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News posted on Friday, 31 March 2017

Tasmania: Xylella scare
A bacteria that has the ability to wipe out much of Tasmania’s horticultural industries could enter the state via imported cut flowers. Emergency quarantine measures were introduced to reduce the risk of Xylella fastidiosa in November 2015, but these measures do not cover cut flowers because the risk is not considered high enough. Xylella has already cost the Californian wine industry hundreds of millions of dollars and has spread to South America and Europe.

Wine tourism in the grip of the Tasmanian grape
Tasmania's advertising blitz targeting interstate tourists continues to pay dividends for the state's boutique beverage operators. According to the latest Tourism Tasmania figures, more than 260,000 people paid a visit to a local cellar door in 2016, an amazing 22.5 per cent lift on the previous year.

Artisan approach at Tasmania’s Domaine Simha
Domaine Simha has transformed the fine wine landscape and fostered a new outlook on what Tasmania has to offer. Just a few years after their first vintage, the exceptional wines of Domaine Simha are highly sought by collectors, sommeliers and connoisseurs across Australasia. “Tasmania is Australia’s final frontier and the natural advantages we have are unparalleled. Making wine here is like standing on the brink of a new world where everything is possible.”

Vines found vandalised ahead of vintage
A Riverland vineyard owner has discovered several rows of wine grape vines close to being harvested slashed and damaged in an apparent attack. The incident happened on Thursday last week at a property at Barmera. Property owner Con Doupis told the ABC he was devastated by the incident, which would cost about $70,000 in repairs and lost income.

Impressive showing at ProWein 2017
Australian wine has had its largest showing at ProWein 2017, the world’s biggest wine trade fair held annually in Düsseldorf, with 76 wineries joining Wine Australia on its stand. ProWein saw a record number of guests with more than 58,000 trade from 130 countries attending over the course of the three-day Fair. The Wine Australia program focused on showcasing the diversity of Australian wine and challenging outdated perceptions.

Albariño: Next variety to watch in NZ
Two of New Zealand’s most respected wineries - Villa Maria and Babich – have named Albariño as one the next big white varietals following the blazing trail set by Sauvignon Blanc. Villa Maria chief operating officer, Richard Thomas, has confirmed he will be introducing Albariño to Australia later this year after successfully selling it into the UK market as well as in the New Zealand domestic market.

Foreign owners produce a third of NZ wine
The Wall Street Journal reported this week foreign companies "continue to snap up thousands of acres of New Zealand farmland, seeking to ensure access to premium fruit as part of a global strategy to make higher-quality wine". However, the extent of foreign ownership of the New Zealand wine industry is exaggerated, says New Zealand Winegrowers. Philip Gregan, NZ Winegrowers chief executive, said foreign entities control 34 per cent of wine production, much less than 15 years ago when the figure was about 85 per cent.

Brexit: Wine leaders lobby for interim deal
Around 55% of wine imported into the UK comes from the European Union and neither side wants to jeopardise sales. This week, European trade body CEEV and the UK’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) joined forces to jointly call for a transitional trade deal between the UK and EU to keep the wine flowing.

Trade interest in English wine on the up
The UK wine trade is showing an increased interest in home-grown wines, according to the London Wine Fair, which is being held at London’s Olympia between 22 and 24 May. Visitors surveyed at registration have been asked to stipulate which country they are most interested in investigating and the UK is in the top five. France comes out top, followed by Italy, Spain, Australia, and the UK, which comes above South Africa, Argentina, Chile and New Zealand.

Weak pound dents UK Champagne sales
Producers and agents are starting to introduce price increases – typically of between 5% and 10%. The Wine and Spirits Trade Association has already warned that a “triple whammy” of Brexit, inflation and rising alcohol duty will push up the prices of champagne and prosecco in the UK.

New Bordeaux vintage looks great, but...
The new wines look as though they'll be even better than last year's, but Brexit, Trump, and French elections loom large among the chateaus. The big wine story next week will take place in Bordeaux, where flags are already flying over turreted stone chateaus to welcome several thousand enthusiastic merchants and journalists. They’re swooping in from around the globe for en primeur, the region’s famous annual spring ritual.

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WID 2017