Daily Wine News
A snapshot of wine business, research and marketing content gleaned from local and international wine media sources. Emailed Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. Click here to subscribe, for advertising inquiries, click to download our media kit.

Announcements and Suppliers

1/09/2014: How to sell your brand to online retail channels like Vinomofo.com and Lot18.com
The following article by BeverageTradeNetwork.com (BTN) provides insights and tips for suppliers looking to sell their brands to online retail partners. BTN interviews Andre Eikmeier, founder of Vinomofo.com (fastest growing retailer in Australia) on how wineries can position themselves for this channel.

1/09/2014: Bird protection made easy
The right netting can make a huge difference to your vineyard’s productivity. Vine nets come in sizes suitable for multi row and single row applications and custom made sizes are also available for early orders.

Australian Wine Industry News

1/09/2014: Blog: Global manufacturer plans to revive the cork Down Under
When CorkGuard Closures Ltd introduced SmartCork to the market it knew the Australian wine industry would be tough to crack because of its preference for screwcap. But as it turns out David Taylor, who developed the new cork, is pushing all the right buttons to tap into the antipodean wine world.

1/09/2014: WGGA appoints new executive committee representative
Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) has announced the appointment of Ben Rose as the new greater Victoria and Tasmania representative on the WGGA executive committee. Lawrie Stanford, WGGA executive director, said Rose – a viticulture consultant with more than 15 years’ experience – was qualified to represent the greater Victorian and Tasmanian winegrape growing community.

1/09/2014: Treasury Wine Estates flags AGM delay potential
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has warned it may delay its AGM depending on the outcome of discussions with two potential buyers of the group. Earlier this month, TWE revealed it received a competing takeover bid after Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) and Rhone Capital proposed a $3.4bn transaction.

1/09/2014: Master of Wine tastes more than 8000 wines for new book
Master of Wine Rob Geddes tried more than 8000 wines for his latest book Australian Wine Vintages. Geddes tasted them over a two-month period from his Crows Nest home, spending between three minutes and 10 minutes on each wine. In the 32nd edition of The Gold Book, Geddes shares which local drops are worth buying this year.

1/09/2014: Loxton Research Centre refurbish progresses
The empty offices at the Loxton Research Centre are beginning to buzz again, according to Riverland Wine. In September last year the state government announced plans to revive the once thriving centre, refurbish and re-populate the empty spaces and build additional capacity. Plans for a new multi-function centre including laboratories, training facilities and meeting rooms were unveiled a couple of months ago.

29/08/2014: Australian Vintage outshines rival with strong profits rise
McGuigan Wines producer Australian Vintage Limited (AVL) has reported its highest annual profits total in nearly a decade, contrasting markedly with the losses reported at rival Treasury Wine Estates. It has become semi-customary during the past 10 years for Australian wine companies to warn of challenging conditions facing their industry. AVL repeated the mantra in its financial results statement this week, reiterating that overall Australian wine exports are still falling year-on-year.

29/08/2014: Award-winning journo joins wine judging panel
Lyndey Milan OAM, Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show committee chair has announced award-winning British journalist and presenter Jane Parkinson as the show’s 2015 international wine judge. Parkinson is no stranger to the Australian wine industry, having spent three months in 2011 at a winery in South Australia’s McLaren Vale region. The resident wine expert on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen Live is also the wine editor for Restaurant, wine expert for Stylist and wine reviewer for 60 Second Reviews.

29/08/2014: Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show Fellowship applications now open
The Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show Fellowship invites applications from wine professionals and knowledgeable enthusiasts who wish to take part in the program. The Fellowship gives successful applicants the opportunity to explore and celebrate Australia’s alternative varieties and share that new found fervour with their networks and industry groups.

29/08/2014: Blog: Researchers investigate link between wine and emotion
University of Adelaide researchers are investigating the links between wine, where it’s consumed and emotion to help the Australian wine industry gain deeper consumer insights into their products. A trial is being carried out involving 360 wine consumers who have been sampling specific wines in different environments, and rating their emotional response on a specially devised ‘wine emotion scale’.

28/08/2014: 2014 NSW Small Winemakers Show winners announced
The NSW Small Winemakers Show, sponsored by Winetitles, celebrated its 23rd year of competition this year. More than 600 entries were received from 101 small producers that crush a maximum of 500-tonnes annually.

28/08/2014: AWRI’s fourth webinar series to launch next month
The AWRI’s fourth webinar series will launch in early September with sessions continuing until mid-December. Webinars are interactive online seminars where you participate from your desk using a computer with internet access. You hear the presenter’s voice, see their slides and have the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation. Presentations are made by experts in their field, with a focus on practical advice and support.

28/08/2014: WA wine exports to China suffer steep drop in sales and volume
Western Australia's wine industry is reassessing the extent of its focus on the China export market on the back of sharp drops in both sales and volume. Industry figures reveal wine exports to China from WA in the 12 months to July 2014 were down 25 per cent by volume and 20 per cent in sales.

27/08/2014: Two-day wine and grape science symposium to be held in Adelaide next month
Crush 2014, the wine and grape science symposium, will be held at the Plant Research Centre, Waite Campus in Adelaide from 25-26 September. The national event, organised by the Wine Innovation Cluster (WIC), will bring together researchers, technical people and students from around Australia to discuss the latest developments, outcomes and knowledge in viticulture and oenology.

27/08/2014: Blog: Clare Valley winery raises a glass to Chinese market
Taylors Wines has cemented its reputation in the highly competitive Chinese wine market, winning big at the 2014 China Wine and Spirits Awards (CWSA) and the 2014 China Wine Challenge. At the CWSA in Hong Kong, Taylors took out the trophy for the Clare Valley wine of the year for its 2010 Taylors Winemaker’s Project (TWP) Barrel Selection Clare Valley Shiraz. According to the company, Taylors was one of the best performing wineries at the show, taking home 21 medals including seven double gold and seven gold.

27/08/2014: TWE boss wins major shareholder backing for US push
Treasury Wine Estates' (TWE) chief Michael Clarke says he has the strong backing of the company's biggest shareholders, as well as both private equity suitors circling the group, to embark on an acquisition campaign in the US and reverse years of drifting by the business.

