wines being one of the most successful with their three trophies.

What could the ‘Supermoon’ do to wine?
The Supermoon could affect the taste of wines and development of vines around the world, but it's coming at a good time for vineyards, according to proponents of biodynamics. The so-called ‘Supermoon’ will appear 14 times larger and 30 times brighter in the sky tonight (14 November), the biggest of its kind for 48 years. What effect could this natural phenomenon have on the wines being made this year? Followers of biodynamic principles offer some insight below. ‘Wines most likely to show any kind of lunar effect will be those farmed biodynamically, because this is the only farming system which actively considers the the vines as part of a wider celestial sphere,’ said Monty Waldin, a biodynamic wine consultant and writer.

Wine to ‘lose least’ from Scottish booze pricing
Wine has the least to lose from the proposed Scottish minimum unit pricing legislation (MUP), research from Nielsen found, but spirits, beer and cider and own-label lines look set to be hit harder. A new study by Nielsen based on retailers’ sales found that 69% of spirits in Scotland by volume are currently sold below the 50p per unit threshold, just ahead of beer (67%), and cider (51%), but only 3.4% of wine currently falls below the minimum price per unit. “Wine is, by far, the least impacted and so has the most to gain from minimum pricing,” says Marika Praticó, senior client manager at Nielsen. “Overall, wine will need to raise prices by the least amount, thus it becomes more affordable relative to other alcohol.”

Idaho’s wine grape crop rebounds after poor year
Idaho’s winegrape industry has rebounded from a November 2014 freeze that sharply reduced the 2015 crop. With only a few acres left to pick, growers and vintners are reporting winegrape yields 50 to 100 percent higher than last year and slightly to well above normal. “We had a super crop. We had a banner year,” said Bill Ringert, owner of Cold Springs Winery in Hammett. “In fact, we’re not even picking the end of the crop because everybody seems to have had a pretty good crop and outside sales are not exceptional.”

Wine Bottles Wrapped With Books
Books and wine: name a more iconic duo. I'll wait. It's pretty much established by now that wine and literature is the greatest pairing of all time, and Italian company Librottiglia (a merging of the Italian words for "book" and "bottle") have decided to take this literally — by wrapping short stories around their mini-bottles of wine. “Today we read books on computers, tablets and mobile phones,” explained the creators, Reverse Innovation. "Why not on a bottle of wine?" And you know what? I can't think of one good reason not to.

New Direct to Customer Research now Available
Wine Business Solutions’ 2016 Direct to Customer Benchmarking Research is now available by following this link. The research benchmarks Australian, New Zealand and South African wineries against their US counterparts. It covers all key aspects of direct to consumer strategy including systems, software and processes used by participating wineries. It is comprehensive including benchmarks for cellar door, club, event, web and 3rd party online retail sales.

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