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News posted on Monday, 29 February 2016

Mornington Peninsula vintage to be ‘extra special’
PICKING is underway at vineyards across the peninsula with winemakers tipping “something extra special” for the 2016 vintage. David Lloyd, the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association president, said the harvest began seven to 10 days early across southeast Australia. He said optimum conditions across the summer had produced a good crop with potential to make exceptional wine.

Paul Evans resigns from Winemakers' Federation
Paul Evans announced his resignation from the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia (WFA) last week, stepping down from the position of chief executive officer which he held for almost three years. Tony D’Aloisio, WFA president, said under Evans’ control the organisation has undertaken a significant body of work to develop and implemented a recovery plan to lift profitability for wine businesses.

Victorian council hopes to lure foreign investment
THE SWAN HILL COUNCIL is holding farm visits for investors on the Federal Government's Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program. The council's Muriel Scholz said she understood the concerns some people had around foreign investment in Australian agriculture. But she said the council's visits were an attempt to expand markets for local produce. "We encourage people to come in and buy our products," she said. "If they are interested in looking at property that's something we can facilitate as well."

Southern Highlands' oldest winery sells for $2m
Winemaker Kim Moginie, brother of Midnight Oil guitarist Jim Moginie, and his wife Frances have sold their Joadja Vineyard and Winery near Berrima, the oldest in the NSW Southern Highlands, for just under $2 million. The 8.5-hectare rustic vineyard and winery on the corner of Greenhills and Joadja Roads, which also hosts events like Music in the Vines and regularly features performances by Jim Moginie, was established more than 30 years ago.

Tassie vineyards to reap reward of dry season
THE hot, dry hot summer has been brutal for many Tasmanian farmers but a blessing for those growing grapes with some yields up 50 per cent this year. The state’s 2015 vintage was moderate, yielding the equivalent of about 620,000 cases realising a farmgate value of more than $65 million. However, Paul Williams from Wobbly Boot vineyard in the Coal River Valley told the Mercury that this season his grapes were in weighty bunches with uniform growth and he expected to yield 50 per cent more than last year.

Lowering the bar
The increasing interest in a healthier lifestyle, led by various governments, has resulted in growth of lower-alcohol, zero-alcohol and lower-calorie wines. Wine Intelligence, the specialist market survey organisation, has just published its latest report, Lower Alcohol Wines – a Multi-Market Perspective. Efforts in New Zealand - investing in the industry’s largest research and development project to explore better ways of producing high-quality, low-alcohol, low-calorie wines - did not go unnoticed.

Global warming and its impact on wine
In 1989 Richard Smart‘s suggestion that Bordeaux might one day be better suited to Grenache than Cabernet was met with derision. Now, as the dangers of global warming are brought into stark relief, he considers the viticultural changes being produced today. So, how will we adapt? What will we change – the region or the variety?

Could El Niño turn into a dud for California?
Sacramento is in the peak of its rainy season, but there is no substantial rain in the forecast. The Sierra snowpack has fallen below normal levels for this time of year. The state’s three largest reservoirs remain far below capacity. Whither El Niño? A winter season that began with considerable promise toward breaking the drought has given way to a staggeringly dry February.

Shock at Tour de France Chilean wine deal
There was a whiff of revolt in France on Friday as news broke that the Tour de France organisers had struck a deal to promote a Chilean wine at it's 2016 event. The wine Bicicleta from Chile's Cono Sur is the wine in question, and will only be allowed on the promotional events outside France, in Switzerland, Andorra and Spain. But domestic wine producers were up in arms. "It's unacceptable to allow the Tour de France organisers to promote a wine from Chile," the Young Farmers group (JA) said on its website.

For the love of wine and a new home
Over many years, Hermann and Agnes Seifried have built a sound business that is a significant player in the New Zealand wine industry. Their commitment to the development of a strong, vibrant wine community in Nelson has left a footprint that will last for many generations. It all started when Hermann emigrated to Nelson in the 1970s to work for the Apple and Pear Board of the day. He arrived on January 1, 1971 and as he was driving down the Stoke Straight a caravan blew over in the strong winds.

How B.C.'s wine industry is becoming its own worst enemy
B.C.’s wine industry has grand ambitions to take on the world–if only it could stop the internecine battle that’s tearing it apart. For a while, it looked like peace had finally settled over B.C. wine country. At the end of a three-day Wine Leaders Forum last April, set against the tranquil shores of Naramata’s Sandy Beach Lodge and Resort and co-presented by the UBC-Okanagan faculty of management and Bordeaux’s Kedge Business School, a joint communiqué was signed.

Delegat lifts first-half profit 5% on record wine sales
The Delegat Group, New Zealand’s largest listed wine company, boosted first-half operating profit five per cent as wine sales rose to a record. Profit excluding one-time movements in the value of its assets rose to $21.5 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $20.5 million in the year earlier period, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Net profit almost doubled to $19.2 million, or 18.95 cents per share, from $9.8 million, or 9.67 cents, the year earlier as the company's vines, grapes and derivative financial instruments were written down by $2.3 million, compared with a $10.7 million write down in the year earlier period.

Chinese internet billionaire acquires Bordeaux winery
Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba and one of the richest men in China, has quietly begun a campaign to acquire Bordeaux wineries, completing a deal to buy Château de Sours, a 198-acre estate in Entre-Deux-Mers. Ma, 51, founded Alibaba Group, a network of Internet businesses, in 1999, and is worth an estimated $21.3 billion. He and a group of his friends, also Chinese billionaires, visited Bordeaux last year, each with the intention of buying châteaux.

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