27/08/2014: 2014 Blackwood Valley & WA Boutique Wine Show entries now open
Western Australia's Blackwood Valley Wine Industry Association is calling on local wine producers and boutique wine producers with production of up to 250 tonnes to enter the 2014 Blackwood Valley & WA Boutique Wine Show. The wine show is specifically designed to recognise excellence in local boutique wineries and promote the outstanding wines produced in the Blackwood Valley wine region.

26/08/2014: End of winter signals end of ester hormone herbicide use
Budburst has commenced in most South Australian vineyards and the Wine Grape Council of SA is requesting broad-acre farmers, contract sprayers, local governments and other users of phenoxy herbicides for weed control be mindful of its potential damage to winegrapes and other horticulture crops.

26/08/2014: Blog: Hill of Grace Restaurant officially opens
Adelaide Oval’s Hill of Grace Restaurant officially opens to the public today, offering a fine dining experience while showcasing the best seasonal produce and premium wine the state has to offer. At last night's official launch attended by industry leaders, government officials and the media, a menu created by head chef Dennis Leslie and the world’s only complete set of Henschke Hill of Grace was unveiled.

26/08/2014: Australian Vintage signs distribution agreement with COFCO
Australian Vintage Limited (AVL) has signed a Chinese distribution agreement with COFCO Wine & Spirits Co Ltd. The agreement will see AVL, through its core brand McGuigan Wines, become the strategic partner for Australian wine throughout China within the newly established international wine division of COFCO. “There is currently an opportunity for Australian wine in China and it’s one of the most exciting emerging markets for the global wine industry," AVL chief executive officer Neil McGuigan says.

26/08/2014: Hardys reaches a century
South Australia's Hardys is celebrating a milestone this week and has announced its distribution to more than 100 countries around the world, with recent additions including South Africa and Mexico. Already the biggest selling Australian wine brand in the UK, Hardys is now available in 54 per cent of all wine drinking countries globally.

25/08/2014: Winemakers’ fears over planned coal mine
The proposal for a new coal mine in the Hunter Valley is raising fears that history could repeat itself after a similar plan devastated the wine industry in the '90s. The proposed mining project has united local industries in fear of the impact it will have on the wine trade, with the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) warning it could have "major consequences".

25/08/2014: Wine Australia ramps up Nordic focus
Wine Australia is targeting the Nordic markets by bringing roadshows to Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki next month. The national body says each city's event will showcase more than 160 wines from across Australia.

25/08/2014: Blog: Inland Wine Show entries close next week
Entries for the 2014 Australian Inland Wine Show (AIWS) close on Monday 1 September. Wineries have already begun returning forms and entry numbers from some individual wineries are up from previous years.

25/08/2014: Don’t get all hazed over bentonite – help is coming
Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) scientist Jacqui McRae told the recent Winery Engineering Association conference in SA bentonite is still with us but researchers are working hard to come up with better alternatives.

22/08/2014: International students get a taste for Australian wine
More than 200 international students swapped their textbooks for a wine glass yesterday at the 4th International Students' Tasting of Australian Wine held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide. Hosted by Wine Australia, Study Adelaide, the National Wine Education and Training Centre (NWETC) and supported by the National Wine Centre, the event aimed to ignite a passion for Australian wine among students who make Australia their home while undertaking university education.

22/08/2014: Forget the labels, says international wine judge
International wine judge Fongyee Walker says consumers shouldn't base their purchase on how impressed they are with the label. Speaking at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, Walker said they should instead enjoy the product and choose a wine that suits the occasion.

22/08/2014: Survey reveals alarming decline in winegrape prices
The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of SA recently published the results of the 2014 Winegrape Crush Survey. It revealed an alarming decline in winegrape prices of $57 per tonne average across all varieties. When expressed as average income per hectare the decline was restricted to 7 per cent because of the Riverland's increased regional crush, up 10 per cent to 436,000 tonnes.

22/08/2014: Top vineyard tips to prevent disease and weeds
With winter winding down there are a number of vineyard jobs that need to be finished. Many growers are still busy pruning and Dave Antrobus from agricultural research and development firm Syngenta says it's worth remembering that pruning not only has a significant impact on yield potential and crop quality, but it also has a large effect on disease management.

21/08/2014: Rules on display of wine show medals ripe for review
Gold, silver and bronze medals on wine bottles recognise achievements won at wine shows around the country and the rules governing their use are under review. The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia is seeking feedback on its ‘Code of Practice for the Display of Awards’ by Thursday 30 October.

21/08/2014: South Aussie wines make a splash at Chinese wine festival
South Australian winemakers have taken top honours at an international wine festival in China. Eight winemakers from McLaren Vale shared 11 prizes in the Changli Wine Festival which attracted winemakers from France, Italy, Spain, Chile, New Zealand and China in Hebei province.

21/08/2014: NSW Wine Industry Association partners with RCA to deliver NSW Wine List Awards
Restaurant and Catering Australia (RCA) has partnered with the NSW Wine Industry Association to deliver the NSW Wine List Awards. The event is aimed at recognising licensed restaurants that excel in wine service and wine list development with a focus on showcasing local wines and supporting the NSW wine and food industries through wine list development.

21/08/2014: Treasury Wine Estates swings to full-year loss
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has swung to a full-year loss on the back of hefty asset impairment charges, but the group remains confident it is well positioned for growth despite being the subject of a $3.4bn bidding war. In the year to June 30, TWE posted a net loss after tax of $100.9m, a sharp decline on the $47.2m profit recorded in 2013.

20/08/2014: International line-up at wine industry conference
Time is running out for the early-bird rates to attend Outlook 2014: Taking Charge of Our Future – the wine industry’s major conference held every two years. More than 300 wine industry leaders from across Australia are expected in Adelaide for the two-day event to be held 1-2 October. The early-bird rate only applies to registrations sent in by today (20 August).

