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News posted on Tuesday, 16 December 2014

NZ Pacific encouraged for new Seasonal Worker Scheme
Domestic Pacific workers can be as successful as overseas Pacific workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries says Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Pacific Island affairs minister. Lotu-Iiga is encouraging employers to take up the New Zealand Seasonal Worker Scheme announced by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. Bennett also announced an increase to the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. The scheme recruits seasonal workers from overseas to assist in the horticulture and viticulture industries where there are not enough New Zealand workers.

Urban pressure squeezes winery
Mills Reef Winery in Tauranga is being squeezed off its site by urban sprawl, but it is determined to maintain business as usual. Directors of the multi-award winning winery have accepted that future growth will be constrained on the site now the city has grown out to meet it, and have started long-term planning to relocate to a fresh site in the Western Bay.

Alcohol: plain packaging’s next casualty
Two years after its implementation, plain packaging’s impact upon smoking and the illicit cigarette trade remains the subject of vigorous debate. No longer debatable, however, is plain packaging’s negative affect upon the alcohol industry and other non-tobacco sectors of the Australian economy. The unintended effects of plain packaging have the potential to vastly outweigh the legislation’s intended public health benefits, real or imagined. In fact, Australia’s imposition of plain packaging on tobacco opened a Pandora’s Box of potential trade costs with the nation’s alcohol sector set to become the first example of the policy’s collateral damage.

Warrenmang Vineyard in Victoria's Pyrenees for sale
Victoria's Warrenmang Vineyard and Resort at Moonambel, located 20 kilometres north-west of Avoca, has been listed by the retiring owners Athalie and Luigi Bazzani. They ran the tourist destination winery for around 36 years. On the Great Grape Road in the cool-climate wine territory of the Pyrenees, Warrenmang is credited as having pioneered the vineyard resort concept in 1989.

Treasury wine AGM held today
Treasury Wine shareholders should not take it personally if their captain Michael Clarke – the other guy, not the cricketer – looks a little glum at his first AGM for the winemaker this morning. The level of takeover speculation surrounding the stock when he joined early this year meant the board had to make contingencies for an early departure. This included a cash payout of his $3.4 million long-term incentive plan if a suitor took control before the Tuesday meeting.

Wine Pride: Is France coming out?
There is every reason for France to crow about its wine achievements. The wine and spirit sector produces the country’s second largest balance-of-trade-surplus after the aerospace industry, and ahead of pharmaceuticals. (And remember that France’s greatest spirit products – Cognac and Armagnac – are grape-based, not grain-based, even if the French themselves spend 12 times more on whisky than on Cognac.) This year, France will be the world’s biggest wine producer, and the world’s top-value exporter. Wine production accounts for only three per cent of France’s agricultural land, yet wine represents 15.4 per cent of the country’s agricultural production value.

Napa revisits wine wastewater
Vintners in Napa County and elsewhere in the North Bay have found it less expensive to haul high-strength wastewater to the East Bay for recycling, but Napa treatment officials are again asking if there is a better, closer alternative. Napa Sanitation District, which treats sewage from homes and businesses in the city and surrounding unincorporated areas, has been getting requests from wineries to consider taking in this waste, according to General Manager Tim Healy.

Portugal is shaking up the wine world
LISBON, Portugal - The world's greatest wine region? If you're thinking Bordeaux, Burgundy or Napa Valley, it may be time to think again. Wines from Portugal's Douro Valley claimed three of the top four places in Wine Spectator's 2014 top 100 ranking - including the No. 1 spot awarded to Dow's 2011 Vintage Port. "It's been famous for producing extraordinary ports for over 300 years and it's got a unique beauty all its own," says Paul Symington, whose family produces the top wine.

Campaign calls for 2% duty cut on wine and spirits
Chancellor George Osborne is being urged to cut duty on wine and spirits by two per cent, with a campaign claiming it would remove an unfair tax burden of British drinkers and give a £1.5bn (A$2.8bn) boost to the public finances in 2015. Research by Ernst &Young, commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), is being used to back their 'Drop the Duty!' campaign, in advance of the next budget in March.

Two Korean tariff cuts to benefit Australian industries
The landmark Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) has passed into the parliaments of both countries, along with the exchange of diplomatic notes by the Australian and Korean governments agreeing to its entry into force. These tariff cuts will benefit Australia’s agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry sectors. “The KAFTA means our beef, dairy, grains, sugar, horticulture, seafood and wine sectors will all achieve better access,” said Barnaby Joyce, Agriculture Minister.

Wine-ing about the economy is the new indicator: Pro
Unsure about the economy's strength? Then answer this question: when was the last time you bought a bottle of wine? David Duncan, president and chief executive officer of California-based high-end winemaker Silver Oak, told CNBC in a recent interview that wine consumption can be a decent gauge of how the economy is doing. Consumption is hitting record levels in the United States, as collectors and connoisseurs have caused sales to surpass the notorious oenophiles in some European countries.

Paramedics call for limit on sales of spirits and wine in Port Augusta
Paramedics fed up with being assaulted on the job in South Australia want tougher restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Port Augusta. Ambulance Employees' Association state secretary Phil Palmer said "more often than not" alcohol was associated with assaults and there "was a lot of them" in the regional town. The rules banned takeaway sales of cask wine, and sales of other wine and spirits were limited to one bottle per person daily.


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