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News posted on Thursday, 27 November 2014

Pernod Ricard takes creativity in-house
Last year Pernod Ricard Winemakers started an in-house Think Creative Leadership Lab in an effort to broaden creative thinking across the company. Marketing and new product development is part of the agenda but it’s much broader. The Sydney-based global winemaking unit charged Paulina Larocca, creativity and concept director of Pernod Ricard Winemakers, with the new remit and she’s now rolling out a series of initiatives starting in Australia and New Zealand but going global over the next few years.

Winemaker predicts challenging times
The company behind McGuigan wines expects challenging times ahead, due to fierce competition at home and overseas and higher prices because of a low vintage. Ian Ferrier, Australian Vintage chairman, says margins should be improved by further falls in the Australian dollar, but the currency had not dropped as much as he expected.

Community upset at another wine shop
South Auckland residents worried about the impact of another liquor store in their community say they are being ignored and a law change meant to help them fight against new stores opening is failing. A petition with more than 800 signatures, police, schools and local health groups all objected to an application for a new wine shop in Clendon, saying it would cause more harm to an area already drowning in shops selling alcohol.

Chateau Yaldara set to be tourist hotspot
1847 Wines has completed its purchase of Australia’s historic Chateau Yaldara, announcing plans to turn it into a major tourist destination. The purchase includes both the Chateau Yaldara site and its brands with 1847 wines intending to use the historic winery not only to expand its portfolio, but as part of a “long term strategy to develop the site into a major tourism destination for the Barossa.”

Sun sets on coalition for free trade
The Coalition for Free Trade (CFT), established by vintners in 1995 as a non-profit organisation seeking judicial relief from laws prohibiting direct-to-consumer shipments, has ended all activities after achieving significant victories for wineries and wine lovers alike. “We can celebrate a rare occasion- an industry association opened its doors for business, raised money, got the job done, then turned the lights out,” said W. Reed Foster, Coalition for Free Trade president and Ravenswood Winery chief executive officer.

Autumn heat helps secure promising vintage for the Loire Valley
Following two tough years, the autumn heat is responsible for the success of this year’s vintage for Loire Valley, according to Les Vins du Centre Loire, which released the region’s vintage report this week. The report said despite budburst being 10 days early, due to the relatively cool weather throughout the summer, "2014 was characterised by a long growing season" and "the vine was delayed throughout the whole season".

Climate change a boon for Nordic grapegrowers
On one of the world’s northern-most frontiers, grapevines are growing on hillsides and talk among some farmers is about terroir and aroma as global warming and new technology push the boundaries of winegrowing. "Maybe a touch of raspberry?" opined Wenche Hvattum, one of two farmers at the Lerkekasa vineyard west of Oslo- on the same latitude as Siberia, southern Greenland or Alaska- debating aromas in the ruby-red juice from their freshly pressed grapes.

Maison Sichel signs Amazon deal to boost off-trade sale
Maison Sichel has signed a deal with Amazon for five of its wines, with a special focus on flagship brand Sirius, in an effort to revitalise the brand after its UK off-trade distribution “ran out of steam”. This is the first time the Bordeaux producer has worked with the online giant, which Charles Sichel, export director, describes as "exactly the boost we are looking for".

Champagne Henriot back in Australia
Peter Hasko, former Coca-Cola Amatil general manager and his son Ben, a former sommelier, were inspired by meetings with the Henriot family and tasted their unique, hand-crafted Champagnes. Together, the pair wanted to collect a range of equally special wines, made by equally passionate and talented winemakers, and with this in mind they created distribution company Bootleggers and signed Champagne Henriot as their first brand.

McGuigan steps down from Australian Vintage board
In a report before the Australian Stock Exchange, Ian Ferrier, Australian Vintage chairman, says that Brian McGuigan is retiring and will not seek re-election to the board. Ferrier says as the board renewal process could take up to 12 months, McGuigan will not leave immediately, but did want to inform shareholders.

Roger Jones on falling in love with Central Otago
If there was one area in New Zealand which defines the whole ethos of its wine industry, it must be Central Otago. From lakes that look like seas, mountains that rise out like volcanoes, people still prospecting for gold, while others are skiing down the slopes or bungee jumping, this is the land of ambition, hope and dreams.

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