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News posted on Thursday, 26 May 2016

Seasonal workers will head to New Zealand if Australia ramps up backpacker tax
BUREAUCRATIC bumbling over the controversial backpacker tax is doing more damage than the tax itself. This is the message from leaders in the Riverina horticulture industry who fear workers will head to New Zealand instead of Australia due to the financial imposts. Riverina Wine Grape Marketing Board chief executive officer Brian Simpson said the backpacker tax didn’t just hurt agriculture and horticulture but was also detrimental to the broader economy.

Noosa Food and Wine festival a huge financial boost
UNDER clear blue skies the weekend's Food and Wine 2016 proved a runaway success, with sell-out events and millions of dollars injected into the Noosa economy. An estimated 10,000 people were in the region to enjoy 43 events, with 40 chefs and 22 wineries participating. Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Damien Massingham said 7000 tickets were snapped up before the weekend began.

What would New Zealand wineries turn to if consumers stopped drinking Sauvignon Blanc?
In the 2004 box-office hit Sideways, womanising character Jack Cole tries to get wine snob Miles Raymond to drink a glass of merlot with him while on a road trip to Santa Barbara County. Raymond’s reply: “If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving. I’m not drinking any f—ing merlot!” It was just a one-line joke in a movie, but after the film’s US release, California’s wine industry suffered a drop in merlot sales and pinot noir became the rising star.

New welcome signs for Marlborough
The Marlburian welcome is getting a shake-up. New 'Welcome to Marlborough' signs will be dotted around entry points to the region from July. The new-look signage will replace the faded and outdated 'Love Marlborough' signs. That brand was ditched by the Marlborough District Council and replaced with new regional brand Only Marlborough.

China the promised land for South African winemakers
South African tycoon Koos Bekker sells wine from his vineyard all over the world, but a small detail offers a clue as to where his priorities may lie - all the bottles are labeled in Mandarin. Other producers along the Stellenbosch wine routes where his Babylonstoren farm is located are doing the same, looking to tap into soaring demand in China led by a growing professional class as Asia's economic powerhouse in turn ramps up its investments in South Africa.

First look inside Bordeaux's world-beating museum of wine
Bordeaux is wine capital of the world. You name a reasonable rival and we might discuss it, but I can’t think of one. Naturally, the river city offers more than wine. The 18th and 19th-century elegance of the monumental centre articulates a faith in the rightness of colonial riches. Alongside, in the old town, the message from medieval churches dissipates fast through low-lit narrow streets athrob with restaurants, bars and an international conspiracy of pleasure-seekers.

Over 55s warned over wine investment scams
One in four over 55s in the UK have fallen victim to investment scams, with wine and diamonds among the most popular vehicles for fraudsters, says the country's Financial Conduct Authority. Officials have launched a campaign to warn older adults in the UK about the dangers of alternative investments and to be sceptical about unsolicited phone calls to their homes.

Alibaba expects 100m shoppers for 'wine sales day'
China’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba, says its first wine sales day is set to attract 100m shoppers and that it is keen to experiment with direct importing. Alibaba, which was founded by Jack Ma, expects ‘triple-digit growth’ in its wine business in the next three years, said the company at a joint symposium with ASC Fine Wines during the first day of Vinexpo Hong Kong.

Glasgow tops wine and spirits trade growth
As reported by City A.M. employment levels in the Glasgow wine and spirits trade uncorked double-digit growth of 17% last year according to LinkedIn. London is the second fastest growing UK city for the drinks trade, enjoying a 16% rise in employment rates in 2015, while Bristol rose by 9% and Edinburgh 4%. Across the UK, employee numbers in wine and spirits grew by 1.7% last year compared to a 2.6% decrease of employees in the UK restaurant industry.

Solar project gives ray of hope to struggling Australian grapegrowers
A RENEWABLE energy project in Australia’s largest grape growing region is giving struggling vignerons a sunny alternative. An electrical services company in South Australia’s Riverland is looking to build dozens of community-owned solar farms and sell the energy on Australia’s volatile spot market. The Riverland is about 250km east of the South Australian capital Adelaide and stretches for 120km along the banks of Australia’s biggest river, the Murray.

Penfolds unveils $198,000 luxury barrel purchase program
Treasury Wine Estates announced it has begun selling small vintages of Penfolds wine by the barrel to private collectors, as the brand seeks to focus on promoting its premium wines. Penfolds unveiled the Magill Cellar 3 barrel program to a global audience at Vinexpo in Hong Kong and said the wine contained in the barrel release was unavailable from any other bottle or source in the world.

Numbers up for Vinnovation Award and Winegrape Growers Summit
The number of entries received in the 2016 PIRSA Vinnovation Award is double the number received last year – showing how wine grape growers are responding to the challenges of being successful in an increasingly competitive and fast-changing environment. Entries range from computer apps to assist with decision-making on disease management - increasing the effectiveness of controls - to mechanical adaptations to machinery to speed pruning to reduce labour costs.

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