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News posted on Friday, 20 January 2017

Wine grape harvest: Harvest delayed as fruit hangs on
THE wine grape harvest is two to four weeks behind last year across most of Australia. Viticulturists blame the cold, wet spring and summer for the delay. Last year’s harvest was early across most of Victoria after a hot, dry season. Warramunda Estate’s Robert Magdziarz said the vintage would start in early March at the Coldstream, Yarra Valley, winery after a cold and wet start to the growing year. “We would normally start picking mid-February but I believe this year will be three weeks behind,” Mr Magd­ziarz said. “The weather has been cool prior to Christmas with a lot of rain."

Riverland grants available – DON’T self-assess
Riverland hailstorm recovery assistance grants, of up to $10,000, are available to help affected primary producers with the clean-up and recovery from the hail storms of November 11. The assistance will be jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State governments under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). The grants will be made to primary producers whose properties were damaged by the storm event in the Berri-Barmera, Loxton-Waikerie and Renmark-Paringa Council districts. Consideration is being given to also including properties damaged in the Mid-Murray Council District around Cadell.

2017 price reports from Australian Vignerons and Riverland Wine
While there is positive news in regard to exports, it is extremely disappointing to hear news from warm inland regions that recent price discussions indicate a continuation of depressed pricing. There is a bright future for the Australian wine industry, but only if those producing the fruit destined for the wine that will stock the shelves of global wine stores are able to make a solid living, re-invest in their businesses and continue to improve. Things are more positive in cool temperate regions, with recent positive news stories relating the success of businesses in McLaren Vale and Tasmania reaping the rewards of a high value Chinese market.

Woodlands Wines Wins International Judges Trophy
Established in 1973 by David and Heather Watson, Woodland Wines was one of the first five wineries to be established in Margaret River. The vineyard has recently been awarded the prestigious International Judges Trophy at Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Matthew’. Proving to be a top Margaret River winery, Woodlands Wines is finding acclaim as an industry leader. The Woodlands vineyard is dry grown and maintained by hand using traditional methods. Woodlands Wines has grown considerably since its inception, with the original block planted in 1973 and the remainder planted in 1998.

Novel New Zealand varieties find place on wine lists
New Zealand’s ‘monoculture’ of Sauvignon Blanc is being nibbled at by varieties like Albariño and Grüner Veltliner, some merchants are reporting. While quantities are tiny – Pinot Noir and Sauvignon still account for 70% and 74% of plantings respectively – ‘New Zealand is trying to show the world they are more than Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc’, as one buyer, Sergio Persi of Hallgarten Druitt & Novum told Imbibe. And distributors such as Negociants UK, Berkmann and others report considerable success with more unusual varieties.

"Brexit exciting development" - NZ Winegrowers CEO
The CEO of trade organisation New Zealand Winegrowers has said that Brexit is an exciting opportunity for the wine trade. Speaking to just-drinks today, Philip Gregan said the UK's decision to leave the European Union would be a positive move in the medium- to long-term. "From a wine perspective, you're going to have the world's largest imported wine market, which is the US, and the world's second largest imported wine market, the UK, outside of the realm of the EU, which has been a dominant force in global wine trade. That's an exciting development... in the long term."

Half of U.S. Wineries Might Be Sold in the Next Five Years
The Great Winery Sell-off of 2016 was just the beginning, both in the U.S. and abroad. When billionaire Stan Kroenke, owner of Napa cult winery Screaming Eagle and a slew of sports teams (including the L.A. Rams), bought a majority stake in December in iconic estate Bonneau du Martray in Burgundy, France, shock waves ricocheted around the wine world. The historic property has belonged to the le Bault de la Moriniere family since the French Revolution. Its grand cru Corton-Charlemagne is one of the planet’s great white wines. But that was only one of many high-profile wineries and vineyards to trade hands last year. In California and Oregon, more than 35 were sold.

English fizz: The rise of UK sparkling wines
The bowel movements of badgers is not a common topic of wine conversation. But for Emma Rice, chief winemaker at Hattingley Valley in Hampshire and the current United Kingdom Vineyard Association Winemaker of the Year, badgers are just one of many problems that beset grape growers in southern England. "Viticulture in the UK is extreme," she tells me as we sit down over a glass of her award-winning sparkling wines. "We can get frost, wind, rain, mildew, botrytis – everything that can go wrong often does. In 2012, when we just didn't have a summer, we picked only five per cent of the grapes we normally harvest."

Canadians are discriminating against foreign wine
Good luck trying to pick up a bottle of foreign wine while shopping for groceries in British Columbia. A local regulation in the Canadian province only allows the sale of local wine on grocery store shelves. The US says that this is in violation of Canadian trade obligations and has initiated a dispute at the World Trade Organization. “The discriminatory regulations implemented by British Columbia intentionally undermine free and fair competition,” Michael Froman, the US trade representative, said in a prepared statement. “Canada and all Canadian provinces, including BC, must play by the rules.”

Wine industry seeing massive growth in Virginia
Virginia's wine industry contributes more than $1 billion to the Commonwealth's economy each year. Governor Terry McAuliffe says the economic impact of the industry has grown by 82 percent in the last five years. A newly released economic impact study shows Virginia's wine industry contributes more than $1.37 billion to the economy annually, and almost all of the major economic drivers looked at in the study shows double digit growth. The Virginia Wine Board commissioned the study, which is the first of the wine industry in Virginia since 2012.

Wei Long winery aborts organic project in China
Chinese winery Wei Long Grape Wine Co is axing its organic wine project, less than a year after the company first announced the scheme last May. A listed company in China, Wei Long has been making organic wines in Gansu Province in western China for more than 10 years. The new project, announced last year, was expected to increase its production to 40,000 tonnes a year. Aborting the organic wine operation, according to the company’s statement, was a result of heightened competition from imported wines and a succession of natural calamities that drove it to “make sales strategy adjustments based on overall market and environment conditions”.

Flood brings Riverland wine conservation site to life
Banrock Station is expecting a surge of visitors to its cellar door and wetland in the coming weeks following a flood that has sparked a flurry of wildlife activity. The conservation site is situated on the River Murray floodplain immediately downstream of Kingston on Murray in South Australia’s Riverland wine region. The water levels at the wetland reached their highest point since 2011 on December 20, flooding boardwalks and providing regeneration for the conservation site’s diverse flora and fauna. The flood has now receded, allowing staff at the Accolade Wines funded site to re-open the network of boardwalks.

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WID 2017