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||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.
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Announcements and Suppliers
5/03/2014: Business owners: ask yourself how you did ... so you can do better (wine importer, wine distributor’s scorecard)
BeverageTradeNetwork.com has prepared a distributors scorecard. As the owner of a beer, wine or spirits distribution company, you have to ask yourself and your management team, “how well did we do?”
3/03/2014: Bucher Vaslin sets new standard for juice lees filtration
With some wine cross flows now running five vintages in a row on juice lees in Australia, the Flavy FX cross flow has proven to be more than efficient at processing the white juice lees from cold settling and floatation. The juice lees filtered with cross flow are very much preferred by the winemakers to the ones filtered through other more oxidative traditional ways such as RDV.
24/02/2014: What do wine, spirits and beer distributors really want?
BeverageTradeNetwork.com explores the seven most important wants of a distributor in a product they pick - and why it is important for you as a supplier?
24/02/2014: New wine closure benchmarking trial set to sparkle
The AWRI will be conducting the world’s first large-scale benchmarking trial for sparkling wine closures. The trial will evaluate the impact of a broad range of different closure technologies on a premium bottle-fermented Chardonnay Pinot Noir, and will run for an initial 24-month period.
Australian Wine Industry News
7/03/2014: Blog: Wine sector backs government support for Export Market Development Grants
The wine sector has welcomed the introduction of a bill to progressively restore funding to Export Market Development Grants (EMDG). The bill will provide an initial boost to the EMDG scheme of $50 million.
7/03/2014: Australia named theme country for Vancouver International Wine Fest 2015
Australian wine will be centre stage at next year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF), with the festival organisers this week announcing Australia as the theme country for 2015, and Australian wineries are invited to get on board. The 37th festival, which will run from 23 February to 1 March 2015, is Canada’s premier wine show and one of the largest consumer wine festivals in North America.
7/03/2014: Wine exporters cheer the lifting of South Korean tariff
The recently negotiated free-trade agreement between Australia and South Korea is expected to spark an increase in Australian wine sales to a country that already has a taste for it. But Australian exporters such as De Bortoli have been hamstrung by trade rules.
7/03/2014: Australian Vintage sees UK bulk wine sales fall but remains optimistic
Australian Vintage faced a challenging time in the UK and European markets as bulk wine sales fell, but it remained optimistic over branded sales and is looking to expand UK distribution. Total wine sales into the UK/Europe market fell by A$5.6 million to A$46 million said the group, posting its half-yearly results to 31 December 2013.
6/03/2014: Former Tarac CEO and managing director Chris Zajac loses battle with cancer
Chris Zajac stepped down as chief executive officer and managing director of Tarac in October 2013 while undergoing treatment for advanced stage stomach cancer which was diagnosed in March of the same year. He lost his battle with cancer yesterday and passed away peacefully at the Mary Potter Hospice at the age of 47.
6/03/2014: Blog: TarraWarra Estate mid-vintage report
The winemaking team at TarraWarra Estate in the Yarra Valley is well into their 31st vintage and the effect of this year’s crazy weather is beginning to show. Head winemaker and general manager of TarraWarra Estate Clare Halloran shares her updates from on the ground.
6/03/2014: Sliding Australian dollar delivers for exporters
The Australian dollar’s sharp drop from last year’s peak has begun delivering the hoped-for windfall for many of the nation’s exporters. Companies from mining-industry giants to wineries were bruised when the Aussie surged above parity with the US dollar to crimp overseas earnings.
6/03/2014: From bucket to bottle
Take some grapes, a bucket, sieve and a funnel and you've got wine. That's the approach one vineyard in north-west Victoria is taking to winemaking. Bart van Olphen from Chalmers Wines near Merbein, says "bucket wine", as he calls it, came about as a bit of an accident.
5/03/2014: Blog: WA researcher awarded $22,000 to develop automated water stress detection tool
Dr Ramin Rafiei has been awarded the $22,000 viticulture and oenology 2014 science and innovation award for young people in agriculture, sponsored by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC). Rafiei, a research associate professor and senior instrumentation engineer at the University of Western Australia will use his prize to develop a low-cost, light-weight, high-performance infrared spectrometer to detect grapevine water stress in real time.
5/03/2014: South Australian coup as trifecta of our wines score 100 points in global wine guide
Three top-shelf South Australian wines have received the highest possible critical acclaim in one of the world's most influential wine guides. The wines have soared to perfect score points in the latest edition of The Wine Advocate, a leading voice in US and Asian fine wine circles.
5/03/2014: Nuance Australia secures rare fortified wine collection from Seppeltsfield
A collection of rare fortified wines held by several generations of winemakers at Seppeltsfield’s Barossa Valley cellars has been released exclusively to Nuance Australia. The South Australian winemaker this week revealed The Paramount Collection, featuring museum reserve parcels of material dating as far back as 1922, including two Australian Sherry (now known as Apera) expressions, a Tokay and a Muscat.
5/03/2014: St Hugo campaign directed at Changi raises profile of Australian fine wines
Australian fine wine brand St Hugo has extended its Mark the Milestones campaign which launched in January and aims to raise the profile of the Australian fine wine category to Singapore Changi airport. The campaign aims to highlight the strong correlation between enjoying St Hugo wines with travellers’ own personal landmarks and achievements, said a statement from Pernod Ricard Travel Retail.
