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News posted on Thursday, 23 July 2015

Little things make a big difference for small retailers
Research from the University of Adelaide is helping to show small retailers how they can compete against the huge retail chains – and it's the little things that can make all the difference. A study of more than 300 Adelaide shoppers has identified a range of factors that draw them to small retailers. Researchers hope this knowledge will give the small stores some fighting chance against their highly competitive, price-driven neighbours.

Specialised grape vine removalist thriving
The Australian wine industry continues to pull out grape vines at a surprising pace as the industry peak body reveals 85 per cent of producers are struggling to make money. One of the country's only specialised vine removalists Tom Stephens, who is based in Canowindra in the central west of New South Wales, said his team removes about 12 hectares of vines each week.

Robot automates bacteria screening in wine samples
A robotic liquid handling system at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) is automating the screening of large numbers of malolactic bacteria strains. Using miniaturised wine fermentations in 96-well microplates, the Tecan EVO 150 robotic system is screening bacteria, sourced from the AWRI’s wine microorganism culture collection and elsewhere, for MLF efficiency and response to wine stress factors such as alcohol and low pH.

Organic wine helps Australian makeover
Organic wine represents an important part of Australia’s reinvigorated premium push, believes the Angove team, which is busy expanding this side of its business. "It’s about a point of difference and getting away from the tag of mass produced Australian wines with no regional identity,” maintained Jonathan O’Neill, regional export manager for Angove, which produces wine across South Australia with a growing emphasis on McLaren Vale.

Napa Sets New Record for Earliest Harvest
California's harvest season seems to be getting earlier as Mumm starts picking for sparkling wines Mumm Napa is scheduled to kick off Napa Valley's harvest season today in what will be its earliest start on record. Winemaker Ludovic Dervin said the sparkling wine specialist's first pick will be one day earlier than the previous earliest harvest kickoff in 1997 – a warm year that was considered one of Napa's greatest at the time.

Fine wine predictions: Rise of Piedmont?
Is the time for the northern Italian region coming as its Bolgheri cousins suffer at the hands of a Bordeaux resurgence? Online fine wine platform, Wine Owners (WO), has released a number of fine wine predictions it expects to see come to fruition over the coming year. One of these centres around the potential for Piedmont to become the driving force in the Italian fine wine category as the “Super Tuscans” see their advance blunted by a renewed interest in Bordeaux.

Quality over quantity the key to profitability
WINE profitability fell 6 per cent across Australia in 2015 but central Victorian growers are bucking the trend. A report from the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia showed 85 per cent of grapes picked this year were harvested at a loss. Heathcote Winegrowers’ Association president Phil Meehan said most central Victorian winegrowers were smaller operations producing premium wines, which were still profitable. “Quality still demands a good price,” he said.

Slovenia is too shy to tell you how great its wine is
The greatest winemaking nation may not be France, Italy, New Zealand, or Australia—it could be one you’ve never heard of. Like Slovenia. Nestled above Italy and tucked just underneath Austria, the central European country spent centuries as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Occupied by Nazi Germany, it was co-opted into the former Yugoslavia and for the last 24 years, has been a nation state in its own right.

How Greece's debt crisis is impacting its wine industry
Greece contains some of the oldest wine-producing areas on the planet, with vineyards having been in some parts of the country for more than 4,000 years. As the European Union engages in protracted negotiations over the fate of Greek debt refinance and the status of Greece in the common currency union of the euro, changes have been felt at many levels of Greek society, and certainly in the wine industry. Greece is among the top 10 wine producers of the European Union, with over 300 indigenous varietals, and wine is one of Greece's top exports to the US.

New Zealand's organic wine producers deserve to be taken seriously
When an agricultural sector's whole promotional schtick is based on the goodness and purity of its growing environment, you'd think those who are doing most to protect and nurture that purity would be held up as heroes. That's not the way it works in the New Zealand wine industry. A powerful event took place in Marlborough recently – the national organic and biodynamic wine conference. Gathered there were representatives of some of the country's best wine producers

Inexperience won't hinder young viticulturist
Kurt Robinson has not spoken to an audience since he was 15-years-old. On Friday, the Young Viticulturist of the Year finalist will step onto the dais to talk about an unknown subject with little preparation. All six finalists will be required to speak on a subject in the day-long competition, which includes practical and theory sections, and a lunchtime fun event. The Spring Creek Vintners cellar hand and vineyard worker from Southland would not have it any other way.

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