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News posted on Friday, 29 May 2015

Ken Bray gains legend status at Hunter Valley award night
Winners of the Hunter Valley Legends Awards were announced last night at a ceremony held at Brokenwood Wines. A celebration to recognise the achievements of those who have made a major contribution to the region’s wine and tourism industry, the awards include winners in multiple categories. All eyes were on Ken Bray, Braemore Vineyard owner, as he was inducted into the “hall of fame” and named the 2015 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Living Legend. A significant addition to the “hall of fame”, Bray is the first viticulturist in the region to be awarded legend status.

Italian wine grapes coming of age in Australia
Name the grape varieties behind these famous Italian wines: Gavi, Soave, Frascati, Valpolicella, Barolo, Brunello. If you've more than a passing interest is this hugely diverse wine country – there are hundreds of grape varieties in Italy, although many are the same but bearing different names – you might have heard of a few of them. They are, in order: the white grapes cortese, garganega, and malvasia (blended with trebbiano); and the black-red wine varieties corvina (blended with rondinella), nebbiolo, and sangiovese.

Barossa winery makes deal to send two million bottles of wine to China
A Barossa Valley winery will soon be sending one point five million litres of wine to China in a deal struck with a private company. Seppeltsfield winery will send two million bottles of wine to company Nanshan, China's largest private winemaker. Managing Director, Warren Randall, said Australian wineries must tailor their product to the Chinese market. He said Chinese wine consumption is set to rise by one billion litres in the next five years and much of the growth will be imported.

Pour form: why wine is a tough sell
The industry's move away from BYO dining is about more than just the licensing and labour costs, writes our Industry Observer. I remember a time when you would grab a bottle from the fridge and head out to a restaurant for dinner. Seems simple and I'm not recollecting something from the dim dark past; even 20 years ago it was commonplace. A couple of companies even specialised in making little chilled carriers to get your bottle there safely - they even had one for a cask bladder - ahh the joy of youth.

Neudorf releases first of its wine library collection
Neudorf Vineyards is releasing the first of its wine library as it down-sizes its 35-year collection. Co-owner Tim Finn said wine was stored from each vintage as a reference point and for vertical tastings. "The time has come to release some of these precious cellared wines. The library is full of memories of people and vintages, celebrations and heartache," he said. "We remember each year so clearly, the interns from France Germany and the States, pickers from all over the globe, the wonderful smooth vintages and the ones of quiet desperation; 1995 springs to mind.”

Perspectives on wine marketing research
Conducting marketing research in the wine industry is like hugging a porcupine. It’s hard to wrap your arms around, and you better know what you’re doing or else you can get hurt. The challenge is endemic to wine itself. With what other product do consumers get so overwhelmed by something so pleasurable where they doubt their own taste buds and defer to the opinions of “experts” to tell them what they should and shouldn’t like, and are often made to feel inferior for liking what they like (e.g., something sweet)?

Penfolds unveils Magill Estate redevelopment
Penfolds Magill Estate today unveils a new cellar door and restaurant to the public after a multi-million dollar redevelopment. The winery, one of the few single vineyards in the world located within city boundaries, will now offer a “world-class visitor experience” for both local and international guests. Simon Marton, chief marketing officer, says the changes to Magill Estate include a state-of-the-art cellar door space repositioned at the front of the winery, and a new kitchen concept with indoor and outdoor dining.

Coles, Woolies face WET fury
WA winemakers want Coles and Woolworths in the firing line when a Senate inquiry looks at how lucrative tax rebates apply in the industry. Wines of WA chief executive Larry Jorgensen said the big retailers were pushing more of their labels onto liquor store shelves and cashing in on Commonwealth tax rebates of up to $500,000 a year. New Zealand wine producers are also claiming about $25 million a year under the wine equalisation tax rebate scheme.

South African craft wine movement more talk than taste?
The craft-made bandwagon in South Africa has plenty of room. The country’s wine industry has taken advantage of the extra seats, hopping on with all it’s might and promoting the supposed artisan nature of its products. Business Day Live reporter Michael Fridjhon isn’t buying it, though. “The wine industry has not been able to resist the easy money of the ‘craft’ party,” Fridjhon wrote this past week. Fridjhon went on to lay out a brief examination of the craft wine industry – wines with a limited production run and often a quaint origin story - beginning with his observations of a recent craft Pinot Noir he tasted.

Russia's largest wine producer expanded by 40%
Russian winemaker Ariant has expanded its domestic vineyards holdings from 6,000 to 8,500 hectares, newspaper RBC reported Wednesday, as Russia seeks to revitalize its long-neglected wine industry. Ariant's extra 2,500 hectares is located in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, where the majority of Russia's wine production is concentrated, according to Ariant's press officer Roman Gribanov, RBC reported. The wine company hopes to profit from increased tourism from Russia to the peninsula of Crimea, which is connected by ferry link to Krasnodar, said company co-owner Alexander Aristov.

Classic vintage' for Gimblett Gravels
One of the international wine industry's leading experts has described the 2013 Gimblett Gravels line-up of reds as possessing "all the hallmarks of a classic vintage". Sydney-based master of wine Andrew Caillard was in Hawke's Bay as the independent selector of the Gimblett Gravels 2013 annual vintage selection - something he has undertaken annually since 2008. Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association chairman Gordon Russell said the 2013 selection was the most comprehensive line-up so far with a record 46 wines submitted by members of the association.

New viticulture research program opens in Kent
A trial research vineyard is being established at the East Malling Research centre in Kent which aims to boost productivity and margins within the English wine industry. The organisation is the centre of the horticultural crops and plants in the UK, which specialises in research on soft fruit and offers commercial services to the industry. EMR's head of viticulture research, Dr Julien Lecourt said the idea was to use the centre's experience with soft fruit to inform its viticulture program.

Seppeltsfield 100-year-old port gets a luxury Lalique crystal makeover worth $10,000
South Australian winery Seppeltsfield has answered the question by stepping into the world of high culture and design with its latest blend of Barossan fortified. The winery has partnered with luxury French crystal house Lalique to release a rare 100-year blend of tawny “port” in an exclusively crafted decanter to go on sale this week for $10,000. Only 150 of the pieces have been made worldwide, to be unveiled Wednesday and Thursday in $150 a head tasting events in Melbourne and Sydney.

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