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News posted on Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Canberra winemaker aims for sparkling best
To the uninitiated, the large, wooden, punctured A frame in the darkened corner of a tin shed, could be mistaken for an instrument of torture, not out of place during the Spanish inquisition. The shed at Hall, in Canberra's cool climate wine district, is also filled with some of the more expensive, high-tech wine making equipment available. But, even in this day and age, winemaker Greg Gallagher holds on to his champagne or "riddling" table, in his pursuit of making the perfect sparkling wine.

Italy breathes a sigh of relief over 2015 vintage
After a lousy 2014 harvest, growers and producers are keeping their fingers crossed as the grapes ripen. It's still early to be talking about the quality of the 2015 vintage, but Italian growers are simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief and keeping their fingers crossed after a poor 2014. Generally, life is looking up for growers across Italy this year, with good rain levels in the early part of the season offset by blazing heat in July. So far, so good, but there is some concern among growers about the intensity of the heat, although weather forecasts suggest a cooler August.

Bacteria behind lethal vine disease found on French soil
The Xylella fastidiosa bacteria has been discovered on the island of Corsica, just over 18 months after its first recorded appearance in Europe, in olive groves in Italy. News of its spread to Corsica prompted a fierce reaction from Europe’s plant protection organisation (EPPO), which said this week that ‘eradication measures have been immediately implemented’. It is a potentially worrying development for wine producers – and wine drinkers.

Grant puts wine director on study path
Craggy Range director of wine and viticulture Steve Smith, is one of 12 senior executives and business owners given the opportunity to attend the world's most prestigious business schools after receiving a Prime Minister's Business Scholarship. Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the scholarships allowed top executives to expand their international expertise and were designed to help make New Zealand firms more internationally competitive.

Concha y Toro becomes world's biggest vineyard
Chile’s Concha y Toro has become the biggest vineyard owner in the world following Treasury Wine Estate’s sale of its Asti Winery assets. According to Treasury’s annual financial report for 2014, the group owned 10,781 hectares of vineyards, just over 30ha more than Concha y Toro’s total vineyard holding of 10,750ha – which includes the company’s 9,133ha in Chile, 1,154ha in Argentina and 463ha in the US, where it owns Fetzer and Bonterra.

Traditional wine retail is 'dying'
The traditional model of wine retail involving uninspiring walls of wine is dying out and being replaced by a more engaging, interactive experience according to one top indie merchant. Speaking to the drinks business, Stephen Finch, owner of Vagbond Wines said: “The traditional” model of wine retail involving bottles on shelves is dying. “A creative crop of innovative wine merchants like Loki, Bottle Apostle and Hanging Ditch are offering a much more engaging and adventurous option.

OPINION: The alcohol industry would prefer that alcohol did not cause cancer
OPINION: Alcohol Action New Zealand and the Cancer Society ran a joint one-day conference recently at Te Papa to discuss alcohol and cancer. I was surprised by the lack of response from the alcohol industries in the media. Their formula of intervening to spread doubt about the credentials of the researchers, and therefore the evidence, can usually be relied upon when we talk openly about the health effects of alcohol. On reflection, I see that an immediate response would have initiated an unwinnable debate over the evidence.

McLaren Vale winemaker named as nation's best
A MCLAREN Vale winemaker has been named Australia’s best by one of the nation’s top wine critics at an event held at iconic Melbourne Museum last night.. Yangarra Winery’s Peter Fraser was honoured with the title of winemaker of the year at James Halliday’s 2015 Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Selected from more than 1,300 Australian wineries, Yangarra was the only South Australian winery to receive a major award.

Bombay High Court lifts ban on wine imported from Australia, slams regulator
The Bombay High Court has dismissed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's (FSSAI's) case against import of Australia's largest wine brand Jacob's Creek. The court was hearing a petition filed by Pernod Ricard India, which imports Jacob's Creek, against the import ban on a shipment which the FSSAI said contained tartaric acid as well as ascorbic acid. "We appreciate the functions and duties that FSSAI undertakes to ensure the safety of food that is consumed by the public.”

Chance for Swan Valley vignerons to tap expert advice
WHEN a winemaker gets to a certain vintage, retirement can be difficult because family members might not want to take over the business and selling up is a foreign concept. This dilemma is the basis of the latest Finlaysons Wine Roadshow Decision Time, which will be in the Swan Valley on Thursday, July 30, for the first time in the show’s 23-year history. Wine industry lawyer and Finlaysons wine partner Will Taylor will be the key speaker at the roadshow.

Tiny Yarra Valley vineyard produces wine of the year
A wine from a tiny vineyard in Victoria's Yarra Valley has taken out one of the country's most prestigious wine awards. Tom Carson, Serrat Wines winemaker, says in comparison to other small, boutique vineyards, his Yarra Valley plot of just under three hectares is truly minute. "In the scheme of things it's just tiny," Carson said. "A really tiny boutique winery might be 10 hectares as a starting point and then up from there, so to be well under that is probably crazy."

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