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News posted on Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Barossa Valley's 2016 wines could be best in a decade
South Australia's top regions could produce some of the highest-quality vintages of the past decade but vineyards in NSW's soaked Hunter Valley are struggling from too much rain, which dilutes flavours and can cause grapes to split or become mouldy. With grape picking about to get into full swing, experts say excellent conditions in South Australia are likely to produce high-quality wines provided weather conditions continue to remain favourable throughout the harvest, which stretches until April in some areas.

Vintage 2016: SA grapegrowers gear up for harvest
South Australia's multi-million dollar wine industry is gearing up for another strong vintage, with early season grapes already trickling into the state's wineries. As the nation's largest wine producer, South Australia contributes more than half of the country's annual wine volume, a commodity worth an estimated $440 million last season. ABC Rural takes a look at the key issues and crop predictions across four of the state's key wine growing areas.

Unique and passionate: Unico Zelo
Nestled in Adelaide Hills is a wine business driven by a young couple with big dreams. LAURA AND BRENDAN CARTER epitomise the modern winemaker with an eclectic mix of creative businesses. From crafting a diverse range of Italian varietals to applying winemaking techniques to small batch gin and perfume, the Carter’s are using inspiration from the surrounding elements in new and exciting ways. Emilie Reynolds reports.

Casella and Deutsch to relaunch Peter Lehmann wines in US, test new “low lux” offerings
One of Australia’s most iconic wineries will get a relaunch in the U.S. market this May.Barossa Valley’s Peter Lehmann Wines, which was acquired fellow Australian winemaker Casella Family Brands from the Hess Group just over a year ago for around $50 million, will be relaunched stateside this spring under the Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits umbrella. Deutsch plans to prioritise three newly repackaged SKUs from the Peter Lehmann portfolio.

January 2016 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The January 2016 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. In our first magazine for 2016, WA viticulture consultant Bruce Pearse provides a season snapshot form Margaret River and reveals his top predictions for the upcoming vintage. We also feature an in depth look at the preferred winery laboratory equipment and services in the Australian wine industry with a set of benchmark examples for reader’s to refer to.

Paid-for wine reviews draw flak
A group of wine writers have labelled the practice of paid-for wine reviews unethical. In its latest code of ethics the Wine Writers of New Zealand strongly discouraged its writers from engaging in such practice. "Engaging in any work that involves direct payment from a winery is discouraged given the possibility of real or perceived conflicts of interest," it said.

A grape that's fresh of the boat with promise
The country's wine list is growing. We've added a number of new grape varieties to the national vineyard over the past 10 years. That's no bad thing. There are, after all, around 10,000 of them out there, 1000 of which are known to have been made into wine somewhere in the world. Loosening our embrace with the international pacesetters (Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, et al) has been gradual, because growing new things is a risky business.

Aldi online wine store launches
Discount supermarket Aldi has launched an online wine shop in the UK, including both its in-store range and internet exclusives, as it seeks to be more competitive in the wine retail sector. The Aldi online wine store launched today (19 January), with the retailer offering home delivery for the first time to UK shoppers. More than 90 wines will be available online and customers will be able to choose a case of six wines or order a ready-mixed case from a selection of regions.

FBI looking into complaints against Premier Cru
Premier Cru owes nearly $70 million to wine consumers. Was it a bad business model or something worse? The FBI is looking into complaints against Premier Cru, the once-prominent California wine merchant that filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 8, Wine Spectator has learned. Several customers of the Berkeley store have filed lawsuits against the retailer in the past year, alleging that they never received wines they ordered and paid for—amounting, in some cases, to hundreds of thousands of dollars in highly collectible wines.

French winemaker forced to pay back EU subsidies over fraud
One of Bordeaux's most renowned winemakers, whose bottles sell for up to £2500 ($5184) each, has been found guilty of fraud over the misuse of almost £450,000 of EU subsidies. Doubt was also cast on claims made by Loïc Pasquet, creator of Liber Pater wines, to have revived long-lost grape varieties from the 19th century. The case has raised uncomfortable questions about how France spends some €280 million ($443 million) of European aid on its wine industry every year.

Donuts launches .WINE and .VIN internet domains
Wineries, vintners, retailers, and wine aficionados have two new homes on the Internet as Donuts Inc., the largest registry for new "not-com" domain names (known in the industry asgeneric top-level domains, or gTLDs), today announced that the .WINE and .VIN gTLDs will be available for general registration on January 20. The announcement follows an active two month Sunrise period during which more than 1,300 brand owners and trademark holders have already registered .WINE and .VIN domains—the most active Sunrise period to date for Donuts-managed new gTLDs.

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