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News posted on Friday, 24 February 2017

On an elevated stage: The Granite Belt
There are some misconceptions about the Granite Belt that need to be addressed. They don’t grow pineapples and bananas at the end of the vine rows. Far from it. In fact, the region is well known for its apple, vegetable and stone fruit crops. It’s probably a hot and humid region. Actually, the Granite Belt is the coldest region in Queensland, and the locals refer to winter as ‘brass monkey’ season. It doesn’t get to wear an official ‘cool climate’ tag as the MJT is 21.5°C (Mean January Temperature). However, there are some vineyards planted at more than 1000m elevation.

Penalty rate decision
There will be “no immediate operational impact” for the grape and wine community from the recent Fair Work Commission decision on weekend penalty rates in the hospitality and retail industries. The decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission has no application for employers and employees covered by the Wine Industry Award 2010.

Swan Valley counts flood costs
Catastrophic floods are estimated to have cost Western Australia’s Swan Valley wine region millions of dollars in fruit losses right at the climax of this year’s growing season. The region, which has been declared a ‘natural disaster zone’ by government officials, received an unprecedented deluge of rain this month. Water burst the banks of the Swan River and flooded many of the low lying vineyards in the vicinity. While nearby Sandalford Wines had picked most of the whites prior to the rains, chief executive Grant Brinklow said there was no time to save the Chenin Blanc or Semillon.

Hands-on experience at Adelaide’s Cellar Door Fest
Squishing red grapes between your toes is one feel-good activity that will “help make people’s lives better” this weekend. So says the man behind one of the most creative interactive attractions of the Cellar Door Fest which runs from Friday until Sunday. Attendees will be invited to join in the grape-stomping between educational sessions, says Vinteloper owner/winemaker David Bowley. “You can take off your shoes and touch the grapes with your feet and hands, and get a real feeling for the process.”

Drayton South mine expansion rejected again
A major Hunter Valley mine expansion has been rejected for the fourth time, amid concerns it poses too many risks to the environment. Mining giant Anglo American had proposed its Drayton South project several years ago, but it was rejected three times, ahead of its latest assessment. The independent Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) today said there were too many risks in relation to noise, air quality and other impacts.

A new logistics facility in Port Nelson
PORT Nelson has a brand new 13,000-square-metre storage facility, the first major project of a $32m logistics redevelopment plan. The Patterson Logistics Centre is to serve as the hub of QuayConnect, the port’s Nelson-Marlborough integrated warehousing, transport and logistics service. Port Nelson CEO Martin Byrne said the new facility would increase the service’s capacity by 40%. “We efficiently move substantial freight between Nelson and Marlborough and manage 80% of the South Island’s wine exports and 90% of the inbound dry goods,” he said.

Bringing Brancott home
Brancott Estate has launched a new look, paying homage to its brand home and coinciding with the release of their 2016 vintage wines. The new identity depicts Brancott Vineyard, site of the first Sauvignon Blanc plantings in Marlborough and the home of Brancott Estate Wines. It has been incorporated across all of the Brancott Estate ranges, uniting the entire portfolio under a brand icon designed to create an emotional connection with consumers and build Brancott Estate as an iconic New Zealand brand globally.

On-trade drives real new growth for bulk wine
It is fair to say that the enormous growth and importance in bulk wine and bottling in buyers’ markets has come on the back of the power and clout of the major supermarkets. It has been their demand for wines to produce their own labels and exclusive brands that has helped drive the demand for the huge volumes of wine now being shipped ever day around the world. Just the amount of wine needed to feed their needs every month or quarter is enough for many wine producers and bulk wine brokers to make a healthy living.

Ancient grape meets modern family
Covenant Winery’s Jeff and Jodie Morgan are producing kosher wine in Napa and Sonoma as well as in Israel’s Golan Heights and Galilee. The Morgans, along with their partner, Leslie Rudd, have been making Covenant wines in Northern California since 2003. "We realised, as we travelled through the Galilee and the Golan Heights, that the topography closely resembled what we know in California,” Jeff Morgan said. “It looked a lot like Napa Valley and Sonoma. And we thought, wow, maybe we could make wine in Israel, too. That was the beginning of the idea.”

Cava sales fizzing in Japan
According to the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) Japan is currently the fifth-leading consumer of cava and is the leader in Asia in terms of consumption, 7.8 million bottles were exported to Japan in 2016 – an increase of 15% from 2015. “Asia is one of the strongest global markets for cava overall,” said Roman Linert who heads up Codorniu Raventos group for Asia and is based in Singapore. “But Japan has been one of our oldest markets for Codorniu.”

Thirsty vineyards revel in California rain
California's five-year drought has ended with a thundering vengeance. After two months of intermittent heavy rain, rivers are pouring over their banks onto expressways, dams are near bursting, and vacationers in one flood-stranded area of Big Sur are being evacuated by helicopter. What does it mean for wine? It's too soon to tell about quality. But this year, and even more likely in 2018, California should flood the world market with its biggest wine crops ever.

Ancient grape meets modern family

AB Mauri



WID 2017