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News posted on Monday, 25 July 2005

Mainland winemakers begin to mature
More sophisticated and better-off urban Chinese are increasingly turning to Western-style wines to accompany their evening meals, boosting development of a young domestic industry.

Foster's to axe jobs, wineries
FOSTER'S Group will make hefty cuts to its British and US sales force and close three Australian wineries as it strives to meet synergy targets with the takeover of Southcorp, predicts broker Credit Suisse First Boston. In a research report the broker has reduced Foster's (fgl.ASX:Quote,News) valuation from $6 to $5.60 after only being able to identify $111 million in gross synergies.

Grape (GM) trials given go-ahead in France
French scientists are to start trials on genetically-modified (GM) vines, after permission for the project was finally granted by the country's Agriculture Ministry. Seventy vines will be grown in the experiment, which will be carried out at a research laboratory in Colmar, Alsace.

Plague of locusts threatens Italian vineyards
Freak swarms of locusts devouring vineyards in and around the northern Italian province of Alessandria, sometimes moving at speeds of up to 30mph, are threatening this year's production of a venerable wine.

Hail storm destroys bulk of 2005 vintage in core Swiss winemaking area
Few people outside Switzerland know the Chasselas grape or the Lavaux vineyards. After a devastating hail storm that wiped out up to 80 percent of the vineyards in this wine-making region, chances are they will not taste these white wines any time soon.

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