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News posted on Thursday, 17 November 2016

Storm damage reports key to extra help
Winegrape growers are urged to continue to lodge damage reports to trigger additional support under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). Following last Friday night’s destructive hail and gale-force winds, growers have been lodging damage reports with Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW). These have been passed on to government assessors, and as at Wednesday afternoon (November 16), damage to wine grapes covered more than 1100 hectares, with probable losses of around 25,000 tonnes.

Win for makers mentor: Women winemakers in spotlight
Iain Riggs has taken home an Australian Women in Wine Award (AWIWA). Iain is renowned for mentoring at Brokenwood some of Australia’s finest young wine professionals, many of them women – like Yarra Yering’s Sarah Crowe, James Halliday’s 2016 winemaker of the year. And that is why Iain has been given the title of Workplace Champion of Change at the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards. The six 2016 AWIWA winners were announced on Tuesday night via a live-stream broadcast screened at functions in regional wine areas, including one in the Hunter at Brokenwood winery.

Australia is slowly regaining its wine mojo
Australian vintners are beginning to recognize what went wrong between 2008 and 2013. In the late-1990s, Americans became obsessed with wines from the Land Down Under. For most of this millennium’s first decade, fruit bombs with quirky names and eye-catching labels flew off the shelves of U.S. retailers. But sales soon began free-falling. Between 2008 and 2013, the U.S. market for Australian wine declined by more than 20 percent.

Shoalhaven semillon top drop in interantional wine show
Coolangatta Estate’s success at major wine shows continues with the Shoalhaven Heads vineyard run by the Bishop family winning Best Wine at the 2017 Sydney International Wine Competition. Cellar door manager Ben Wallis sad Coolangatta Estate’s 2009 Wollstonecraft Semillon has won three trophies this week including the Joy Lake Memorial Perpetual Trophy for Best Wine of Competition. He said it was great achievement for his father-in-law and viticulturist Greg Bishop who nurtured the vines to produce the highest quality wine possible.

Meet the grape that put Aussie reds on the map
The enigmatic origins of the Syrah variety have finally been decoded thanks to the science of DNA analysis. University of California Davis researchers collaborating with Monpellier University in France have been responsible for solving many of the most difficult amplelographic questions of our time, including the parentage of the Syrah variety. For over a century wine experts have speculated over the origin of Syrah, proffering theories that it originated in the similarly named Iranian city of Shiraz or was brought by Phoenicians from Syracuse in Sicily. Both theories turned out to be erroneous. US and French scientists proved that the parents of Syrah are two rather obscure French grapes.

Wine industry welcomes new legislation
News of the passing of the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Amendment Bill in parliament last night has been welcomed by New Zealand Winegrowers. “The Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act will be a significant advance for the New Zealand wine industry,” said New Zealand Winegrowers CEO, Philip Gregan. “Our ‘Geographical Indications’ - the names and places where our wines come from - are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this new law provides an additional level of protection for them.”

Rural community hit hard by quake
Monday's quake has hit the rural community hard, leaving farmers without power and affecting vineyards in the busy bottling period. The earthquake has struck at one of the busiest times for vineyards in Marlborough and North Canterbury who are bottling wine for export. Part of the land at Trevor Burkhart's vineyard in Blenheim that backs on to the Opawa River has slumped about a metre. "There are big cracks through the vineyard, we've got to try and figure out how to fix that. The problem we've got with the vineyard is with ongoing spraying - you can't actually get the tractors in now."

Aldi poised to sell wine in China
Aldi is poised to sell wine online in China in the second quarter of 2017 using its Australia business as a base. The discounter has been rumoured to be mulling a launch in mainline China since 2014, when it was reported by the Guardian, however a report in German trade publication Lebensmittel Zeitung announcing the online-only move last week has been confirmed to the Australian media by Aldi. The Aldi spokesman quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald said the discounter had been researching the market and undertaking feasibility studies for several years and was now ready to launch an e-commerce site in mainland China during the early part of 2017.

Hunting fraud in France’s wine heartland
Crafty winemakers throughout the ages have sought sneaky ways to pass off low-grade plonk as top vintages. The jailing this month of a French wine baron shows the practice is still alive and well. Francois-Marie Marret was given a two-year sentence for fraud for blending poor quality wine with high-end Saint-Emilions, Lalande-de-Pomerols and Listrac-Medocs to sell to major supermarkets under prestigious labels.

2016 was ‘a nightmare’ vintage in champagne
Piper-Heidsieck’s chef de cave, Regis Camus, has admitted that the 2016 harvest was “a nightmare” in Champagne with “an explosion of mildew” he’d never witnessed before. Camus said: “The 2016 vintage was a nightmare. We had snow in April and very low temperatures in the vineyards. Nearly all of the vines in the Côte des Bar were killed by frost – production in Champagne is down by 15%. We had lots of rain in May, June and July, which led to an explosion of mildew like I’ve never seen before."

U.S. to file complaint over B.C. liquor reforms
Province responds that the 60 B.C.-only liquor licence are actually 'grandfathered' into NAFTA rules. A trade dispute between British Columbia and the United States could be fermenting over the provincial government's recent liquor reforms, but the provincial government says it's not violating any international rules. At issue, says the California Wine Institute, is the introduction of legislation in 2015 allowing grocery stores to sell wine from British Columbia — and British Columbia only.

Do you know the nature of the soil-terroir your vines interact with everyday?
Terroir imparts the wine characteristics that distinguish where it is from. Most high-value wines strongly reflect a particular terroir (i.e. climate, topography and soil). Climate and topography effects are usually obvious, while soil effects are not. Yet vines interact everyday with soil to extract moisture and nutrients – an interaction that imparts particular fruit characters. Most vineyards, however, contain several key soil types – meaning even single vineyard wines are a blend of specific terroirs. Soil profile excavations allow morphological, physical and chemical assessment of key soils, improving understanding of root growth issues, nutrition, irrigation practice, environmental management, and the terroir of each ‘place’. Mapping key soils also assists vineyard planning, management and wine making. Knowing more about vineyard soils – and their landscape formation story – also supports marketing of fine wines. For more information about vineyard soil characterisation or key soil mapping, contact James Hall of Juliet Creek Consulting on 0447 400 092 or at [email protected]

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