20/08/2014: ATO targets rorts of wine tax rebate scheme
The tax office is clamping down on winemakers after several audacious rorts of the $300 million Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate scheme, including a producer who claimed the rebate 12 times on a single sale.

20/08/2014: McLaren Vale’s Grenache gets top nod as nation’s best
McLaren Vale's Grenache wine has long been known as the jewel in the region’s crown. Now, Australia’s leading wine critic James Halliday has confirmed it. Halliday made the statement ahead of his visit to the McLaren Vale wine region for International Grenache Day on September 19.

20/08/2014: Wineries to benefit from Finlaysons seminar
Australian wine law firm Finlaysons is holding its annual Finlaysons Wine Roadshow seminar in the Barossa later this month. This year’s seminar will look at key issues for the industry including growing demand for Australian wine, the 'wine and health' debate, working with retail chains and wine taxation.

19/08/2014: Winemakers tour Hunter Valley as part of industry review
Twelve of Australia's leading family-owned wine companies have been touring the Hunter Valley the past few days to discuss the industry's future direction. Hayley Purbrick from Victorian-based Tahbilk winery says it seems the Hunter is picking up after the devastating impact of the high Australian dollar and oversupply problems.

19/08/2014: SIWC introduces elite bottle medallion for 2015 trophy winners
The Sydney International Wine Competition (SIWC) has introduced a revised timetable for 2015 that will offer award and trophy winners their confirmed results on or before 14 November this year. This means winners will receive an official bottle medallion displaying the competition's trademark logo and style.

19/08/2014: Beetle faces crap job in WA wine region
Holding a wine glass in one hand and swatting away flies with the other could be a thing of the past for West Australians visiting the state in spring. Hundreds of new dung beetles are being released in the tourist region to eradicate the cow pat breeding grounds of the pesky bush fly.

19/08/2014: Blog: The art of grafting grapevines
Grapegrowers from the Barossa have decided to pull or graft their vines in the lead up to spring to create a more premium, profitable and sustainable vineyard business. More than 50 growers turned up to hear McLaren Vale-based viticulturist Tony Hoare share his grafting knowledge at an information session presented by the Barossa Grape & Wine Association.

18/08/2014: Wine clinic to assess value of 1951 bottle of Grange thought to be worth almost $60,000
It may not be as infamous as the 1959 bottle that ended Barry O’Farrell’s premiership but Steve Ballas is hoping his long term investment in a vintage bottle of Grange will pay off. The father of two who bought the Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 bottle 15 years ago as a 21st birthday present for his eldest son Steve will have the drop valued at the Penfolds Re-corking Clinic tomorrow.

18/08/2014: Wine producer cuts off vines damaged by major fungal disease
A fungal disease has forced a northern NSW vigneron to pull out 25 per cent of his French-American Chambourcin vines. Bago Vineyards' Jim Mobbs says Botryosphaeria dieback is more significant as the vines age. "It's a disease of the trunks and the cordons which are the main arms that run along the wires," he says.

18/08/2014: Could China's middle class save Aussie wine?
China’s austerity measures have continued to hurt luxury imports and Australian wine is no exception – so is the middle class the answer? Just as we once rode the sheep’s back, Australia has enjoyed great economic success onboard the rampaging Chinese tiger. Australian premium wines were along for the ride. But then President Xi Jinping took on party corruption and introduced austerity measures that led to a dramatic fall in "gift giving".

18/08/2014: Blog: Celebrating 40 years of Hunter Valley winemaking
This year's vintage has been named the “vintage of the century” in the Hunter Valley and backing onto a standout 2013 vintage, there was cause for celebration at last week's Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show. Celebrating the 40th vintage of one of the country's oldest regional wine shows proved to be another good reason for the Hunter Valley to kick up its heels at the Crowne Plaza. With almost 400 locals, winemakers and out-of-town guests in attendance, more than 20 trophies were awarded to top Hunter drops.

14/08/2014: Fresh idea: Woolworths commits to fairness and honesty
Months of discussions between the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and the Woolworths Liquor Group have resulted in a set of principles to frame the commercial relationships between wine suppliers and the one of Australia’s largest wine buying groups.

14/08/2014: Could a Treasury buy-out boost the industry?
On one hand Ross Wilson, the ex-boss of Southcorp, believes the US private equity firms looking to buy Treasury Wine Estates could be just what the local industry needs. On the other, he's not a keen on foreign ownership for its icon products. ‘‘It would be sad to see an iconic Australian brand going overseas, and I think Treasury has the best wine portfolio in the world, wonderful brands, and it would be a jolly shame to see that disappear overseas.’’

14/08/2014: Wolf Blass says "split them up"
Wolf Blass, the man behind the Australian winery success story, says any new owner of Treasury Wine Estates should sell off the US operations - and quickly. Blass says it has been a “nightmare from day one’’ and has been telling the board for many years the company needed to sell the US business because it was such a drain on return on investment. He says nobody listened.

14/08/2014: No fast track to China
Darren Rathbone says other industries trying to boost their exports to China should take note of the hard work being done by Australian wine producers. He says there just isn’t a fast track. "People say ‘if we can only get 1 per cent of China drinking wine every day it will solve the world’s wine glut’. That is not understanding the Chinese culture and it’s not understanding what they are likely to do.” He says anybody hoping to massively-increase agriculture exports to China needs a reality check.

14/08/2014: Barossa investment opportunity
Barossa wine company Schild Estate is hoping to tap into growing investor interest in the wine industry. Ed Schild is looking to sell an 80 percent stake in the brand and its 50,000-case-a-year winery facilities. Mr Schild said recent deals, including April's move by Hollick family with their Coonawarra winery, made him think now was a good time to sell a majority stake in the mid-sized winery he started in the late 1990s.

14/08/2014: Old-school could be the new way
New Zealand winemakers are turning to traditional techniques to the shape new tastes and textures in their wines. At Pyramid Valley, Mike Weersing has been fermenting some of his chardonnay in giare - large clay vessels similar to the classic amphorae used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. He's initially imported these from Italy, but hopes they can be used as a template for New Zealand versions made from our own clays.

