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News posted on Thursday, 21 April 2016

Cheap wine damaging our brand overseas, says Treasury chief
Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Michael Clarke, whose global portfolio includes Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Lindemans, has warned Australia must move away from the poor reputation “Brand Australia” has overseas for cheap wine, to an industry that stands for more premium wine that generates sustainable profits. Addressing The Australian’s Global Food Forum in Melbourne, Mr Clarke also called on the federal government to snuff out the wine equalisation tax (WET) rebate system in its current form, which he said was “being rorted’’ and only served to further cheapen “Brand Australia”.

Why Sydney's rich listers love the Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine-making region. Viticulture in the Hunter, just two hours drive north of Sydney, dates back to 1820s when James Busby, considered both father of the Australian and New Zealand wine industries, was among the first to plant vines there, alongside George Wyndham. Today, the region boasts a $520.6 million tourism and wine industry with over 150 vineyards producing some of the nation’s best wines including Semillon and Shiraz.

McLaren Vale's vintage finishes on a high
The 2016 vintage has been heralded by grapegrowers and winemakers as ‘one of the greatest vintages in McLaren Vale’s history’. There was an exciting anticipation in the lead up to the flurry of activity through the months of February, March and April and Richard Angove, Angove Wines chief winemaker and managing director, has confirmed the predicted quality. “2016 may well go down as one of the great vintages in recent memory,” Angove said.

English sheep breed makes for good wine in NSW
Tradition has it that a cheeky red should accompany a lamb dish. However a glass of red may not be obligatory if dining on lamb found grazing at a winery on the Southern Highlands in New South Wales. Their diet at one vineyard could mean the taste of wine permeates their meat. Winemakers Jeffrey Aston and his two colleagues Ian MacDonald and Mark Bourne run the sheep through what is known as their tractorless vineyard.

Mayor urges support for Grampians Grape Escape
Northern Grampians Shire Mayor Cr Murray Emerson is urging the community to support the Grampians Grape Escape later this month. Cr Emerson said the Grape Escape had grown into one of the Northern Grampians Shire’s biggest events. The Grampians Grape Escape is on April 30 and May 1 at the Halls Gap Recreation Reserve.

NZ and China only two to increase vine plantings
New Zealand and China are the only countries in the world planting more grapes. New Zealand's vineyard area is expected to increase in Marlborough alone by about 1000 hectares a year for the next four years. In Hawke's Bay Delegat bought an 800 ha dairy farm last year beside its 400 ha Crownthorpe vineyard, and is planting there. Wine New Zealand chief executive Philip Gregan confirmed wine plantings were on an upward trajectory.

Hub aims to help NZ businesses in China
A Wairarapa-based wine and agribusiness company is leading the way for New Zealand businesses in China, by setting up an international trade centre. Murdoch James Estate has been successfully exporting wine, wood products, meat and cherries to China for the past five years, and has set up a commercial retail complex and logistics park to help others do the same.

University announces new wine grape
The University of Minnesota touts a popular legacy of apple breeding, but earlier this month, the school debuted a fruit that fans can sip on. The Itasca, a cold-hardy wine grape, will make its way to nurseries and licensed growers’ vines in 2017. It will be about another four years until Itasca-based dry white wines will hit liquor store shelves, said University grape breeder and horticulture professor Matt Clark.

Wine Advocate to appear at London Wine Fair
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate is appearing at the London Wine Fair for the first time in the publication’s 38-year history. The American magazine founded by Mr Parker, the world’s most famous wine critic who this week announced he was handing over all Bordeaux tasting duties to British wine writer Neal Martin, will host a series of tasting sessions at the UK’s biggest wine trade event in May.

Crown Cellars funks up own label range
Crown Cellars, the specialist wine and spirits division of Carlsberg UK, has launched an on-trade exclusive range of wines with ‘funky’ labels to appeal to new wine consumers. Revealing the new own-label win range at the Crown Cellar portfolio tasting at Oxo Tower on London’s South Bank, wine buyer Louise Boddington said the collection is aimed at consumers who are “looking for something a bit different and those who may have been put off wine in the past due to “stuffy and confusing wine labels and language”.

Lewis-Clark Valley named newest American viticultural area
Idaho's wine industry continues to flourish with the newly approved Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) today announced this important federal designation, which defines the geographic region of northwestern Idaho and bordering eastern Washington as a unique grape-growing area.

Michael Unwin Wines moving to Ballarat
You might have noticed the grapevines along Remembrance Drive. The growth is not familiar but the wine certainly will be. Michael Unwin Wines has planted its own vineyard on the Cardigan property and within two years will move the whole operation there from the current Beaufort base. Michael Unwin said it had been a few years coming, and promised some new varieties from the move.

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