5/03/2014: $500,000 worth of expensive wine down the drain
An Adelaide street was flooded with up to $500,000 worth of wine after a truck carrying an 11-tonne wine bladder collided with a car. According to the Herald Sun, the wine burst on impact with a car in Seaton yesterday morning. Grapegrower & Winemaker contacted SAPOL for more information but it is still unknown who the wine belonged to or where it was heading.
4/03/2014: Grape and wine group calls for gas moratorium
Grapegrowers and winemakers in the south east of South Australia want local state election candidates to call a moratorium on unconventional shale gas mining. Beach Energy is currently drilling for shale gas exploration near Penola but the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council chair Brendon Provis says the risks to the aquifer must be examined.
4/03/2014: Wine industry body overhaul
The wine industry is undergoing a transformation to form a new statutory body, the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA). The federal government passed bills in December and the new body will come into force on July 1.
3/03/2014: Lola's Pergola wine opens at 2014 Adelaide Festival
With the generous backing of Petaluma Australia - Adelaide Festival's longstanding wine partner - a collection of wine from local small scale winemakers will be available at Lola's Pergola. Petaluma senior winemaker Andrew Hardy said "We have been really intrigued by the concept behind Lola's Pergola and we wanted to support the idea of celebrating a whole range of wine from the area".
3/03/2014: World first in Margaret River
In a world first Swings Taphouse, Margaret River’s newest bar and restaurant, offers wine on tap delivered through 'sight glass fonts’. That means customers can see the wine before it is poured. Wine buffs judge the colour of a wine as one criteria, and now every-day drinkers at Swings Taphouse can too, before committing to a glass or carafe.
3/03/2014: Optimism in bulk wine sector
The traditional, branded label business model for selling wine is dying, and it's time to take a fresh approach to exporting Australia's wine. David Harris is the managing director of Riverland Vintners and he's got some provocative views on where the wine industry is heading, and where grapegrowers should be trying to make a profit.
3/03/2014: Penfolds’ 2009 Grange gets cool reception but cheaper 2010 stablemate St Henri proves a hit
Penfolds' Grange remains Australia’s most famous red wine, but the 2009 vintage to soon go on sale will be eclipsed in quality by a stablemate costing an eighth of its top-shelf price. After a groundbreaking global reveal last week to more than 10,000 major buyers, distributors and media in three continents, the marquee Penfolds Shiraz, which costs $785 a bottle, received a reserved response from key tasters.
28/02/2014: Casella books second loss in 20 years
Casella Wines has notched up its second loss in 20 years after refusing to bend to competitive forces and the weight of the Australian dollar by slashing its US prices but has vowed to return to profitability in fiscal 2014. Managing director John Casella said the tide was beginning to turn for the Griffith-based winemaker as some of its key global markets such as the US began to show signs of recovery in consumer spending.
28/02/2014: A grim harvest if rebate goes
The taxman is targeting grapegrowers who have become involved in a rort of the wine equalisation tax (WET) rebate. Each year millions of dollars are paid in the form of a rebate to grapegrowers to offset a variety of taxes paid by them.
28/02/2014: Rain puts wine vintage on a knife edge
It’s not every day you hear an agricultural producer say the arrival of much needed rain during a drought is a bad thing. But for Drew Tuckwell, winemaker at Printhie Wines near Molong in NSW, last week’s rain couldn’t have come at a worse time.
28/02/2014: US fund manager gives Treasury Wine Estates a $24m top-up
Big US fund manager Wellington Management has spent $24 million buying extra shares in struggling wine group Treasury Wine Estates to lift its stake to 6.79 per cent. Wellington, which is based in Boston, scooped up the extra shares, buying tranches worth $10 million, $3.5 million and two lots of about $5 million each.
28/02/2014: Blog: Safe disposal of treated timber vine posts
Several million broken treated timber vine posts are stock piled on vineyards across Australia from WA’s Margaret River to NSW’s Hunter region. About 70 per cent of this viticulture waste is treated with copper, chrome and arsenic (CCAs) and 30 per cent with creosote (organic tars).
27/02/2014: BASF is back Down Under
German-based BASF today officially announces its return to the Australian fertiliser, herbicide and pesticide market after a decade-long hiatus. The launch in Melbourne will expand on the plans for Euro giant has for Australia and New Zealand after racking up sales of more than 60 billion euros last year.
27/02/2014: Blog: Wine Australia hosts tasting event for Japanese students
Wine Australia, in partnership with Study Adelaide, hosted more than 80 language students from Japan in a tasting event at the National Wine Centre yesterday. Wine Australia’s regional manager for Asia Hiro Tejima and Melbourne-based Japanese sommelier Masahiko Igg conducted the event and began by speaking about Australia and its wine culture.
27/02/2014: Ferry weight rule upsets winegrape harvest
Freight companies transporting winegrapes through the Riverland claim a sudden change in permit requirements is forcing them to bypass the ferries on the Murray. Ebert Transport at Waikerie says it has used the region's ferries to transport grapes across the Murray for years.
27/02/2014: Winemakers served more challenges
Wineries across South Australia are waiting to find out the damage to their crops following February's extreme weather conditions. Adelaide University oenology professor Denis Taylor said red varieties were mostly at risk as grapes for sparkling and whites had already been harvested.
