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News posted on Monday, 27 April 2015

Hail storm damage to Samuel Smith & Son NSW warehouse
The Sydney office of fine wine distributors Samuel Smith & Son and Negociants Australia will be temporarily closed following extensive damage to its Alexandria premises during Saturday’s hail storm. Greg Pullen, Samuel Smith & Son NSW General Manager, said the national distributor will do everything it can to continue to service its NSW accounts, although delays are expected. “We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers’ at this difficult time – please know we are doing everything we can to ensure the impact to our customers is as minimal as possible,” Pullen said.

AWRI celebrates 60 years
The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) celebrates its 60th birthday today – 60 years of world class research and technical support for Australia’s wine industry. Based at the Waite Research Precinct in Urrbrae, SA, the AWRI is an independent national organisation, serving growers and winemakers across all of Australia’s wine regions. From just a handful of employees in 1955, the AWRI now employs 115 scientists, winemakers, viticulturists and technical staff all working for the benefit of the Australian grape and wine producers.

Tricky wine harvest adds flavour
TASMANIA’S unpredictable weather over the past several months has made this year’s wine grape harvest one of the most logistically challenging. But vignerons and winemakers say the upside of the tricky season, which drew to a close for most growers last week, is intensely flavoured and richly coloured fruit. “The style this year is going to be really well-structured wines, very clean and refreshing and well defined by variety,” said Bream Creek Vineyard owner Fred Peacock, who is also a consultant to other vineyards.

Former TWE boss joins new digital TV channel dedicated to wine
David Dearie, the former CEO of Treasury Wine Estate (TWE), has joined the board of a new digital TV channel dedicated to wine. WineVine.TV launched its new digital channel in Sydney last week. Which it claims will offer the global wine community a place to “view, discover, and enjoy a full-bodied blend of knowledge, information and entertainment, delivered by a collection of expert hosts.” Dearie left TWE in 2013 following the company’s write-down of wine stock across the business.

Horticultural production exceeds $7 billion mark for first time
New Zealand's fruit and vegetable production has exceeded $7 billion for the first time, with exports now valued at $3.9bn. Horticulture is more productive per hectare than the dairy industry, the country's largest export income earner. HortNZ says its $3.9bn export returns out of the $7.16bn production total are derived from 123,000 hectares of land, versus dairy exports of $16.9bn from 1.7 million ha. CEO Peter Silcock said they were not out to "bag" dairy, but the reality was that exports generated per hectare were high compared to other land uses.

Cirro started with export focus
Named after the highest of all clouds, Cirro Wines had its beginnings in 2009, a time when things were far from rosy for the New Zealand wine industry. It is the brainchild of two flying winemakers, David Tyney and Richard Green. The men have more than 30 years' combined winemaking experience from travels around the world and own Viscosity, a wine consultancy business based in Marlborough. The idea was to focus on developing an export brand for the Australian market.

Sparkling English wine risks losing its fizz, says top vineyard
A leading British winemaker is warning that the industry faces a nasty hangover on the back of a big increase in the number of English vineyards making sparkling wine. Frazer Thompson, chief executive of Chapel Down Group, said that competition was becoming “intensive” and he predicted that this would inevitably lead to industry consolidation within the next three or four years. He said the Kent-based group will be in a strong position to participate.

Chinese delegation to attend inaugural Cal-China wine forum
A delegation of 10 Chinese government officials and winery executives will travel to California to attend the first educational seminar sponsored by the Cal-China Wine Culture Exchange (CCWCE), taking place on Friday, June 5, in Sacramento. The seminar is a collaborative project with the Napa Valley College and the Sacramento Convention and Visitor’s Bureau held in conjunction with the Consumer Wine Awards and the Grape Escape Celebration in Sacramento on June 6.

Freeze warnings have growers on edge
MARYLAND, PA. There are specific windows during the year when grapevines in this region are most vulnerable to damage from low temperatures. One takes place in the latter part of October and November, when an excessive freeze can harm vines that in some cases haven't even had the fruit picked from them. Another takes place during the heart of winter, depending on how much below zero the thermometer falls.

Grape pickers are now winemakers
Earlier this month, Amelia Moran Ceja, the first Mexican-American woman to head up a wine production company, visited Boston. Between sales calls, the president of Ceja Vineyards in Napa, Calif., made her way to Walden Pond. “I could almost hear Henry David Thoreau’s words describing the seasons,” says the literature and history buff (she studied both subjects in college before making the leap to wine). The last time she was here, in 2014, she trekked the entire Freedom Trail in the dead of winter.

Manganese – is your wine export ready?
To keep in line with export regulations in some countries, it is more important than ever to know the levels of manganese, copper and iron present in your wine prior to export. Wine that exceeds the maximum regulatory levels may be rejected upon arrival, causing costly delays. AWRI Commercial Services offers combined manganese, copper and iron testing as a package for $80.00 (ex GST) with analysis results available within 48 hours of receipt of samples. This service can be found on the current purchase order form as ‘Metals for China (manganese, copper and iron)’.

Australian wine industry – state of play
A MONTH ago, a senate inquiry was launched into the Australian grape and wine industry. A few days later, one of the senators who backed the inquiry proposed a temporary levy on every bottle of wine sold in Australia to assist growers through current tough times. The senate inquiry follows several industry-driven initiatives (including WGGA’s Taking Stock and Setting Directions project of 2006, the 2009 Wine Restructuring Action Agenda, WFA’s Expert Review on the Profitability & Dynamics of the Australian Wine Industry in 2013). So what has been the industry response to a Senate Inquiry and new levy idea? Daily Wine News set to find out.

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