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News posted on Thursday, 19 November 2015

$1B-plus non-tariff trade barriers must go: Winemakers
Non-tariff trade barriers cost Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies and businesses over $1 billion a year due to the complexity and inconsistencies of regulation, the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum has conservatively estimated. Tony Battaglene, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) strategy and international affairs general manager, said non-tariff barriers cost Australian wine exporters dearly and prevent others from looking at potential offshore markets as growth opportunities.

Liquor law reform to open door for collaborations between producers
West Australian beer and wine producers will be able to set up cellar-door shops in places other than their own licensed premises, following an overhaul of Western Australia's liquor licensing laws. The liquor reforms coming into effect on Friday will allow off-site outlets to be established in collaboration with other beer or wine makers, in order to reduce operating costs.

Producers exporting to China need to trademark
Intellectual property protection is essential for Australian producers looking to enter the Chinese market, according to the Export Council of Australia. Commercial and property lawyer Scott Bouvier works with the Export Council and producers around Australia on issues of trademark and brand protection. Bouvier, a partner at King and Wood Mallesons, said every producer who exports to China was at risk of having their brand copied.

Wine show: Judge’s ‘gentle’ praise for Tassie wines
WALL to wall wines is just another day at the office for international wine judge Jane Skilton. The New Zealand judge will plough through 1660 wines over three days, 190 of them Tasmanian, at the 2015 Royal Hobart International Wine Show, which began at the Hobart Showgrounds on Monday. Because it is a blind tasting, she cannot comment on the standard of Tasmanian wines versus the rest of the world but she said the local wines she had tasted after work were impressive.

Innovative wine company gets Banksia top gong
The Banksia Sustainability Awards took place at an all-day affair last week in Sydney. Building on last year’s initiative to communicate the collective wisdom generated through the program, the Banksia Foundation organised a range of presentations, including a four-minute rapid fire from each of the award finalists. The Gold Banksia was won by Kalleske Wines, a family-run business in South Australia’s Barossa Valley that has been farming and growing grapes since 1853.

Vineyards warned to prepare for El Nino
Marlborough wine growers have been warned to prepare, manage and conserve ahead of this summer's El Nino weather conditions that were last seen almost 20 years ago. More than 100 winegrowers packed into a lecture theatre at the Marlborough Research Centre, in Blenheim, on Tuesday to hear what could be expected from this year's El Nino. The capacity turnout showed how seriously wine growers viewed the next five to six months.

Wine Friend: The drinking buddy that delivers
Yvonne Lorkin's kitchen bench is awash with pinot gris. Nine bottles, she counts. "But I'm standing over the sink," says the Hastings-based wine expert. "I'm spitting it all out!" There are more than 700 wineries in New Zealand. Every week, between 12 and 36 new releases hit the market. How does the consumer know what's good – and what's not? You could read the reviews. Look at the price, the number of gold sticky stars on the label and consider the winemaker's reputation. But none of those things, says Lorkin, will account for your individual taste buds.

Prosecco heads hit out at imitators
The president and director of the Prosecco DOC Consortium have hit out at a growing number of imitation Proseccos flooding the market, calling them “imposters”. Speaking to the drinks business, Stefano Zanette president of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, said: “Many imitators are jumping on the Prosecco bandwagon. Imposters marketing themselves as Prosecco are being produced all around the world, from Australia to Brazil. “We would like to set the record straight: like Champagne, Prosecco is a wine of place with protected production zones in the Veneto and Friuli.

Bayer will pay fines for fungicide damage to wine crops
Bayer CropScience, the manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to severe decline in pollinator populations, is expected to pay fines to multiple countries in Europe for wine grape damages associated with another of its pesticides. Citing “atypical symptoms” resulting from the use of a relatively new fungicide, Bayer initially sent out a warning to wine growers to cease use of their product. Now, Bayer is collecting data and assessing how much it will offer to wine growers for the damages its product has caused.

China’s star winemaker mixes French training, native ambition
On a fall evening in a fluorescent-lit classroom at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a dozen students listened intently. The speaker, Emma Gao, held a glass to the light and asked them to study the swirling liquid inside. Tsinghua is known as the “MIT of China,” but this was no freshman seminar in fluid mechanics. It was a gathering of the student wine club.

California rule changes affect vineyard workers
Vineyard owners and management companies often face new regulations and laws for their workers, but an unusual number will encounter them in the next few years. “There have been more changes to the rules and regulations in the past six months than I’ve seen in the past 10 years,” José Chang, deputy agricultural commissioner for Napa County, stated during a talk he gave at the Rootstock meeting last week. And, he warned, “More are coming.”

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