26/02/2014: John Neville retires as Queensland College of Wine Tourism CEO
Wine glasses will be raised across the Granite Belt for CEO of the Queensland College of Wine Tourism John Neville as he prepares to step down after eight years in the top job. Neville, who helped establish the college from the ground up, will retire to his Stanthorpe property at the end of this week, leaving former Cruise Whitsundays CEO Peter O’Reilly to take his place.
26/02/2014: Blog: Louisa Rose to chair the Australian Wine Research Institute Board
Yalumba and Hill-Smith Family Vineyards chief winemaker Louisa Rose has been elected the fifteenth chair of the board for the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). Managing Ddrector of the AWRI, Dr Dan Johnson welcomed the election result, saying “Louisa Rose is a highly-respected winemaker with a strong record of contribution to our industry.”
26/02/2014: Riverland growers concerned about low winegrape prices
Riverland growers and their supporters who travelled to Adelaide last week to protest about this year's low winegrape prices have legitimate concerns and a right to protest. There comes a time however, when all concerned must answer the question: What can we hope to achieve with this sort of approach to government?
26/02/2014: Wine labels under the microscope
Many wineries produce outstanding wine labels but receive little or no recognition for their creative effort, but this is all about to change. The Association of Australian Boutique Winemakers has launched its 2014 Design Awards to allow wineries to not only be judged for their wine but for the design of their bottle and label. The competition targets Australian and New Zealand wine companies, as well as professional designers and design students.
25/02/2014: Peter Lehmann announces new distribution
Peter Lehmann Wines is moving to a new state-based distribution model with four separate agency partners, concluding its three-year partnership with Four Seasons Fine Wines. The announcement comes just weeks after it was revealed that Four Seasons would be merged with Grant Burge's family-owned distributor, Vignerons of the World.
25/02/2014: Blog: Barossa project puts Shiraz under the microscope
Bethany Wines’ family vineyard in the Barossa Foothills has been selected for a project exploring the effect of terroir on wine. Researchers from the Wine Innovation Cluster (WIC) will make nine Shiraz wines using grapes from nine anecdotally recognised areas of the Barossa from the 2014 vintage.
25/02/2014: AWRI assists wine industry in applying best practice spray techniques
Since 2010 label changes have been introduced by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for vineyard spray products, with the aim of reducing the risk of spray drift. Some of the new directions included on labels have caused confusion for vineyard operators. The latest eBulletin by the AWRI aims to clarify the new label directions, and assist the Australian wine industry in applying best practice spray techniques and record-keeping.
25/02/2014: Wine vintage a matter of development
Can we assume, considering last month's heatwave, most Australian winemakers will have poor 2014 vintages? What counts as a good year in one region may be a poor year for vineyards within a couple of hours' drive. For many growers, the cold and rain have been bigger problems this season than heat.
24/02/2014: Wine by the bucketload
The Chalmers’ family has long been at the forefront of innovation in the Australian wine scene, and the latest project to come out of their Merbein vineyard might discover the next big thing. The Bucketwine project involves making small batches of wine in glass demijohns with a bucket, a sieve and a hydrometer.
24/02/2014: Tassie wines are a real quacker
Sampling a Tasmanian sparkling or Pinot is at the top of traveller to-do lists, giving a major boost to the local wine industry. Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies said a fifth of the one million visitors to Tasmania last year visited a cellar door.
24/02/2014: TWE shifts supply from China as demand decreases
Shortly after the announcement that Michael Clarke will take the position of CEO, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) said it will cease supply of a number of luxury wine lines to China due to a drop in consumer demand, and instead shift supply into other Asian markets.
24/02/2014: Grapegrowers push for inquiry
Winegrape growers are pushing for a 'productivity commission' inquiry into the wine industry. Murray Valley Winegrowers met with federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce in Mildura last week to raise their concerns.
24/02/2014: Blog: Winemaker and founder of Lisa McGuigan Wines named in the ABN 2014 Hall of Fame
In the lead up to International Women’s Day on Tuesday 25 February, the Australian Businesswomen’s Network (ABN) will launch its 2014 Hall of Fame recognising the achievements of 17 female entrepreneurs from industries as diverse as food, finance, motorbikes, education and wine.
21/02/2014: Reducing, reusing and recycling in the wine industry
The ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra is as basic and relevant for the wine industry as it is for individuals. Whether the issue is packaging, waste water, chemicals or the solid green waste (marc) left at the end of production, the Adelaide Hills region has an interest in ensuring the industry minimises environmental mess and damage as a result of its activities.
21/02/2014: Blog: Australia Today Road Show attracts 950 media and wine trade professionals
Wine Australia’s Australia Today Road Show – the first large-scale Australian wine road show in North America in eight years – attracted 950 media and wine trade professionals and generated great excitement about Australian wine in the US and Canada.
21/02/2014: New TWE chief to review businesses
Fund managers are cautiously optimistic on the appointment of freshly annointed Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) chief executive Michael Clarke, who is largely unknown to the Australian market and was chosen in part for his absence of experience in wine. TWE chairman Paul Rayner said Clarke would conduct a review of TWE’s entire business, including its US assets, and present the results to the board.
