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News posted on Thursday, 24 March 2016

State of Australian Wine report highlights increase in wine production and sales
The State of Australian Wine report published by Wine Australia has highlighted the results of the wine production, inventory and domestic sales survey of 2015. The report asked wineries around Australia to complete a survey, with the results showing an increase in total wine production and in the value of domestic sales. Wine Australia manager of market insights, Peter Bailey, said: “This is the second year we’ve conducted this survey and we estimate that we were able to collect data on 84 per cent of Australian wine production and 82 per cent of domestic sales."

WA premium wine exports to Singapore increase
ASIA is quickly developing a taste for West Australian grapes, with the trickle of premium wine into Singapore growing by almost 50 per cent last financial year. The state’s $720 million wine industry continues to grow in popularity in overseas markets according to the WA Government, which partnered with winemakers in an international marketing campaign in 2012. Wine exports grew by 23 per cent in China, and 19 per cent in the UK, with WA’s Margaret River region leading the charge — representing more than 60 per cent of exports.

Canberra District Wine Week
The local vintage has been particularly early this year with some varieties maturing up to 3 weeks ahead of ‘normal’. Despite an interesting year, with early heat, a prolonged dry spell, hail and late rains, the quality of grapes across the Canberra District looks very good. The grapes are fermenting, winemakers aren’t sleeping much and the 2016 wines are starting their journey to the bottle and innevitably our glasses.

Marlborough wineries bring in grapes to protect from disease threat from rain
Marlborough wineries scrambled to take in grapes before rain hit on Wednesday, while others brushed the event off, saying it was unlikely to cause any damage. MetService issued a severe weather warning for Marlborough earlier in the week, predicting heavy rains would lash the region on Wednesday afternoon, before easing on Thursday morning. Some wine companies decided to bring their grapes in earlier because of the threat of rain, choosing to have them safe in the winery instead of exposed to the elements.

Port Waikato residents use emergency wine to avoid disaster
Wine might not be the first thing you put into your emergency survival kit, but for Port Waikato residents, 'Panic Proof Pinot' was the booze on offer to entice the community to prepare for an emergency. The rural and somewhat isolated town has created a community response team, which is responsible for coordinating the town's emergency management plan.

US overtakes UK as Champagne’s most valuable market
Total champagne shipments to the UK in 2015 are up 1.7% on 2014, to 312,531,444, bottles, the highest volume figure recorded since 2011, according to the CIVC (Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne). The most impressive growth in value comes from the US where shipments rose by 7.09% to 20.51m bottles, but this was worth €514.8m, up 28.18%.

Natural wine gaining popularity in Hong Kong
"I just drink it and feel like I'm running through this field of butterflies and daisies. It takes you to another place." That’s not something you usually hear about a wine, especially from Alison Christ, a sommelier with a New York accent and tattoo-covered arms. But this is no ordinary wine - it's a Domaine Lucci Noir de Florette from the Adelaide Hills, made without chemical fertilisers, pesticides, filters, machinery, wood barrels or added yeast. It's a natural wine - in other words, a controversial but fast-spreading approach to winemaking that is quickly gaining fans in Hong Kong.

Bordeaux winemakers are snapping up Napa Estates
As the Chinese pile into Bordeaux, French château owners rediscover California. Alfred Tesseron, who owns Bordeaux château Pontet-Canet, hunted for a Napa Valley property for years. When he and his niece Melanie saw the late Robin Williams’s 640-acre Villa Sorriso high up on Mount Veeder in September, it had the right wine “magic.” The closest neighbor is musician (and vintner) Boz Scaggs.

Suspected wine fraud prompts inspection overhaul
Swiss wine producers should be subject to closer controls following a suspected dilution scam that rocked the reputation of the industry. The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOA) made the recommendation in a report released on Wednesday. The study was carried out in the wake of damaging allegations surrounding a major Swiss wine producer in 2013.

Three household names receive wine industry ‘life membership’
John Angove, Wolf Blass and Colin Campbell have been named ‘life members of the Australian wine industry’ in recognition of outstanding leadership and contributions to the industry. The awards, administered by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA), were presented during an event at the Magill Estate Restaurant.

Grapegrowers in NSW advised to seriously consider getting out of industry
In an extraordinary move grape growers in one of Australia's largest production areas have been told they should seriously consider whether it is worth remaining in the wine industry. Following talks with eight wineries in the Riverina, the Wine Grapes Marketing Board based in Griffith in southern New South Wales has painted a gloomy picture in a letter sent to its members. The move is unprecedented by this Board.

Australian winemakers around the world
There seems to be an indefatigable need to soak in the experiences and cultures of the world, perhaps a shared nucleotide in our collective double-helix that drives us forth to distant lands. Winemakers, it seems, are bitten by the bug bad. An overseas vintage stint is considered to be a rite of passage in the industry and, for many, it is an affliction that cannot be easily shaken; some return to overseas wine regions every year to work the Northern Hemisphere harvest.

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