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News posted on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Accolade Wines lays groundwork for public float with 10 per cent jump in sales
Australia's second largest wine company, Accolade Wines, has laid the groundwork for a float in 2016 with a 10 per cent rise in sales to $486 million from its Australasian operations, which also have a hefty "tax asset" of $213 million to give an extra kicker to the business as it prepares to head back onto the stock exchange. Accolade, which owns the Hardys, Leasingham, Banrock Station and Grant Burge brands, notched annual sales from the Australia and New Zealand businesses of $486.4 million in the 12 months ended June 30, 2015, up from $442 million a year earlier.

Benchmarking the big red of Rutherglen
Rutherglen Durif might not be the darling of Australian wine writers, but it has attracted a niche consumer following. Recently a group of Rutherglen winemakers sat down to evaluate wines from across their region. It was a positive experience according to those involved. Nathan Gogoll reports.

A jaundiced view of the year in wine
Whitey casts his eye back over the past 12 months – which seemed to bring more bad tidings than good. Now that was a year. My hermit life became very challenging after I brained myself on a very low verandah while moving house last Christmas; an injury which rekindled the damage of many other head wounds from my reckless past.

McLaren Vale: geology in a glass
Did you know McLaren Vale is one of the most geographically diverse regions in the world? Under those rolling hills, vineyard vistas and vegie patches is a smorgasbord of clay, sandstone, shale, quartzite, siltstone, and limestone – some of it dating back 600 million years. About five years ago, a group of McLaren Vale winemakers and viticulturists banded together to try and find a way to better understand the influence this geology has on their wines – in particular, on Shiraz, one of the region’s key varieties.

Villa Maria challenging Bordeaux with $85 Hawkes Bay Cabernet
Villa Maria, a New Zealand winery with a track record stretching back more than half a century, is for the first time aiming to take on high-end Bordeaux with a Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon priced at more than $85 a bottle. The inaugural 2013 vintage, comprising 97 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and three per cent Merlot, comes from the Gimblett Gravels region of Hawkes Bay on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, the prime vineyard area for Bordeaux-style varietals.

Scotch Wine Bar expands to include boutique wine shop in Blenheim
A boutique wine shop is to open in central Blenheim as the Scotch Wine Bar expands to include an off-licence next door. The off-licence will be open during the day and stock a wide range of wines from Marlborough and around the world. Co-owner Dan Gillett, who runs the bar with friend Charlie Chilwell, said the expansion would make Scotch a more serious wine destination.

Official report shows Chinese vineyard plantings
China’s main sources of wine grapes are currently Xinjiang, Shandong and Hebei, and Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the key varieties being planted across China’s young wine regions, shows one of the first official reports on the subject. Duan Changqing, chief scientist of China Agriculture Research System for Grapes and Wine industry, outlined the regions at a trade conference organised by China National Food Industry Association last month.

Ice wine harvest delayed again due to temps
Ice Wine isn't what Glenora Wine Cellars is known for, and it certainly doesn't come close to its other wines in terms of production numbers. However, it's something which owner Gene Pierce still likes partake in every year, weather permitting. These above average temperatures are pushing the season back by a month or even more. "We're watching the temperature and the long range temperature very closely," says Pierce.

Bulgaria's 2015 vintage wine is remarkable, expert says
Bulgarian wine is wonderful in quality and the 2015 vintage is remarkable, Bulgarian Wine Export Association (BWEA) Chair Galina Niforou said in a BTA interview. BWEA took part in a recent presentation of Bulgarian products with protected geographical status in the EU. Niforou said the country exports 60 million litres of wine annually, both in and outside the EU.

St Emilion dispute: Classification upheld, opponents vow to fight on
The Administrative Tribunal in Bordeaux overruled objections to the 2012 St Emilion classification brought by Châteaux Croque Michotte, La Tour du Pin Figeac andCorbin Michotte. The châteaux, which either lost their classification or were not promoted from Grand Cru level, had claimed that there were inconsistencies and procedural errors in the run-up to the new ranking that was ratified by the French government on 29 October 2012.

Casella Family Brands acquires Brand’s Laira from McWilliam's Wine Group
Casella Family Brands (CFB) and McWilliam's Wine Group have today announced the acquisition of Brand’s Laira by CFB. Completion of the transaction has been confirmed following a period of confirmatory due diligence agreed to by both companies. The financial terms of the sale are commercial in confidence but it can be confirmed the transaction includes purchase of the Brand’s Laira Winery, Cellar Door and brand IP.

On trend wines have modern art design labels
Consumer awareness of Australian regionality to be pushed through two new ranges from De Bortoli, created by winemaker Steve Webber. De Bortoli will be launching the Palette Series and the Regional Reserve Series to the UK market in January 2016, to respond to the growing consumer demand for terroir-driven wines. Steve Webber says of the launch: “Like food, consumers are increasingly inquisitive about where their wine comes from.

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