21/02/2014: Scholarship announced to study science of taste in Paris
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Le Cordon Bleu Hautes Études du Goût program, Australian professionals in the food and wine industry are being offered a scholarship to join the 2014 class in Paris. Dedicated to uncovering the science of taste, the course brings together food and wine professionals from across the globe to discuss and dissect the culinary arts and the way we savour them.
20/02/2014: Good year for wine
Two heat waves and a small flash flood may have descended upon the Barossa in 2014 but even Mother Nature couldn't stop the 2014 Barossa vintage from being a success. Grapegrowers and winemakers were fortunate to have a wet spring which put them in good stead during the 40C-plus days.
20/02/2014: Chinese lead way in boost to winery visits
They used to come for the rock and reef but international tourists are increasingly likely to add a winery trip to their Australian holiday itinerary - the Chinese driving demand. While domestic tourist numbers to the Hunter Valley have flattened throughout the past decade, the number of international visitors has surged.
20/02/2014: Blog: Treasury Wines Estates picks outsider as its new leader
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has reached outside the wine sector for its next chief executive, picking a former Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola manager to run its global wine business. The company announced this morning Michael Clarke would join TWE as its new chief following last year's shock ejection of former boss David Dearie.
20/02/2014: Wine growing pains: Joyce hears range of issues from Mildura producers
Federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce has flagged a “root and branch review” of the Competition and Consumers Act in relation to unconscionable conduct by big companies which exploit their buying power to the detriment of small producers. Wine industry groups informed Joyce of the financial impact on growers including the rock-bottom prices major wineries were paying for grapes.
19/02/2014: Hardys Wine sets out to replicate Nike’s social media sparkle
Hardys Wine is ramping up its investments in Instagram, YouTube and Vine in attempt to race ahead of its rivals in the social media space and become the ‘Nike of wine brands’. The company has spent the past two years studying Nike and Disney’s strategies to set it apart from what it claims are the “light touch efforts” of rival wine brands using social networks for event promotions and contests.
19/02/2014: Blog: SA opposition promises $9.5m for wine regions
Opposition leader Steven Marshall has committed $9.5m to regional South Australia if the Liberals win the March election. The funding includes $500,000 to set up a dedicated wine trail from McLaren Vale to the Clare Valley, but tourism minister Leon Bignell said the trail is already being developed by Labor.
19/02/2014: International winemakers learn Australian ways
They might know how to make Bordeaux blends and Mosel Rieslings but for a tribe of international winemakers, 2014 will be all about Mudgee. In a rare moment during the peak vintage period, nine winemakers and cellar hands from six countries came together to discuss their Mudgee experience.
19/02/2014: Heavy rain fails to damage grapegrowers' spirits
South Australian grapegrowers have had mixed responses to heavy rainfall in the state's prime wine regions. Up to 100mm of rain fell in the Clare and Barossa Valleys at the weekend, but Troy Kalleske from Kalleske Wines said the rain they received came at the perfect time.
International Wine Industry News
7/03/2014: Cabernet rises to fore in record Washington grape crush (US)
Wineries in Washington saw a record grape harvest in 2013, with Cabernet Sauvignon the most popular variety, offering more evidence of the wine region's rise to prominence. Washington's winegrape crush increased by 12 per cent in 2013 to 210,000 tonnes according to figures released by the US Department of Agriculture this week.
7/03/2014: Technology embraced by winemakers (US)
For some people, wine and technology may appear to be mutually exclusive topics. Fewer people may appreciate technology within the framework of New Jersey winemaking, yet modern techniques have been embraced by winemakers all over the world such as designer yeasts and state-of-the-art fermentation tanks, all of which have become the norm.
7/03/2014: Potential to boost wine tourism (NZ)
New research into wine tourism highlights the opportunities for Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes and the need for greater collaboration to capitalise on the growing market, regional tourism bosses say. Tourism NZ has released research into the wine tourism sector which shows in the past five years, an average of 220,000 international tourists visited wineries annually.
7/03/2014: Vatican leads world in wine consumption (Italy)
Residents of Italy's Vatican City consume more wine than any other country in the world. According to statistics released by California’s Wine Institute, residents drink 74 liters of wine per person a year, which is double the per-capita consumption of Italy as a whole. A standard bottle of wine is 0.75 liters.
7/03/2014: Worker's injury costs wine firm $30,000 fine (NZ)
A badly broken arm could have been avoided if a billionaire's wine company had properly checked safety procedures at a Martinborough vineyard before taking it over, a judge says. Foley Family Wines Ltd owned by American billionaire Bill Foley was sentenced yesterday in the Masterton District Court for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of vineyard worker Chris Kokiri.
7/03/2014: Brunello di Montalcino producers split over sub-zones (Italy)
Debate is growing on whether to carve the home of Brunello di Montalcino into a series of sub-zones to help consumers better understand subtle differences between the wines. A small but growing minority of Brunello di Montalcino producers plan to propose that Montalcino’s governing consortium takes advantage of government funding to map the wine region’s sub-zones.
7/03/2014: Indian market sends mixed message
Reports that India’s domestic wine market is growing at 30 per cent a year has been tempered by a warning that many of the country’s producers are facing bankruptcy. According to a paper released last week by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the country’s domestic wine market is expected to grow from its current estimated level of 21 million litres to 28 million by 2015.
