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News posted on Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Australia Day Wine Awards
We may not have a long winemaking history in this country, not compared with the Europeans, but we have something they can never have, that true-blue, dinky-di never-say-die – or syrah – spirit that is distinctly, utterly ours alone. It's downing a glass of hot red on a 40-degree day, inflating an empty wine cask bladder for a game of pool volleyball, sipping a rizza in the Eden Valley or ordering a "pig" when you simply can't be bothered sounding out a few extra syllables for a p-i-n-o-t g-r-i-g-i-o. Time is short in this country when there's wine to consume.

Australia: Five wine trends for 2016
Ever since I went to Tasmania for the first time in the early 2000s and got excited about the generally superb vintages of that era, I have waited, patiently, for this cool and relatively dry region of Australia to consistently deliver what it has always promised. Vine age, considerable mainland investment from producers such as Treasury, Accolade and Shaw+Smith, together with the ever-growing number of locals making their own wine on site, add up to exciting times for a region that's finally challenging the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula for pinot supremacy.

The illustrious history of Australian wine’s greatest invention
“Just spin the Hills Hoist and if the goon bag lands above you, you’ve gotta skull it,” a bare-chested man wearing an Australian flag as a cape tells me. Yesterday was January 26th, my inaugural Australia Day, and I played my very first game of Goon of Fortune, an unofficial initiation into Australian society. Its name may be a spinoff of the iconic Wheel of Fortune, but Goon of Fortune takes full advantage of two very Aussie inventions: the goon bag (also known as bag-in-box, cask or boxed wine) and the Hills Hoist (rotating clothes line).

Margaret River winery praised by British chef Nigella Lawson
British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has taken to Instagram to praise Wilyabrup winery Cullen Wines to her almost half a million strong following. The professional chef, food writer and journalist who is beloved the world over for her abilities in the kitchen has made an appearance on Australian TV as a guest judge on the reality cooking program Masterchef.

UK gloomy as Australia dips in on-trade
Australia’s presence in the UK on-trade tumbled last year, according to figures released by Accolade Wines at the Australia Day Tastings in London today. Last year, only 11% of Australia’s total volume sales took place in the on-trade, down from 12.5% in 2014 – a decline of almost 10%. The problem, according to Jane Robertson, category development director at Accolade Wines UK, is one of supply.

Woman claims Marlborough vineyard workers exploited
Cowboys and fly-by-night contractors have dwindled in the Marlborough wine industry with the expansion of the recognised seasonal employer (RSE) scheme, a contractor says. Hortus managing director Aaron Jay said dodgy contractors had the potential to harm the reputation of the wine industry. Recognised seasonal employers were audited by the Government to make sure they complied with labour laws and had good health and safety practices, Jay said.

Wine industry global influencers to speak at international celebration
A selection of the crème de la crème of the international wine world will be presenting at the inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, held in Marlborough from 1-3 February. 20 guests from as far afield as Canada, the US, France, UK, and China will be speaking at the event, sharing their knowledge and experience of Sauvignon Blanc with over 350 delegates, from 18 different countries.

Two of America's Largest Wine Wholesalers Are Merging
Just two weeks into the new year, the wine industry witnessed what might be the most important business deal of 2016. On Jan. 11, Southern Wine & Spirits and Glazer's Inc. sealed a merger agreement, increasing the size of the largest distributor in the United States. But what does that mean for you? For the average consumer, distributors are the invisible hand of the wine industry.

This California vineyard is using drones to make better wine
What goes into a great bottle of wine? Sensors, software, and scads of data analysis. Oh, and drones, of course. One day last fall, a drone lazily circled above Hahn Estate Winery, home to 1,100 acres of grapes in California’s Santa Lucia Highlands. The drone, a five-pound model airplane, wasn’t there merely to take photos. Fitted with visual and multispectral sensors, it was collecting various kinds of data—information to help Hahn monitor the health of its vineyard.

Heat and drought may shrink wine grape harvest in South Africa
The South African wine grape harvest may be significantly smaller, due to the decreasing effect of searing heat and drought throughout the season. This according to a harvest estimate by the industry in the second week of January. “Larger crops than in 2015 are expected in the Orange River and Klein Karoo, while the other wine grape producing regions all predict a decrease to a greater or smaller extent,” said Francois Viljoen, manager of the VinPro Consultation Service.

Billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni Has New Wine Dreams for South America
It was twilight when Alejandro Pedro Bulgheroni first saw a 2,200-hectare property for sale in rural Garzón, just north of Uruguayan resort Punta del Este, where he has a beach house. The peaceful green hills reminded him of Tuscany. “The place had magic,” he says. “I had to have it.” He bought it in 1999.

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