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News posted on Monday, 27 February 2017

Curtin pulls cork on wine degree
Curtin University has discontinued its role in wine education in the region, signalling the end for a Margaret River-based winemaking degree and leaving TAFE to run two certificate-based courses with struggling student numbers. In 2014, Curtin’s senior deputy vice-chancellor David Wood announced a “review” of the degree after new student intake was put on hold because of low enrolments. Although strategic meetings were held to address shortfalls at the campus, items identified, such as a centralised website for students keen on studying in the Margaret River region and better accommodation options, have not eventuated.

CHAMP Private Equity delays Accolade float
The slated float of CHAMP Private Equity-owned Accolade Wines is now firmly on hold, according to the Australian Financial Review. Sources suggested 2018 was being pencilled in for the company's run at the local bourse as the company looked to bed down an acquisition and re-negotiate prices with retailers in the United Kingdom. Sharp movements in the pound have worked against the Accolade float which was targeting the ASX to run off the coat tails of a stellar rally in Treasury Wine Estates.

Australian Vintage posts $1.6m profit
Australian Vintage Limited (AVL) has posted a $1.6m profit for the first half of the year, having been negatively impacted by $2.7m as a result of unfavourable exchange rates. The company said that its Tempus Two brand is performing exceptionally well, that it has strategies in place to improve its UK and Europe performance and that it has just secured a nationwide distribution deal in the United States with Palm Bay.

Celebrating 50 years of Margaret River wine
The 50th Anniversary of the planting of the first commercial vines in the region will take place in 2017 and the region is looking to celebrate in style. The Margaret River Wine Association is working on a series of events from 16 - 18 November to coincide with the 2017 Gourmet Escape program. The events will be in recognition of 50 years of our modern wine community and our position as one of the world’s most compelling fine wine experiences.

Cellar door sales boost wine profits
Wineries in the Great Southern region are starting to notice a national trend towards increased growth of cellar door sales, according to Great Southern Wine Producers Association chairman Andrew Hoadley. A recent report from Wine Australia found small winemakers had seen an increase in revenue growth for cellar door sales of 7 per cent in the 2015-16 financial year. The report also noted an average increase in revenue for small winemakers of 12 per cent, with cellar door sales accounting for 27 per cent of revenue.

Delegat Group eyes another bumper year
Delegat Group, New Zealand's largest listed winemaker, has lifted operating profit 17 per cent in the first half and is predicting annual profit to be in line with last year. Profit excluding one-time movements in asset valuations rose to $24.7 million in the six months ended December 31, from $21.1m a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said on Monday.

Five million litres lost in earthquake
A survey undertaken by NZWinegrowers shortly after the earthquake showed that more than five million litres of wine was lost. While that sounds like an awful lot, it is really just two percent of Marlborough’s total production. What has been more concerning, is the damage to tanks within the region. The survey estimated that over 60 million litres of tank capacity was damaged, 20 percent of the region’s total capacity.

UK wine prices could rise
The price of a bottle of wine could soar by more than 50p, industry experts have warned. Chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association Miles Beale claims wine is facing a potential ‘triple whammy’ – with inflation, the Pound’s Brexit tumble and a further hike in excise duty all affecting the £20 billing industry.

Expect to see more sales, mergers
Paso Robles’ vineyards and wineries are ripe for outside investment, but they also enjoy a high level of support from the local community. Those are two insights from Silicon Valley Bank’s annual State of the Wine Industry report, a survey of more than 500 wineries that serves as a barometer of the industry. Paso Robles saw sales of a few properties over the past year — and it could see more. The report forecasts a continuation of the flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the industry over the past few years.

Family-owned winery ‘good size for us’
“You have to be multifaceted,” said Mary Haverkamp, a Kossuth County vineyard and winery owner. “There’s the grapes in the vineyard and there’s making the wines, but there is also hosting events and getting your product out to your customers.” Haverkamp established Plum Creek Winery on her family farm just seven miles northeast of Algona in 2012. Operating in its fifth year, the winery includes a two-acre vineyard along with a building that includes a tasting room, rentable event room, storage and production rooms where the wines are made.

Sonoma County pruning championship
Under clear, early-morning skies and with temperatures close to freezing, 38 vineyard workers from across Sonoma County came out to Shone Farm in Forestville on Friday to compete for best pruner in the region. The contest symbolically kicks off the growing season for Sonoma County’s main agricultural crop, which brought in $572 million last year across almost 60,000 acres of grapes.

A statement from CellarHand
Unfortunately it turns out that Lak was just not the person we thought he was. We really appreciate the support of all of our customers, suppliers, employees and family during what has been a very difficult time for us professionally and personally. We have been blown away by messages of encouragement that we have received from so many of you. It’s literally been a tidal wave of love and support that has made such a challenging time a little more bearable for all of the CellarHand family.

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WID 2017