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News posted on Monday, 22 June 2015

Hunter vigneron accuses wine industry body of failing to fairly promote Hunter wines
A Hunter vigneron has hit out at the country's peak wine industry body, accusing it of failing to fairly promote and market Hunter wines. Ballabourneen Wine Company has lodged a submission with a senate inquiry into the Australian wine industry. It says the Australian Grape and Wine Authority is not providing value for money or due recognition to the Hunter Valley as one of the country's prestige wine regions.

Woolworths CEO announces retirement as company declines in sales
During Woolworths Limited’s trading update this week, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Grant O’Brien announced that he would be retiring later this year. The decision comes after the company revealed continued declines in Q4’15 sales. Specifically, Woolworths’ Food and Liquor business reported declines in May and June, mirroring those recorded in Q3’15. While seeking a replacement for Mr. O’Brien, the company has therefore also announced that it will be cutting up to 1,200 jobs to reduce costs.

Students develop wine industry software that could “help feed the world”
A team of University of Adelaide students won the inaugural Tech eChallenge award for a new software system aimed at saving the wine industry millions of dollars each year – and their work could also be applied to global food production. The team, called Seer Insights, developed the GrapeBrain software system, which they hope will improve the efficiency of production in viticulture.

Canberra wine exporters ready to cash in on Chinese free trade
Wine exporters from across the region have raised a toast to the Chinese free trade deal which they hope will grow the Australian brand in the major market. Shaw Vineyard Estate owner Graeme Shaw, of Murrumbateman, said the greatest benefit of the progressive elimination of trade tariffs would likely be promotional opportunities. The free trade agreement, signed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday, was expected to remove the 14 per cent tariff on Australian bottled wine, and 20 per cent slug on bulk wine, across four years once in effect.

Australian wine lists win big
Australian restaurants have some of the best wine lists in the world, after winning big at the annual World's Best Wine Lists Awards. Organised by the UK-based magazine The World of Fine Wine, the awards give out one-, two- and three-star rankings to restaurant wine lists. Australia won big, with 249 restaurants picking up awards, second only to the United States, which has 312 restaurants making the grade.

Craft brewers oppose NZ peers’ excise relief bid
New Zealand brewers want to further capitalise on their booming beer exports by accessing a tax break currently only accessible to Australian brewers. By excluding NZ brewers, Australia’s Brewery Refund Scheme that was introduced in 2012 may be in breach of the current free trade agreement between the countries. The NZ brewers say the success of their winemaking counterparts after they were given access to the Australian Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate gives an indication of the scope for growth.

Kiwi wineries in organic experiment
The Organic Focus Vineyard Project followed the experiences of three prominent wineries - Mission Estate in Hawkes Bay, Wither Hills in Marlborough, and Gibbston Valley Wines in Central Otago - while each company transitioned one of their vineyards to BioGro-certified organic production. The vineyard managers agreed to participate the reality show by switching half of their land to organic methods while the industry watched their every move via the internet, scientific reports, and on the ground at public events.

Vintner has taste for success
It wasn't exactly California weather but one of the bright lights of the American wine industry, Charles Banks, was not too bothered by the distant dark skies and low-teen temperatures of rural Hawke's Bay yesterday. He was more interested in taking in the "remarkable" landscape of the Gimblett Gravels and being back in a part of the world he confessed he had fallen in love with. "Hawke's Bay is a very special place and it has great people - and nothing works without great people."

How technology is helping wine sellers bypass the supermarkets
Justin Howard-Sneyd has had some pretty heavyweight wine retail jobs – he is a former head of wine at Waitrose and one-time global director of wines at Direct Wines (who own Laithwaites). But when he made the first vintage of his own, big-hearted, ample red wine deep in the Languedoc in 2009, rather than focusing on chasing a retail listing, the first thing he and his wife, Amanda, did was hit the email.

English fine wine can become serious market force
Highly influential and renowned wine expert and winner of the Best Sommelier of the World award, Gerard Basset made a strong endorsement of English wine at the masterclass of the first day at Vinexpo 2015 being held in Bordeaux this week. Speaking as a part of the “Excellence in unexpected places” panel, which showcased eight ‘unexpected’ medal-winning wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards.

A wine list for the Instagram age at Momofuku Ko
Several sommeliers have used social media to successfully get the word out to wine drinkers about what they were up to — who can forget Michael Madrigale’s big bottle pics, or the trend for sabering that Patrick Cappiello set off as shots of him with a sword proliferated — but Momofuku’s Jordan Salcito may be the first sommelier to format an actual wine list in the style of social media. She has arranged the Momofuku Ko wine list around stark photography of winemakers, of the type that sommeliers and wine collectors post to their own Instagram feeds.

Why this French-funded wine company is choosing Burlington over Paris
With new funding from a Paris-based venture firm and a French CEO at the helm of wine-tech company Coravin, it wouldn't be a surprise if the company chose to move its headquarters to the "city of lights." But that's not the case. Former Nestlé Nespresso executive Frédéric Levy, who was appointed CEO of Coravin earlier this year, said there are no plans for the company to move out of Burlington.

Exporting wine made easy
Exporting wine overseas can seem very complicated, but AWRI Commercial Services makes the process as easy as possible. The highly experienced customer service team can advise on the analytical requirements for different countries and work through the paperwork needed for each specific export destination. There have recently been some changes to the VI1 certification for botrytised wines. Late harvest and botrytised wines can now be exported with the VI1 packaged certificate.

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