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News posted on Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Treasury Wines chief Mike Clarke puts 30pc of products on ice
Treasury Wine Estates is more than half-way through culling 30 per cent of its product lines but chief executive Mike Clarke says the products that are "retiring" from the market won't be sold, with the trademarks being kept in the vault for potential future use. Clarke is overseeing a vigorous cut in the number of individual product lines which numbered more than 3000 across the company's 100-plus brands.

Oatley and Giesen families form partnership
Australia's Oatley and New Zealand's Giesen families have formed an Australian distribution partnership. Commencing April 2016, the partnership will see Oatley Fine Wine Merchants (OFWM) appointed as distributors of the Giesen portfolio in the Australian independent retail and on-premise markets.

Winemakers record 'exceptional season' with early grape harvest
The wine-grape harvest is running one month ahead of schedule in some parts of the Canberra district. The recent run of warm and dry conditions has also ripened significant volumes of fruit further afield across southern New South Wales. Picking often does not start until March but the harvest of white grape varieties at Helm Wines in Murrumbateman was expected to be completed within a week.

Alex Retief opens urban winery in Precinct 75
Just what exactly is this development and why should you care? Because Precinct 75 is a miniature Portland in the backstreets of St Peters. It's where you'll find Maniax – an axe-throwing workshop where you can learn to chuck a tomahawk (hey – you know who you want to be standing behind, come the zombie apocalypse). It's also where you'll find the Design Twins, purveyors of beautiful, expensive pot planters and Sibella Court – she of the dusty apothecary bottle, deliciously rough linen and just the right tarnish on the brass.

Trade registrations open for One Day Wine School
One Day Wine School, an educational event designed specifically for Australian sommeliers and trade will be returning for its fourth year in March and April. The event is targeted towards wine professionals who have a sound foundation of the basics, and are looking to learn more about the history, evolution and revolution of Australian wine, its regions and its unique terroirs.

Giesen Wines announces internship winner
Blenheim born Andrew Jeffries, 21, is no stranger to working in vineyards, and it’s this experience that has helped him to win the inaugural graduate internship at Giesen Wines. Andrew, who attended Lincoln University, studying for his Bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology, has just begun work with the family owned producer, working at Giesen’s premium organic high-density vineyards in Marlborough.

Connoisseur Estates to unveil new Maori winery at SITT
UK wine agency Connoisseur Estates is to launch its latest premium wine signing, New Zealand producer Tohu, at SITT in Manchester and London next week. Founded in 1998, Tohu was the first Maori-owned vineyard in New Zealand. It is situated in the Awatere Valley, at around 200m above sea level.

Peter Mondavi, Napa Valley wine pioneer, has died
A winery board member says Peter Mondavi, a wine country innovator who led his family's Charles Krug Winery through more than a half-century of change, has died. He was 101. Mondavi died Saturday at his home in St. Helena, California, said Wendy Lane Stevens, a member of the C. Mondavi and Family Board of Directors.

The Wine Advocate to launch Chinese site
The Wine Advocate is to launch a new Chinese-language version of its website this summer and has hired a new Asian reviewer. The news was announced as part of a complete overhaul of The Wine Advocate’s website at a press conference in New York last week. The site is currently in a beta version which will go live on 1 April and the new simplified Chinese section is set to launch in June.

HK wine market now driven by consumers
Hong Kong’s wine lovers are buying bottles to drink now rather than viewing wine as an investment, a fine wine merchant has reported. “Consumers are still into the big brands,” said Linden Wilkie of the Fine Wine Experience. “But they are after good aged wine to consume immediately, rather than saving it with a view to selling further down the line.”

How to make it as a small wine importer
As wine retailers and sommeliers continue to seek out up-and-coming regions, the number of small, independent importers is booming. Megan Krigbaum on how these "little guys" are changing the market, and how they got started. When I was first getting into wine, I, like many before me, became an avid player of Spin the Bottle. At tastings, in wine shops, at restaurant tables, I was constantly turning wines around to see the back label.

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