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News posted on Monday, 30 January 2017

Wine industry cautious about free trade headwinds
The value of Australian wine exports continues to surge, with the latest round of export statistics showing export values climbed to $2.22 billion in the year to December 2016. Export value growth has been skewed to the more expensive end of the market, with growth in premium wines outpacing cheaper price points. Even in the United Kingdom, Australia's largest market by volume, consumers are gradually shifting up the value chain, something Wine Australia chief executive Andreas Clark believes is part of a global shift to the premium end of the market

How premium Australian wine is finding a new market
Australia, perhaps more than any other major wine-producing country in the world, has suffered from a deep sense of misunderstanding among American consumers. For years, the perception, in general, was of a nation that tended to produce a single style of wine, regardless of where in that vast continent it came from. This worked well for the Australian wine industry for a time, but eventually, as the wine world changed, and as consumer tastes inevitably shifted away from decidedly fruit-forward bottlings, it suffered. Only now is Australian wine climbing back to prominence in the United States.

China import round-up: Australia grows by 40%
New figures show that China imported more wine by volume and value in 2016 versus 2015, with France and Australia leading the way. Australian wines scored a 40% increase in volume and 23% increase in value in the year 2016. China reduced the import tariffs on Australian wines to 8.4% in 2016, as part of a free trade agreement between the nations (ChAFTA). Although the actual impact on costs was still ‘limited’, the agreement has ‘given great confidence’ to producers, importers and distributors, said several trade observers in a recent group Interview with DecanterChina.com.

Yellow Tail $5m Super Bowl ad ‘absolutely’ worth it
The global marketing boss of Casella Family Brands has said the $5m investment in a 30 second ad for Yellow Tail Wine, was “absolutely” worth the expected 85% viewer reach at the Super Bowl. Casella Family Brands, together with Havas Media, bought individual media slots in 70 markets across the US, making Yellow Tail the first wine brand to advertise at the US’ largest sporting event in forty years. The brand was able to find a loop hole to Anheuser-Busch InBev’s exclusive alcohol ad rights, which prevent other alcohol brands from placing national ads during Super Bowl, through regional media buys.

Mt Gambier mayor failed to declare winery ownership
A regional mayor has failed to declare ownership of a Coonawarra winery and that he used a taxpayer-funded business trip to China to meet with his new co-owner about the purchase. Mount Gambier Mayor Andrew Lee, 57, was a member of the State Government-organised Shandong Business Mission to the Chinese province in April 2016. The Advertiser understands during the four-day trip Mr Lee met Chinese businessman, Gang Ye, who later became his partner in the purchase of Rymill Coonawarra winery, near Penola.

Villa Maria direct distribution model in australia
Villa Maria, New Zealand’s most awarded winery, has announced plans to establish its own Australian-based sales and distribution operation to continue to grow its presence in the market. The family-owned winery made the decision following the acquisition of its distributor Fine Wine Partners by Accolade Wines, with the aim of creating greater flexibility for its marketing and distribution as well as getting closer to its customers. “Villa Maria has had a very successful relationship with Fine Wine Partners for the past 12 years,” said founder and owner Sir George Fistonich.

Vidal winemaker passionate about chardonnay
Vidal Estate winemaker Hugh Crichton is working hard to put Hawkes Bay chardonnay on the international stage. He has just presented a master class on it in London at an event that showcased the best of New Zealand in front of hundreds of wine writers, top industry and enthusiasts. "It's exciting and I'm on a bit of a crusade to take New Zealand chardonnay to the world," Crichton said. "I'm fanatical about chardonnay, it's my baby really."

Global wine supply balancing out
Global wine inventories have been trending downwards in recent years and, while some see this as a shift towards a supply shortage, Rabobank’s latest Global Wine Quarterly says it marks a continued move towards balance – albeit with variations in geography, varietal and price segments. The report warns this move towards a more balanced supply could create challenges for certain wine-sourcing models, such asset-light business models in some regions.

How to get your business ready for Chinese tourism
The Chinese lunar Year of the Rooster is now upon us, and with it comes one of the world’s biggest festive seasons. The lunar New Year is the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, marking a time of cultural celebration, family gatherings, and mass domestic and international travel for the Chinese community. It’s also an important season for Australian businesses as it is the busiest period for inbound visitors to Australia from not only mainland China, but also other communities that celebrate the New Year, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Corralling stink bugs could improve wine
To wine makers, stink bugs are more than a nuisance. These tiny pests can hitch rides on grapes going through the wine making process, releasing stress compounds that can foul the smell and taste of the finished product. Now, in a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report the threshold of stink bugs per grape cluster that will impact the integrity of the wine. In vineyards, brown marmorated stink bugs feed on grapes, reducing their yield and quality. And because they are small and blend in, the insects hitchhike on the grapes and wind up in the winery, giving off stress compounds that sometimes affecting the quality of the wine and juice.

How chardonnay became chic again
Yellow, chewy and far too oaky, chardonnay used to be a variety to be avoided. But a new wave of growers are showing what the grape is capable of. Chardonnay was once the focus of an anti-globalising streak in the wine world. It was the Starbucks or MacDonald’s of the global vineyard, popping up everywhere, and elbowing aside local grapes and styles in places where it had never been before. In the 1990s and 2000s, if not exactly fashionable, then it was at least not unusual to claim membership of the Anything But Chardonnay (ABC) club. No wonder its popularity waned, and these days Chardonnay is no longer perceived as such a threat to diversity.

Take the agro out of agrochemical residues
To maintain Australia’s excellent reputation for food safety it is essential that Australian wineries and grapegrowers continue to ensure their products meet the requirements of the Food Standards Code. This includes compliance with maximum residue limits (MRLs) of agrochemical residues for Australia and export destinations. AWRI Commercial Services offers a large simultaneous screen of approximately 70 registered or recently deregistered agrochemicals at levels at or below the lowest MRL of any export destination. This analysis can be done on either grapes or wines and enables wineries to evaluate their risk of non-compliance with domestic or export regulations. More details are available on the agrochemical analysis webpage. The AWRI website also contains a database of MRLs for all major wine export destinations and agrochemicals.

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WID 2017