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News posted on Friday, 26 June 2015

Volumetric wine tax will harm winemakers, says Casella
The normally close-knit and collegial Australian wine industry is edging towards a civil war over the heated issue of tax, with the patriarch of the nation’s biggest wine exporter, Casella Wines, slamming some producers’ efforts to lobby for the introduction of a volumetric tax as “immoral”. John Casella, whose Griffith-based winery makes the Yellow Tail wine that last year struck nearly $400 million in sales and is the most imported wine in the US, has warned attempts to swap a system based on value to a tax charged per litre would only exacerbate oversupply plaguing the sector, trigger an exodus of growers and see many lose their life savings.

Wolf Blass named International Winery of the Year
Wolf Blass has been named International Winery of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Wolf Blass is the first Australian winery to win this award in over 15 years and only the second Australian winery in history. The Winery of the Year award recognizes the single winery earning the most points, measured by the number and level of awards won. Now in its 35th year, the San Francisco International Wine Competition is the largest International wine competition in America.

Next generation of Australia's First Families of Wine to hit WA
The next generation of Australia’s First Families of Wine will host consumer tasting event, Unleashed, in Western Australia on 28 August. The future leaders of Australia’s premium family-owned wine companies will bring together more than 100 trade and consumers at a yet to be announced Perth event space, before making their way through the Margaret River. Tomorrow morning they will explore and enjoy the Margaret River Region and spend time at the Burch Family Wines Estate.

Costco takes battle to sell alcohol in SA to Supreme Court
US RETAIL giant Costco is trying to broaden the supermarket war to another front, taking its battle to sell alcohol in SA to the Supreme Court. The bulk-buy retailer has appealed to the state’s highest court for a licence to sell liquor at its Kilburn outlet. But the Australian Hotels Association is warning any such move — if approved — will set a dangerous precedent and be another stake in the heart of small alcohol retailers and SA wine producers, who are struggling to make a profit.

Australia urges more trade liberalisation under TAFTA
Australia is keen on liberalisation of the trade in agricultural products and professional services after the Thailand-Australia Free-Trade Agreement (TAFTA) has been in effect for 10 years, while foreseeing strong trade growth between the two nations. However, Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of the Thai Development Research Institute, said Tariffs on imported wine, beverages and tobacco from Australia should be maintained. “The duties from those products are one of the major sources of income for the government.”

Wine master returns to judge
The oldest and largest regional wine awards in the country were launched last night at a lavish affair at EIT in Taradale. About 50 people sipped on Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Chardonnay to officially open the Hawke's Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards, 2015. Steve Smith, Master of Wine and one of New Zealand's most respected wine industry leaders, will return to the judging panel. "After a decade, it's great to be back. I'm thrilled to be joining a judging team again for an exceptional year on the back of three outstanding Hawke's Bay vintages," said Smith.

What might a TPP deal mean for New Zealand?
With the US Senate's approval of a fast-track bill on Wednesday, the 12-nation trade deal may be just months away. Government ministers in the past have highlighted estimates the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes New Zealand and the United States, could deliver annual gains of $5.5 billion by 2025. For New Zealand, a TPP would open a door to a trade deal with the world's largest economy, the United States, after 20 years of lobbying.

G.H. Mumm rereleases key vintages to Hong Kong market
Due to the region’s increasing interest in bubbles, the Champagne house has relaunched highlights of the Cordon Rouge range from the last 30 years as part of the new Collection du Chef de Caves. Speaking at the launch in Hullett House, Mumm’s chief winemaker, Didier Mariotti explained the reason behind the move from the Reims-based champagne house. “Despite Australia still being the number one market for us in the Asia Pacific, Hong Kong has a lot of potential.”

Start of veraison signals critical period for managing the vineyard
“To maintain grape production with less water, don’t start watering until you need to,” George Zhuang advises. “And, when you do, only apply what you need.” Based on what he was seeing in the field and reports from colleagues in the second week of June, George Zhuang, University of California Cooperative Extension viticulture farm advisor for Fresno County, expected veraison to begin in California’s raisin-type grapes around the middle of June. That would put the onset of veraison about a week earlier than last year.

Chinese consumers buying wine online
While online wine sales were virtually non-existent in China as recently as a few years ago, nearly 20% of wine in the country is now sold through e-commerce, according to a speaker at the Cal-China Wine Forum held Tuesday at Napa Valley College. Wayne Batwin, president of PRIME Market Access International in Napa, is a consultant to the nascent Cal-China Wine Culture Exchange, which organized the event. According to Batwin, Chinese e-commerce is growing rapidly, with food and beverage products performing especially well in the sector.

Crimea urges Russia’s ban on wine imports from Europe
Crimean winemakers plan to once again ask the country’s leadership to introduce a ban on imports of wines from Europe to Russia, the chairman of the Crimean Bureau of Grapes and Wine said on Thursday. "We plan on discussing at the coming session of the Bureau of Grapes and Wine the issue of another request for the country’s leadership on introducing a ban on imports of the European wine. The session will be held next week," Yanina Pavlenko said. There are all the grounds for introducing the embargo for the European wines now, she said.

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