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News posted on Wednesday, 28 October 2015

WFA tells Senate hearing government needs to fund marketing to improve profitability
The peak body for Australian winemakers has appeared before a Senate hearing in Western Australia to make the case for industry reform. Winemakers' Federation of Australia president Tony D'Aloisio and chief executive Paul Evans appeared at a special Senate committee hearing in the Swan Valley winemaking region today. The Rural and Regional Affairs Transport Reference Committee has been hosting Australian Grape and Wine Industry hearings around Australia as part of an inquiry into the wine industry.

Coles, Woolies accused of 'decimating' wine industry
Winemakers Federation of Australia is urging the federal government to force Coles and Woolworths to identify their home brand wine labels for consumers. Winemakers Federation of Australia chief executive Paul Evans told a Senate inquiry in Perth on Tuesday there were concerns in the industry about Coles and Woolworths marketing wine similarly to branded wine from producers. "What we would like to see is that home brands are identified so consumers can make their choice," Evans said.

Government blasted over grant to wine industry giant
The State government is often accused of not being able to see over the Mount Lofty Ranges or beyond Gepps Cross. So you might think a $2m grant for a business operating in regional South Australia would be universally welcomed - but, not so. The SA government last week announced Treasury Wine Estates would receive $2m from the Regional Development Fund to use as part of a $25m project to expand its Wolf Blass Winery and Packaging Centre in the Barossa Valley.

Drones as common as tractors? Farm technology in 2025
In a shed near Toowoomba, researchers at the University of Southern Queensland are developing the tools and techniques they think will dominate farming practice by 2025. The Institute for Agriculture and the Environment executive manager Kevin Norman said the University of Southern Queensland had invested $30 million in its agriculture research programs. "There's some really exciting things coming on ... real world practical solutions that we can deliver to our farmers," he said.

Kiwis' fondness for sweetness bad news for decent wines
Looking at New Zealand wine consumption, a solid argument could be made that popular taste has had little to do with good taste for the past 50 years. The reason for that is our fondness for sweetness. We like to think that craving the next sugar fix is an American thing, but we're actually not that far behind. The obesity stats say as much. Our beer has traditionally leaned toward sweetness. With wine, for decades now New Zealanders have lapped up a series of go-to drops offering little but dollops of sweetness.

Alexandra wine growers' new release drops snapped up at Central Otago event
Wine lovers sampled and snapped up new release wines from around the Alexandra basin at the weekend. The Alexandra Basin Wine Growers' New Release Event is in its seventh year, and showcases over 50 new release wines. This year it came under the umbrella of the inaugural Down to Earth event celebrating Central Otago wines. Angus Bradshaw, of Grasshopper Rock vineyard, said their vineyard - which was owned by five couples from around the country - launched its 2014 Pinot Noir at Sunday's new release event.

Laser mapping to pinpoint prime grapegrowing areas
Laser mapping data can help the English wine industry identify the best places to grow grapes, says a UK government department, as it releases the data to the public. Growers can make use of 3D LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) maps to understand variations in slope and aspect, pinpointing the best locations for vines to thrive in. It is estimated that an additional 75,000 acres of land in England is prime for grapegrowing.

Napa grapegrowers look back on a difficult year
Napa Valley Harvest 2015 came and went in record fashion, beginning a full three weeks ahead of normal and coming to a close by the second week of October. Since July, grapegrowers across the valley have experienced the rush of the busiest and most exciting part of the growing season. It is the moment that every action in the vineyard points toward. With the 2015 harvest complete, the vines move toward winter dormancy, allowing grapegrowers to reflect on the year past.

Cool Climate Symposium to feature whos who of wine
Next year’s Cool Climate Wine Symposium will feature a “who’s who of the international wine community” according to event chairman, Bruce Tindale. Speaking last night at a symposium networking event in London’s Vintners’ Hall, Tindale – who owns Surrey vineyard High Clandon – emphasised the high calibre of speakers at the conference, which spans three days in Brighton from 26 to 28 May next year.

Wine trade 'needs a Jamie Oliver'
The wine trade could benefit from having “a Jamie Oliver” figure to engage with consumers and encourage interest in wine, replicating the chef’s success in engaging a generation with food, a leading retail buyer has said. Speaking to the drinks business at a tasting of its portfolio in London, Davy Zyw, buyer for Laithwaites, said wine had been “slightly left behind” as interest in food has taken off in recent years. “It’s an exciting time for food and wine in the UK at the moment”, said Zyw.

Trophy sweep for Taylors at Great Australian Shiraz Challenge
Clare Valley winery Taylors Wines has made history at the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge last night, winning both the Best Australian Shiraz and the Best Australian Shiraz under $25. Receiving a score of 19.5, the awards mark the second time a single wine has collected both trophies on offer at the competition. Mitchell Taylor, third generation managing director, said he was proud to be receiving such a prestigious accolade.

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