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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
15/12/2014: Barefoot Wine Founders announced as keynote speakers at Australia Trade Tasting 2015
Australia Trade Tasting 2015 is thrilled to announce that Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, two of the most successful wine brand owners of all time, are going to be keynote speakers at the Australia Trade Tasting USA Export Focus Day. As founders of Barefoot Wines, Michael and Bonnie are perhaps the most prolific wine sales professionals in history. I mean, who else can say that they started out in their laundry room with nothing more than an idea and then went on to build the world’s top selling wine brand? