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News posted on Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Most TWE Karadoc staff to be axed union fears
The union representing Treasury Wine Estates' workers in Sunraysia, in north-west Victoria, says it expects about three-quarters of staff at a packaging warehouse near Mildura will lose their jobs. The Australian Workers' Union met company managers on Thursday to discuss the fate of more than 100 workers employed at the Karadoc facility, which is being shut down mid-next year. The union's Victorian vice-president Ben Davis said while there had been some progress, it was still trying to get more detail from the company.

First joint forum for wine grape growers
In a first for the region’s winegrape growers, Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW) has teamed with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) to present an information forum on June 11. AWRI speakers will fill the morning session with presentations on issues affecting vineyard management and grape quality. MVW takes over for the afternoon program, focusing on topics that will give growers further insights into future prospects. “With this year’s vintage delivering some of the lowest average prices in 10 years, growers who want a future in the industry are desperate for information that helps in their decision-making,” Mike Stone, MVW executive officer, said.

Hunter hotel mogul says $1m tourism handout "manifestly inadequtate"
Hotel mogul Jerry Schwartz has slammed the state government’s $1 million tourism handout calling it “manifestly inadequate”. Schwartz owns three major hotels in the Hunter and is a proud tourism advocate for the region. “The Hunter Valley needs a vibrant tourism industry if we are to generate sustainable future employment, and the NSW government would be better off allocating the $1 million directly to the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association – which now has full council support – to promote the region’s tourism assets,” he said.

WINE: Agnew looks to the south
HUNTER Valley-based Agnew Wines Pty Ltd has taken a significant stake in South Australia's McLaren Vale region, with the purchase of a 21-hectare vineyard in the Blewitt Springs subregion. The acquisition was set in train by the company's founder and chairman, Brian Agnew, before his death at the age of 69 on February 24 after a 2½-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Brian was a major figure in the law and horse racing, as well as wine.

Kiwi organization launches 2015 young viticulturist contest
New Zealand Wine, in partnership with Bayer, has begun its search for the 2015 Young Viticulturist of the Year. The 2015 contest marks the 10th year the event has taken place, according to the competition’s website. “Since the inception, this competition has attracted a high calibre of entrants from throughout the country and is now recognized within the industry as being a leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to aspire and achieve,” the site said.

Korean festival to feature 75 NZ wines
For lovers of world class wine, the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea (Kiwi Chamber) will host two New Zealand Wine Festival events in Seoul and Busan. The Seoul tasting will take place on May 30 at the Waterfall Garden of the Grand Hyatt Seoul, with the second of the wine extravaganzas being held at the Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Busan on June 13. This will mark the seventh-annual New Zealand Wine Festival in Seoul and third in Busan, offering enthusiasts more than 75 premium New Zealand red and white wines from more than 25 participating vineyards.

Careers encouraged in Central Otago's wine industry
Wine is one of Central Otago's most important industries and people interested in making it their career will get a chance to learn all about it. As part of the 2015 Otago Careers Festival, the Central Otago Winegrowers' Association, with the support of the Otago Polytechnic, is hosting a seminar called "Introducing the Wine Industry" for anyone interested in becoming involved in the industry.

Online wine sales set to grow to 15% within three years
Online wine sales are set to increase to around 15% by 2018, according to new data from the Wilson Drinks Report. Tim Wilson, Wilson Drinks Report managing director, said online sales currently make up around 11 per cent of the market, compared to the off-trade, but the trend was likely to grow over the next three years. “It shows online wine is both here to stay and likely to take a bigger share of the market,” he said.

Voluntary redundancies sought at Wynn's Coonawarra
Jobs and production will be cut at Wynn's Coonawarra Estate as part of a major reorganisation by parent company Treasury Wine Estates. The 'changes' were announced in a wide-ranging statement to the ASX statement on March 31 but not widely reported locally. Treasury Wine Estates has declined to be interviewed by ABC SE, saying the changes will be finalised throughout fiscal 2016 and its priority is to speak directly with employees and their representatives. A statement provided to ABC SE reads: "As previously announced on 31 March, TWE is making significant changes to the company’s supply chain in Australia and the United States to deliver a more efficient and focused wine production network.

Trade fight could raise tariffs on California wine
The wine industry is urging Congress to repeal or reform the rule to make it compliant with international trade regulations, especially as U.S. wine exports to Canada topped $1 billion in retail sales last year; the U.S. surpassed Italy and France to rank as the top wine exporter to Canada. “In Canada it has taken decades to build the market for U.S. wine, and it could be irreparably harmed in an instant if Congress does not act,” said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute, a trade group representing California wineries, in a statement.

Consumer perception of Prosecco is improving
According to a new Wine Intelligence report released today, 95% of consumers that drink Prosecco see it as ‘very good or good value for money.’ The research is based on the response of more than 500 UK sparkling wine drinkers that were surveyed using the Wine Intelligence platform. “Prosecco has managed to hit the perfect balance, offering perception of quality and value for money without being perceived as too cheap, an image problem that has befallen some other sparkling wine types.”

Winery boss jailed over fake Chablis
A producer has been accused of blending inferior wines and passing them off as Chablis in a decade-long scam. The head of a French wine company has been arrested and jailed after an alleged scam was uncovered, involving inferior wine being labeled and sold as Chablis. Jean-Claude Fromont, the CEO of Maison Fromont, in Ligny-le-Châtel, Yonne, was remanded in custody over the alleged fraud. "He is accused of using wines from the south to blend with Chablis and calling them 'Chablis'," the Deputy-Prosecutor, Frédérique Olivaux told regional daily newspaper Le Journal du Centre.

China wine targets middle class
Premium sales to China will not give Australia’s wine industry the bounce it is hoping for, a new study suggests. Melbourne University academics say an exporting focus on high-priced wines is being undermined by a new Chinese drive to buy local. The findings, to be published in the Journal of Research in Marketing, counter the assumption that Chinese consumers pay top dollar for foreign gifts to ¬impress friends and associates.

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