14/08/2014: Top drop from Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay's reputation for premium Syrah and Chardonnay has been reinforced with a trophy at the Spiegelau International Wine Awards. The 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah took out 'champion wine of the show', while Villa Maria's Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2013 claimed the 'champion Chardonnay' trophy. The annual wine competition drew more than 1300 entries from across New Zealand, Australia, Spain, France, Portugal and Chile.

14/08/2014: Young Sydney sommelier earns scholarship, will travel
It's a dream come true for a young hospitality star... an all expenses trip to the UK and Europe to gain experience in some of London's best restaurants and visit a selection of old world wine regions. But that is exactly what lies ahead for Alexander Kirkwood, sommelier at Rockpool Bar and Grill Sydney, after he was awarded the 2014 Daniel Pontifex Scholarship.

14/08/2014: Fostering women’s leadership in wine
A South Australian viticulturist has been named on the advisory board for the first 'Women in the Vine' Global Symposium. Mary Retallack said it was "pretty exciting" to be named one of two international board members alongside Jancis Robinson. The symposium will be held next March in California and aims to connect women across all sectors of the wine industry and provide opportunities for networking, mentoring and collaboration.

14/08/2014: Hand-picking by torchlight
Snips and buckets are essential equipment for hand-picking grapes, but one Hunter winemaker has added 'fishermen's headlamps' to the list. Ace winemaker Andrew Thomas bought a big batch of the brightest headlamps he could find and decked out his picking crew in January, creating what he believes was the Hunter's first hand-picking at night. Andrew's continuing quest for what he calls the "little one-percenters that can contribute to improving quality" led him to ponder better ways of getting his Semillon grapes nice and cool for whole-bunch pressing in the winery.

14/08/2014: Do you really need to cellar wines?
Unless you are confident of your ability to pick wines with the correct attributes from the right vintages, leaving a bottle of wine for decades probably isn't a wise move. Modern wines are more drinkable, more gratifying and more rewarding when drunk young than they were say 20 years ago. And, as always, there will be times when your wine is tainted by a cork, a problem that was inherent the moment the wine was sealed. So, to cellar or not?

13/08/2014: Tribute to Maria Casella
The Australian wine industry has lost one of its matriarchs with the passing of Maria Casella, co-founder of Casella Family Brands. Maria passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 10, with her family by her side in Brisbane. “My mother was integral to the creation of Casella Family Brands and the birth of the Yellow Tail brand," says John Casella. "(She) epitomised the values of family, hard work, dedication and loyalty. These values have not only shaped our family, but are upheld within our business today."

13/08/2014: Vale Jeremy Pringle
Winemakers and journalists have expressed shock and sadness at the sudden passing of Jeremy Pringle. Campbell Mattinson, a colleague and friend, has described the wine writer as "deep thinker" who was building momentum as a leading voice in the Australian wine industry through his honest and informative writing on the Wine Will Eat Itself blog.

13/08/2014: Big winner at the Boutique Wine Awards
The Brown Magpie winery, from the Geelong region in Victoria, has collected four trophies at the 2014 Boutique Wine Awards – a remarkable achievement for their first entry into this competition. An estate-grown Pinot Noir from 2013 has reinforced the quality of this variety from the Geelong region and given the winery plenty to warble about.

13/08/2014: Trophy to honour a Victorian viticulture legend
A new trophy at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, to highlight the achievement of the grower, or team, behind the best single-vineyard wine, will celebrate the life of a well-known Victorian viticulturist. The Kym Ludvigsen Trophy for Viticultural Excellence will respect the legacy of the esteemed viticulturist, by recognising and celebrating the contribution that grapegrowers and vineyard managers make to the wine-making process.

13/08/2014: Where does a school plant Shiraz vines? On the oval, of course
The Gladstone High School, in South Australia's Southern Flinders, began its viticulture program by planting the 'second oval' to Shiraz vines. Today, thanks to a partnership with the Taylors winery, the school incorporates its viticulture and winemaking program across a range of subject areas and provides valuable connections to careers in the industry.

13/08/2014: Double-barrel good news for Kiwi exports
The latest Rabobank Wine Quarterly Report offered up positive news for New Zealand wine exports on two fronts. Not only did the volume of wine exported jump, up 26.5 percent, but the value increase by more than 25 percent for the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2013. The total volume of wine exports increased from 35.8 million litres, between January and March 2013, to 45.3 million litres for the same period this year.

13/08/2014: Cigarette-style packaging laws for wine would be "extreme"
Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive, is confident packaging laws similar to those applied to cigarettes won't be introduced in New Zealand. Gregan responded bluntly to calls for the British government to make it compulsory for manufacturers to label wine bottles with health risks. "Cigarettes consumed as intended have the tendency to kill you, that's not the situation with products containing alcohol," says Gregan.

International Wine Industry News

1/09/2014: Industry 'looks strong', says NZ Winegrowers chief
The New Zealand Winegrowers' chief executive says the industry is looking strong despite a year of challenging weather. The annual winegrowers' national conference was held in Marlborough last week with more than 500 growers, vintners and industry leaders in attendance.

1/09/2014: UC Davis scientists may have unstuck wine (US)
A chronic problem in winemaking is 'stuck fermentation' when yeast that should be converting grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide prematurely shuts down, leaving the remaining sugar to be consumed by bacteria that can spoil the wine. A team of researchers including UC Davis yeast geneticist Linda Bisson has discovered a biochemical communication system behind this problem.

1/09/2014: Rally crashes rev up German winegrowers
Driving and wine is never a good combination and that was proved when two rally cars plowed through vineyards in Mosel, destroying the vines. The first car crashed during a practice run for the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, the German leg of the World Rally Championship (WRC) series. The second car driven by Belgium's Thierry Neuville, lost control of his Hyundai i20 on a corner and barrel-rolled through row after row of vines.

1/09/2014: Milan agency reinvents the wine pouch (Italy)
Milan-based creative agency Reverse Innovation has come up with a novel take on the wine pouch in a bid to rid bag-in-box wine of its low quality image. The new design scooped an award at The Dieline Awards 2014, run by packaging design website The Dieline.

