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News posted on Thursday, 26 March 2015

Another Senate probe into wine industry
Murray Valley winegrowers have welcomed the Senate’s inquiry into the wine industry, stating the issues affecting the industry a decade ago are still present. The Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee is expected to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry that tackles issues of grower profitability, the impact on industry performance of the wine equalisation tax rebate scheme, the power and influence of wine retailers, and the effectiveness of market information and wine grape pricing.

Treasury Wine’s Clarke on the globalisation of wine marketing
As managing director and CEO of Treasury Wine Estates, one of the wine industry’s most geographically diverse marketers, Michael Clarke was well placed to address the topic of “The Globalisation of Wine Marketing” at the recent Impact Marketing Seminar. Clarke began by noting that some industry observers questioned TWE’s wisdom in hiring an FMCG veteran as CEO when he took the helm in February of 2014 (Clarke has held senior executive roles with both Kraft and Coca-Cola).

Organic exports to China – breaking down barriers
The growing demand for Australian organic produce in China has caused a number of regulatory headaches for Australian producers wanting to supply the region. However, a recent agreement between the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) and a Chinese organic certifier will significantly improve the process for exporting organic food and help Australian food producers to meet the growing demand for these premium products.

Science says tasting too much wine could leave you toothless
Memo to wine buffs: drinking rots your teeth. Taking OH&S to a new level for wine professionals, University of Adelaide researchers found the acid in wine makes teeth vulnerable to erosion within minutes, after researchers in the School of Dentistry simulated the kind of short, multiple exposures to wine acid normally experienced by wine tasters. The results, published in the Australian Dental Journal, show that just 10 one-minute episodes of wine tasting are enough to damage tooth enamel.

Scientists harness yeast to cut wine alcohol level
Scientists have moved a step closer to being able to make full-flavoured wines with lower alcohol levels after pioneering work on yeast strains in Australia. Experiments by Dr Cristian Varela at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) led to a 1.8% ethanol reduction in both Shiraz and Chardonnay ferments, thanks to working with a combination of three separate yeast strains. The research, funded by the Australian Grape & Wine Authority (AGWA), comes as many New World producers are looking to reduce alcohol levels.

Carving out a wine market in China
Charlotte Read has been involved in the wine industry for most of her life. Her father was one of Hawke’s Bay’s first grape growers in the 1970s, during the infancy of the New Zealand wine industry. Now she is trying to convert Chinese palates to the award-wining wines of New Zealand winery Villa Maria. Read became Villa Maria’s first dedicated Chinese-based Asia market manager in 2010. She has spent significant time in both Shanghai and Beijing managing two China-based staff. Previously she was based in London as Villa Maria’s UK/European market manager.

First vintage from new grape varieties
New grape varieties planted on Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)’s Marlborough campus vineyard are looking promising, with some ready for their first vintage this year. In 2012, NMIT viticulture and wine staff and students began replacing rows of Pinot Noir on the half hectare on-campus vineyard with several new and classic varieties. The new plants were all donated by Riversun Nursery in Gisborne. Further plantings were completed in 2013 and 2014 and the vineyard also had three rows of state of the art steel trellising posts donated from Eco Trellis Systems.

Virginia's wine grape harvest up 17 per cent
VIRGINIA, US — The state's wine industry has received a boost, according to the governor's office. The 2014 wine grape harvest for Virginia is up 17 per cent with 8,039 tons, up from 6,862 tons, according to the new production report released by the Virginia Wine Board. The 2014 wine grape harvest is the second highest production since the 2009 harvest, which yielded more than 8,600 tons. Augusta County grape yields were up 23 per cent, from 312 tons reaching 384 tons in 2014. Wine grape acreage was also increased, up from 74 acres to 82 acres, according to the report.

Science confirms that a vineyard’s soil microbes shape terroir
It appears that the major factor of a wine’s terroir has more to with the soil microbes found around the plant’s roots than with the actual soil characteristics. New research published in the mBio open-access Journal of the American Society for Microbiology could have a long-standing impact on how those in the wine business think about soil and its effects on terroir. The findings have helped dissect how microbes affect a wine’s properties and could help advance biotech in producing hardier crops and find new bacterial ways to help wineries influence even more a wine’s final outcome.

Why white wine flopped in China
China has long been seen as the final frontier of new customers for Western companies, a place where the commercial wells are deep – 1.35 billion people deep, to be precise. Tapping this incredibly huge market has been an obsession for foreign companies since long before China’s reforms from the late ’70s to the early ’80s. Today, this hasn't changed at all. As China continues to evolve into a consumer-oriented economy with an ever-growing number of middle-class and upper-class consumers hungry for trendy new products, the drive by foreign companies to get their wares into this market is intense.

Has the bubble burst on sparkling wine?
Online sales of sparkling wines have fallen for the first time, prompting concern that the bubble on sparkling wine may be in danger of bursting. Volume and values fell for two consecutive quarters in 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, according to Tim Wilson, managing director of The Wilson Drinks Report, with volumes of total sparkling wine down three per cent in both Q1 and Q2 of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

AB Mauri



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