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News posted on Friday, 20 November 2015

Vineyard flying squad of NZ falcons celebrates first year
Two fierce predators on the loose in south Wairarapa have endeared themselves so much to wine producers that they're introducing three more. The New Zealand bush falcons, or karearea, will be brought to Martinborough in December, after a successful trial last year designed to reduce the damage done by starlings and other pest birds to the region's grapes. About 80 per cent of falcon hatchlings are killed in their first year by introduced predators, illegal hunting, cold winters or flying into powerlines or fences.

Waiheke Island Winemaker wins again
Patrick Newton of Mudbrick Winery has been named New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year Competition for the second year in a row at a recent event in Canterbury. Thirty-three year old Newton won the first ever Young Winemaker of the Year in 2014 and this year took out the top spot again with a 2014 Chardonnay, a 2014 Syrah and a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. He said winning for the second time was “quite humbling.”

Director of fake wine investment firm banned
The head of a wine investment firm that conned people out of at least £382,000 has been disqualified as a director for 11 years by the UK's Insolvency Service. Jonothan Piper, director of fake wine investment firm Embassy Wine UK Ltd, was banned for ‘causing or failing to prevent the company from selling wine to customers which it failed to provide, purchasing wine from customers which it failed to pay them for, and charging fees to customers for which no service was provided’.

China wine imports rebound in 2015, shows data
Fresh figures show that China’s wine import market has rebounded strongly in volume and value in the first nine months of 2015, driven by French and Australian wines. Bottled wine imports rose by 38.7% in volume to 297.7m litres and by 34.7% in value to $1.4bn, shows newly released Chinese customs data. Figures are for the nine months to the end of September, versus the same period of last year.

Analysing Diageo's operations, and looking ahead
Diageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverage company, has been making a number of changes to its portfolio in recent months including the sale of most of its wine business. This has been mainly done to focus more on its beer and spirits business, including brands such as Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Smirnoff, and Guinness.

USDA may help replant burned vineyards
San Rafael, Calif.—As many as a dozen vineyards were scorched or destroyed by wildfires in California’s Lake County and Sierra Foothills in summer 2015. Some owners have already applied for federal assistance under the USDA’s Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and others may still be eligible, though they must act promptly to receive funding.

New partnership will help wine exporters access finance
Australian wine producers will better understand how they can access the finance they need to maximise their export opportunities after Wine Australia signed a partnership agreement with Efic (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation), Australia’s export credit agency. Efic operates on a commercial basis and partners with banks to provide financial support to Australian small and medium enterprise (SME) exporters and those in an export supply chain.

How Australia’s winemakers are pushing new frontiers in the industry
From grape varieties with strange names to low alcohol and preservative free wines, to labels inspired by CD covers, the highly competitive Australian wine industry is constantly innovating in a bid to capture the imaginations of consumers in a nation where New Zealand sauvignon blanc is among their favourite wines.

Could Australia be to thank for making Chardonnay cool again?
The question of whether the golden era of chardonnay has returned was answered last week when an Adelaide Hills chardonnay was voted Australia and New Zealand’s “Wine of the Year” breaking a four-year tradition of red wines taking out the top spot. The “Nest Egg Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2012” from Bird In Hand winery in South Australia prevailed in the nation’s largest wine evaluation process after a judging of more than 11,000 wines in 13 categories over the past 11 months.

CEO Michael Clarke ends Treasury Wines’ run of profit downgrades
Spend a cursory moment with Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Michael Clarke and you get the sense of a man in a hurry. He speaks quickly, delivering thoughts at a rapid clip and shoved through a meat grinder of eclectic accents, collected like passport stamps from his 30-year global corporate tour of starting, turning around and rescuing businesses.

ASVO awards for excellence
The Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) announced the winner of its ‘awards for excellence’ on Thursday night, with an Adelaide Hills viticulturist and a Tasmania winemaker claiming the top gongs. Ben Blows is this year’s ‘viticulturist of the year’, for his work developing spray application solutions to combat Eutypa. Blows developed and trialled a practical and cost effective solution to targeting Eutypa fungicides with his own design of spray unit.

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