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News posted on Tuesday, 27 January 2015

SEW buys Griffith winery
Privately owned Southern Estate Wines Australia (SEW) has completed its acquisition of a 20 million litre Griffith winery asset. The Original Cinzano, Cranswick and The Wine Group site has been acquired by SEW to support the growing company and expand bulk wine offerings. Capable of producing up to 20,000,000 litres of wine annually Andrew Dal Broi, SEW executive director, said the facility will ramp up production to his global customer base while maintaining a low-cost, efficiently run operation that over delivers on diligent customer service.

Aussie organic wine back on Chinese tables
Australia's wine has always been popular with the Chinese but a new certification requirement temporarily stopped one local organic wine producer from continuing to sell into this lucrative market. South Australian-based organic winery Temple Bruer had been exporting its wines to China for many years but was stopped at the end of 2010 when the Chinese government introduced a certification requirement for imported organic wine.

Drones are making sure you'll never have to go without wine
In Australia, where some vineyards are already starting to move to cooler regions, the 'Vineyard of the Future' is researching ways to adapt. One solution: using fleets of drones to take detailed shots of the grapes, analysing that data with an app, and then using automatic irrigation and fertilization to target specific vines that are suffering in a heat wave or drought. Wine producers have been using sensing and remote imaging for decades, but drones suddenly make the process cheap and more accurate. "People used to rely on satellite technology or airborne techniques," says Sigfredo Fuentes, the University of Melbourne researcher who leads the Vineyard of the Future.

Wangaratta vignerons kept on toes
Heavy rainfalls have kept vignerons busy across the district over the past month but downy mildew at one Oxley grape grower’s vineyard hasn’t been a problem. Tony and Merryn Ciavarella have experienced some “nervous days” but the picture is still looking good for production if future rains hold off. The unexpected nature of the storms in the Wangaratta area have kept Tony and Merryn on their toes.

Q&A with Naked wines founder Luke Jecks
As Cellarmaster’s marketing executive prior to Woolworths taking over, Luke Jecks saw, and disliked, the development of wine into a commodity. “It was a dulling down of the product and a race to the bottom on price,” Jecks says. In 2012 he established Naked Wines, an online wine distribution business that takes membership fees from its wine lovers and invests that into production of fledgling wine makers. Turnover doubled in the first two years and this year close to $20 million will be invested in wine production, with sales forecast to double again. Major shareholder is Richard Branson’s former right-hand-man Rowan Gormley, who launched Naked Wines in the UK in 2008.

US to become NZ's biggest market by 2016
The US is to become the largest market in volume and value for New Zealand wines by the end of this year, according to Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. Speaking to the drinks business in London this week, Gregan said that the US market for wines from New Zealand, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, was outgrowing the country’s current two largest export countries, the UK and Australia. “The biggest growth is from the US… the US is going to become number one, and it will probably be number one by volume and value by the end of this year,” he stated.

Tasty treats for wine industry visitors
Hawke's Bay came under the global winemaking spotlight yesterday as 20 leading international trade and media representatives were treated to the region's finest wines and got to meet many of the people who created them. Billed as the Hawke's Bay Wine Celebration and staged at the Masonic in Napier, the event hosted by Hawke's Bay Winegrowers was set up to take advantage of the influx of wine industry visitors who have arrived in the country for the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration, being staged on Thursday.

Harvard buys up water rights in drought-hit wine country
Harvard University has quietly become one of the biggest grapegrowers in California’s drought-stricken Paso Robles wine region, securing water well drilling permits to feed its vineyards days before lawmakers banned new pumping, according to records reviewed by Reuters. The investment, which began as a bet on the grape market, has turned into a smart water play as the wells boosted the value of its land in the up-and-coming wine region of Paso Robles. But it has also raised questions about the role of big investors in agriculture in the midst of a water crisis.

Wine industry could create 100,000 jobs in a decade
SOUTH AFRICA: The wine industry has the potential to create 100,000 new jobs over the next decade, provided it remains stable, wine producers’ body VinPro says.The number of people employed directly or indirectly in the wine industry has increased to slightly more than 275,000, from fewer than 160,000 in 2000, and now represents 1.5 per cent of the workforce in the economy. But the industry has been rocked by a wave of labour unrest in recent years and faces uncertainty because of government’s land reform.

Fraudsters target victims of collapsed wine investment firm
European Fine Wines Ltd was placed in liquidation in June last year, with debts of around £3million (A$5.7m). Liquidator Abbott Fielding said that fraudsters were trying to take advantage of the situation. 'In recent weeks, a company has been writing to the creditors on European Fine Wines letterhead alleging that they are the company and trying to obtain money from them,’ said Abbott Fielding’s Nedim Aliyan, who issued a warning about the wine fraud. ‘In addition, a third party has been ringing creditors alleging he works for my office and that for a small payment, he can get people's wine. Needless to say, anyone who passes any money to both these parties receives nothing.’

US demand spurs world wine market
London - US demand is set to drive expansion in the world wine market through to 2018 as consumption growth slows in China and traditional markets such as France and Italy contract. Consumption in the US is poised to rise 11 per cent over the period from 2014 to 2018 to reach 378 million 9-litre cases, close to its 12 per cent growth rate between 2009 and 2013, according to data from Vinexpo and International Wine and Spirit Research. Chinese growth is set to slow to 25 per cent from 69 per cent, taking its total to 181 million cases.


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