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News posted on Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Marcello Casella fronts court over alleged role in $5 million marijuana haul
A FORMER director of the region’s largest winery, Casella Wines, has fronted court over a massive marijuana haul. A $5 million cannabis plantation was discovered in Crowther two years ago. Marcello Casella, son of the Casella Wines founder, and Andre Turner appeared before magistrate Peter Dare SC in Young Local Court this month. A third man, Francesco Polimeni, also allegedly involved in the drug bust, also appeared.

Owners of Southern Highlands vineyard go back to the drawing broad with new $12 million price
Sweetwater estate – billed the “most significant vineyard in Australia” – was withdrawn from its Tuesday auction despite its original $30 million asking price being halved to $15 million. Alan Jurd, of Jurd’s, said it was withdrawn on Tuesday morning and is now being offered with a $12 million asking price. The property has garnered strong interest from Asian buyers, some of whom had requested an 18-month settlement given problems moving their money out of China, according to Jurd.

Hunter Valley wineries some of the best in Australia
TURNING off the main highway I am struck by the immediate sense of calm that envelops me as I leave the city behind and enter New South Wales’ Hunter Valley wine region. Where busy city streets are replaced by perfect rows of vineyards and winding roads. But the Hunter Valley I remember has changed.

Grampians winery Mount Stapylton to release 2014 Ivan Shiraz
MOUNT Stapylton Wines in the Grampians will release its 2014 Ivan Shiraz at the Grampians Grape Escape wine dinner later this month. Mount Stapylton plans to release the Shiraz at a dinner at the Comfort Inn Country Plaza at Halls Gap on Saturday, April 30. The Mount Stapylton Shiraz wines consistently rank in the top 40 Shiraz wines in the largest international competitions in the world.

Spraying mistake costs Marlborough grapegrowers around $1.6 million
A contractor has sprayed seven Marlborough vineyards with the wrong chemical, costing the grapegrowers around $1.6 million in lost revenue, a viticulturist says. The affected vineyards, about 5 kilometres from Blenheim in the Wairau Plain, were sprayed using a fertiliser that makes the wine produced unfit for export. Consultant viticulturist Murray Paterson, who was brought in to advise one of the growers, said the phosphorus and potassium-based fertiliser, Perk Supa, was used by the contractor in March.

Jack Ma wants a piece of New Zealand, literally
With appetite for fine wine and dairy products booming on Alibaba’s import-focussed Tmall platform, it’s not surprising that chairman Jack Ma has his eyes on New Zealand. Though the e-commerce billionaire’s love for the country is apparently not just just commercially driven. During a Q&A session yesterday with the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, Ma hinted that he was potentially interested in buying land in the southern island, calling it the “dream land.”

Italian winemaker says climate change affecting industry
Polina Bosca, a sixth-generation Italian winemaker, has said that frequent crop destruction due to extreme temperatures climate change all over the world is "seriously affecting" the global wine industry, because of frequent crop destructions due to extreme temperatures. She hails from Bosca is the sixth generation of the Bosca family of winemakers, of Canelli in Italy's Piedmont region, which is known for its winery culture and the extensive presence of grape vineyards.

Britain's Jancis Robinson on discovering the sensuality of wine
The master of wine, columnist and author, who recently attended a Hong Kong event for the Room to Read charity, talks to Bernice Chan about finding fine wine at university and how she chooses wines for Britain's Queen Elizabeth. What do you make of the wine business in China? “It’s getting there. That said I’m blissfully protected from the 90 per cent underbelly of fake stuff.

Everyone really is just picking their wine based on the label
Feel like a fraud when you hit the wine store? Does the prospect of trying to pick between a $12 Sauvignon Blanc, a $14 Chablis, and a $17 Vouvray make you panic and perspire? Are you ashamed that you remedy this anxiety by going for the one with the more refined-looking label, even if you have no fucking clue what it’s going to taste like? You may feel alone. Despondent. Like a failure. But don’t worry—we’re all doing it.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates buys Patz & Hall
Pacific Northwest powerhouse Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has acquired Patz & Hall, a prestigious producer of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The sale includes the brand, inventory and winery equipment. The purchase price was not disclosed. The sale marks Ste. Michelle's first move into Sonoma County, and Patz & Hall is a plum. "Sonoma is a noble place for grapegrowing, and we have just lusted after it," Ted Baseler, Ste. Michelle's president and CEO, told Wine Spectator.

2016 Tasmanian Wine List Award launched
Wine Tasmania and the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) have again partnered to recognise and reward Tasmanian venues that support the local wine sector. Now in its third year, the Tasmanian Wine List of the Year Award was launched recently as part of the THA’s 2016 Awards for Excellence.

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