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News posted on Friday, 23 January 2015

'Hard to imagine how it could go any lower': Riverland grape growers facing another year of dismal prices
Riverland wine grape growers are facing another year of low price offers from wineries, according to industry body Riverland Wine. Despite some humid and rainy weather while grapes were ripening, yields across the region are on track to hit around 400,000 tonnes, 30,000 tonnes less than last year's crush. Wineries that have signed on to a voluntary code of conduct must give grapegrowers an indication of the price they could offer for each variety.

Solid harvest expected for Southern Flinders
Grapegrowers in SA's Southern Flinders wine region say they're on track for an average vintage. The area is usually the first to start vintage because of its warmer climate. Frost damage and a dry spring in 2014 has made some crops in other wine regions lighter than usual. But Angela Meaney, from Bundaleer Wines, the region's largest winemaker, said their vines were looking good. "They're in very good condition," she said. "The rain we had two weeks ago we were a little bit worried about, because it can cause splitting and disease.

Mudgee on their way for successful vintage
Provided Mudgee wine region does not experience massive rainfall over the next month it appears everything is on track for a successful 2015 vintage. Grapegrowers across the region are about to begin picking varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling wines before others ripen during the annual harvest. Yesterday Ted Cox, Mudgee Wine Grape Growers Association president, said this year’s vintage is likely to be slightly early as above average temperatures and less rain has fastened the growing the process.

Andrew Leembruggen's brilliant career
PROFILE: As a born and bred Hunter boy, Andrew Leembruggen had three after-school occupational options - shovelling coal, chook poo or grape skins. A childhood spent helping with the chores on his parents' chicken farm at Branxton persuaded him to avoid any career involving chook poo. A coal industry job was ruled out after Andrew dropped out of a Newcastle University science degree course. And then there was option three: casual jobs in Hunter wineries, which included shovelling grape skins and cellar door sales.

Marlborough to be 'fully planted in 5 to 10 years'
Higher consumer demand for New Zealand wines has continued to put pressure on land space and some producers believe Marlborough will be fully planted in as little as five years. Winemakers and grapegrowers are running out of space in Marlborough, famous for Sauvignon Blanc and which constitutes around three quarters of New Zealand’s wine production. Vineyard prices in the region were last year rising at more than 10 per cent year-on-year, according to estate agency Knight Frank.

International Sauvignon Blanc conference announced for 2016
New Zealand Winegowers have announced an international conference to celebrate its most famed wine, Sauvignon Blanc. The inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration (ISBC) will be held in Marlborough in February 2016 to shine the spotlight on the diverse and sought-after variety. Accounting for 85 per cent of wine exported from New Zealand, Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers, said Sauvignon Blanc has set the international bench mark for the countries wine style.

Wine exporters shift focus from Asia to United States
The United States not China is – and will continue to be – the world's most important consumer of wine. The United States, as the world's most important wine market in terms of volume, value and growth, will be a "Special Guest" at Vinexpo 2015. At a London press conference to launch the 2015 edition of the biannual Bordeaux wine trade fair, chief executive Guillaume Deglise said the U.S. would be "under the spotlight" at Vinexpo. The fair, which hosts 2400 exhibitors from 44 countries and attracts some 28,000 visitors, takes place in Bordeaux in June this year.

'Tough season' for California growers
More than three years of drought has reduced reservoir storage in California and groundwater supply. Some grapegrowers in Amador County are worried the limited resource could make this season more challenging.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that, barring "epic rain and snowfall," the drought will continue through at least the spring and likely linger into the summer in California. That's a worry for grapegrowers that rely on groundwater. "There's a lot of concern out there amongst growers that I work with in the four counties in the Central Sierra," said Lynn Wunderlich, a Farm Advisor with UC Davis Cooperative Extension.

State to evolve wine policy to boost India's industry
NASHIK: The state government is planning to evolve the wine policy to boost the industry in Maharashtra. The news was announced by development commissioner (industries) of the state Surendra Kumar Bagade during a meeting with the office-bearers of the All India Wine Producers' Association (AIWPA) and the Nashik District Industries & Exporters' Association (NDIEA) in Mumbai on Tuesday. The first wine policy of the state — the Maharashtra Grape Processing Industrial Policy — was declared on September 19, 2001. The new policy aims at sorting out the problems of the wineries and thus boosting the industry.

FUN FRIDAY: Beer vs. Wine: The Great Debate
You might not have ever attended one (or maybe you have), but I’m sure you’ve seen signs outside of your favourite bar or restaurant advertising a beer or wine-paired dinner. Pairing wine or beer with your meal is nothing new, but the enthusiasm for specific pairings has been increasing for the last few decades. The question, though, is which one pairs better with food? Chef Gaston Alfaro, from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, likes to design pairing dinners that feature both beer and wine instead of one or the other. “Wine pairing has long been considered an art by the general public and can seem intimidating.” Christopher Osburn reports for Craveonline.

FUN FRIDAY: There’s now a ‘wine’ for pregnant women
What’s a pregnant woman to sip? Well, one North Carolina company thinks it has an answer — boutique sparkling grape juice, imported from Australia. That’s essentially what 9Months is (and it comes in white and red varieties). The new wine (er, juice) label is the brainchild of Carrie Marvin, a corporate recruiter-turned-mom and entrepreneur. When Marvin was pregnant, she says she couldn’t find anything festive enough to drink for a special occasion — the closest product that came to mind was Martinelli’s sparkling cider — so she developed something on her own.

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