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News posted on Thursday, 22 October 2015

Wine industry votes for continued levy funding
The New Zealand wine industry has shown resounding support for their national organisation by voting positively in the 2015 levy referenda, enabling New Zealand Winegrowers to receive continued levy funding. Electionz.com, who facilitated the levy referenda, released results yesterday which show 87 per cent of wineries (98 per cent by volume) voting in favour of the wine levy, and 90 per cent of grapegrowers (92 per cent by value) voting in favour of the grape levy.

NZ wines to hold value despite lower harvest
The Rabobank Global Wine Quarterly report says New Zealand wine growers expect the wine grape harvest will be 326,000 tonnes, down 27 per cent on last year's record tonnage. One of the report's authors, senior analyst Marc Soccio, said the country's production levels had not been this low for some time, and that was part of the reason the growth in export value was outpacing the growth in volume. "Global demand isn't necessarily growing particularly strongly, but what we are seeing is where there is growth it tends to be at higher price points."

Water use in Aussie vineyards up 18%
Australian vineyards are using nearly a fifth more water than they were three years ago, highlighting the dry conditions still affecting the country’s winemaking industry. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 440,000 megalitres of water was used to irrigate vineyards in 2015 – an increase of 18% on 2012. Vineyards in South Australia accounted for 46% – 203,000 megalitres of total water use – followed by New South Wales with 32% (140,000 megalitres) and Victoria with 20% (86,500 megalitres).

Wine bodies say industry will benefit from ChAFTA
Australia’s three national grape and wine community organisations have welcomed news that legislation for the landmark China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) will pass through the Australian Parliament. Brian Walsh, chair of Wine Australia, Vic Patrick, chair of Wine Grape Growers Australia, and Tony D’Aloisio, president of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, all agreed that the Australian grape and wine community would be significant beneficiaries of ChAFTA.

Assistance available for winegrowers in drought
With seasonal conditions worsening in parts of South Australia, Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, highlighted the assistance measures that were available to help farmers in need. Joyce said livestock, dairy, wine and horticulture producing regions across South Australia, and in the South-East in particular, have experienced very challenging conditions for some time now, while ABARES has also forecast an almost 10 per cent drop in winter crop production.

Australian sparkling wine market slows
New research from Wine Intelligence has revealed that the Australian sparkling wine market is continuing to slow, but imports are now taking an increased share. The Sparkling Wine in the Australian Market 2015 report examines year-on-year consumer behaviour within the sparkling wine category. The report found that overall volumes are declining and domestic sparkling wine is showing particular signs of slowing.

Wine world salivating over 2015 harvest
Assessments of the 2015 harvest in Europe and California vary from the ecstatic to the more measured – but all are agreed that this year will produce something special. There is one unifying factor across almost all wine regions: the excellent harvest weather, allowing vignerons to bring in their grapes as and when they like.

Toasting to a more sustainable planet with Argentine wine
The region of Cuyo in west-central Argentina is famous for its vineyards. But it is one of the areas in the country hit hardest by the effects of climate change, such as desertification and the melting of mountain top snow. And local winegrowers have come up with their own way to fight global warming. In the cup, malbec, Argentina’s flagship red wine, still has the same intense flavour and colour.

Countdown begins to the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium
Delegate tickets priced at £600 (A$1280) + VAT are now available for the 9th International Cool Climate Wine Symposium which takes place in the UK from 26th to 28th May 2016. Located in Brighton, Sussex, on the South Coast of England, the ICCWS is conveniently close to many of the UK’s emerging wineries, providing easy opportunities for delegates to visit local producers both before and after the Symposium.

Diageo to further offload wine business
Diageo is putting its Chalone Vineyard winery up for sale after it was left out of last week’s £361 million deal with Treasury Wine Estates. Treasury reportedly turned down the offer to buy Chalone from Diageo – instead opting to buy its Sterling, Beaulieu and Blossom Hill brands – because it already produces plenty of Chardonnay wines. Diageo has so far declined to comment publicly on Chalone Vineyard, with media reports quoting unnamed company spokespeople confirming the sale. It is unclear what price Diageo is looking to achieve with the sale.

Record exhibitors for next week’s Limestone Coast Wine Show
A record number of wine producers have entered next week’s 15th annual Limestone Coast Wine Show, with 87 different exhibitors nominating 443 of their top drops for close scrutiny. Sarah Pidgeon, committee member for the show, said the figure is 10 per cent higher than last year. “This is the most exhibitors the wine show has had and reflects some pleasing interest in the event from newer winemakers around the regions, as well as strong entries from long-time supporters of the show,” Pidgeon said.

TWE announce further winery closures
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) today announced two further closures for wineries in Australia and New Zealand. The company will be closing its Matua Auckland winery, packaging and cellar door site, and consolidating NZ wine production into the Matua Marlborough winery. Operations will also stop at Great Western winery in Victoria by the end of June 2016, with a potential sale in the near future. Vineyard land in the Great Western and Yarra Valley regions in Victoria will also be put on the market, following the 2016 vintage.

Chanel buys Rutherford’s St. Supery Estate Vineyards and Winery
French fashion house Chanel Inc., whose owners collect high-end Bordeaux wineries while creating exotic fragrances and haute couture, is entering the U.S. wine business with the purchase of a Napa Valley winery. The privately held Chanel, considered one of France’s best-known brands, is acquiring Rutherford’s St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery for an undisclosed sum, the winery announced Tuesday.

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