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News posted on Monday, 20 June 2016

$18 million free kick for Kiwi wine beggars belief, say Australian producers
Letting New Zealand wine producers access $18 million in tax rebates funded by Australian taxpayers while they compete against local rivals for shelf space and sales "beggars belief", say local winemakers. Winemakers from Australia's wine regions are fuming that an overhaul of a Wine Equalisation Tax rebate by the Turnbull Government has left intact a subsidy paid to Kiwi winemakers who are vying for the same markets as Australian producers.

WA: Scent of wine tax reprieve
Liberal Senator Anne Ruston has given the WA wine industry hope it could avoid big job losses and rationalisation as a result of changes to tax rules. The Assistant Minister for Agriculture said the coalition would reconsider its changes to the wine equalisation tax if it won the election. Senator Ruston, who has been at the forefront of negotiations on behalf of the Government, met WA industry leaders in Margaret River and the Swan Valley in the past two days to hear their concerns.

Naracoorte's Matt Lowe and Jason Standley win State Government 2016 Vinnovation Award
Matt Lowe and Jason Standley of Wrattonbully’s Treasury Wine Estate have taken out the State Government’s Vinnovation Award with their invention, which helps to safely dispense sulphur into grape bins. Currently sulphur, which prevents browning of grapes, is applied manually. This new idea is an automated system where the bin is positioned under a nozzle connected to a pre-mixed tank of sulphur solution.

Deutsch relaunches Peter Lehmann as Australian wine rebounds
With the Australian wine category returning to health in the U.S. market, Barossa Valley-based Peter Lehmann Wines aims to capitalize on the segment’s growth.Acquired from Hess Family Wine Estates by fellow Australian winemaker Casella Family Brands for about $50 million in 2014, the brand is currently relaunching in the U.S. under Casella partner Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, unveiling new packaging across a streamlined portfolio.

Marlborough wine industry entering 'end game' as competition for vineyard land heats up
The wine industry in Marlborough is entering its end game, according to one industry expert. Cloudy Bay Vineyards estate director Ian Morden said there used to be plenty of useable land in the region, but now the end game was in play as companies began to compete for scarce vineyard space. He compared this to players on a chess board, positioning themselves to acquire the best vineyard land for the kind of wine they wanted to produce.

Growth forecast for New Zealand wine industry
The 2016 New Zealand grape harvest has finished, with high quality fruit being picked across the country. Producers benefited from excellent summer and early autumn weather in grape growing regions, enabling full ripening and flavour development. Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers CEO, said growers and wineries were looking for a larger vintage going into harvest.

Sue-Ann Staff: ‘People who think it’s cool to start wineries underestimate the work’
Sue-Ann Staff, 45, made wine in Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment at Pillitteri Estates, 20 Bees and Megalomaniac before establishing Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Inc. I was a competitive figure skater, so if I came home after school on the bus I’d always keep an eye out for my grandmother’s car, because that’s where the crew was working. I’d come home and ask my mom what farm she was on.

Head of Sonoma Winegrape Commission vows to raise visibility – and prices
Karissa Kruse has a mission. The charismatic president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission wants to raise the price wineries pay for Sonoma grapes, which now sell for much less than those in Napa County, and her approach is multifaceted. Part of her strategy is to position Sonoma as a leader in sustainability. The commission’s board of grape growers has set a goal of having all of its members fully sustainable by 2020.

Vineyard virus denialism compromises proactive estates’ efforts
THE problem of vineyard virus has been a recurring theme among serious wine writers in SA — one that the critics and commentators have taken more seriously than many of the players more directly affected by the problem. This is partly because growers would like to wish it away, and probably believe that if they hear no evil and speak no evil, there will be no evil. Those who care about wine quality refuse to be silent about it because the fruit from virus-infected vines is palpably impaired.

SPECIAL REPORT: China and Niagara's wine
Who owns Niagara’s wine industry? The region’s most famous export is meticulously marketed as a made-in-Niagara product. So much so, that time, energy and money are poured into promoting the products as world quality because they are from Niagara. The local industry’s best-known marketing brand, the Vintners Quality Alliance or VQA, is a label designed to explicitly say “This bottle contains Niagara grapes, and that makes it special.”

Wine in his veins
WINEMAKERS don’t sleep during vintage, do they? There is so much to think about, so much to know, so much to do. It’s 9am on a sunny summer day, February 19, to be exact. In the back of the Margan’s winery complex just a stone’s throw west of Broke, a small team is busy unloading a four-tonne bin of just-picked shiraz grapes, guiding them through the chute where the grapes, skin and juice, are cooled and pumped into vast storage silos.

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