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News posted on Thursday, 19 January 2017

Shiraz research on how regions influence character of wine
Wine Australia is hoping a better understanding of shiraz terroirs will help the nation's wine regions better compete in the global market. The word 'terroir' refers to environmental factors that influence the make-up of wine grapes, including climate, soil and topography. Wine Australia is investing $5.3 million into research and development projects in a bid to shed light on the relationship between where vines are grown and the eventual style and taste of Australian shiraz. While terroir is a common word used in the wine industry, it seems many want a greater understanding of how it can impact wine.

Dogrock Wines at Crowlands keeps things simple
Living off-the-grid is one thing, producing award-­winning wine and running a cellar door without a permanent source of electricity is ­another matter entirely. Allen and Andrea Hart, of Dogrock Wines, at Crowlands in Victoria’s Pyrenees region, are doing just that though, producing wine that has kept them consistently in the medals at the handful of wine shows they enter each year. Problems that could have been game changers were averted in the design stages of building their home and winery, and when they need to, they work around their power limits according to the ­weather, as they would do with jobs in the vineyard.

Xi Jinping preaching trade, but China's opening up has slowed
To be sure, at least with respect to trade, China has continued to meaningfully open its economy on a bilateral basis. China now has free trade agreements with 10 countries, including Australia, as well as one with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which came into force at the end of 2015, provides numerous examples of loosened trade. Since the beginning of this year, Australian wine has entered China with a tariff of just 5.6%. Wine exporters from other countries are hit with 14%. In just two more years Australian wine will enter China duty-free. It’s perhaps no surprise then that Australian wine exports to China leapt by 55% last year.

Limerick man on a quest to bring Buckfast to Australia
Irish people living in Australia now have access to many of the comforts of home (potato waffles and curry cheese chips, for example) but one thing has been consistently out of reach: Buckfast. Yes, the beloved tonic wine is not sold in Australia, except in a few random shops and off licenses – a Facebook group for people seeking out Buckfast down under has been on the go since 2008, with members keeping it updated with information on stockists. Seeing the great desire for Bucky in the country Limerick man JP Tucker, who has been living in Sydney for six years now, decided to do something about it once and for all.

State of the Climate 2016
The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO play an important role in monitoring, analysing and communicating observed changes in Australia's climate. This fourth, biennial State of the Climate report draws on the latest monitoring, science and projection information to describe variability and changes in Australia's climate, and how it is likely to change in the future. Observations and climate modelling paint a consistent picture of ongoing, long-term climate change interacting with underlying natural variability. These changes affect many Australians, particularly changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought. Australia will need to plan for and adapt to some level of climate change.

Yealands wins at sustainable winegrowing comp
Yealands Family Wines (Yealands) are celebrating the start of 2017 with a Platinum Medal received at the International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing Competition run by The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). BRIT honours organisations in the wine industry that are taking a leading role in implementing sustainable practices with its International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing. The organisation looks at the implementation of innovative sustainable practices in the categories of air, water and land in both winegrowing and winemaking; social responsibility practices and the quality (taste) of the wine.

Regionality and terroir: The battle for NZ Pinot Noir
Away from its Burgundian origins, Pinot Noir has found a home from home in the cool climates of New Zealand’s Marlborough, Nelson and Wairarapa regions. The popularity of the country’s second most planted grape – behind the indomitable Sauvignon Blanc - is clear. Pinot Noir accounts for 15% of New Zealand’s total wine producing hectares (5,514ha out of a total 35,463ha) and sales continue to grow in one of its key markets, the UK (imports were up 10% in 2016). In terms of geography, Marlborough produces twice as much as the next biggest production area (2,538ha to Central Otago’s 1,496ha according to New Zealand Winegrowers Report 2015).

The State Of the Wine Industry: Silicon Valley Bank's Report
The making of wine is punctuated by annual, cyclical traditions, from pruning to harvest, from punch downs to stirring the lees, from bottling to laying those bottles down to age. The business of wine, too, is punctuated by certain reports, statements, and releases that, more than simply taking the pulse of the industry, also measure vital signs as well as danger warnings for what’s ahead. Today’s release of Silicon Valley Bank’s State of the Wine Industry report is one of those annual punctuation marks.

Theresa May’s Brexit speech keeps wine trade guessing
Theresa May's speech on the UK's Brexit strategy filled in some blanks but left key questions unanswered for wine drinkers, workers, importers and retailers. Prime minister Theresa May confirmed this week that the UK was willing to sacrifice membership of the EU single market and customs union in order to secure greater control over immigration and leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. There have been warnings that the UK’s position in the global wine market could fundamentally change if the country leaves the European single market as a result of its Brexit vote.

Virgin smashes Christmas target
Online retailer Virgin Wines has reported its biggest-ever Christmas, driven by increased membership, Prosecco and a stronger B2B business. Sales at the specialist wine company rose 15.4% in the nine weeks to 30 December, with total sales of £12.6m. Profits rose 35%, up £1.3m, compared to the same period last week, it said. Prosecco was again a big driver this year, shifting around 133k bottles over the festive period but Champagne sales also grew year on year, with Grower Champagnes on their own increasing 7%, and sales of premium Australian wine (costing more than £15 a bottle) up 5%.

U.S. launches trade complaint against Canada wine rule
The Obama administration has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization to try to overturn one of the Christy Clark's wine reforms. United States Trade Representative Michael Froman has claimed that B.C.'s decision to allow only B.C. wines on grocery store shelves violates WTO rules. The Clark government allows foreign wines in grocery stores only if they're put in a separate store on the premises. It must have a separate entrance, a separate cash register, and be at least a kilometre away from a similar store.

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WID 2017