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News posted on Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Penfolds owner Treasury set to retire 'non-priority' wine brands
The chief executive of Penfolds owner Treasury Wine Estates has said that more than a quarter of the firm's wine brands could be 'retired' or put into joint-ventures with other companies. Of Treasury Wine Estates' 80 wine brands, 25 are 'non-priority, commercial brands', Michael Clarke (pictured) told shareholders at the firm's annual general meeting this week. Australia-based Treasury is looking to address those brands 'either by retiring them or by doing a deal with a third party, and therefore owning those in a joint-venture structure', Clarke said.

Shrivelling returns for wine grape growers sees interest in dried fruit industry rise
Low returns for winegrapes have seen growers look to the dried fruit industry as a lifeline, according to a major processor. While the dried fruit industry doesn't offer stellar returns, it's better than what many wine grape growers in the warm inland wine regions of South Australia's Riverland and Sunraysia, in north-west Victoria, have received in recent years. Mike Maynard, Australian Premium Dried Fruits chief executive officer, says there's plenty of capacity in the market for new growers to come on board.

Newcastle bottle shop goes 'up market' to gain liquor licence
A Newcastle woman has rebranded in a bid to get a liquor licence for what she is describing as an "up market" bottle shop in the CBD. Kathryn Brown says her first application as "Le Plonk" was refused earlier this year, and she is intending to reapply for a licence using the new name, "The Discerning Drop". "It is a premium wine shop with expensive wine sitting in it, and we're catering for the upper class," she said. "We don't stock any RTDs, cigarettes, we don't stock generic beers, no alcopops - nothing like that.”

Glasses raised to Moppity
Six years ago Jason and Alecia Brown’s Moppity Vineyards venture faced bankruptcy when a winery, to which they had sold their entire grape crop, went bust owing them $500,000. The couple’s experience as KPMG accountants saved the day and today they can lay claim to the title of Australia’s top Shiraz producers after their $70 Moppity Vineyards 2013 Reserve Hilltops Shiraz last month won the Visy Great Australian Shiraz Challenge.

New Zealand wine industry gets ready to boost presence in South Korea export market
The New Zealand winegrowers are ecstatic at the recently concluded free trade agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. Philip Gregan, NZ Winegrowers chief executive officer, said the "FTA is going to give a big fillip to wine exports.” Gregan said tariff-free access to South Korea right from the start of the deal is a significant boost in bolstering the export ambitions into a key Asian market. Gregan also noted until this Korean deal, New Zealand wine industry had not been in an advantageous position in South Korea.

Rain boosts growers, farmers
While some are not happy with the rainy weather, local farmers and growers are thriving. Farmer Bruno Chambers described the December rain as "an early Christmas present." For farmers the entire equation has changed in a positive way. Local winegrower, Nicholas Buck said the vineyards were going well at this point and they had good growth from the weather over spring and early summer. "For photosynthesis to happen you need water" so at this point the rain came at a good time, allowing them to put off irrigation," he said.

Jackson Family buys South African vineyard
Jackson Family Wines, which owns more than 20,000 acres of vineyards in California and around the world, is expanding to a new wine region: South Africa. The company is buying Fijnbosch farm, which includes 20 acres of vines in the Banghoek Valley, a ward in the prominent Stellenbosch region, according to a spokesperson for the firm.

Alcohol removal on the up in US
One in four bottles of Californian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have been through the industrial alcohol removal process supplied by ConeTech in the past year. Jack Ryno, ConeTech’s vice-president of operations, stated that the company “processes one quarter of all the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced in California”. ConeTech’s alcohol removal technology sees a portion of wine go through a spinning cone which separates all the volatile aromas compounds from the liquid, before removing the alcohol from the remaining odourless liquid.

Champagne UNESCO hopes 'looking good', says official
Champagne is believed to have enhanced its chances of joining the UNESCO World Heritage list following a cellar tour by members of the voting committee. Franck Lalliot, France’s ambassador to UNESCO, used the 15th Habits de Lumiere festival in Epernay in the heart of Champagne country as an opportune moment to bring eight of his fellow ambassadors from different countries to the region. Their opinions will help to determine Champagne’s fortunes when its UNESCO application is put to a vote before the 21-member World Heritage Committee in Bonn next July.

Single serve wine brand Zipz looks to hit UK shelves early 2015
Single serve PET wine glass Zipz, which took the US by storm after securing the largest ever investment on the country’s TV show Shark Tank, is aiming to hit UK shelves by the first quarter of 2015. J Henry Scott, chief executive of Zipz, said it is in the “middle of finding the right distribution partner” in the UK, and is working with the company who developed the Copa di Vino product in France on developing a stem glass for it.

Eden Valley hit by fire again
Winemakers, grapegrowers and farmers are working alongside CFS volunteers this morning to mop up in the Eden Valley after two fires burned across the rolling hills yesterday, pushed along by strong westerly winds. Stephen Henschke, winemaker and CEO of the iconic Henschke winery, spoke to ABC Adelaide’s breakfast program this morning and explained “a pretty scary day”.

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