6/03/2014: New Zealand Winegrowers organisation funds science scholars
New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has announced the 2014 recipient of the Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship. The successful candidate, Arnaud Blouin, is a senior staff member at Plant & Food Research at Mount Albert, Auckland.
6/03/2014: Winemakers give clay a close look (US)
Winemakers at several different wineries are reporting they’re impressed with early results from fermenting and storing wine in clay vessels. Imported amphora and clay vessels produced in the US are finding a place in cellars and those who have used them say it imparts unique flavors and aromas to the wine, giving it a different texture.
6/03/2014: Wineries deny knowledge of royal luncheon hosts (NZ)
Where the royal couple will eat and drink during their Marlborough visit next month remains a mystery, as wineries claim they are not the chosen ones. Brancott Estate was a popular guess for many on the Marlborough Express Facebook page, but visitor centre manager Kathy Hughes said she didn't know who was to host the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
6/03/2014: Extreme freeze damages Ontario vineyards (Canada)
Freezing temperatures across Ontario have damaged vines in the Canadian province's vineyards, with some producers reporting bud loss of around 90 per cent. Producers in two of Ontario's three wine appellations are already facing a smaller 2014 harvest after reporting severe bud loss during the past few weeks.
6/03/2014: Champagne has had 'too many vintages of the century' (France)
Champagne houses and critics must guard more carefully against heaping praise on a particular vintage too soon, according to Ruinart's cellar master. Frederic Panaiotis believes the Champagne sector is in danger of becoming a victim of its own hyperbole.
6/03/2014: Moving military technology to the winery (US)
The kind of military technology that gave us missile launchers and nuclear bombs could have a surprisingly new application – to accelerate the aging process of wine. Pulsed power has made its way into food processing, increasing how much juice could be extracted from apples and other fruit. According to a Californian scientist, it could now be used to make wine taste mature without the wait.
5/03/2014: Stellenbosch wine tourism campaign goes global (South Africa)
South Africa's Stellenbosch Wine Routes will be making its debut at the 2014 International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin today as part of the global launch of its wine tourism marketing campaign, the "Stellenbosch Experience". Stellenbosch Wine Routes will join forces with South African Tourism, Western Cape tourism and investment agency Wesgro and Tripadvisor to showcase wine tourism in Stellenbosch and the broader Western Cape.
5/03/2014: Picking just the right time in New Zealand
It’s all in the pick. This is what's key to making a "rock-star" Sauvignon Blanc, according to Sam Small of New Zealand’s Starborough. He said the most crucial thing is the timing of harvest and if the grapes are picked too early the wine will be green.
5/03/2014: Cheap wine costs us all (NZ)
The recent furore sparked by Labour MP Shane Jones about anti-competitive practices of Australian-owned supermarkets in New Zealand has generated "off the record" disclosures from some involved in the Marlborough wine region. But what's of concern is how wine supply pricing contracts serve to ensure the Marlborough region remains a low-waged economy.
5/03/2014: French Senate agrees wine is part of national heritage
France's Senate has stamped its official approval on what must seem obvious to many - that the country's wines and vineyards are part of its national heritage. It took senators less than an afternoon in late February to agree with their colleague Roland Courteau that French wine is indeed an "integral part of France's cultural and gastronomic heritage".
5/03/2014: Moet Hennessey launches sparkling Argentinian wine in UK
Moet Hennessey is hoping to persuade UK consumers to trade up from standard and premium sparkling wine, and down from entry level champagne with the forthcoming launch of its premium sparkling wine brand, Chandon.
5/03/2014: Virgin Wines to sell fine wines from New World (UK)
Online retailer Virgin Wines is planning to focus on fine wines – though not in the traditional sense – and personalise its website for each customer. Chief executive Jay Wright said since the private equity-backed management buyout last November, the firm now had the chance to change structures and think more strategically about the future.
4/03/2014: US senator visits Portland, calls for grape assistance
Winegrape growers are bracing for a severely damaged crop this year, resulting in New York's senior senator to call upon the US Department of Agriculture to provide disaster assistance for growers who need it. Senator Charles Schumer paid a visit to 21 Brix Winery in Portland where he announced funding to offset hardship costs may immediately be made available to grapegrowers across the state.
4/03/2014: South African winery launches rooibos-infused Merlot
The woody parts of South Africa's indigenous rooibos plant – which is used to make tea – is being utilised in the winemaking process in an effort to reduce the need for sulfur dioxide. Instead of the more common French and American oaks, the first commercial wine fermented and matured in contact with rooibos wood chips and local honeybush has been released.
3/03/2014: Small clubs say new laws on liquor hitting hard (NZ)
Struggling RSAs and small bridge clubs are finding new liquor laws "crippling" with some saying they will be forced to serve soft drinks instead of wine. Liquor law changes introduced in December include removal of ratepayer subsidies on liquor licensing and the introduction of a scaled approach to the cost of a licence, and the changes are hitting small clubs in the pocket.
3/03/2014: Vinitaly launches first ‘hackathon’ (Italy)
Vinitaly International is challenging more than 400 young people to come up with tech solutions to engage their generation in the world of wine in the industry’s first ever 24-hour “hackathon”. H-ACK Wine is a collaboration between Vinitaly International and H-FARM Ventures, a digital platform and incubator for Italian tech companies founded to help young entrepreneurs launch initiatives in the internet sector.