1/09/2014: Veuve Clicquot distances itself from Champagne tablets (France)
French Champagne house Veuve Clicquot has instructed lawyers to investigate a marketing hoax that used the group's branding to promote tablets that dissolve in water to create Champagne. Images of the Veuve Clicquot-branded tablets appeared on the internet late last month. Russian marketing agency Firma is believed to be the source of the product named ‘Shhh…ampagne’ and is described as a ‘packaging concept of soluble Veuve Clicquot Champagne tablets’.

1/09/2014: NZ wine industry pushes for sustainability
Most New Zealand producers have signed up to a sustainability accreditation system, whether it be the country’s own Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) or certified organics, biodynamics or ISO 14001. But the situation on the ground is far from a one-size-fits-all model.

29/08/2014: Region reaches limit of vineyard land
More than 12,900ha of vineyards have been planted in Marlborough during the past nine years. New Zealand Winegrowers released its annual report last week which showed Marlborough is home to 22,903ha of vines – 84ha more than in 2013 and 12,959ha more than when records began in 2005. The second largest region was Hawke's Bay with 4816ha of vines planted, followed by Central Otago with 1979ha.

29/08/2014: A night of celebration at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards 2014
A Hawke's Bay Chardonnay has been awarded champion wine of show at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards. Produced by Phil Holden, the Vidal Legacy Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2012 received the coveted Bragato trophy and the Bill Irwin trophy for champion Chardonnay.

29/08/2014: Sustainability vital to NZ, seminar told
Sustainable winegrowing is a direction rather than a destination, according to New Zealand Winegrowers sustainability committee chairman Gwyn Williams. Sustainability is a key component of New Zealand's wine reputation, Williams told a seminar at the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference which commenced at the Marlborough Convention Centre Wednesday.

29/08/2014: Wine in China Conference 2014 to be held in Hong Kong
Following the success of the first Wine in China Conference last year, Meiburg Wine Media has compiled a fresh batch of topics and speakers for the 2014 Conference to be held in Hong Kong Wednesday 5 November.

29/08/2014: Winery gets $50,000 grant for chilli wine (New Mexico, US)
A New Mexico winery has received a $50,000 grant from the federal government to expand production of its chilli-infused wines. US Senator Tom Udall announced the funding during a visit to St. Clair Winery in Deming on Wednesday. The winery will now be able to boost revenues and grow its customer base for its chilli-infused line of wines by reimbursing production, marketing and distribution costs. Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/28/4102384/nm-winery-gets-federal-grant-for.html#storylink=cpy

29/08/2014: Vintners provide $10 million for new disaster fund (US)
Against a backdrop of fallen bricks and battered buildings in Napa, the regional winemakers' association on Wednesday revealed the largest gift yet to help the earthquake recovery effort. Napa Valley Vintners announced a $10 million donation to launch the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.

29/08/2014: Georgian winemakers ready to toast end of EU tariffs
Wine is an important part of both the Georgian economy and the Caucasus nation's sense of identity, with thousands of winemakers together producing more than 100 million bottles per year. Back in June, many corks were popped for a celebratory drink when crowds of people took to the streets of the capital Tbilisi to celebrate Georgia signing a free trade agreement with the European Union. The deal meant from 1 September, Georgian produce and products which meet EU standards would no longer be liable for tariffs when imported by EU member states.

28/08/2014: Prize-winning winemakers set to retire
After 18 years, 4000 cases of wine sold annually, a string of medals and four international awards, Wim Julicher and Sue Darling are putting their feet up. Preparing for their impending retirement, the co-owners of Martinborough's Julicher Estate have put their 18.6 hectare vineyard on the market. The decision to sell follows a year of international success for the business.

28/08/2014: NZ wineries should focus on quality over quantity, says online wine retailer
In just 30 years Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has carved out a big name for itself and played a large part in putting New Zealand wine on the international map. This year exports reached a record $1.33 billion and the growth shows little evidence of slowing down. Melanie Brown, founder of newly launched online wine shop The New Zealand Cellar, created her website with UK wine consumers in mind and said the industry's goal should be to "never let our standards or quality slip".

28/08/2014: Industry professionals share tips on keeping wine safe during an earthquake (US)
Following the recent earthquake in Napa Valley, several industry professionals have shared their tips to help protect wines from tremors in the future. Smashed barrels, mountains of broken bottles and rivers of wine flowing into the gutter are the things nightmares are made of. While not much can be done against a quake registering 6.1 on the Richter Scale, there are some precautions winery owners can take to keep their wines safe during minor trembles.

28/08/2014: Wine trade bets on fruit flavoured wines (UK)
The wine trade is betting on fruit flavoured wines such as raspberry and grapefruit as an upcoming trend for the UK market. European countries including France have also been quick to latch onto the fruit flavoured wine concept as a way of attracting new and younger consumers who generally have a preference to sweeter tastes.

28/08/2014: Rhône wine no longer a 'tale of two Valleys', according to local producer (France)
Ask Rhône winemakers if there are common tastes and philosophies between the north and south of the Valley and most will say no. There are 5000 wine growers in the Rhône Valley covering more than 70,000ha. Stéphane Ogier, who produces wine just 40km south of Lyon, says the wines there are closely aligned to Burgundy, with its single variety (Syrah instead of Pinot Noir) and patchwork of tiny vineyards, all with distinct terroirs.

27/08/2014: Akarua purchases more vineyards in Central Otago
Central Otago's Akarua has announced a major vineyard purchase with the acquisition finalised last Friday. Akarua, established in 1996 by Sir Clifford Skeggs, is the largest family-owned vineyard in Central Otago with single estate holdings in Bannockburn.

27/08/2014: Contestants put skills to the test
Five of the country's top young viticulturists are vying for the title of young viticulturist of the year 2014 in Blenheim this week. The competitors from the country's major grape producing regions kicked off the annual national competition yesterday at Villa Maria Estate near Blenheim.

