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News posted on Friday, 27 May 2016

All eyes on Europe as UK ponders ‘Brexit’ vote
AUSTRALIA could pay fewer import tariffs should Britain leave the European Union — but a “Brexit” could make life more difficult overall for exporters trying to crack Europe. As the UK prepares to head to the polls next month to decide whether it should stay in the EU, thoughts are turning to what it could mean for Australian trade. Wine Australia said the industry paid more than $42 million in import duties to the UK in 2015. Australia’s main competitors — France, Italy and Spain — paid zero. “If the UK leaves the EU, these duties by default would no longer apply and, as such, level the playing field,” Wine Australia argued in a recent discussion paper.

Wine cork versus screwcap: the evidence (and emotion) is in
The front cover of this month's Gramophone magazine, your correspondent's favourite critical publication devoted to any sensory subject, is given over to the return of vinyl. Editor Martin Cullingford's column on analogue versus digital begins: "It's proving to be a passionate debate. Evidence and emotion play equal roles, and each side is convinced they are right."

Australia: The kung fu wine
Have you ever thought about associating winemaking with Chinese kung fu? Such as the style of old-vine Shiraz from Australia? Read Terry Xu's thoughts on the characters of classic Australia red wines. A while ago I took part in a masterclass organised by the official trade body Wine Australia. Within two hours, Andrew Caillard MW, the co-creater of Langton's Classification system, guided us through a tasting of 13 collection-worthy, top Australian wines, including the famous Penfolds Grange.

New Italian heritage Australian style awards launched
The Riverina Winemakers Association has announced its launching the new Australian Italian Wine Awards; to be judged for the first time on 6th September, as part of the Riverina Wine Show in Griffith. With this year marking 100 years of settlement in Griffith, the awards seek to celebrate the Italian influence over the region and promote growth and interest in Italian varietal wines in Australia.

Noble One Winemaker Shortlisted for Sweet Winemaker of the Year
De Bortoli Wines’ Senior Winemaker and the creator of the company’s famous Noble One dessert wine has been shortlisted for Sweet Winemaker of the Year at the 2016 International Wine Challenge in London. These awards are considered to be the “Oscars of the Wine Trade” and finalists will be announced at a special event on 7 July.

Gisborne Regional Wine Awards open
“ALL have been pretty strong vintages, so I suspect there will be a real array of delights for us,” said Gisborne Regional Wine Awards chief judge Simon Nunns of Coopers Creek at the start of judging yesterday morning. It is the sixth annual awards and while numbers are slightly down on previous years, there are high expectations of quality. Event director Prue Younger said the awards are a chance for wineries to pitch themselves against their peers.

Hawke's Bay Syrah conquers French heavweights
Sacre bleu! Hawke's Bay has led New Zealand to a win over France at an international blind tasting of Syrah in China. Three Hawke’s Bay Syrah were placed in the top five in a comparative tasting in China, with Elephant Hill's Airavata 2009 judged best in the competition, beating French heavyweights. "This proves that Hawke’s Bay Syrah has a real place at the table of premium Syrah-producing regions of the world," said Michael Henley, Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association.

Brexit could threaten the UK wine industry's export markets
Britain's place in the international wine industry supply chain could be drained out if the UK votes for Brexit, an industry body has warned. Exchequer Secretary Damian Hinds, who visited Europe's biggest bottling plant today with the WSTA, was warned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has warned that exports of wine produced and bottled in the UK may fall if the UK leaves the EU and loses its access to the single market.

Chilean bulk prices set to rise on back of poor harvest
Prices of Chilean bulk wines are set to rise “pretty soon” following poor weather during this year’s harvest, Wines of Chile have said. Recent reports are forecasting Chile’s harvest may fall by as much as 30% this year, primarily due to heavy rain during the harvest in April, when rainfall reached around 150mm in some areas. The total harvest was already running late following a period of cool weather when the rain hit, a report from bulk wine specialists Ciatti stated.

What's the big deal about rare grapes?
Among wine geeks it's the height of wine-upmanship to drink wine made from really obscure grapes. Wink Lorch investigates. What on earth are rare grapes? Rare grapes, sometimes called obscure, esoteric, weird, indigenous, autochthonous or even forgotten varieties, can be compared with heirloom (heritage) tomatoes or even the white rhino – living things, which are either at great risk of extinction, or have been brought back from the brink of extinction.

Cool Climate Symposium opens today
The 9th International Cool Climate Wine Symposium opened its doors today in Brighton for three days of events and discussions around cool climate wine production. The event brings together delegates and speakers from across the international wine community and promises to reinforce the position of English and Welsh wines on the world stage.

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