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News posted on Thursday, 21 January 2016

Australian wine exports surge to $2.1 billion
THE value of Australian wine exports surged 14 per cent to $2.1 billion in 2015, reaching its highest value since October 2007. In a statement released today, South Australian Senator Anne Ruston said Wine Australia’s 2015 Export Report showed for the first time in over two decades, the value of Australian wine exports has grown in each of our nation’s top fifteen export markets.

Open That Bottle Night coming to Australia
Mastermind Consulting have launched a social media campaign calling for wine lovers to open a special bottle of wine on 27 February to mark the first official Open That Bottle Night in Australia. Since its inception in 2000, Open That Bottle Night has become an acclaimed global event, held annually on the last Saturday of February. Australia’s participation in this initiative has been intermittent, but the team behind Mastermind Consulting believes now is the time to salute the special bottles of wine held captive in cellars or cupboards.

Costa sells off grape property
THE Costa Group has decided to sell its 360 hectare table grape property at Menindee in New South Wales and split it up into seven separate titles. Elders Real Estate Mildura principal Marty Deacon said he believed the decision to sell the property could be related to an increase in table grape production in other parts of Australia.

Japan free trade deal brings benefits to Hunter wine producers
Grapegrowers in the New South Wales Upper Hunter appear to be reaping the benefits of Australia's free trade agreement with Japan, a year after the deal was finalised. Bottled wine sales are up by 11 per cent, whiles sales of bulk wine have almost tripled to more than $5 million to Japan. NSW Nationals Senator John Williams said it was welcome news in the Hunter, amid an ongoing mining downturn.

AWRI: Managing late season wet weather
Sustained rainfall in the period from veraison to harvest can put vines under significant threat of disease. This can leave growers and vineyard managers with some difficult decisions to make. In some cases the usual control options of spraying, slashing or trimming may not be viable or may be of limited value and some crop loss may be inevitable. This eBulletin outlines a selection of points to consider when making vineyard management decisions after late season rain.

Eu blocks sale of low alcohol Riesling
Central Otago winery Felton Road has been prohibited from selling its Bannockburn Riesling in Europe because it falls below the 8.5% ABV limit set by the European Union. Felton Road’s 2015 Bannockburn Riesling has an alcohol limit of 8.44%, slightly below the minimum level set by the EU for still wines. As a result, the winery will not be able to sell any of the Riesling – Felton Road’s second best-selling white wine – in Europe, Felton Road’s owner Nigel Greening confirmed.

Chardonnay and Sparkling the stars of Gisborne wine symposium
Gisborne will play host to some of the world’s top writers and influencers at New Zealand’s first Chardonnay and Sparkling wine symposium this February. Past, Present and Beyond... the Tale of New Zealand Chardonnay and Sparkling runs from February 4-5, and follows Marlborough’s inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration (February 1-3).

California winegrowers can't rely on El Niño
The much-anticipated El Niño winter has brought some precipitation to parched California and begun to replenish the vital Sierra Nevada snowpack. But according to experts including the National Weather Service in Sacramento, a single “normal year” will not redeem the state from the ravages of a four-year drought.

Woman winemakers in CA? Still not very many
Reading about the upcoming Women of the Vine Global Symposium, a great event which takes place this April in Napa Valley, made me think of how difficult it was for women to gain a toehold in the wine business, even in “liberal” Napa Valley, as recently as the 1970s. I was talking just yesterday with Cathy Corison, who related to me how, when she got a job in Freemark Abbey’s cellar, in 1978, Napa “never had a woman hauling hoses before that!”

Emerging ‘it-grape’ Garnacha is ready for its close-up
The enduring popularity of superstar grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay has seen their dominion spread across virtually every wine region in the world. In the past 10 years, they have catapulted up the ranks to be among the most widely planted varieties in the world. That age-old adage rings true again: Success breeds success. But it’s clear the winds of change are stirring.

Luxembourg vintners begin ice wine harvest
Even after the adverse weather conditions in December, it looks as though ice wine may finally work out for Luxembourg's vintners this year: thanks to the recent frosty temperatures, the ice wine grape harvest started Monday. In December, the Institut Viti-Vinicole had a pessimistic outlook for an ice wine vintage --weather was simply too mild. In order for grapes to be processed into ice wine in the first place, they require a night's freeze of at least -7° Celsius (grapes have a lower freezing point than pure water).

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