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News posted on Tuesday, 17 January 2017

$5.3 million Wine Australia research for Shiraz terroir
Australia’s unique terroirs and how they influence wine style and quality is the centrepiece of a six-year, $5.3 million investment in new research and development (R&D) projects announced today by Wine Australia. Dr Brian Croser AO, Deputy Chair of Wine Australia, said, ‘Australia makes wines of exceptional quality and finesse that reflect their provenance and terroir, but they don’t currently receive the international recognition they merit. ‘It is these wines that will most quickly elevate the image and reputation of all wines we produce. We are focused on building international recognition for our wines to increase demand and the price paid for all Australian wines.

Puffing out grape smoke taint
Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) and Wine Tasmania have banded together to address the problem of smoke-taint in vineyards during the bushfire season. Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies outlined the issue. “Smoke can enter the leaves of the vines in the vineyards and then adhere to the sugars that grow in the berries,” Ms Davies said. “It can create unpalatable wines. These places also happen to be where some of our most highly-flammable fuels are,” Ms Whight said. TFS Fuel Reduction Unit manager Sandra Whight said grape-growing regions were particularly prone to bushfires.

Researchers map out world's winegrape varieties
University of Adelaide researchers have compiled statistics from 44 countries to develop the first database of the world's winegrape varieties and regions. The new database, funded by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC), provides an in-depth analysis of the world's wine varieties and winegrape growing nations that account for 99% of global wine production. University of Adelaide School of Economics Professor Kym Anderson says a database of this nature has been highly sought by the wine industry.

Wine writer Max Allen joins the AFR
Australians are becoming more adventurous in their drinking tastes, a trend that mirrors our explosion of the nation's food culture, says wine expert Max Allen. "Australian gastronomic culture has long moved beyond a daily diet of meat-and-two-veg," Allen says. "You used to be a wine person or a beer person, or you used to be a gin or a whisky drinker. But there's a current generation of people exploring alcohol in all it forms, and they are much more likely not to tie themselves down to one brand or one kind of drink. "We're becoming so much more adventurous and curious, and that's what I'm trying to capture in my columns."

Alcohol is Australia’s third biggest online purchase
A new report released today by KPMG has revealed the online spending habits of nearly 20,000 consumers from 50 countries, including Australia. The respondents were between the ages of 15 and 70, each having purchased at least one consumer product online in the past 12 months. The research investigated a number of factors related to online shopping, including consumer purchasing behaviour, the shopping decision process, attitudes and preferences, payments and delivery and customer loyalty and feedback.

Making a connection sells Sileni
The personal touch is the most important thing for a successful cellar door, says Sileni Estate Winery cellar door assistant manager Simone McCormack-Hartley. "It is not so much bleating-on about your product as it is about interacting with people," she said. Sileni already had an excellent reputation "and that is part of it, but giving people an experience, that is more important". "Like most wineries we have more than 30 styles of wine and they are tasting such a small amount." There were six wines on the tasting table at any one time and they were changed every month.

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival
The biggest party in Marlborough is less than a month away, a chance for residents and visitors alike to celebrate the wines that put the region on the map. Anticipation is building for the 33rd Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, which was name-checked by The New York Times earlier this month as one of the culinary festivals of the year. Wine Marlborough events manager Georgie Leach said ticket sales were up on last year, and she expected a capacity crowd of around 8000 at Brancott Vineyard, in Fairhall, come February 11.

CRISPR-edited yeast could produce higher quality wine
Researchers working at the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Services (ACES) claim to have produced a yeast that could vastly increase the quality of wine while also reducing its hangover-inducing properties. Researchers developed what they call a “genome knife,” which allowed them to slice across multiple copies of a target gene until all the copies were cut, thereby making it impossible for any remaining genomes to correct any altered ones.

How American Ownership Could Impact France's Historic Wines
A majority stake in legendary Burgundy producer Domaine Bonneau du Martray was recently sold to Enos Stanley Kroenke, owner of California’s Screaming Eagle and Jonata, and a number of professional sports teams, for an undisclosed amount. His move into the world of Burgundian wine now puts him at the helm of an estate that had previously been in the same family for approximately 200 years. Charles Curtis MW, a Master of Wine now with the fine-wine consultancy firm WineAlpha, highlighted the importance of Bonneau du Martray in an email to me.

Treasury Wine Estates appoints new Canadian distributor
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has appointed Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits to handle its wine portfolio in Canada. The partnership is part of TWE's plans to speed up its growth in the Canadian market. As per TWE president Americas Bob Spooner, Mark Anthony is the market leader in Canada for fine wines and is ideally positioned to make the most of the potential of TWE brands through a unique go-to-market strategy. Spooner added: “As fine wine producers themselves, Mark Anthony acts and thinks differently to other distributors and we are proud to have them leading our import and distribution strategy in Canada. Our Australian and American wine portfolio will be a great complement to their portfolio.”

‘Sustainable’ Sonoma wine could fetch $7-a-bottle more
U.S. wine consumers are willing to pay more for wine — up to several dollars more per bottle — produced using “sustainable” practices, according to new research presented at a Sonoma County grapegrower seminar in Santa Rosa on Thursday. Three years into a big push by Sonoma County Winegrowers to have all vineyards in the county deemed sustainable by 2019, the trade group revealed new consumer survey results strongly suggesting there could be more black than red in the return-on-investment calculation.

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WID 2017