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News posted on Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Vintage slowly picking up speed
The grape harvest is about three weeks behind schedule this year due to an extended winter that slowed growth last year. While wineries had been receiving grapes for about two weeks, vintage was a whopping 125,000 tonnes behind this time last year, with only 11,000 tonnes picked so far. Bruno Brombal, Riverina Wine Grapes Marketing Board chairman, said “it’s slow ripening, but excellent.” “What comes out the other end will be very good wine, although with a low dollar and strong export market I thought prices might be higher.”

Yalumba goes on a Grenache crusade
Grenache has been on a slow-burning, upward swing of interest in the last three to five years in Australia, gaining traction among the more savvy restaurants, wine bars and wine merchants around the country. It also coincides with the shift in winemaking that Kevin Glastonbury references — more sensitivity in the expression of each variety and not a one-size-fits-all, bold approach for red wine. This itself, of course, answers a global taste for lighter, fresher yet nevertheless flavoursome wine.

Can you make Coonawarra sexy?
How do you make a wine region sexy? Or does a wine region need to be ‘sexy’ in the first place? That’s a question I’ve been pondering since a recent trip to Coonawarra – the South Australian wine location which, curiously, seems as fashionable as a politician in a pair of Speedos. Of course, what’s in fashion doesn’t always dictate what sells, and much of Coonawarra’s wines seem to move by themselves. Indeed, Coonawarra’s appeal to full-flavoured red wine loving men is unparalleled.

Registrations now open for ‘Aussie wine month’
The biggest celebration of Australian wine, Aussie Wine Month, will return this May to showcase the exceptional quality and diversity of wine produced in our own backyard. Aussie Wine Month gives everyone across the country the chance to learn more and get excited about Australian wine, experience new and legendary Australian wines and discover the stories that make them unique. Registrations are now open for restaurants, bars, cellar doors, retail stores and wine brands to take part in the month long celebration by organising an event or promotion that focuses on Australian wine.

Ambitious ‘Barossa cellar’ project
Conceptual plans for a $4.5 million wine museum to be built on a lush site in Vine Vale were unveiled during a Barons of the Barossa function at the weekend. The ambitious Barossa Cellar project, which would store the region’s most valuable wine collection, has been approved by The Barossa Council with construction hoped to begin later this year. However the project’s success was dependent on the ability to reach an ambitious fundraising target of $3.5 million, after the Barons of Barossa pledged $1 million towards the initiative.

#V17 tip #3
#V17 tip #3: Provide training for all vineyard staff, including contract and casual labour, on hygiene protocols. #Vinehealth

Contractors face Employment Relations Authority
Three vineyard contractors are being taken to the Employment Relations Authority after breaching minimum employment standards. An investigation described as a wake-up-call for the Marlborough wine industry has resulted in a slew of enforcement actions against vineyard contractors. The joint investigation by the Labour Inspectorate, Immigration New Zealand and Inland Revenue involved random visits to 10 independent contractors last July.

Winegrowers report on sustainability
New Zealand Winegrowers has released the first ever report on the wine sector's achievements in sustainability. The report presents data collected from vineyard and winery members of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand - one of the first and world-leading sustainability programmes in the international wine sector. The Sustainability Report highlights actions undertaken by the wine industry such as enhancing biodiversity, reducing and recycling by-products, optimising water and energy use, investing in people, protecting soil, and reducing agrichemical use.

How do you spot a hipster wine?
What do I mean by hipster wine? How would you spot one? Well I don’t just mean wine made by hipsters, although many of the wines in the burgeoning genre I’m trying to define are made by men and women in their 20s and 30s who fit the stereotype: beards, plaid shirts, social media smarts and ease with the words “authentic” and “artisanal”.

Traditional Bordeaux labels get a makeover
Traditional wine labels from the Bordeaux region of France are changing, slowly. Inspect a half-dozen labels: many include an image—drawn or photographed—of a stately country manor, often with vines planted out front. These less than exciting and hardly eye-catching images focus on the château (plural: châteaux)—the residence associated with a vineyard.

Karma Vista winery adopts drone technology
Karma Vista Winery is utilising Great Lakes Drone Company to provide aerial data management and consultation for the 2017 growing season. Joe Herman, owner of Karma Vista Winery is excited about how this technology can redefine how they manage their fields this year. The data collected by regular drone overflights will provide them with real-time data to make cost effective decisions in vineyard health, disease & nutrient management and overall variable harvest decisions.

The Grapevine: Petit Verdot in Virginia
Not long ago, this grape barely registered on the Virginia winemaking radar. Now, Petit Verdot is one of the state’s stalwarts and has an interesting history. Background: Petit Verdot is considered one of the classic grapes of the Bordeaux region of France, and winemakers around the world primarily use it for blending with other grapes. But in Virginia, it’s more than that: Petit Verdot's popularity has grown as a stand-alone varietal (a wine that has at least 75 percent of a particular grape in it). In fact, many connoisseurs consider Petit Verdot to be the state’s red wine grape.

Wine business and grape growing disputes?
Wine companies and grape growers, who become embroiled in commercial disputes, will save time and costs by consulting an experienced, specialist wine sector lawyer. This negates the need for a lawyer to learn on the job (at the client’s expense), and ensures all relevant matters are carefully considered, and informed advice is given.

Adelaide Hills winemaker seeks distributor(s)
Anvers Estate vineyard and cellar door is nestled near Kangarilla in the Adelaide Hills where 16 hectares are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The wines produced are beautifully-made, elegant and mid-weight examples that have received excellent reviews, both here at home and abroad. The winery is currently seeking to engage Victorian and New South Wales distributors.

New energy efficiency schemes set to benefit grapegrowers and wine producers
If your business struggles with high energy usage and you are keen to reduce your environmental footprint as well as your power bills, then call AWRI Commercial Services and speak to an environmental advisor. Services are available to help you implement energy saving solutions such as more effective vineyard irrigation or more efficient refrigeration in the winery.

Building customer loyalty locally
The Retail Chain Hack: Whole Foods is a store that knows how to introduce new and exciting products and make them a success. We look at the techniques they use to do this well, repeatedly.

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WID 2017