3/03/2014: Wine industry in Maharashtra losing its high (India)
India's wine story is losing its sparkle. Of the 75 wineries in Maharashtra, 50 are on the brink of closure, an estimated 50 lakh litres of unsold wine is stacked up in barrels and winery owners are staring at unpaid bank loans.
3/03/2014: Sud de France launches WineHub to tap lucrative export markets (France)
An online hub that connects wine sellers from the Languedoc Roussillon region of southern France with national and international buyers was launched last week. Sud de France executive project manager Pascal Barbe said the WineHub had been developed to boost the wine region's exports by making it easy for buyers to contact sellers.
3/03/2014: Alcohol duty crippling English wine industry (UK)
Chapel Down Winery's managing director Frazer Thompson has slammed high levels of alcohol duty in the UK in a recent ITV news story. In an interview with reporter Malcolm Shaw, he said he wanted to invest more money in the UK planting vineyards, building wineries, purchasing new equipment and doing great things with English sparkling wine.
28/02/2014: Delegat's first-half earnings fall 7.6 percent as UK, Europe sales fall (NZ)
Auckland-based winemaker Delegat's Group, which last year purchased Australia's Barossa Valley Estate, said first-half profit fell 7.6 per cent as sales fell in the UK and Europe and costs rose. Net profit was $17.8 million for the six months ended December 31, down from $19.3 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
28/02/2014: Winter doesn't slow down work at local winery (US)
Winter isn't normally a busy time for farmers and produce growers, but that's not the case for people working in vineyards like Baxter's Vineyard and Winery in Nauvoo, Illinois. In fact the cold winter months are when most of the pruning is done to grapevines.
28/02/2014: Court closes wine investment firm with millions owed (UK)
A UK wine investment company that took millions of pounds of investors' money for wine it never had access to has been closed in the public interest. Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd (BFW) was shut down by the High Court in London this week following a petition from the UK Government’s Insolvency Service.
28/02/2014: Summergate in talks with outside investors (China)
China-based wine distributor Summergate has announced it is in negotiations with potential outside investors in order to raise capital for growth. Summergate general manager Ian Ford confirmed the company is in talks with potential investors, but could not say more about the situation at this stage due to confidentiality agreements.
28/02/2014: ProWein ups Champagne focus (Germany)
ProWein is ramping up its Champagne focus in 2014 with double the focus on sparkling wine compared to last year. The Champagne lounge will be extended to 300 square metres with space for twice as many exhibitors and 25 Champagne houses including Taittinger will exhibit their wines among newcomers.
28/02/2014: Villa Maria dominates at the 2014 Easter Show Wine Awards (NZ)
Eight Hawke's Bay wines have picked up gold medals at the 2014 Easter Show Wine Awards and are in the running to take out the prestigious trophy award at the awards dinner being staged in Auckland next month. Villa Maria senior winemaker Nick Picone was delighted the company received 13 gold medals and as a Hawe's Bay-born, was pleased to see the region's wines among the golden list.
27/02/2014: Whitehaven Wines secures approval to boost production in Marlborough (NZ)
New Zealand-based Whitehaven Wines has received approval from the Marlborough District Council to expand its production capacity. The expansion includes the installation of 28 tanks on a new pad near the existing winery building.
27/02/2014: Rabobank admits to wrong figures in export report (NZ)
Rural lender Rabobank has admitted it got its figures wrong in a report about New Zealand's wine exports. Its quarterly report, which is widely circulated within the wine industry, stated the value of New Zealand's wine exports in the 10 months to October last year were 2.9 per cent ahead of the same period in 2012, with volume up 10.3 per cent. That gave the impression New Zealand was exporting more wine, but winemakers were on average getting less per litre for it.
27/02/2014: Malolactic bacteria’s proteins mapped (Spain/Italy)
A bacterium that causes malolactic fermentation in wine has been partially genetically mapped by a team of Spanish and Italian scientists. The report was compiled by a team from university departments in Madrid, Spain and Foggia, Italy and shows the preliminary map of 152 proteins that make up a Oenococcus oeni (O. oeni) and dictate the success of malolactic fermentation.
27/02/2014: Major Rioja brand makes move into Rueda (Spain)
Renowned Rioja-based producer Marqués de Cáceres has purchased 125 ha of vineyards in Rueda and plans to build a winery in the region. Rueda, famed for its production of crisp white wines, is one of the country’s fastest-growing wine regions and Marqués de Cáceres hopes to “reinforce its presence both in Spain and on the international markets”.
27/02/2014: Independent vintners shaking up Chile's wine industry
Sven Bruchfeld is part of a bold new wave of independent vintners who are challenging Chile's reputation for producing oceans of agreeable but predictable wines. Their quirky, small-batch harvests are capturing the attention of wine connoisseurs at home and abroad.
27/02/2014: US wine exports set record as California drought persists
Exports of wine from the US jumped 16 per cent in 2013 which has shed some light on Californian winemakers facing their worst drought in history. US wine exports - of which California makes up 90 per cent - reached a record $1.55bn, representing the fourth year of consecutive growth.
26/02/2014: Breidecker grapes first off the harvest blocks (NZ)
Marlborough's 2014 grape harvest is under way with a handful of wineries picking their first fruit of the season yesterday. Traditionally makers of sparkling wine are first off the block, but this year Hunter's Wines is taking a small parcel of Breidecker grapes before it moves onto the fruit for its MiruMiru bubbles.
