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News posted on Friday, 25 November 2016

Damage bill from hail storm passes $100 million
The damage bill from the devastating hail storm that hit Mildura recently has passed $100 million and is expected to climb higher. New figures from the Insurance Council of Australia reveal that the storm, which hit Victoria's Sunraysia district and communities in NSW and South Australia, has already generated about 20,000 insurance claims, with insurance losses so far estimated at $115 million across the three states. But the final toll is likely to be higher, given some damage is not insured. Campbell Fuller from the Insurance Council said it is expected to "take several months for the full extent of the losses to be known".

Winners of the 2016 Working with Wine Fellowship
Two of Australia’s future wine leaders were awarded the prestigious Negociants Australia 2016 Working with Wine Fellowship at this week’s black tie dinner at Yalumba. Philip Shorten from Armadale Cellars in Victoria and Cynthia Gemus from Negociants Australia in Adelaide were named the winners of the Working with Wine Fellowship 2016. Established in 1998 this biennial program was created to encourage education and enable the future gatekeepers of the Australian wine industry. Open to wine trade and employees of distributors Negociants Australia and Samuel Smith and Son, the fellowship has educated over 2000 Australian wine industry professionals.

Invitation to Fiano producers
Off the back of the rapid rise in the number of Australian wineries producing Fiano in recent years, the Wine & Viticulture Journal has announced it will shortly be holding a tasting of the variety. The publication last tasted Fiano nearly five years, when there was just a handful of Fiano producers in Australia. The tasting will act as a snapshot of how Australian producers are currently interpreting Fiano. The results of the tasting will be published in the January-February issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal. Producers interested in submitting their wines to the tasting are asked to email editor Sonya Logan by no later than next Friday (2 December). Samples for the tasting will need to be received by no later than Thursday 15 December.

Shavaughn Wells Winestate’s Australian Winemaker of the Year
Saltram Winemaker Shavaughn Wells today became the second female to be awarded Australian Winemaker of the Year by Winestate Magazine at their annual Wine of the Year Awards held in Adelaide. The honour is awarded to the winemaker who produces the largest number of high ranking wines over the course of the year. One of Australia’s most respected wine magazines, Winestate evaluated over 10,000 wines from Australia and New Zealand, with judging panels of industry winemaker peers, Master of Wine individuals and industry experts, in order to come to their decision regarding Australia’s finest wine producer.

Xanadu Australia’s Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Xanadu has once again been awarded Australia’s Best Cabernet Sauvignon after winning the prestigious Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy at this year’s National Wine Show. This is the fourth consecutive Cabernet Sauvignon trophy and fifth in the last six years that a Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon has won this trophy, cementing its position as one of the country’s leading Cabernet producers. The 2014 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon that took out the national title is sourced from several key vineyards throughout the Margaret River region including Timber Creek in Wilyabrup, Victory Point in Treeton and Xanadu’s own Boodjidup vineyard in Wallcliffe.

NZ Winegrowers welcome more seasonal workers
New Zealand Winegrowers welcomes the increase in the number of seasonal workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme announced by Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today. An increase in 1,000 RSE workers for the 2016-17 season will help support the wine industry during its peak times said Jeffrey Clarke, General Manager, New Zealand Winegrowers. “There’s a huge demand for labour during vintage and pruning. Although the wine industry is focused at placing New Zealanders into work, there is often a shortfall and RSE workers ease some of that pressure.”

Shipping by sea cheaper than ever
As export volume grows Te Mata Figs is switching to shipping containers for its fig-flavoured fare, following several years of flying them overseas. Director Murray Douglas said air freighting to Australia was cheaper than sending it to many parts of New Zealand by road, despite an out-of-town repacking. "If you ship by air out of Hawke's Bay no air cargo containers can be taken out of Hawke's Bay Airport because the planes are too small," he said.

Fine wine market, the only way is up?
With the end of the year approaching it seems increasingly likely that the secondary market for fine wine will end the year positively. Last year there were hopes the market might return to growth but major hiccups in July and November meant Liv-ex’s principal index which tracks the market, the Fine Wine 100, finished the year slightly down but otherwise flat. Disappointing as this was, stability had been returned to the market after four consecutive years of declines and has provided a springboard for recovery over the course of 2016.

A glass of wine could protect from stroke
New research is now saying that a large glass of wine a day could be a preventative measure against having the most common type of stroke. The University of Cambridge study, which was carried out on 20,000 adults, found that three units of alcohol a day seemed to reduce the risk of these adults having an ischaemic stroke (the most common form where blood clots form and block the flow of oxygen and blood to your brain) by 8% in 85% of the cases. And light drinking, which is no more than one and a half units of alcohol a day (AKA a small glass of wine) reduces your risk of having a stroke by 10%, by increasing good cholesterol in your body.

Made in Hong Kong
Who would have thought that one could make wine in Hong Kong? But Eddie McDougall has proven that good vintages can come from the most unlikely of places, releasing four locally made wines under the label The Urban Project. One of them, Sampan, was awarded first runner-up in the Old World Red Wine Below HK$100 category in this year’s Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong House Wine Awards. McDougall, who calls himself The Flying Winemaker, has made wines all over the world. “I started learning how to make wine when I was 19, in Australia,” he says. “I haven’t stopped since.”

Thief steals $83K worth of wine
Someone made off with more than 1,000 cases of wine earlier this month after stealing a truck from a wine distributor in Newark, police said. According to Cpl. James Spadola, a spokesman for the Newark Police Department, the theft occurred sometime between 8:45 p.m. Nov. 13 and 3:50 a.m. Nov. 14 at The Country Vintner, a wine importer and wholesaler that delivers wine and spirits to restaurants and retailers across the state. The business is located at 816 Interchange Blvd.

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