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News posted on Monday, 19 January 2015

Rising temperatures cause winegrapes to ripen early
Wine grape growers in the Canberra district are expecting the earliest vintage on record. The CSIRO says rising temperatures across southern Australia have contributed to grapes ripening earlier, and the trend is likely to continue. Winemaker, Ken Helm, from Murrumbateman, said growers are adapting by planting varieties better suited to a warmer climate. "We have seen this since going back to November, when flowering started. It was the earliest flowering I've ever seen," he said. "You have to go and say that we are seeing a definite increase in temperatures across the climate and that the vines are responding."

Rain causes powdery mildew in some Canberra winecrops
Recent rain in the Canberra wine district has caused powdery mildew in some Pinot Noir crops. Winemaker Frank van de Loo, from Majura, said some of his crop has been affected, but he was confident the majority will be okay. "We've opened up this canopy and we've also sprayed fungicide, so the powdery mildew is probably dead here," he explained. "We'll go through and crop thin, and cut out the powdery mildew affected bunches so they're not even around when we come to harvest time. That will help the balance of the fruit to ripen well and, secondly, it means that that fruit will never enter the winery." Mr van de Loo said the recent rainfall, coupled with humid, cloudy weather, had been perfect conditions for powdery mildew to develop.

Generational change drives wine industry innovation
There is a generational change coming to the wine industry, as the Millennials come of drinking age. "It's a really, really good business, because you can be quite creative," Tanja Baumann says. The 26-year-old German winemaker is part of an important, younger demographic, that is changing the types of wine being produced. "Especially the younger people, they don't know anything about wine," she said. "Like me, I started with drinking really, really sweet wine, or sweet sparkling wine." That's why I have the idea to make a 'dryology' of wine and sparkling wine. "So the line is called 'Be Sweet, Be Smart, Be Dry' and is a sweet sparkling wine, a medium-dry sparkling wine and a dry sparkling wine.

South Australia’s women of wine are having a vine time
If I had to pick two words to describe South Australia’s women in wine they would be glamour and grit. To work in an industry that aims to bring pleasure to people, to give them something to look forward to, to enjoy with friends, is a fabulous thing. But, like so much in life, beneath the glossy surface lies an intense commitment to providing quality that can only be achieved through dedication and sacrifice. Having recently worked together to bring their best white wines to the appreciative masses at the Strathalbyn Cup, Sidewood Wine’s Cassandra Inglis, K1’s Bec Hardy, Golding’s Lucy Golding, and Bird in Hand’s Erin McIntyre reflected on the different paths that led them to wine but the similarities that have kept them there.

2015 looks another corker after run of great vintages
New Zealand wine drinkers are now enjoying the results of two good vintage years and the outlook for the sector is positive, NZ Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan says. Both 2013 and 2014 vintages rated highly for the quality of wine produced, thanks to generally warm and dry conditions. Gregan said production was up with new plantings on the rise. Grapes liked the same kind of weather as holidaymakers - warm and dry - so both years were good for the national crop. It's too early to tell what the 2015 season will hold, but the current fine weather won't be doing the crop any harm.

Wine industry opposes MPI cost recovery proposal
New Zealand Winegrowers is opposing a proposal from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to recover $2.9 million (A$2.75m) per year from the wine industry to meet the costs of its wine regulatory programme. “Wineries currently pay just over $200m each year in excise to the government,” said Steve Green, New Zealand Winegrowers chair. “Payments have increased by $70m, or more than 60 per cent, in the past decade. From our perspective requiring the industry to pay an additional $2.9m to MPI every year is manifestly unjustifiable.”

Where in the world will our best wines come from this year?
The list of wine-producing regions around the world grows every year. At one time wine books argued that in order to produce quality wine, a vineyard had to be located between 30 and 50 degrees north or south of the equator. If you take a look at any world map, this covers all of the world’s great wine-producing regions. Only these regions had the temperate climate necessary for viticulture. Large swathes within these bands, including parts of China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea, have yet to develop quality wine industries, although some, such as Russia, produce large quantities of wine and have great potential.

Boutique wine enterprises put Israeli wines on global wine list
In the rolling pine-covered hills west of Jerusalem, winemaker Eran Pick checks on the vines he cultivates, plying an ancient trade which has been common to the area since biblical times. “For 3,000 years wine has been produced in these hills,” says Pick, 40, who is trained in a mix of New and Old World winemaking and worked in California and Bordeaux before joining Tzora Vineyards. Established in 1993, Tzora was one of Israel’s first boutique wineries — defined as those which produce fewer than 100,000 bottles per year. “We have renewed this tradition in order to make a typically Israeli wine which will be at the level of the world’s best wines,” he says. The vineyard produces 80,000 bottles annually, of which 15,000 are sold abroad.

Whole Foods wine buyer urges Sonoma growers to push sustainability
The top wine buyer for Whole Foods Market on Thursday lauded the effort by Sonoma County growers to make the county’s grapecrop 100 per cent sustainable before the end of the decade, but cautioned it will be a difficult task to get a national standard that will embraced by wine consumers. Doug Bell, Whole Foods Market’s global beverage buyer, told the Sonoma County Winegrowers at its annual meeting that he backs its efforts to create the nation’s first 100 per cent sustainable wine growing region by 2019. To qualify, growers must be certified in numerous areas such as water and air quality, pest management, carbon emissions and even employment practices.

EU wine study: Reach out to emerging countries, don't forget the little guy
Europe has long been the icon of world-class winemaking, adding to the lore and prestige of its “Old World” title. A study financed by the European Commission released this past December sought to gauge the international influence of Old World wines by analysing the competitiveness of European wines in relation to New World wines from Argentine, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. The report identified several actions the European market can take in order to remain competitive in the global wine industry. In the conclusion section of the report, the study recommended that the European wine industry tackle the issue of market access.

No end in sight for rise of Riesling
Riesling is set to be the white wine of choice this summer — at least it will be if Australia’s winemakers, retailers, event organisers and sommeliers have their way. The classic white grape still suffers from an image problem for some wine drinkers: consumers weaned on Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc often think Riesling is going to taste sweet, so avoid trying it. Sommelier Jacquie Lewis believes they’re missing out on a whole world of fun, especially in the hotter months. “It’s such a versatile grape that produces so many different styles of super-refreshing wine,” said Ms Lewis, the organiser of the Summer of Riesling festival taking place in Sydney over the next few weeks.

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