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News posted on Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Australian wine earns premium in the Chinese market
Chinese demand for quality wine has given the Australian industry a huge boost in 2016, according to the latest Rabobank report. In its Wine Quarterly report, the bank said Chinese imports of bottled Australian wine for the first six months of the year had risen 41 per cent from the same period in 2015 to 35.3 million litres. The value of Australian wine imports by China had risen 39.2 per cent to $353 million.

TWE expands portfolio in Japan
To capitalise on Japan’s growing demand for premium wine, Treasury Wine Estates has increased its selection of Australian and New Zealand brands in an improved route-to-market strategy. Under the new strategy, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) will directly import, market and sell a number of premium wine brands including Rawson’s Retreat, Lindeman’s, Wynns, Coldstream Hills, Yellowglen, Pepperjack and Secret Stone which will be available to the trade from 10 January and will add to TWE’s existing brands in Japan which are Penfolds, Beringer, Wolf Blass, Rosemount and Matua. In addition, plans are afoot to introduce a number of TWE’s Californian wine brands under the direct import model from April 2017.

Stephanie Jacob awarded the Daniel Pontifex Scholarship
The Daniel Pontifex Memorial Trust, with the support of Wine Australia, has awarded the 2016 Daniel Pontifex Scholarship to Stephanie Jacob, assistant wine buyer at Supernormal in Melbourne. Ms Jacob will travel to Europe in 2017 to gain valuable experience in some of Europe’s finest restaurants and visit some of its wine regions, with the scholarship covering all associated costs. On being awarded the scholarship, Ms Jacob said, ‘I'm thrilled to be awarded this travelling scholarship, it is really tailored to the needs of the individual, and recognises the invaluable knowledge that comes from travel and experiencing the culture of a place first hand.

WA wines exceed expectations for international judge
West Australian wines exceeded the expectations of Wine Show of WA international judge Jane Parkinson. The UK-based wine journalist, author and broadcaster was in WA for two weeks as part of the 16-person panel of judges for this year’s annual event. Parkinson said her expectation of high quality wines was “more than met”. “It was my first experience judging in a state show – I have been the international judge at a city show in Australia before – and I really enjoyed focussing on the wines from that particular state, especially when we don’t see as many WA wines in the UK as we do wines from other Australian states,” she said.

Revealing the science of Aboriginal fermentation
Wine researchers at the University of Adelaide are investigating the traditional practices of Australian Aboriginal people in producing fermented beverages and foods. Although referred to in early European texts, little is known about the processes involved, the yeasts and bacteria at work, or the chemistry, taste and smell of the plants and finished products. Led by Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology and Director of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, the research will focus initially on fermentations of cider gum sap (from Tasmania), nectar from Banksia and other native blossoms (from various locations) and quandong roots (from South Australia).

Saint Clair Family Estate NZ ‘producer of the year’
The AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge 2016 has awarded Saint Clair Family Estate the trophy for the Best New Zealand Producer of the Year. A trophy was also awarded for the Saint Clair Pioneer Block 25 Point Five Sauvignon Blanc 2015, for Sauvignon Blanc (more than 13.0 percent alcohol). The AWC Vienna is the largest officially recognised wine competition in the world with over 12 thousand wines entered from 41 different countries in 2016. This leading show has been operating for the last 13 years and through the use of the official blind tasting system and strict tasting rules it has developed a reputation of having incredibly high standards.

Gold medals announced at Air New Zealand Wine Awards
Following three days of judging over 1,400 wines, 91 gold medals have been awarded in this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards. Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the most pleasing aspect of this year’s awards was the spread of gold medals across a number of varieties and regions. “Pinot Noir was once again the star performer with 17 golds. Predominantly the wines came from Marlborough and Central Otago, but a Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir was also in the mix.”

Investigation into South African work conditions
The Western Cape Member of the Executive Council of economic opportunities Alan Winde will investigate allegations of dire employment conditions for those working in the wine industry after a documentary by a Danish filmmaker painted a bleak picture showing the exploitation of employees. Reports emerged of some Danish businesses boycotting the sale of South African wines after the airing of Tom Heinemann's documentary in Sweden and Denmark last week. Winde in a statement on Tuesday said the allegations are viewed in a serious light.

Kim Jong Un loves wine and cheese
Kim Jong Un is reportedly gaining an unhealthy level weight because he can’t stop consuming two of his favorite European food items. A report blamed the North Korean leader’s excessive consumption of French wine and Swiss cheese, International Business Times said. It is believed that Kim began gaining weight since his ascension to power back in 2012. Kim reportedly favored an expensive Bordeaux wine, which he drank with Kenji Fujimoto, his family’s former sushi chef, during a dinner in April. He also enjoyed Emmental, a medium-hard Swiss cheese, which he learned about back in his school days in Switzerland.

Million-dollar Brooklyn wine idea
When you think of wineries, rolling vineyards in Napa Valley or the Finger Lakes may come to mind. But Brian Leventhal and John Stires want you to think of Brooklyn. The entrepreneurs co-founded Brooklyn Winery in 2010 after meeting at an internet startup years earlier in 2007. They liked wine and knew a bit about it, after having participated in several years of team-building exercises with their coworkers making and bottling their own wines. "Each year we made a different vintage, and went through the entire process from fermentation all the way through bottling with our own custom label," Stires recalls.

It ‘wine o’clock’ the reason women out-drink men?
Women may now be out-drinking men after a century which has seen traditional gender differences wiped out, major research has found. Experts said that the march of “wine o’clock” had seen daily drinking become the norm for many women, putting them at risk of long-term harm. The study of four million adults, published in BMJ Online, found that in the past, men were twice as likely as women to drink alcohol, and three times as likely to do so at a harmful level.

Well-insulated sheds: Next step in wine cooling
For centuries, winemakers have been inspired by purist, romantic traditions of using well-insulated storage sheds as the ‘artisan’ standard for the time-honoured craft. At the same time, a growing number of young and up-and-coming wineries also pay homage to their produce through organic, eco-friendly and carbon-neutral processes. In more recent times those age-old techniques have been challenged, and a growing number of savvy winemakers are now embracing innovative technology to help mature and store the fruits of their labour without compromising on traditional techniques.

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