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News posted on Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Hunter region demands mining safeguards
Winemakers and horse breeders in the NSW Hunter Valley have demanded both the coalition government and Labor opposition commit to new measures to protect their industries from coal mining. Just days out from Saturday's state election, the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association have joined forces to call for a ban on all coal and coal seam gas mining within 10km of critical industry areas.

Baird offers more talk on protection for Hunter wine
New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has repeated his commitment to visit the Hunter Valley amid horse and wine industry demands to address land use conflicts in the region. The Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association have called for bi-partisan political support to resolve land use conflicts, which they claim threatens the future of their industries. It includes a 10km buffer around the equine and viticulture critical industry clusters, with new open cut and underground coal mines and coal seam gas mining banned.

Surplus block of grape vines becomes $36,000 donation for Adelaide homeless charity
A surplus block of grape vines in South Australia has been turned over to the community and used to raise thousands of dollars for a local homeless charity. The South Australian wine grower offered up the vines because it was not viable for him to pick them. More than 100 people turned out to pick the grapes on Sunday, while others volunteered to make and bottle the wine. Some of the wine has already been sold, raising more than $30,000 for Adelaide's Hutt Street Centre for the homeless.

Demand for sparkling wine renews interest in cool climate grapes
Wine grape growers on the western edge of the New South Wales Snowy Mountains have a reason to celebrate this vintage. Demand for cool climate fruit has attracted at least eight new buyers to the district this year. Winemakers will turn the fruit into table and sparkling wine. Cathy Gairn, from Courabyra Wines near Tumbarumba, said renewed interest in the region was extremely positive for its 17 growers. "The produce is getting quite scarce," she said.

New technology uses giant blender to chop up wine grape skins to improves reds
A giant stick blender that chops wine grape skins into a pulp could be the next big thing in red wine making. Dr Angela Sparrow, from the University of Tasmania, has been carrying her blender around in a suitcase, trialling it in Pinot Noir winemaking in Mildura, Adelaide, Canberra and soon Tasmania. She says her trial is showing by leaving the red grape skins in contact with the wine, it can improve flavour, colour and even reduce labour in the process.

Australia’s lesser known Italian whites step right up
In the last six years, the Wine & Viticulture Journal has held tastings of Australian-made Arneis, Vermentino, Fiano and Pinot Grigio and today each of these Italian whites are being produced by at least 50 local wineries. We’ve decided it’s time to throw our spotlight on some of these varieties’ lesser-known Italian cousins. On their own these whites aren’t yet produced in sufficient number in Australia to warrant stand-alone tastings.

New Zealand-South Korea FTA under fire as provisions revealed
WELLINGTON: As the ink dried Monday on the free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea, critics claimed it was a second-rate deal that would “handcuff” New Zealand’s sovereign right to make laws and regulations. Prime Minister John Key and South Korean President Park Geun-hye witnessed the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) by Trade Ministers Tim Groser and Yoon Sang-jick in Seoul. “The agreement shows the strength of the relationship between New Zealand and Korea.

Two grape spillages in first week of harvest
Two trucks spilled grapes on Marlborough roads last week, as the first week of mechanical harvesting got underway. Sergeant Michael Moloney, of the South Island Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit, said both spillages happened on Alabama Rd in Blenheim on Thursday last week. One driver was slapped with an instant $600 fine for having an insecure load. The truck company responsible for the second spill had yet to be identified, Moloney said.

Foreign, domestic rosé wines vie for bigger share of U.S. market
A wine battle may be uncorked as imports of rosés from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, South Africa vie for shelf space and a share of the U.S. market, which is good news for consumers. Last year, exports of the dry, pink wines from France to the United States increased 29 percent by volume and 38 percent by value, according to French officials. Sales of rosés from other countries and within the United States have also gained in popularity. "Consumer interest has grown.”

Importer busted for selling counterfeit French red wine
TAIPEI -- A major wine importer based in New Taipei was busted for selling counterfeit French red wine that netted the company a profit estimated at NT$100 million (A$4m) over the past five years, the Investigation Bureau said Monday. The bureau said it received a tip recently that Tequila Development Co. a well-known wine importer in Taishan, was importing large quantities of cheap red wines from Spain and Chile and passing it off as French wine.

Tesco investors prepare multi-billion pound lawsuit over profit black hole
Tesco faces the prospect of a multi-billion pound legal battle with shareholders over the £263m black hole that was discovered in its profits. Tesco Shareholder Claims, a non-profit group funded by US law firm Scott + Scott, has said it will bring an action against Tesco on behalf of institutional investors. TSC claims that Tesco breached the Financial Services and Markets Act by overstating its profits and caused a “permanent destruction of value to shareholders”.

South African wineries target Chinese market’s growing taste for wine
Pieter Terblanche glances at the latest order from his Shanghai sales team: wine labels featuring an exotic menagerie of tigers and other wild animals from an imaginary Africa. He calls them the “critter brands” – but admits they help his wine to sell nicely in China. “Critters are working,” he muses as he surveys the labels. He had to replace the tigers with cheetahs because there aren’t actually any tigers in Africa, but otherwise the wild-animal designs are another successful foray into the fast-growing Chinese wine market.

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