27/08/2014: Update: Napa quake expected to cost industry $4bn as wineries shut (US)
The earthquake that struck northern California on Sunday will lead to economic losses of around $4 billion, fueled by damaged wineries and shuttered businesses that rely on tourists. According to an estimation by Kinetic Analysis Corp, insurers are expected to cover about $2.1bn but projected total losses of twice that sum.

27/08/2014: Producers look to Maule region for 'top-end' Pinot (Chile)
Chile’s Maule region could become the latest hot spot for top-end Pinot Noir as two new projects promise to prove the quality of the area. Launching next year from Torres Chile winery will be the first vintage of a Pinot which was planted 24km from the sea in Maule’s coastal mountain ranges, while Ricardo Beattig, a winemaker at Viña Morandé, has been working on a personal project with his wife using 0.5 ha of Pinot planted just 2km from the ocean.

27/08/2014: Burgundy producer eyes London Stock Exchange
A Burgundy producer is looking to become what is believed to be the first French vineyard to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. Bouzeron-based Domane Chanzy hopes to raise up to £5 million by this float onto the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), which will enable the producer to expand export sales and develop its negociant business.

27/08/2014: France looks forward to bigger and better harvest
The French wine industry is expecting a better harvest this year despite drought and hail damage to some vineyards. That’s good news for growers after two disastrous years, but consumers won't be getting any benefit as increased volumes won’t be enough to bring down the price of wine. The Department of Agriculture has revised its forecast for the 2014 harvest, estimating the potential of wine production to nearly 47 million hectoliters, with summer rains promoting growth.

26/08/2014: NZ wine industry converges to plan for the future
This week more than 500 grapegrowers, winemakers and industry leaders will converge in Blenheim to attend the annual New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference. “There is an air of optimism in the wine industry and the conference theme ‘new horizons’ reflects this," NZ Winegrowers chief executive officer Philip Gregan says.

26/08/2014: Chilean producer trials native beech
Chilean wine producer Sebastian De Martino is trialling wooden maturation vessels made from the country’s native tree, the raulí beech. The wood was historically used for making large wooden foudres but has since been replaced by the use of stainless steel, concrete or oak vats in the country’s wineries.

26/08/2014: World Bulk Wine Exhibition expands to keep up with demand
The rise in popularity and importance of bulk wine in the global wine market is reflected in the World Bulk Wine Exhibition which is expanding to cope with demand from exhibitors. The sixth annual event to be held in Amsterdam from 24-25 November will see a quarter more exhibitors heading to the city's RAI exhibition centre. Last year's event was the biggest to date with 175 exhibitors from 16 countries attracting buyers from more than 70 countries.

26/08/2014: Update: Wineries assess damage following Napa earthquake (US)
Damages could be substantial to the US wine industry after Sunday's 6.0 magnitude earthquake shook Napa Valley, experts say. Blessed with prime weather for growing winegrapes, Napa is a centre for production and bottling of top-value Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot from 1600 local vineyards. The quake damaged scores of buildings and shook vineyards preparing for what was predicted to be a generous harvest.

25/08/2014: Quake rocks California wine country (US)
A 6.0 magnitude earthquake rocked northern California Sunday morning injuring dozens of people, damaging historic buildings, setting some homes on fire and causing power outages around the town of Napa.

25/08/2014: Bordeaux's influential woman in wine dies, aged 80 (France)
Philippine de Rothschild, the grande dame of Bordeaux wine and part-owner of Chateau Mouton Rothschild vineyard, has died aged 80. de Rothschild was the president of the supervisory board and controlling shareholder in the family-owned Baron Philippe de Rothschild house, which produces the Mouton Cadet Claret - a standard-bearer in the world of Bordeaux wine.

25/08/2014: Russia set to establish wine corporation
Russia is set to establish a large state corporation to produce wine materials on domestic soil as part of the country’s import substitution effort, Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov announced yesterday. The proposal is part of a strategy to develop the Crimean winemaking industry which will be submitted to the Russian government next month.

25/08/2014: German wine reforms a positive change
Wine reforms in Germany should see the re-emergence of some long lost appellations but will not solve all the country’s problems. The new German regulation is likely to result in the reappearance of some top vineyard names on labels but there are concerns consumers will continue to be confused.

25/08/2014: Export effort may see locals miss out
A booming wine export sector has seen sales reach a record of more than $1.3 billion in the year to June but the foreign clamour for Kiwi wine means New Zealand fans are missing out. The record earnings were announced in New Zealand Winegrowers' annual report released last week.

22/08/2014: NZ wine pops its export cork
New Zealand wine has established itself as a major commodity after exports increased by 10 per cent in volume and value to a record $1.33 bn in the year to June, according to New Zealand Winegrowers' annual report. Wine exports now earn more foreign exchange for New Zealand than butter, fin-fish or kiwifruit and the impetus of the 2014 vintage is expected to take wine to $1.5 bn in exports in the current year.

22/08/2014: European harvest in the hands of weather Gods
Vintage has officially kicked off across Europe and growers are looking anxiously at the skies in case Mother Nature has any more surprises in store. Bad weather affected France, Italy, Portugal and Germany during the growing season but a recent run of warm, sunny weather has growers cautiously optimistic.

22/08/2014: Chile rescues near-extinct Romano grape
Carolina Wine Brands (CWB) has planted the near-extinct Romano grape in Chile having made a wine from the variety last year. The red grape, which originates from Chablis in the Yonne department of France, was discovered in Chile's Colchagua region by the wine company. “In the middle of a row of vines we had 1000 plants and we didn’t know what they were, so we had to bring in an ampelographer and we found out it was Romano which was virtually unknown to Chile,” CWB winemaker Alejandro Wedeles said.

22/08/2014: Winemakers oppose ban on new vineyards in Malibu Coast AVA (US)
Winemakers are battling with local authorities to stop a ban on new vineyard plantings in the Malibu Coast AVA zone. The changes, which were approved by the California Coastal Commission in April, will come into effect pending the outcome of a vote on Tuesday 26 August.

