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News posted on Thursday, 25 February 2016

Lure of grapes and bottle of wine attracts volunteer pickers to Riverina harvest
Lathered in sweat, grimy from the dirt and toiling under sweltering sun among grape vines, picking fruit for little reward does not conjure up romanticism. But for Tina Kirkup, spending hours in the heat with her fiance David Webster on the other side of a vine is very romantic. For their efforts, the couple will be treated to a meal at Magpies Nest Vineyard, near Wagga in southern New South Wales, and 12 months down the track, a bottle of wine too.

Microchip label and smart phone app protects products against counterfeit scams
A Perth company has begun trials on secure labelling technology that uses a microchip to protect against counterfeit scams. The technology involves embedding labels with a small microchip that holds secure information about a product's history. The microchip in the label can then be read using a smartphone app, which could allow food or wine products to be tested for authenticity along the supply chain.

The largest grapevine in Australia just keeps giving
The largest grapevine in Australia just keeps on giving at Chiltern. Planted in 1867, the vine has never been watered or fertilised but bears fruit each February or March. Clare Reeves, who operates the The Vine Chiltern eatery in the historic Star Hotel building, said natural underground springs topped up the old vine. Reeves said it had produced a decent crop of table grapes during the past few weeks.

Winemaker expects brighter future
Winemaker Australian Vintage expects profit to grow now it has terminated the lease of the Del Rios vineyard in Victoria. The owner of the McGuigan, Tempus Two, Nepenthe, Miranda and Passion Pop brands says onerous grape contracts and vineyard leases have been its biggest issue over the last 10 years. The early termination of the Del Rios lease at Kenley in Victoria at the end of 2015 is expected to cut the company's annual grape payments by up to $6 million.

Cullen wines' natural beauty
Under the full moon, at a thriving vineyard on the west coast of Australia last night, they were picking cabernet sauvignon. I know this because Vanya Cullen, winemaker and managing director of Cullen Wines tweeted a picture saying so – “Full moon fruit day. Cabernet harvest today”. Cullen grows grapes and makes wine according to biodynamic principles – that is, according to the waxing and waning of the moon, the positions of the other celestial orbs, and with the help of special preparations placed in cow horns and buried in the earth.

NZ to make its first Prosecco
New Zealand winemakers are about to plant the country’s first Glera vines that will go on to produce Prosecco in three years’ time. The Prosecco variety, otherwise known as Glera (to differentiate the grape from the protected Prosecco source in Italy’s Veneto), will be planted this spring in Gisborne, New Zealand, following the release of Prosecco vines from quarantine earlier this month.

Duo of New World reds offer comfort in the cold
AS we transition from winter chills to spring warmth, our fair city still has a number of frigid nights perfect for savoring winter-friendly red wines. What makes a red wine winter friendly? An abundance of concentrated palate pleasing black and red fruit flavors is a good start, but the best winter reds also offer plenty of smooth tannins that pair beautifully with weighty winter dishes like stews and roasts.

Age and disease threaten Burgundy wine shortage, report warns
Burgundy wines may become even more difficult to find because of vine disease and smaller harvests from ageing vineyards, according to a new report by the region's wine council. The future is challenging for Burgundy, according to a report by the Burgundy wine council, BIVB. While demand for Burgundy is strong, and prices for top wines remain high, overall harvest size is set to shrink – and not just due to the perennial threat of hail storms.

Forget what you’ve heard. Organic wines actually taste better, a new study says
True or false? Organic wines tastes better. I suspect most drinkers would say “false,” including many who go out of their way to buy certified-organic brands. If the many questions I receive on this topic from readers are a fair indication, consumers generally choose pesticide-free wine not for flavour but almost purely out of concern for health.

Climate change may help Oregon's wine industry
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Last year, Oregon's wine industry contributed more than $3.35 billion dollars to the state's economy. But climate change is impacting the state's winemakers. That was one of the topics at this year's Oregon Wine Symposium. "The big buzz is that we just came out of two of the warmest years on record and we're likely to have a third," said Greg Jones, a Southern Oregon University professor.

Italy will be the toast of 2016 Vancouver wine fest
The theme country is Italy for this year's Vancouver International Wine Festival, and never has a festival sold out so quickly. On The Coast's master of wine, Barbara Philip, says wine lovers are drawn to the depth, diversity and quality of what Italy has to offer. "Clearly, consumers are excited about Italian wine and want to come out to taste and learn more," Philip told On The Coast guest host Chris Brown. "What makes Italy so exciting is its unparalleled range of grape varieties and wine styles."

China-funded bottling plant in SA targets Chinese wine market
A new bottling plant in South Australia funded by Chinese investors is set to export more affordable bottled South Australian wines to China. An AU$5m investment was made by four Chinese investors to establish Harbour Bottling, a bottling plant in Osborne. The plant is ‘four kilometres away’ from the Flinders Port Container Terminal, the major port of Adelaide. The proximity to the habour is expected to ‘significantly reduce the logistics costs’ for local wineries, according to the investors.

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