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News posted on Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Hunter region wine glut sends grape expectations down the drain
Glen Howard wants to grow grapes until he dies but fears the industry might croak before he does. The 63-year-old has tended vines on his picturesque Pokolbin property in the Hunter Valley since he was a teenager, despite the business running at a loss for the better part of the past decade, as a downturn in wine demand has led to a glut in grapes.

Treasury Wine CEO annoyed with Rosemount and its laggard ways
Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Mike Clarke is annoyed that one of his main brands, Rosemount, has been an underperformer for so long at a time when most of the other brands in his stable are performing strongly. Rosemount, which came into the firm's stable in 2001 when BRW Rich Lister Bob Oatley sold it for a whopping $1.4 billion after building it up as a private company over three decades, is one of the 15 "priority" brands that Mr Clarke has stepped up investment behind since taking over as Treasury chief executive in March 2014.

Australian Natural: Organic wine and ‘affordable luxury’
Ross Tan and Nick van Leeuwen of Australian Natural have spent most of their first year in business relentlessly promoting their organic and biodynamic wines in China. Here is a quick and dirty earthy interview about their organic wines and their views of the market.

Australian winemakers court Asian tastebuds
Wrapped tightly in sleeping bags to keep them from freezing in frigid conditions, Australian winemaker Sirromet's bottles slowly make their way across the vast Mongolian landscape on the back of a yak. The wine's journey from Queensland, about 9,500 kilometres (5,900 miles) as the crow flies, to isolated parts of the sparsely-populated Asian nation is one example of the growing appeal of vintages from 'down under'.

Blue Pyrenees and Taltarni to feature at sparkling wine technology exhibition
Two Pyrenees Shire wineries will represent Australia on the world stage in France later this year at the prestigious VITeff sparkling wine technology exhibition. Blue Pyrenees and Taltarni are two of just seven Australian wineries to be chosen to attend the exhibition in Champagne. Of the seven chosen, three are from Victoria and four from South Australia.

Marlborough promoted at national wine conference
The wine industry's annual Romeo Bragato conference will feature four finalists from the Cawthron Marlborough Environmental Awards at a workshop highlighting sustainability practices in the region. The three-day annual conference opens on Wednesday in Napier and will showcase marketing trends and research innovation in the industry.

Marlborough region boasts new kosher grape juice
Marlborough is well-known as one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions and has the best potential for grape growing in New Zealand. Now, a Marlborough winemaker is making great strides with a high quality chardonnay grape juice that is alcohol free. The grape juice is made to Jewish kosher standards and is endorsed by the Kashrut Authority of Australia & NZ.

Beaujolais harvests early, Burgundy close behind
Following an exceptional summer of dry and hot weather, the harvest in Beaujolais starts today, three weeks earlier than last year. The official start date was set as August 24 in comparison to September 10 in 2014.

New rule will change definition of Japanese wine
The National Tax Agency is preparing to establish a new rule that will require wine labelled as Japanese wine to be wholly produced in Japan using domestically-harvested grapes. The agency plans to finalise the new standard as early as this autumn and enforce it in two years after publicising it.

Can a great design make you rich?
It coudn't hurt, say experts at Wines & Vines Packaging Conference. After sealing the deal to sell his Meiomi brand to Constellation Wines for $315 million, Joe Wagner became the wine industry’s newest “it boy.” The fifth-generation Napa Valley winemaker opened the second annual Wines & Vines Packaging Conference in Napa on Aug. 21, giving the keynote address before an audience of 250 curious wine pros.

The struggle of small wineries
This is a sad story, told by the Vancouver Sun, about a small British Columbia winery’s legitimate fear that it may get squeezed out of the market. It’s the same old story: Getting harder and harder to compete with the big wineries in shelf space, distribution and price. When I read a tale like this, my heart goes out to the proprietors. It’s never been easy to sell wine (in either Canada or the U.S.), but it’s getting more difficult.

Queensland wine grower sees his best profits in 15 years
Despite the highs and lows of the Australian wine industry, one small-scale producer is celebrating record profits. Scenic Rim grower David McMaugh owns and operates the Bunjurgan Estate Vineyard, where he has increased his revenue by 22 per cent in the past financial year.

Wine Engineering Association conference: Finding a better way
The Winery Engineering Association's 2015 national conference and exhibition is underway in the Barossa. The theme for WineEng 2015 is 'finding a better way – excellence in winery operations and asset management' and the Chateau Tanunda Winery is hosting the event.

Marlborough councillors question Yealands grape supply deal
Landowners who want to sign up to the Flaxbourne Irrigation Scheme and diversify into viticulture are being asked to grow grapes solely for Yealands Wine Group in a deal questioned by Marlborough District councillors. Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Limited has promoted a deal to 58 landowners to sign a grape supply agreement with Yealands Wine Group.

Wine crush starts unseasonably early
A mild winter, warm spring and hot summer are yielding the earliest harvest in memory for Washington state’s wine growers. “I would say it’s a record-breaking early vintage,” Casey McClellan, founder and winemaker at Seven Hills Winery in Walla Walla, said last week. “I’m picking semillon on Monday (today) and that’s two weeks before schedule.”

A good year for French wine despite drop in production
The French grape harvest was slightly lower in 2015 compared to last year due to a lack of rain, but industry professionals are still expecting an exceptional vintage. The French ministry of agriculture’s figures are always eagerly awaited by wine lovers the world over, particularly since France reclaimed its status as the world’s top wine producer last year after a two-year slump due to heavy rains and low temperatures.

The rise of Oregon wine-making
Oregon agriculture has had its struggles in the last decade. Federal figures showed operating and fuel costs at farms were up substantially and income down – so much so that by 2007 an estimated two thirds of all farms were reporting net annual losses. Still, Oregon today remains an abundant state, with newer, under-50-acre farms growing custom crops of endless variety, and agriculture – comprising everything from cattle to apples – accounting for roughly 15 per cent of the state's economy. Yet few stars rise as clearly within it as wine – or the grapes that create wine.

Italian grapes finding success in Texas
Aglianico? Dolcetto? Montepulciano? Pinot Grigio? Sangiovese? Trebbiano? Vermentino? In Texas? Si, si. Va tutto bene! Those Italian varietals thrive on the High Plains around Lubbock, although the dusty, wind-blown, table-flat region could hardly be mistaken for Basilicata, Campania or the Abruzzo.

Oliver's Taranga receives Penfolds Grange perpetual trophy
A Fleurieu winery has joined an elite club of producers that have had their grapes regularly appear in, arguably, the state’s most prestigious red. Oliver’s Taranga Winery at McLaren Vale has received the Penfolds Triple Crown Grange Growers perpetual trophy. It recognises wineries that have had their grapes used in the Penfolds Grange for three years in a row.

There's a new service that lets you order wine over text
Naked Wines, an online wine retailer that lets customers fund independent winemakers, just launched a new service letting people order bottles of plonk via text. The “Text for Wine” service was suggested by employees and lets existing customers order a case of wine by texting the name to Naked. That then gets added to their order.

Groguard celebrates its 25th year of the Vineguard
Legendary for its ruggedness and reliability, with nearly 10 million GroGuard vine guards being sold, the GroGuard has increased the profitability of numerous new plantings.

Australia Trade Tasting is here!
‘Australia Trade Tasting’ is a buyers only trade tasting and educational conference happening in Melbourne and Sydney.

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