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News posted on Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Winemakers vow to resist ownership rules
Winemakers will fight a plan to force them to own a vineyard before they can claim a lucrative tax rebate. The government tightened the wine equalisation tax (WET) scheme in the federal budget. The Winemakers Federation of Australia said the change was unfair because a lot of vineyards were leased. "Quite often these days you have leases of vineyards and leases of wineries. It's efficient not to actually own the asset," the lobby group's acting chief executive, Tony Battaglene, said.

Homer Simpson and nuclear politics as France shows the way for SA wine
South Australia's doesn't have to choose between storing nuclear waste and its famous wine industry, according to the state's business lobby, which has drawn solace from the cooling towers nestled among France's vineyards. Nigel McBride, the chief executive of Business SA, the organisation that oversees the interests of more than 46,000 businesses in South Australia, has just returned from Finland and France, where he researched the nuclear waste industry.

New members join Australian Women in Wine Awards board
The Australian Women in Wine Awards (AWIWA) will have two new members on its advisory board as it gears up for its second year in 2016. The new appointees are Rebekah Richardson, Head of the White, Sparkling and Rosé portfolio for Pernod Ricard Winemakers Australia, and Brian Walsh, Chair of Wine Australia; the board oversees and guides direction for AWIWA.

Canberra wineries put growth plans on hold due to budget changes
Canberra winemakers fear many emerging brands will abandon expansion plans and cut jobs due to changes to tax concessions that could cripple their business model. Smaller vineyards have relied on the wine equalisation tax rebate for more than a decade, which subsidises businesses for a 29 per cent tax on the wholesale value of their products.

May 2016 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The May 2016 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. This month we had a chat to all the major wine regions around Australia about the 2016 vintage, which shaped up to be a short and sweet affair. The battle against Eutypa is also tackled in the May magazine, as well as our top 10 tips for post-harvest activity.

Winemakers want to rename Blenheim 'Marlborough City'
Tired of the association with 'Blenheimer' boxed wine, vintners in Marlborough want to change the name of the region's biggest town. Their suggestion? Marlborough City, to capitalise on the region's international reputation for producing quality grog. "We've got a number of people throughout the wine industry and the hospitality sector who have quite openly realised that when you travel internationally the recognition is definitely with Marlborough.”

NZ: How neighbours from hell are damaging our vineyards
During the 2015-16 growing season, a Central Otago vineyard lost 20 per cent of its crop in one afternoon. A winery which owns a large nearby vineyard estimates it lost 100 tonnes of fruit on the same day. Along one road in Wairarapa, several vineyards had up to 30 per cent of their 2015 crop wiped out, also in quick time. One of the owners - who we are not naming on legal advice - estimates the loss cost him close to half a million dollars.

Lack of grape security a threat to South African wine
A lack of grape security is the biggest threat to the future of South African wine, a leading estate producer has said. Located in the Walker Bay appellation of South Africa’s Hemel-en-Aarde region, Creation Wines is owned by Swiss winemaker Jean-Claude Martin and his wife, Carolyn. All the wines in its portfolio are made from grapes grown on the estate.

Is Bordeaux's try and buy en primeur wine selling system outdated?
With a total vineyard area of about 100,000 hectares, and 10,000 producers making more than 600 million bottles of wine a year, Bordeaux is economically and historically the most important fine wine region in the world. Its product is also the globe’s most traded wine commodity. In April, thousands of wine merchants, consumers and wine writers descended on the region for its traditional en primeur barrel tastings.

Winemaker Randall Grahm's "weird, different, crazy" vision
In an attempt to make a wine that captures the ephemeral essence of California, the brilliant Randall Grahm is breeding 10,000 new grape varieties at an experimental vineyard. Here, he explains his "weird, different, crazy" vision. “A wine so distinctive it could only have come from the place where it was grown. It has a signature, a fingerprint that's independent of the will of the winemaker.”

El Nino hampers Argentina’s 2016 wine harvest
The El Niño weather cycle saw Argentina report its worst pre-harvest grape losses since 1957, with production in 2016 expected to be 27% smaller than 2015 across the country and 39% down in Mendoza. Weather associated with the El Niño phenomenon characterised the 2016 wine harvest in Mendoza. A cool and wet spring set the harvest back by a month.

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