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News posted on Monday, 15 December 2014

Tim Atkin MW keynote speaker at Mornington Pinot celebration
The 7th Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Celebration announced Tim Atkin MW as keynote speaker. In 2015, the celebration will focus on the maturation and evolution of Australian Pinot Noir on a world stage. Tim Atkin MW will guide the two-day event, with his own take on the concept of terroir. Vignerons will be bringing it all back home, focusing on the soil, aspect, climate and nuances of the Mornington Peninsula.

Hunter vignerons hopeful hot weather leads to good vintage
Hunter Valley vignerons anticipate they will start picking grapes for the 2015 vintage in four weeks time, if the worst of the humid tropical weather is over. Andrew Margan of Margan Family Wines said a hot and dry November has led to smaller, sweeter berries on his vines at Broke. He said that can result in a particularly good vintage because of a concentration of flavours and sugars. Mr Margan said the fruit ripens a lot quicker when there is less of it.

Clare Valley's Pikes opens brewery
Pikes Winery has opened a $1 million brewery in the Clare Valley under the direction of Brad Nolen, formerly of WA's Gage Roads Brewing Company. Brewing is due to begin today, with the new tasting room to open in January. “We’re getting geared up right now,” said Andrew Pike, the winery’s director. “We’ll probably start off with a pilsner and then follow up with a sparkling ale. It’s all happening here at the moment.” The new facility to be overseen by Nolen includes a 2000-litre brewing system imported from Italy and a modern bottling plant.

Aldi wine buyers have got their act together with their local range
A media release arrived in my inbox telling me how Aldi had triumphed at the National Wine Show in Canberra (a show sponsored, with not inconsiderable irony, by Dan Murphy’s), winning the best value red trophy with the 2013 Tudor Shiraz from central Victoria, which the German-owned supermarket sells for just $12.99. Crikey, I thought, this deserves some thorough investigation. So off I trooped to my nearest Aldi, and emerged a few minutes later with a bottle of the multi-award winning Shiraz.

NMIT launches new degree in viticulture and winemaking
A new viticulture and winemaking degree with a strong focus on practical and applied training will be launched at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) next year. The new bachelor of viticulture and winemaking will begin in 2015 at NMIT’s Marlborough campus. NMIT has offered viticulture and wine education for the past 23 years and previously, NMIT’s diploma in viticulture and wine production graduates were able to pathway into the Lincoln University bachelor of viticulture and oenology which could be studied at NMIT’s Marlborough campus.

Winery savours Rob Fyfe's vision
Rob Fyfe thought life would be a lot quieter when he stepped down as boss of Air New Zealand in 2012 but he has just taken up his latest role as strategic adviser to winery Craggy Range, on top of work as chief executive of Icebreaker and a board member for Michael Hill International. Fyfe said he was originally drawn to the role with Craggy Range because of the company's potential and the vision of the owners and founders.

Russia may ban French wine imports in retaliation to sanctions
Russia's government has raised the possibility of banning imports of French wine in retaliation to economic sanctions, in the same week that officials confiscated 3,000 litres of imported wine because it failed to meet regulations. The proposal is set to be discussed before the end of the year and is due to the French government's decision to suspend the transfer of Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia - as part of wider sanctions by the European Union and US following the political crisis in Ukraine.

Minister backs call for lower duty tax band for reduced alcohol wines
The UK’s public health minister has expressed “frustration” with a lack of flexibility around introducing a lower tax band for lower end wines, but the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) warns such a step would discriminate against wine from warmer climes. Jane Ellison, public health minister said, in evidence to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs, Health and Education sub-committee on a new EU alcohol strategy, that there were some areas of “frustration”, with the current strategy, and that the UK government would like to have the “flexibility” to go further on certain issues.

Small Indian wineries face bankruptcy, says winemaker body
While wine consumption in India is growing at 30 per cent per year, the state of around 40 small wineries largely based in Maharashtra remains a concern for the industry. The All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) said the survival of these wineries is at risk. It is preparing to ask the new BJP-led government in Maharashtra for 2bn rupees (A$38m) on wineries’ behalf.

Conference: Aim for quality over quantity with wine grapes
Viticulturist urges growers to avoid overproduction in speech at High Plains Agriculture Conference. Like the beverage they produce, winegrapes are better in moderation, Ed Hellman, viticulturist, said Friday morning. During a presentation at Texas A&M AgriLife’s High Plains Agriculture Conference, Hellman, a viticulture specialist for AgriLife and Texas Tech, encouraged growers to focus on quality over quantity.

Wine critic fights the French champagne police
Can an Australian wine critic and educator call her business Champagne Jayne? That’s the question at the centre of a year-long dispute between businesswoman Jayne Powell, who has used the name for years, and the Comité Interprofessionnel du Cin de Champagne (CIVC), the French trade association that protects wines from the Champagne region. The committee claims Powell has misled consumers because she ­promoted sparkling wines that are not technically champagne.

Natural ferments, what makes them tick?
Natural, spontaneous, wild and uninoculated are several terms used to describe a wine fermentation that has not been inoculated with a commercial yeast strain. The population of yeast species is dynamic throughout an uninoculated fermentation due to the range of initial microflora present and changing conditions as the fermentation progresses.

Barefoot Wine Founders announced as keynote speakers at Australia Trade Tasting 2015
Australia Trade Tasting 2015 is thrilled to announce that Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, two of the most successful wine brand owners of all time, are going to be keynote speakers at the Australia Trade Tasting USA Export Focus Day. As founders of Barefoot Wines, Michael and Bonnie are perhaps the most prolific wine sales professionals in history. I mean, who else can say that they started out in their laundry room with nothing more than an idea and then went on to build the world’s top selling wine brand? Now that’s something truly special!

Natural ferments, what makes them tick?
Natural, spontaneous, wild and uninoculated are several terms used to describe a wine fermentation that has not been inoculated with a commercial yeast strain. The population of yeast species is dynamic throughout an uninoculated fermentation due to the range of initial microflora present and changing conditions as the fermentation progresses.

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