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News posted on Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Grape prices play catch-up
RECOVERY could be on the distant horizon for the Australian wine industry. The dollar has once again been competitive, free trade agreements have brought down the price of Australian wine in Asian markets and the value of wine exports has topped $2 billion for the first time in almost 10 years. However, grape prices show only minor increases.

A step change in leadership at the helm of McWilliam’s Wines
Five years ago The Drinks Business interviewed the then newly appointed CEO Rob Blackwell, to get an understanding of the work that lay in front of him in a challenging retail environment and a portfolio of over 1,100 products. Upon hearing that this year he intends on stepping down, The Drinks Business rushed to catch up with the respected business leader to discuss the journey of the last five years and how the this iconic family owned wine business is placed for the future.

Barossa Valley winemakers expect top drops after dry summer
Barossa Valley wineries and grape growers are harvesting an early vintage with high hopes of top-quality wines after a dry summer. "This year we're well underway — the dry season that we've had really right from winter has meant the vines got away to a good start and they've been growing happily and ripening their grapes," Barossa winemaker Louisa Rose told 891 ABC Adelaide. "It's not the earliest that we've had [but] we've got quite a good crop on the vines this year, despite the dryness."

JENI PORT: Ten top Proseccos from near and far
Prosecco, despite its sparkling nature, is consumed these days by dark thoughts, mulling over questions of legality and cultural pilfering. It's all been a bit bewildering for the increasingly popular bubbly since the Italians indicated they wanted total ownership and control over use of the prosecco name. Anyone else using it – and that includes Australian winemakers – well, they're imposters.

New order for an old winery
Philip White has been to visit Stephen George, whose famous Ashton Hills business is now part of the Wirra Wirra family of truly fine wine. Stephen George made no secret of his intention to get out of the wine business. The day-to-day ritual of running a room where you give expensive wine away in order to encourage people to buy it retail had long decayed through droll necessity to annoying obligation.

How to do Sydney Cellar Door 2016
Australia's largest celebration of NSW wine is back once again, with a brand new groove. The best of the best join together for a weekend-long festival of vinous fun, from grape stomping and free cheese (free! Cheese! Woo!) to wine-inspired gelato. Grab a picnic blanket and a very luxurious sausage sandwich, and celebrate the diverse wine regions of our state.

Australasian Food Corporation to purchase Longview Estate Vineyard
Australasian Food Corporation Ltd (AFC), the NZAX listed food exporter has signed an agreement to purchase Whangarei based wine maker Longview Estate. The Vineyard was established by the Vuletich family in 1969. The Vuletich family pioneered winemaking in the Whangarei District. The Vineyard is best known for its White Diamond wine which has a distinctive authentic fresh taste which is very attractive to Asian palates.

Fresh, crisp rosé perfect for a summer’s day
While it may have slipped past without some of you noticing, dedicated rose fans would, I'm sure, have been well aware of the first New Zealand Rose Day, which took place on Friday, February 5. Part of a larger Dare to Pink #sipnzrose campaign to promote rose, the New Zealand Rose Day was a collaborative initiative involving 25 wineries from around the country.

How we got to the Premier Cru wine scandal
The pre-arrival model of buying wine has been entrenched stateside for decades, but in the wake of Premier Cru's implosion, the question emerges: Is it still worth it? Zachary Sussman on how the system has evolved, from the birth of en primeur Bordeaux in the U.S. to today. “Just made my first purchase with Premier Cru today. 2012 Beaucastel for $50 per. I figure I won’t see them for 2 years but not a chance I touch them for 8-10 years anyways. We will see—but a hard deal to pass up!”

The BRIT Awards, Wine and Millennials
It’s a formula that hasn’t quite been cracked by the wine industry. How do you put your wine brand in front of Millennials – the largest potential wine consuming generation to date? This year’s BRIT Awards in the UK comes at a time when the wine industry is grappling with the idea of how to attract the so-called millennial generation. Chilean powerhouse Concha y Toro UK has announced a partnership between its Frontera brand and music body the BPI.

This beer nation's wine industry is booming
It's a rare bright spot in a very gloomy economy: South Africa's winemakers are winning new markets around the world. Battered by the slump in demand for commodities, Africa's most developed country is teetering on the brink of recession and unemployment is rising. But the country's winemakers have a very different story to tell. Exports were up 5% in 2015, and the industry is predicting more growth in 2016.

German Wine Decline – by the Numbers
A recent article suggested Germany's wine industry was struggling – we look at the figures behind the story. It's amazing what a little celebrity endorsement will do for a wine. News that Kobe Bryant's retirement gifts included a magnum of 1996 Gaja Barbaresco caused a huge spike in interest in the wine last week. Searches for the wine were pretty normal on February 14, but the following day, when details about Kobe's presents made the news, searches soared by almost 46,000 percent.

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