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News posted on Monday, 28 September 2015

WFA rejects FARE call for wine tax increase
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has rejected calls by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) to increase wine taxes. Paul Evans, WFA chief executive, said FARE’s claims were unhelpful at a time when the Australian Government and Parliament have committed to working with the wine sector on a recovery plan.

It’s time to celebrate our women in wine
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has joined with the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society to encourage people across the country to enter the Women in Wine Awards. The awards are the brainchild of Jane Thomson, founder of The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society, and this is the award program’s inaugural year. Thomson said there was a positive buzz around the awards which has superseded expectations.

Shaw wins wine export contract to South Korea under free trade deal
Last year's Australian free trade agreement with South Korea has levelled the playing field for local vignerons wanting to break into one of Asia's biggest markets and Murrumbateman's Graeme Shaw is one of the first beneficiaries. Shaw Vineyard Estate hopes to sell millions of dollars worth of its premium cold climate wines a year direct to the South Korean public through Marley Coffee's 30 strong network of coffee shops.

Clonakilla Riesling wows Canberra wine show judges
Clonakilla Wines' 2015 Riesling was named wine of the show against strong competition from "the vintage of a lifetime" at the weekend's Canberra and Region Wine Show. Winning winemaker Tim Kirk said the current district vintage was proving a "belter" for Murrumbateman and Canberra district winemakers with Mother Nature balancing the books after three "challenging" wet years from 2010 to 2012. "Mother Nature has given us a couple of belters in 2013 and 2015," he said. "2014 was pretty good as well.

Brand building workshop for winegrowers
A workshop helping Marlborough winegrowers build their brand and expand into overseas markets is planned for November. The Marlborough Wine Business Workshop, which has been held since 2003, promises to show businesses how to engage with customers, enhance their brand and work better with distribution partners. Wine Business Solutions manager Peter McAtamney said it would help businesses tailor their products to the demands of international markets.

Australian Sommeliers to attend NZ Winegrowers scholarship program
New Zealand Winegrowers has announced the names of nine successful sommeliers who will participate in the inaugural Sommit Scholarship, held in New Zealand from 30 January to 6 February 2016. The successful candidates will engage with and learn from some of the great minds in the New Zealand wine business. They will taste a range of premium wines from New Zealand and the rest of the world on an intensive seven-day program incorporating flagship events on the New Zealand wine industry’s national calendar.

Can’t sit still: Bleasdale’s energiser bunny
Behind the scenes at a family-owned wine business with 165 years or history and tradition, growing grapes in an unassuming part of South Australia, is a heavily tattooed young bloke. Sam Bowman is a part-time muso, part-time martial arts fighter and full-time viticulturist. He’s the sort of character who can’t sit still. Emilie Reynolds caught up with the man in charge of the Bleasdale vineyards to find out how he landed in a dream role he never imagined.

Sense of place worth toasting
Love of food and wine and the region it comes from is a key motivator for Toast Martinborough's new director, Anna Nielson. Ten thousand tickets went on sale yesterday for the annual event which will run this year on Sunday, November 15. Nielson co-founded Wellington on a Plate festival with Sarah Meikle, "in the middle of a recession", and has been to roughly 10 of the 24 Toast Martinborough events including - she can't remember which - either the first or second ever event back in 1991.

Amazon France opens online wine service
After several false starts, Amazon France has started selling over 34,000 food and alcohol products, in a direct challenge to the power of French supermarkets. Starting on 23rd September, the number of products available on Amazon France is around three times more than the average supermarket in France, according to industry observers. But so far there are no frozen or fresh foodstuffs.

Bordeaux winegrowers hail 'magnificent' harvest
Bordeaux (AFP) - For lovers of a good red Bordeaux, 2015 is shaping up as a "magnificent" vintage, growers from the largest wine-producing area in France said Thursday. The harvest kicked off with Merlot grapes, which are eventually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc to make the blended wine, and vintners are delighted. "It is magnificent, much like the wonderful years of 2005 or 2010," gushed Michele Bechet, owner of Chateau Fougas.

Water and wine: Sustainability in practice
The recent infernos in and around California’s drought-stricken wine country are still raging. In fact, in addition to the most destructive fires in Lake County and near vineyards in the Sierra Foothill region, new fires have broken out this week affecting vineyards and wineries in Monterey County’s Carmel region, producer of world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Obviously, this underscores one giant need for California, our country’s leading wine-producing state: water.

Let's not forget the importance of what happens in the vineyard
People in the wine world sing the praises of noted winemakers, treating some of them as demi-gods. This tends to inflate the price of their wines. It's nice to have wine heroes. But we should not forget the work of the people who grow the grapes. Indeed, it has often been said that great wines are made in the vineyard. Great winemakers acknowledge the skill of the viticulturist. Some great winemakers are also great viticulturists.

BTN Interviews Summergate Fine Wines
BTN: What are the 3 main factors that Chinese importers consider when picking up a new winery? Ian: First and foremost is partnership. We look for a winemaker that is intent on building a long term, sustainable market here with us, that expands year on year, in the face of the many challenges here that confront us, and throughout the ups and downs of a volatile emerging wine market. We look for level-headed brand owners that are not lured by the false promise of a China market "Eldorado".

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