22/08/2014: Pernod Ricard calls for premium wine and spirits push this Christmas (UK)
Pernod Ricard UK is aiming to cash in on premium wines and spirits in the impulse sector this Christmas by helping retailers encourage customers to "trade up". Last year the wine and spirits group saw premium wine sales grow 2 per cent by value and is now offering retailers a five-step guide on how to maximise premium wine and spirit sales this festive season.

21/08/2014: Napa supervisors hear calls for new winery rules (US)
The ongoing debate on the pace and scale of winery development in the Napa Valley continued before the board of supervisors Tuesday, with one supervisor asking if a moratorium on winery permits is needed. Three winery projects approved by the Planning Commission in the past year have been appealed, and planning director David Morrison told supervisors he expects three more appeals to be filed.

21/08/2014: Argentine wine prices withstand crisis
The price of Argentine wines will remain stable despite the country being in the grip of an economic crisis, according to one importer. As the Argentine Peso continues to drop against the British Pound and the US dollar, consumers in those two major Argentine wine markets are unlikely to see a difference in price as the impact of recent inflation, carried for the most part by Argentine producers, finally levels out.

21/08/2014: Morrisons unveils screwcap with a green twist (UK)
Morrisons is rolling out an environmentally friendly screwcap it claims will reduce carbon footprint and make the bottle easier to recycle. The UK retailer is trialling the Green Leaf screwcap manufactured by Italian firm Enoplastic. It uses the same technology and material as a standard screwcap but contains 64 per cent less aluminium.

21/08/2014: Consumers prepared to pay more for pricier wines, report finds (US)
A study published in the Journal of Wine Economics found consumers are prepared to pay more for a bottle of wine if it’s slightly more expensive in the first place. In presenting the same wines at different prices, authors of the report Geoffrey Lewis and Tatiana Zalanb examined the bearing of what customers will pay for a wine versus its price. They were then able to gauge how customers react to the price before considering other factors.

21/08/2014: Russia considers state monopoly on wine production
Russian Parliament is considering proposals to introduce a state monopoly on the production of wine in the country. According to Oleg Nilov, a member of Parliament and one of the architects of the new initiative, the production of wine in Russia should take place only at the facilities of state-owned enterprises and enterprises where the controlling stake is owned by the state.

21/08/2014: Strong sales signal confidence in the New Zealand wine industry
Solid export value growth and continued demand for the country's wine is the summary of the year according to New Zealand Winegrowers' June year end 2014 annual report. New Zealand Winegrowers chair Steve Green said wineries took full advantage of the 2013 vintage to bounce back from the supply constraints of 2012.

20/08/2014: Students share a passion for wine
Italian and New Zealand Bragato scholarship winners Christopher Bonifacio and Ben Tombs found plenty of common ground when they met in Hawke’s Bay during their month-long tour of New Zealand's wine regions. Learning about one another’s culture is very much what the annually-awarded Bragato scholarship is about. Established 11 years ago, it fosters the link between Italy’s famed Scuola Enologica di Conegliano and the Eastern Institute of Technology’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science.

20/08/2014: Amphora brings fine wine to India
UK-based wine investment company Amphora Portfolio Management (APM) has partnered with Mumbai-based wine and spirits consultancy All Things Nice to bring fine wine to Indian investors. The joint venture plans to target 100 of the country’s top investors in its first year.

20/08/2014: Italian harvest starts early as weather improves
The Italian grape harvest is underway with grower organisations promising less quantity but more quality from the 2014 vintage. The first grapes were picked in Franciacorta in Lombardy last week, 10 days earlier than in 2013, despite variable weather in the lead-up to harvest. Sicily also started picking around the same time.

20/08/2014: 'Don’t miss the point with millennials', warns Wine Intelligence (US)
Wine Intelligence believes the millennial impact on the current US wine market has been overstated but says only those firms that cater for their future buying habits will survive. Introducing the firm's report titled 'Millennial wine drinkers in the United States', Wine Intelligence chief operating officer Richard Halstead says millennial behaviour is rewriting the rules across consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories.

20/08/2014: Whetting China’s growing appetite for fine wine
One of the offshoots of China’s economic rise has been a sharpening of the taste buds for red wine. According to industry group Vinexpo, China is the biggest consumer of wine in the world and quaffed more than 1.9 billion bottles of red wine last year, marking a 136 per cent increase on 2008.

19/08/2014: Women care less for quality than men according to survey (US)
Women care less about the quality of wine they drink and more about drinking to relax compared to men who will spend more on high quality wine and new drinking experiences according to a survey by US market research company Canadean. The survey found women in the US drink more alcohol than men, accounting for 59 per cent of consumption by volume and 15 per cent of their purchases were made with relaxation in mind.

19/08/2014: Leaked trade deal a threat to Canadian wine
The Canadian wine industry could face new restrictions within its own borders if a leaked European Union trade deal turns out to be accurate. Based on the information released in a 521-page document, an impending trade deal between Canada and the EU would restrict Canada’s domestic wine sales by limiting the number of privately run outlets selling solely domestic products.

19/08/2014: Climate change means China could be top wine producer by 2050
Warmer temperatures caused by climate change could mean southern France will no longer be able to produce high quality wine in the future which could present new wine producing opportunities for northern Europe and China in the future. A report published by Professor Gregory Jones and his coworkers compared the temperatures at 27 wine producing regions during grapegrowing seasons over 50 years and concluded the southern regions in France will likely be unsuitable for producing wine by 2050.

19/08/2014: Bordeaux crop should return to 'normal size' in 2014
Bordeaux’s upcoming winegrape harvest should see a return to normal size and has been forecast to produce around 5.6 million hectolitres, according to Chateau Bauduc owner Gavin Quinney. Last year's production was down by one third on 2012's already small crop so if predictions are accurate this year's crop should be up 50 per cent compared to last year.

19/08/2014: A weekend of wine during Auckland Wine Month
Sommeliers, connoisseurs and chefs attended the city’s newest event at the weekend which comprised two days of tastings and liquid indulgence. Wine Auckland was the flagship wine weekend of Auckland Restaurant Month and was an informative way for wine lovers to taste their way around New Zealand's wine regions and try samples of limited and new release wines.

