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News posted on Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Winemakers lobby pushes back on Senate committee's advice to abolish wine tax rebate
A new Senate report with 12 recommendations for reforming the wine industry has been panned by one of the senators on the committee that authored it, and met with disappointment by winemakers. Throughout last year, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee has been hearing about the wine industry long list of woes; including the need for reform of its tax arrangements, a lack of funding for international markets, concerns about the power of the supermarket duopoly and the plight of grape growers in warm inland production regions.

WA begins harvest after mixed growing season
Harvest for the 2016 vintage is underway in Western Australia with producers grateful for strong finish to the growing season. Winemakers say recent hot weather across the south west of the state has been a gift, after heavy rains threatened the start to harvest. The heavy rain that fell in mid-January had the potential to disrupt quality and could have created pest issues, just as many vineyards were about to start picking.

New owners for Sydney International Wine Competition
The Sydney International Wine Competition, the first wine show in the world to judge wine in the presence of food, has new owners. After 36 years, founders Warren and Jacquie Mason have sold the business and moved aside to allow the new owners, Brett and Michaela Ling, to take over. The Lings met while studying chemical engineering at university, and Brett works as a senior research manager at IBM.

Sassafras wines: masters of petillant-naturel, or naturally sparkling
One of the trendiest wine styles of the moment is pet-nat, short for petillant-naturel, or naturally sparkling. This style is produced by the methode ancestrale, by which a wine finishes its primary fermentation in bottle, capturing both carbon dioxide bubbles and a sediment of yeast lees.

Matt Kramer names most dependable white grape
What white grape produces the globe’s most consistently good wines? According to US wine writer Matt Kramer, it’s a well-known variety, but it’s not Chardonnay. Speaking earlier this month in New Zealand – where Kramer was asked to speak at the country’s first International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration – the respected commentator began his presentation by stating the dependable credentials of one grape.

Renwick harvest party to bring the community together
A pre-harvest party being held in Renwick hopes to bring residents and their winegrowing neighbours together, an organiser says. The party, organised by Renwick Smart and Connected, is being held on March 12 at Rousehill Reserve. Smart and Connected deputy chairwoman Belinda Jackson said the party was a way of bringing together two groups, residents and members of the wine industry, that lived side-by-side but traditionally had little to do with each other.

A Savvy Breed of Winemaker Takes Business Sense to the Winery
There’s an old saying: If you want to make a small fortune in the wine business, start with a large one. Many a wealthy person has discovered the axiom’s truth the hard way, buying a winery with the idea of being a gentleman farmer, overseeing a picturesque and prestigious business, with the added bonus of living atop a hillside covered with vines.

Prosecco prices set to rise due to lack of availability at entry point
The days of cheap Prosecco could be numbered as the base price has risen by around a quarter in the past year, a leading importer has warned. Hallgarten Druitt made headlines last year after freezing its prices and said it has been able to repeat the feat on most wines this year, but Prosecco is a notable exception. Managing director Andrew Bewes told OLN: “Prosecco will hit everyone. The cost of production has risen. The base price has gone up 20%-25%. We will see it moving more in line with the Champagne market.

Urban Forage is making wine from stuff destined to be tossed away
The idea of turning waste into wine sounds less crazy if you consider its origins: the urge to get alcohol when you’re broke. Jeff Zeitler was a short-on-cash college student with an interest in making booze. But the raw material was expensive and hard to come by. Twenty years ago, home brew stores didn’t pepper the Twin Cities as they do now, and even if they did, imported Chardonnay juice was a luxury for a college dude.

Natural wine potential in US ‘huge but untapped’
The potential for natural wine in the USA is “huge”, but there are fears that lack of capacity may make it difficult to secure, the founder of natural wine trade show RAW has warned. Speaking to the drinks business, founder of RAW, Isabelle Legerons MW, said the natural wine movement had been gathering pace in the US, with a strong community of importers and sommelier in the trade centred around New York’s restaurants, bars and casual dining scene.

New winemaker joins Claymore Wines
Clare Valley producer Claymore Wines has announced Marnie Roberts has joined the company as its’ new winemaker, her appointment beginning this January in time for vintage 2016 preparations. Roberts grew up on a family vineyard in Mildura and worked at Buronga Hill Winery and Salisbury - an Evans and Tate company.

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