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News posted on Monday, 21 December 2015

Wine prices disappoint
MURRAY Valley Winegrowers executive officer Mike Stone says there have been some modest increases in the indicative prices released by some wineries for wine grapes next year in the Murray Darling and Swan Hill regions. Stone said it was disappointing the indicative prices did not reflect the benefits being generated for the wine industry through its success in export markets and free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and China.

Farmers rejoice as rivals’ export subsidies axed
Australian farmers are celebrating an historic breakthrough in international trade talks that puts an end to agricultural export subsidies. The agreement between more than 160 members of the World Trade Organisation will see the immediate removal of subsidies by developed nations. Developing nations will follow by 2018. National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay said Australian farmers, whose exports are not subsidised, would be big winners from the first major agricultural deal in the WTO for more than 20 years.

Penfolds searches for A-Grade Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to satisfy world markets
While the Australian wine industry is struggling for profitability and markets to sell its wine, Penfolds’ the nation’s most famous brand, can’t get enough A-grade Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to make some of its renowned red wines. Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago said yesterday that the shortage of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is preventing the Treasury Wine Estates brand from substantially expanding its world wine sales.

Australia’s first wine tasting delivery service
Australia’s first wine tasting delivery service Secret Bottle has launched with a new take on the traditional wine club. Encouraging wine lovers to “discover local”, Secret Bottle is a monthly subscription service that delivers samples of boutique Australian wines from a specially selected Australian winegrowing region each month. Like a winery tour delivered to your very own front door, Secret Bottle is passionate about supporting local winegrowers by uncovering the country’s best hidden, secret and award-winning gems.

10 questions with: Michael Hill Smith MW
Michael Hill Smith co-founded Adelaide Hills winery Shaw and Smith in 1989. He was the first Australian to become a Master of Wine and won the first Madame Bollinger Foundation medal for an outstanding performance in the practical (tasting) papers of the MW examination. “Life is finite – don’t squander it. Or, in the words of Len Evans: “Every time you drink a bottle of inferior wine it’s like smashing a superior bottle against the wall.”

Marlborough wine company sponsors new Blenheim theatre
A Marlborough wine company has announced a 10 year sponsorship package for the new ASB Civic Theatre, in Blenheim. Whitehaven Wine Company managing director Sue White said she chose to invest in the theatre as a way of giving back to Marlborough. "I think it will be an asset to the region," she said. White would not disclose the amount of money that had been invested through the package, but it was "significant".

NZ-Korea FTA set to benefit NZ exporters - McClay
Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed entry-into-force of the New Zealand-Korea Free Trade Agreement. "This high quality agreement, negotiated and signed by former Trade Minister Tim Groser, will bring significant commercial benefits to New Zealand exporters," says McClay. "Current duty-free access to the Korean market is ‘bound in’, and existing tariffs will be eliminated on $793 million, or 48 per cent, of New Zealand exports.

Baja is making a lot more great wine than you might think
Tradition and climate usually dictate what grows where in the wine world. Napa is Cabernet country because the climate, by and large, is amenable to ripening the grapes. The same can be said for Nebbiolo in Piemonte, Chardonnay in Chablis, Syrah in Hermitage. So what is warm, dry, Baja California, Mexico, amenable to? All of these varietals, plus everything short of a few cool-climate grapes such as Pinot Noir and Riesling.

Protect vines from the cold
Wine grape growers in Michigan have learned some lessons from the last two hard winters, which showed them in dramatic fashion which vinifera varieties can survive and where. But growers are not sure exactly how to react. It’s been 20 years since the last destructive winter. Since then, local wineries have built wine styles and reputations based on varieties they don’t want to abandon. And no one knows what next winter will be like. We might have 20 more mild winters.

Chile's Errazuriz Winery challenges Burgundy with Pinot Noir
Errazuriz, the Chilean winery founded in the 1870s, has already learned how to compete with the best of Bordeaux. Now it’s taking aim at Burgundy. The company plans to sell wines from classic Burgundy grape varieties, pinot noir and chardonnay, at premium prices, pitched at 80 pounds ($119) or more per bottle in the U.K. for the reds and 60 pounds for the whites. The grapes will come from single-site vineyards.

Premier Cru moves to online only sales as 'wine pyramid scheme' lawsuits pile up
Besieged Berkeley wine store Premier Cru, in the news recently for a rash of lawsuits alleging it was running a "wine pyramid scheme," will shut its doors and become an online-only retailer, the store has been telling customers when they call. Callers to the store now hear a recording that says Premier Cru is in the middle of transitioning to an online-only sales model.

Managing Wine Spoilage Leads To Savings
Brettanomyces bruxellensis (Brett) is a naturally occurring yeast which can spoil wine via the production of volatile phenols such as 4EP. However, did you know that it’s possible to have Brett in your wine now, but no 4EP yet? Usually Brett only produces 4EP in significant amounts once it reaches minimum cell concentrations. If you can detect the presence of Brett early, it is possible to intervene and manage the Brett before it goes on to spoil the product.

LCBO buyers discover the latest Australian wine trends on visit
Wine Australia has recently wrapped up an in-market education and scouting visit for buyers from the Canadian Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of wine. The three LCBO guests were Colby Norrington, Category Manager (New World Wine Vintages), Greg Tranah, Category Manager (New World Wine LCBO General List) and Charan Bhogal, Director of Integrated Marketing.


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