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News posted on Thursday, 22 September 2011

McLaren Vale wineries aim for long-term sustainability
A program measuring the sustainability of McLaren Vale wineries was launched yesterday. The McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association released the first round of results from its Generational Farming program. The program aims to encourage wineries to use more eco-friendly practices to improve McLaren Vale’s longevity for food and wine production, reports The Southern Times Messenger.

Golden Grove's Granite Belt Durif named overall champion in 2011 Queensland Wine Awards
A little known French red wine grape variety, popular in California and Victoria's Rutherglen, has taken top honours in the 2011 Queensland Wine Awards. Golden Grove's Granite Belt Durif was named overall champion wine of the show, and also took a gong as champion alternative red. Chief judge of the awards, Neil McGuigan of McGuigan Wines, Hunter Valley, praised Queensland's alternative red varieties, mentioning both Durif and Petit Verdot as highlights, reports The Courier Mail.

A taste for rare wines
Seated around a large rectangle of tables in a hotel's private room in Shenyang, north-eastern China, are some of the country's 271 billionaires. They are sipping six vintages of one of the greatest and most-collectable Bordeaux red wines, Vieux Chateau Certan. When talking wine, the Chinese know Parker rating points, prices, vintages and rarity. Much of their interest in wine is about power, face and influence. They buy it to give as sweeteners to business associates, writes Huon Hooke in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Wine: Welcome new tastes (NZ)
For those who may be weary at the thought of another Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris, there is help at hand. Fancy a glass of Marsanne, Flora, Verdelho, Arneis or Albarino? Options previously not readily available are appearing on the wine horizon, albeit in small numbers. Courageous souls are experimenting with white wine varietals previously not thought viable in our cool climate, writes John Hawkesby in The New Zealand Herald.

Funding agreed for Hawke's Bay wineries trail (NZ)
Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail project and the Hawke's Bay Regional Council have confirmed funding for a new Wineries Ride in the Hawke's Bay. The Wineries Ride will be one of three rides that will make up the Hawke's Bay Trails (187km). The Water Ride and Landscapes Ride are both fully funded and already well under construction. The total estimated cost for the Wineries Ride is $1.14 million, reports Voxy News.

World sparkling experts at Denbies for international conference (UK)
Some of the most experienced figures in the sparkling wine world will be speaking at the International Sparkling Wine Symposium 2011. The event, now in its second year, takes place at the beginning of November at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey. Speakers include Ed Carr, group sparkling winemaker of Accolade Wines (formerly Constellation), Bertrand Robillard of the Institut Oenologie de Champagne and Pierre-Aymeric du Cray of Mumm and Perrier Jouet, reports Decanter.

Heat kicks grape harvest into high gear (US)
A blast of hot weather has kicked an idling harvest into high gear this week, sending vineyard workers scrambling for fruit that would normally have been picked weeks ago. “We finally got summer,” said Saralee Kunde, a Russian River Valley grapegrower whose vineyards supply 60 winemakers. “This heat has got things rolling.” Harvest had been off to its slowest start in more than a decade after weeks of cool weather delayed ripening of a crop already thinned by mid-summer rains, reports Press Democrat.

Wine industry optimistic despite economy, low supply, study finds (US)
Not much, including a sluggish economy, bad weather and low supply, can keep wine aficionados from a good glass, according to new reports from UC Davis. Economic doldrums have stymied consumer confidence. Cool temperatures hampered the grape crop. Wine production is likely facing several more rough years, said Dean Robert Smiley of the university’s Graduate School of Management. But in the strongest show of confidence since 2007, 71% of wine professionals say they expect the industry to improve anyway, reports The Los Angeles Times.

“Huge ageing potential” for South African Sauvignon Blanc? (South Africa)
Elgin producer Andrew Gunn made a case for the ageing potential of South African Sauvignon Blanc, hosting a blind vertical tasting of a decade of Iona. “Don’t be nervous of seeing an older Sauvignon Blanc on the shelf if it’s from a cooler region,” he remarked. This argument was supported when the most popular wine in the room was revealed to be the 2004, with the oldest wine from 2001 still holding up well, reports The Drinks Business.

WA tourism, wine areas stagnate
Western Australia's two-speed economy is having a dramatic impact on residential properties located near non-mining industries, such as tourism and viticulture, with prices in some areas down as much as 40 per cent from pre-financial crisis highs, reports Farm Weekly. A veteran agent in the south-west wine regions, Brian Moulton, said high-end properties in areas such as Eagle Bay were still down between 30 per cent and 40 per cent, The Australian Financial Review reports.

Portavin signs bottling deal with McWilliam’s
Australian wine packaging provider, Portavin Integrated Wine Services, will add McWilliam’s Wines’ Sydney-based cellar and bottling facilities to its portfolio under a new agreement between the two companies. The agreement, which comes into effect on 4 October, is expected to benefit both companies by providing Portavin with a location into the Sydney market and simplifying the business model at McWilliam’s.

AWRI appoints new managing director
Australia’s key wine research organisation, the Australian Wine Research Institute, has appointed Dr Dan Johnson as its new managing director. Johnson will take over from Dr Sakkie Pretorius, who was recently appointed deputy vice chancellor of Research and Innovation at The University of South Australia, on 1 December, 2011.

Indian wines fly off British supermarket shelves (UK)
The first Indian wines to be sold by a British supermarket could become a fixture on its shelves after coming close to selling out in record time. Earlier this month, Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to stock the little-known brands from the sub-continent as part of a showcase of unusual wines from across the world. Wine experts have questioned their quality and suggested the popularity is down to novelty value. But some of those trying to buy the wines – a red and a white – have found their local stores were already out of stock, reports The Guardian.





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