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News posted on Monday, 18 January 2016

WFA vexed by tax reform delay, influence of “vested interests”
THE wine industry’s peak lobby group is “at risk of losing its patience” with the Federal Government dragging its feet on wine tax reform, which it says appears to have been influenced by “vested interests”. Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive Paul Evans said there was broad consensus in the industry that the Wine Equalisation Tax Rebate needed to be reformed.

A year of achievement for Wine Australia, says chair
Wine Australia’s Annual Report 2014–2015, tabled in Parliament last month, highlighted the major achievements from the past year as Wine Australia continued to focus on its strategic priorities on a prosperous Australian grape and wine community. Brian Walsh, Wine Australia chair, said the first year has been one of achievement for the organisation following the merger of Wine Australia Corporation and Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.

Riverland wine with minimal water
Alternative varietals, organic hand-made wine and a belief that the Riverland can produce outstanding fruit with minimal irrigation has earned 919 Wines quite a following. Chief winemaker Eric Semmler moved to the Riverland to work, while his wife and business co-director Jenny came for love, but they both fell in love with the region.

Charteris Wines: how PJ and Christina struck out on their own
Tousle-haired and bright-eyed Peter James (PJ) Charteris was 13 when he stepped into the Vilagrad Wines Vineyard at Hamilton, in the North Island of New Zealand, to earn pocket money, learning how to prune vines in the process. The wine bug bit, and when he left school aged 18 in 1986 he spent two years as a vineyard and cellar hand at Vilagrad.

Barossa wine and food businesses gain edge
Two Barossa businesses out of a pool of eight in the state will share in more than $74,000 to help them gain a competitive edge in national and international markets. Henschke Cellars will undergo international environmental standard certification assessment. This project will help to increase market access in Europe where customers commonly require the certification as a pre-requisite.

Grapegrowers warned about powdery mildew
Grapegrowers are being warned to keep an eye out for a fungal disease which appearing in a growing number of vineyards in the Marlborough region. Powdery mildew commonly affects grapevines at this time of year and in extreme cases can result in crops being written off. Marlborough Wine Growers chair Clive Jones said most growers were aware of the disease but an increase in incidents over the past two years had prompted a fresh warning to be more vigilant.

Free Run Wines returns to NZ tasting with Selaks Winery
Marlborough-based off-trade supplier Free Run Wines will be exhibiting four wines from New Zealand winery Selaks Wines at the New Zealand Wine Annual Trade Tasting in London today. The team will be presenting the latest vintages, two reds and two whites, from each of Selaks’ ranges alongside Constellation Brands.

Winemaking waste shows antioxidant and anti-cholesterol benefits: Study
Researchers say polyphenols from winemaking by-product red grape pomice has potential as a functional ingredient in nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Grapes arte the world’s largest fruit crop. Mainly used in winemaking, about 20-30% of the weight of processed grapes ends up as the by-product pomace, which consists of the skins, seeds and stems.

Does the vineyard’s dirt really affect the taste of what’s in your glass?
Ernest “Bubba” Beasley grabbed an auger and led the way along the vine rows. We were at Pollak Vineyards in Greenwood, Va., west of Charlottesville, on a sweltering summer day last July. Beasley, a geologist, and Lucie Morton, a viticulturist, wanted to show me their research on the relationship of vineyard soils to wine quality. And that meant a “dirt tasting.”

Wineries in Napa are using submarine tech for wine fermentation
Traditionally, when wine is being fermented, if the yeast in the fermentation process ends up doing something it shouldn't, it could take a few days before anyone is able to notice what has happened. A new fermentation system being implemented at the Palmaz Vineyards in Napa, Calif., however, will alert staff of yeast-related risk factors before they can have an impact on the wine and ruin the process.

The rich history of Hungarian wine
Most European countries have the Romans to thank for their wine industry. But Hungary, with nearly 100 varietals and 22 wine-growing regions, may predate even Julius Caesar. The written proof supporting this theory is spotty at best, yet many historians believe the tale. "Indirect proof is there, that the Celts inhabiting the country knew viticulture as early as the third century B.C.," says sommelier Gergely Barsi Szabó of Barsi Szabó Edwards Wines.

Winemaker Tim Stevens is making substance over style
AFTER 16 years as a journalist, Tim Stevens in 1996 made a massive change into winemaking – a move heavily influenced by a love of Mudgee reds and particularly those of Huntington Estate. He and his then wife Connie took the plunge by buying the 24-year-old eight-hectare Abercorn vineyard and 50-tonne-crush winery in Ulan Rd, Mudgee. It was a serendipitous purchase for the pressman, who over time had been looking for a vineyard to buy, had done a Charles Sturt University wine course and had a cellar full of Huntington Estate wines.

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