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News posted on Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Wolf Blass named official wine partner for AFL
The AFL yesterday announced Wolf Blass had been named as the official wine of the AFL. Following existing relationships with the Brisbane and Essendon Football Clubs, the move will see Wolf Blass further expand the brand’s AFL footprint. Darren Birch, AFL general manager commercial operations, said Wolf Blass was another high calibre addition to the AFL’s stable of partners. “The AFL has enjoyed a successful relationship with Treasury Wine Estates over the past three seasons."

Wellington dumps $40m of Treasury Wine stock as Ellerston buys more
Large Boston-based fund manager Wellington Management, instrumental in convincing the board of Treasury Wine Estates to reject private equity takeover proposals last year, has offloaded $40 million in shares in the past 10 days to drop below the substantial shareholder threshold of 5 per cent. Wellington's sale of a large chunk of its Treasury shares comes as another intriguing name pops back up as a large shareholder of the owner of Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount wines, with Ellerston Capital, the fund manager 25 per cent-owned by James Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings, now sitting at 5.07 per cent.

Taylorville vineyard shed fire causes $2m damage
Investigators will today try to determine the cause of a shed fire at a Taylorville vineyard, which caused at least $2 million damage. Country Fire Service crews were called to the property, west of Renmark, just after 1:00pm (ACDT) yesterday. The large shed contained farm equipment, vehicles and chemicals. Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading to nearby vineyards but the shed was destroyed.

Australian named Master of Wine
The Institute of Masters of Wine has named five new Masters of Wine, including Australian Miles Corish MW. Corish joins just 20 other Australians to have been named MW, and this group of five brings the total number of MWs to 323, based in 24 countries. Sarah Jane Evans MW, Chairman of the Masters of Wine, said she was delighted to welcome the new members into the community. “Today is a memorable day for them - each one of us can remember that special moment when we received the news that we had become MWs.”

Packaging firm 'disappointed' by strike
A packaging firm embroiled in an industrial dispute with 240 workers says it's disappointed staff will strike so early in negotiations. Workers at Orora Kiwi Packaging in Auckland, Hastings and Christchurch have voted to take a two-week overtime ban after collective bargaining with their employer broke down. The action could threaten the supply of boxes for the kiwifruit, wine and meat industries. The EPMU said members had been bargaining for a fair wage increase above the "paltry" 1.8 per cent on offer from the Australian-owned employer.

Analysing wine's cash harvest
OPINION: Last week I drew attention to the New Zealand Government's goal of doubling agri-food exports between 2012 and 2025. I pointed out that our success over the last fifteen years has been fuelled by product price increases, and that we cannot rely on the next decade being so fortunate. So how are we going to make the quantum leap we need? In recent days I have been in Marlborough, supporting my colleague Marvin Pangborn as he led a group of Lincoln University students studying land use. Inevitably, our field tour included a focus on the Marlborough wine industry.

Tesco wine boss Dan Jago questions Prowein's value
Tesco’s recently reinstated global wine boss, Dan Jago, has questioned the commercial value of Germany’s Prowein trade show and urged producers to focus on more innovation. He told Off Licence News: “It is brilliant to have every producer from around the world at Prowein laying out their wares. But if I added up all the costs of coming, you must question how visitors get value for money. You have to work really hard to get some kind of commercial advantage to being here.”

Accolade opts out of London Wine Fair
Leading New World wine producer Accolade, which counts brands like Hardys and Echo Falls as part of its portfolio, has chosen not to take part in the London Wine Fair this year. Announcing the “difficult decision” not to attend, Amy White, Accolade’s marketing director, told Drinks Business the company is instead “significantly increasing [its] commitment to consumer tastings and experiential marketing across the core branded portfolio.”

Selling subtlety to American wine drinkers
Is the public finally getting past bold flavors and Parker points? Yes and no. In San Francisco and New York – not to mention London – lighter, more elegant California Pinot Noirs are easier to sell than ever. But in the rest of the US, it's still a bottle-by-bottle battle to explain them. “As a sommelier working the floor, I can tell you that the message is getting through to consumers," said David Lynch, owner and of San Francisco restaurant St. Vincent, at this week's In Pursuit of Balance event. "People are consciously shifting more to wines that are more about finesse and nerve than about power.”

Buenos Aires wine sector under pressure
Buenos Aires: Producers point to lack of competitiveness, gov’t says devaluation isn’t the answer. Lower consumption, fewer exports, higher production costs and an excess supply have led the wine sector to go through a harsh period in the last year, depriving producers of reasons to fill their glasses for a celebratory toast. While the government claims devaluation isn’t the answer and has unveiled a set of measures to aid producers, the sector is sounding the alarm over a steep crisis and a loss of competitiveness. Wine sales dropped 7.3 percent last year, according to the Argentine Wine Institute (INV).

South West mourns Willow Bridge Estate winemaker Simon Burnell
THE Bunbury community is in shock with the news that Willow Bridge Estate head winemaker Simon Burnell has died while windsurfing off the coast of Margaret River. The 44-year-old was windsurfing off the coast of Prevelly Park, the "Bombie" surf break when he went missing. He was last seen just before 5pm on Sunday. Margaret River police and Margaret River Surf Lifesaving searched the area throughout Sunday night and Monday morning, despite being hampered by a large swell and strong winds. Police confirmed they had found his body at 6.30am on Monday in water near Rivermouth Point.

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