26/02/2014: Kiwis buying international wines up in 2013 (NZ)
Auckland based online wine retailer Rewined (www.rewined.co.nz) has noted an interesting trend in the buying habits of Kiwi wine drinkers. Their analysis of the differences between wine purchasing numbers from 2012 to 2013 shows a 50 per cent increase in the number of New Zealanders buying wine from international producers.
26/02/2014: Decanter gathers world's top wine names for Shanghai Encounter
Decanter will gather some of the world's finest wine estates including all Bordeaux first growth chateaux for its inaugural consumer tasting event in mainland China later this year. The first Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter will take place at the Ritz-Carlton in the Pudong district on 29 November.
26/02/2014: Gallo muscles into premium wine sector (UK)
E&J Gallo is aiming to grow its share of the premium end of the wine market with the launch of two new brands, Dark Horse and Apothic Red, despite the fact that the average spend on a bottle of wine in the UK still hovers around the £5 mark.
26/02/2014: French biodynamic winemaker faces fine for not spraying vines
A biodynamic winemaker who refused to spray his vines with insecticide against a dangerous disease has said he is confident of victory following a court hearing, but prosecutors want him fined. Emmanuel Giboulot emerged from the courtroom in Dijon on Monday and will face a fine of up to €30,000.
26/02/2014: University of Minnesota touts economic impact of “cold-hardy” winegrapes (US)
As sub-zero temperatures continue to blanket the state, the University of Minnesota is touting the economic impact of its grape varieties which can withstand such frigid climates. Details about the economic impact of “cold-hardy” winegrapes were released in conjunction with the Minnesota Grape Growers Association's 10th Annual Cold-Climate Grape and Wine Conference, which was held over the weekend.
25/02/2014: Planners debate grape sourcing at new Angwin winery (US)
A request for a use permit for a new 30,000-gallon winery in Angwin has raised issues about compliance with the county’s grape sourcing regulations. The Napa County Planning Commission approved the use permit for Diogenes Ridge Winery last week, but not before commissioner Bob Fiddaman threatened to withhold his support out of concerns the winery owners weren’t providing sufficient evidence they would use Napa Valley grapes for their wines.
25/02/2014: Burgundy 2012 climbs as vineyard yields reduced by frost (France)
Burgundy 2012 wines are being priced 10 per cent to 30 per cent or more above comparable 2011 vintages due to lower yields after spring frosts and summer hailstorms, according to winemakers and UK importers. The 2012 vintage has been brought to the market at a time when collector and investor appetite has grown, as declines in rival Bordeaux prices have discouraged investors.
25/02/2014: Barrel ageing key to Rioja’s success (Spain)
French? American? Or both? Drop into any Rioja producer’s cellar and among the miles of barrels it would seem every winery is hedging bets, depending on customer preferences and house styles. But how important is barrel ageing to the success of Rioja? Seven industry experts have given their opinions on barrel ageing and its role in the success of the Spanish region.
25/02/2014: EU-China deal over wine trade dispute
Europe and China are moving towards a compromise over a Chinese investigation into alleged European wine dumping, French Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said Monday. Beijing opened the inquiry last July into whether Europe was selling wine in China at unfairly low prices.
25/02/2014: Irrigation supplies shut-down begins (NZ)
Irrigation water supplies to some parts of Marlborough are being shut down as the continuing hot, dry weather takes its toll on river levels. The Marlborough District Council is advising property owners that water for irrigation is being shut off to about 5000 ha of farmland and vineyards along the Wairau River.
24/02/2014: California's wine grape yield high (US)
San Luis Obispo's 2013 wine grape harvest resulted in a high yield — possibly record-breaking for some vineyards in the region. But most local growers say it probably won’t mirror the record crop being reported for the state as a whole.
24/02/2014: Vineyards turn high-tech (US)
Some Napa Valley vineyard owners are employing computerised robotics to hasten the business of harvesting. Wineries such as Conn Creek, Hall Wines and Opus One are using the new technology called an “optical grape sorter” - a ten-foot long contraption used to separate good grapes from the bad ones.
24/02/2014: World’s bulk brokers gather in Amsterdam
The post-event figures of the World Bulk Wine Exhibition in Amsterdam tell a story. During two days on neutral Dutch soil, 175 wineries from 16 countries presented a massive selection of wines to buyers from 71 countries. France and Spain, with 43 wineries from each of these traditional heavyweights, were by far the most represented producer countries, followed by Italy with 22 wineries in attendance.
24/02/2014: Climate change is making English wine better (UK)
Britain has suffered its worst winter rainfall since records began 250 years ago, and scientists say climate change is to blame. But the effects are not all bad. The UK is seeing much warmer summers which has reversed the fortunes of a once derided industry: English winemaking.
24/02/2014: Poor grape crop hits wine exports (France)
France's small grape crop in 2013 could affect wine exports and lead to higher prices, experts have warned. Last year French wine sales abroad were worth more than €11bn but the Federation of Exporters of Wines and Spirits (CFTS) warned there could be problems ahead.
