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News posted on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Labour-hire middlemen make huge margins, Victorian inquiry told
CLAIMS that dodgy labour hire companies are making huge margins by supplying workers to farmers have been made on the opening day of a government inquiry. Mildura backpacker hostel owner John George told the Victorian Government inquiry into labour hire firms in Mildura today that some middlemen were making extraordinary profits. George, who runs two backpacker businesses in Mildura, told the hearings that he sourced work for backpackers staying with him in the local area. He said one such job was with a labour hire firm that needed workers for the Wentworth, NSW, vineyard of “one of the largest winemakers in Australia”.

Macarthur viticulturist wins scholarship
HAVING only a one hectare (2.5 acres) vineyard has not stopped Michelle Badenhorst from dreaming big. Badenhorst, who has a background in marketing, hopes to grow the vineyard into an agritourism business that will not only produce wine but also beer and be a hospitality venue for weddings, picnics and other events.

Winemaker Duval Moves Back to Basics
John Duval was head winemaker at Penfolds before going solo and making wines on three continents. I grew up Morphett Vale, south of Adelaide, where we had a world-famous Suffolk sheep stud. It was mixed farming, and we coincidentally grew grapes. My father and grandfather, and generations before that, were vignerons, and Penfolds liked our Shiraz so much they took cuttings to replant some of Dr Penfold's original vineyards at McGill.

Laurance on 'Champion of Change' award
Dianne Laurance, the owner and founder of Laurance Wines has said being named the inaugural Champion of Change at the Australian Women in Wine Awards is about her staff as much as it is about her own passion for the wine industry. The Australian Women in Wine Awards recognise the successes of women in the male dominated wine industry and rather than attend, Laurance chose to watch the awards via live streaming with her staff at her cellar.

Variety of Oz wine impresses Wine Australia scholarship winner
UK wine drinkers should explore a wider variety of Australian wines, the winner of the 2015 winner of the Daniel Pontifex Scholarship has said. Quinby Frey, events and tasting manager for Cambridge Wine Merchants, won the scholarship earlier this year. It has enabled her to spend a week visiting the vineyards of South Australia and to travel with nine industry guests of Wine Australia to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape Festival.

Marlborough vineyard to reconsider frost protection
Viticulturists and grapegrowers are counting their losses after a frosty end to spring caused damage to vines throughout Marlborough. A succession of frosts in the region this month saw about 40 helicopters dispatched over the Wairau Valley. Cloudy Bay viticulturist Jim White said there was damage in some of their vineyards which were not typically affected by frost, such as vineyards near Renwick. "It's got us rethinking our frost protection plans," he said. "We're starting to consider the value of wind machines in places we wouldn't normally use them.

Delegat enters China with Shanghai office
New Zealand wine company Delegat has entered the Chinese market through a newly-opened office in Shanghai. The company behind the Oyster Bay and Barossa Valley Estate brands has established Delegat (Shanghai) Trading Co. Madeleine Ho, national sales manager, said: "We believe in order to realise the great long-term potential of the market, we need to build enduring relationships."

Wine in a can for men is the latest unnecessarily gendered item
Have you ever wanted a glass of wine, but feared it might be too ladylike? Well now the solution that no one needed is here. Mancan Wine is made in California and comes in three varieties - red, white, and sparkling. Its slogan is "Shut up and drink", which doesn't strike us as the healthiest attitude to alcohol but then, as women, we're not their target market.

Bulk Prosecco prices to double by Christmas
Bulk Prosecco prices could double by the end of the year as producers compete to supply a growing demand for the Italian fizz. Bulk Prosecco prices are on course to hit €2.50 per litre by Christmas, a rise of more than 100% on the start of 2015, when prices hovered around €1.20 per litre, according to Paolo Lasagni, managing director of Bosco Viticultori, a major supplier of private-label Prosecco.

Why does bad soil make for great wine?
It’s very romantic—the idea of a struggling, scrappy grapevine triumphing over agricultural adversity to make an amazing wine (roll credits). But why does it work that way? Why do we need slate and sand and clay and rocky, precipitous hillsides to produce wines of character? Can’t a grape vine just kick back in some decent soil and grow well-rested, plump little berries? Sure it can. But not if you want good wine.

Climate change sends Chile's wine industry southward
Well into their drive to make Chile's wines less about bang-for-your-buck and more about premium vino, vintners in the world's fourth largest wine exporter are watching some of their promising vines wither with climate change. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes mountain range on the east, Chile's vineyards have thrived in a Mediterranean-type climate, where hot days meet cool nights and soothing breezes.

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