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News posted on Thursday, 17 December 2015

How English wine went from a joke to sales of 6m bottles a year
There used to be a joke popular among English wine producers: “How do you make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune and then open a vineyard.” But if that was once painfully accurate, the burgeoning industry now appears to be on a roll. After years as the butt of cruel jokes because of its questionable sweet taste, and thanks perhaps to temperatures raised by global warming, quality has improved in leaps and bounds and sales volumes have soared.

PepsiCo director buys Portugal wine producer Herdade dos Coelheiros
PepsiCo director Alberto Weisser has acquired Portuguese wine producer Herdade dos Coelheiros for an unnamed sum and plans to expand the vineyard and improve quality. Brazilian-born and US-based Alberto Weisser, 60, bought Portugal’s Herdade dos Coelheiros from the estate of winery founder Joaquim Silveira. Weisser is best-known as the long-time CEO of agribusiness and food company Bunge.

French winemaker cleared after refusing to spray vineyard
A French court has acquitted Thibault Liger-Belair after refusing to spray his vineyards against deadly vine disease flavescence dorée, in a second blow to the French authorities. Thibault Liger-Belair, the well-known Burgundian vigneron and proponent of biodynamic viticulture who owns a domaine in the Moulin-à-Vent cru in the Beaujolais region, appeared in court on Tuesday 15 December 2015 in Villefranche-sur-Saône in the Rhône.

Why Wine? The answer is much more than its physical effect
"Our present western world is harassed, hustled and driven. It excludes leisure, tranquillity, permits no unexciting pursuits, no contemplation, no slow maturing of ideas, no perfectioning of individual style." —Bernard Berenson (1956) "Why wine?" It's a question I get asked from time to time, usually at a dinner party or in a casual encounter with someone who discovers what I do for a living. Typically, I offer a throwaway, cavalier reply such as, "It beats working" (which it sure does).

Winemakers cry foul as SA power prices soar
Bill Moularadellis, managing director of South Australian wine company Kingston Estate, doesn't hesitate when asked to name the cause of a sharp and destabilising spike in the state's power costs. "It's partly due to solar, partly due to wind," Moularadellis told The Australian Financial Review. He said Kingston Estate was doing its best to manage the impost, but it was hard when costs spiked at times of peak usage.

De Bortoli targets UK off-trade with Palette Series launch
Australian winemaker De Bortoli is to launch a new wine range into the UK in January aimed at the impulse market, the multiples and specialist wine merchants. The Palette Series is a range of single-varietal wines from cool climate vineyards that has been created in response to growing consumer demand for wines with provenance. At launch it will comprise a the Fresh Reign Pinot Grigio 2014 from the King Valley; the Gumboot Fruit Shiraz 2014 from Heathcote; and the Topsy-Turvy Chardonnay 2013 and Over Yonder Pinot Noir 2015, both of which are from the Yarra Valley.

Accolade opens wine merchant in Surrey
Hardys and Echo Falls owner Accolade Wines has muscled into the retail market by opening its own wine shop near its head office in Weybridge, Surrey. The store is called 1853 Wine Club – named after the year Hardys founder Thomas Hardy first planted vines in Australia – and opened its doors yesterday. Accolade has already been running the direct-to-consumer online store www.1853wineclub.com and the retail outlet is an extension of this business.

Margaret River winery Churchview Estate flies high with Qantas deal
A BOUTIQUE Margaret River winery is quenching the thirst of the rich and famous at 33,000 feet. Churchview Estate has secured a deal with Qantas for its 2014 Bartondale Chardonnay, 2012 Bartondale Shiraz and 2013 St Johns Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Merlot to first class and business passengers flying from Perth. It’s the second year the family-owned winery has supplied Qantas, after last year selling 10 palettes of wine.

ChAFTA green light: Two cuts in two weeks
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) soon enters into force and will deliver Australian exporters two rounds of tariff cuts in as many weeks. Paul Evans, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive, said the current import tariff of 14 per cent for bottled wine and 20 per cent for bulk wine would be phased down to zero over four years. “The first tariff cut comes in on December 20 and the second on January 1, so we are on track to receive the two scheduled cuts on time which is very welcome,” he said.

First Japanese MW, Ken Ohashi confirmed for Pinot Noir NZ 2017
Japan’s most eminent wine and sake expert Ken Ohashi, MW, will be arriving on New Zealand shores as guest speaker at Pinot Noir NZ 2017. Having been awarded his MW in September, Ohashi is the first Japanese MW, and the only individual in the world to hold both titles of Master of Sake and Master of Wine. With his passion and expertise, Ohashi, one of 15 guest speakers at this event, will add yet another layer of appeal and diversity.

Lanson cellar master Hervé Dantan on why champagne is not just about the bubbles
Champagne master Hervé Dantan has fled the French winter to spread his secrets on how to enjoy the world's number one celebratory tipple - particularly his - in the New Zealand sunshine. Dantan is a second-generation winemaker and the master wine crafter behind Lanson - a champagne estate founded in 1760, which was the first drop to be awarded the title of 'Purveyor of champagne to Her Majesty' during Queen Victoria's reign.

VIDEO: New WISA chair David Evans on his appointment
As Darren Oemcke’s two year term as Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (WISA) chairman has come to an end, David Evans from Scholle Packaging was appointed as new chairman at yesterday’s WISA’s Annual General Meeting. Jordan Abbott from Moore Stephens replaced Robert Pelton as treasurer, new committee members included: Paula Edwards from Winegrapes Australia, Eddie Lane from Cold Logic, Belinda Hamlyn from Foote Francis and Kate Bickford from DW Fox Tucker Lawyers. The new appointment of vice chair is pending.

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