24/02/2014: RegioNZ by the Glass to showcase NZ wines in Australia
Transport yourself “across the ditch” for a tour from North to South of New Zealand’s wine regions at RegioNZ by the Glass – the largest showcase of New Zealand wines in Australia. Meet the people behind the wines while tasting a comprehensive selection of the country's diverse varietals, including wines from the much lauded 2013 vintage.
21/02/2014: Titanic director buys Canadian winery
Hollywood film director James Cameron has snapped up Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery in British Columbia in his native Canada. The sale, which went through on February 6 for an undisclosed sum, was confirmed last week by the estate’s new manager Mark Timmermans.
21/02/2014: Wine critic to start world tour in Beijing
World-renowned wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr will kick off his "Grand World Tour", hosting a series of interactive wine events in Beijing on February 26. He will then head to Shanghai from March 1-2 and Hong Kong from March 4-6.
21/02/2014: Italians' thirst for wine diminishes as younger generation turns to beer
Italy, one of the top wine producing countries in the world, is seeing dramatic drops in wine consumption as the younger generation turns to beer. Wine Monitor Nomisma, an Italian site which follows the wine market, revealed new data on the country's wine consumption. It stated in 2012, consumption dropped 3.6 per cent.
21/02/2014: Sainsbury’s to help ‘confused’ shoppers by adding calorie counts to wine labels (UK)
Sainsbury’s is hoping to help ‘confused’ shoppers make responsible health choices by adding calorie counts to wine labels. The supermarket will start by adding the number of calories found in a small 125ml glass of wine to 20 of its own-brand bottles.
21/02/2014: Winery on low-alcohol mission (NZ)
As Mission Estate's winemaker Paul Mooney said, it was not a major grape pick but it was a significant one. And an early one. On Wednesday morning the grape-picking team fired up the machinery and went to work, taking in about eight tonnes of what Mooney described as a trial batch of 2014 Pinot Gris.
21/02/2014: Marlborough wineries gearing up for new vintage (NZ)
Winemakers in New Zealand’s flagship region are looking at an early harvest. Vineyards in Marlborough are two weeks ahead on the ripening cycle with huge crops sunning themselves under protective nets which prevent birds from eating those precious grapes.
20/02/2014: Supper Club Wines: a little piece of history repeating (NZ)
Supper Club Wines' quality and connection with the '40s and '50s is proving a highly successful combination. The New Zealand label’s 2012 Pinot Noir has been stamped ‘highly recommended’ by worldwide wine publication Decanter - an accolade which would make many larger labels envious.
20/02/2014: Local winemakers say crops may suffer in future seasons due to drought (US)
Some winemakers in Santa Barbara have spoken out, saying their crops may suffer in future seasons if it doesn't rain soon. Melville Winery co-owner and winemaker Chad Melville says a good grape crop needs strong soil which takes a lot of water, but rain has not been a reliable source so far this year.
20/02/2014: Rioja sees record-breaking sales in 2013 (Spain)
Wine sales in Rioja reached 277 million litres in 2013, surpassing its previous record set before the global economic downturn. The total volume of wine sold by the DOCa Rioja in 2013 was over 277 million litres— up 3.98 per cent from the previous year.
20/02/2014: Constellation splits from Accolade in Europe
Constellation Brands and Accolade Wines have separated their portfolios in mainland Europe although the partnership will remain in place in the UK and the rest of the world. Constellation Europe Middle East and Africa division vice-president Tim Fogarty told thedrinksbusiness.com the split would take effect on 1 March this year.
20/02/2014: "Prosecco revolution" marches on (Italy)
Prosecco's booming fortune wasn't just a blessing for fans of affordable sparkling wine - it also boosted the entire northeast wine region of Italy. The vineyards produced more than 315m bottles of Prosecco in 2013 and its continued growth over the past decade resulted in the announcement of a "Prosecco revolution" by Veneto regional president Luca Zaia.
19/02/2014: Extreme winter weather damages vineyards (US)
The extreme cold this winter is taking its toll on the wine industry and damage is already being found in vineyards throughout the US. Scientists from Cornell University estimated 50 per cent of buds across the state have been damaged.
19/02/2014: New wave of organic winemakers challenge Chile's industrial vineyard giants
Sven Bruchfeld is part of a bold new wave of independent vintners who are challenging Chile's reputation for producing oceans of agreeable but predictable wines. His quirky, small-batch harvests are capturing the attention of wine connoisseurs at home and abroad.
19/02/2014: Limited supply of French wines on bulk market
French wines have only limited availability in the bulk market, with white and rosé wines in shortest supply. According to the latest global bulk wine price list from Murphy Wine Company, Californian wines are showing strong availability and early tests suggest the potential crop should be good if rain alleviates the current water shortage.
19/02/2014: Pernod Ricard chief backs Chinese wine potential
Pernod Ricard chief excecutive Pierre Pringuet has talked up the potential of the firm's fledgling winemaking venture in China, as government austerity measures hit the firm's Cognac sales harder than expected. The company is about five years into its winemaking project in the Ningxia region, around 1,500km west of Beijing.
19/02/2014: Dynamic duo for Wild South (NZ)
New Zealand's Wild South has released its 2013 Marlborough Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - a dynamic duo of wines which show how the two grape varieties flourished in last year’s Marlborough vintage. Winemaker Kel Dixon said the summer and autumn weather for the region's 2013 vintage was exceptional, producing the perfect growing conditions to deliver intensely flavoured wines.