18/08/2014: Entries open for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards
Entries are open for the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. Now in its 39th year, the awards are a celebration of excellence in New Zealand winemaking and is considered the country’s most prestigious wine competition.

18/08/2014: Health warnings on NZ wine not likely
New Zealand wine companies will not be forced to display cigarette-style warning labels on their wine bottles, despite it being considered by the British Government, according to New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan. Last week a group of MPs in the UK called for the British Government to make it compulsory for wine companies to label their bottles with health risks and calorie information.

18/08/2014: Hawke’s Bay viticulturists aim high
The Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) is toasting the success of three graduates who have made the final five in the prestigious New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year competition. Jeffery Farrell, Brenton O’Riley and Paul Robinson will compete against two others to take out the title which will be decided at the finals in Blenheim later this month.

18/08/2014: Bordeaux producer plants 'disease resistant' vineyard (France)
Vignobles Ducourt which owns 440 ha in the Bordeaux region has planted its first 'no spray vineyard' consisting of grapes crossed with disease resistant varieties. The plantings, which took place last month, aim to offer a reduction of 80 to 100 per cent of fungicides and pesticides and follows more than a year of research by winemaker Jeremy Ducourt who believes reducing pesticide use is a moral, social and economic responsibility.

18/08/2014: Chile should go 100% organic, says local producer
The Chilean wine industry should convert its vineyards to organic practices according to New Zealand-born winemaker Grant Phelps, who produces wine in Chile. Phelps, who landed a job as chief winemaker at Viña Casas del Bosque said the nation benefitted from ideal conditions for organic viticulture and would enjoy a significant competitive advantage if all its vinous output was made with organically-grown grapes.

18/08/2014: Wine industry's challenges are no different to other sectors, says US economist
US wine economist and blogger Mike Veseth has dismissed the idea that the dynamics of the wine industry are different to the challenges faced by other business sectors. In an interview with UK wine consultant Jerry Lockspeiser, Veseth spoke about the challenges facing the global wine industry and how it could benefit from looking at how other business sectors tackle their challenges.

18/08/2014: Washington wine industry prepares for another record vintage (US)
The Washington wine industry is gearing up for another record vintage. Last year’s record of 212,000 tonnes will likely exceed 230,000 tonnes this year, according to the Northwest’s largest wine producer. Ste. Michelle Wine Estate's Kevin Corliss said the general estimate from his growers as well as others he has talked to indicate this year’s crop will be anywhere from 10 to 12 per cent higher than 2013.

14/08/2014: Production plummets in Chile
Chile’s wine production has plummeted by almost one quarter compared to last year, but experts aren’t expecting price rises as the country still has plenty of leftover wine in its tanks.

14/08/2014: Triathlon training for vintage
Most people train for endurance races, but Rob Davis, the winemaker at Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, California, uses endurance races to train for the annual wine harvest. From mid-September, Davis expects to be working upwards of 18 hours-per-day. He's out in the fields tasting and picking grapes, operating cranes to weigh fruit and manning fermentation barrels. To prepare for two months of intense labor, the 60-year-old winemaker trains for triathlons.

14/08/2014: Champagne loses one of its biggest names
Nicolas Feuillatte, a socialite and entrepreneur who started the Champagne brand that bears his name, has died at 88. Born in Paris on 29 January 1926, Feuillatte turned down the chance to inherit his family business and instead moved to the US where he went on to become the largest importer of African coffee into the country. Returning to France aged 40, Feuillatte bought the 12-hectarte Domaine de Bouleuse in the Ardre Valley near Reims and embarked on a career in the Champagne business.

14/08/2014: Chianti wine origins found down a well
Archaeologists may have found the ancestor of Chianti wine in an ancient well in the Chiantishire region of Tuscany. Found in Cetamura, an ancient hilltop near Gaiole in Chianti in the province of Siena, the 105-foot-deep well yielded a bonanza of artefacts that span a period of more than 15 centuries and embrace Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany. The most precious material, though, might be some 500 waterlogged grape seeds.

14/08/2014: Another big Californian harvest
With California’s wine grape vineyards on a fast track to producing what looks to be the third large crop in as many years, finding a home for uncommitted 2014 grapes could prove somewhat daunting, especially for Central Valley sellers, reports grape broker and partner Glenn Proctor, Ciatti Company, San Rafael, California. Many observers are projecting the 2014 wine grape harvest to total around four million tonnes, comparable to the record highs of the past two years.

14/08/2014: French vineyards hit hard by storms
Winegrowers from the Pyrénées to Alsace have been hit by storm damage again this year. It is the third year in a row that the vineyards of Burgundy have suffered severe storm damage and the wine regions of Loire and Entre-Deux-Mers were also stricken in 2013. On average it is estimated that a winegrower in France suffers a loss of harvest of at least 20% every four years due to a climatic event. Where the damage is severe this can mean that, not only are earnings for the year diminished, but there will also be a subsequent loss in the quantity and quality of the crop for two to three years.

14/08/2014: The living roof
It’s a warm day in the Napa Valley and the summer sun that turns the region’s plump grapes into prized Cabernet Sauvignon is beating down on the Odette Estate winery. But inside the winery’s production facility, temperatures are pleasant, with nary a whisper of air conditioning. The reason is Odette Estate’s innovative roof, which combines 8,500 square feet of planted, living roof with 2,500 square feet of solar panels.

13/08/2014: Four things your wine brand needs to do to win in China
Positioning and adapting a brand correctly for Chinese consumers is a complex formula, but a necessary one to apply if success was part of your brand strategy brief. Chuan Zhou offers his top four tips in this update from Wine Intelligence. Brands need to help consumers navigate choices, to reassure and resonate, and to get them to feel a sense of closeness and social superiority, according Zhou.

13/08/2014: French wine producers turn to science
Producers in southwest France have joined forces with leading scientists as they attempt to appeal to the palates of consumers across the world. The latest push from the 'Vinneo project' has been to identify the blackcurrant aroma of the Fer Servadou grape variety and the violet aroma of the Negrette variety. The work to identify primary fruit characters is being done to help convert consumers in China and the United States in particular.

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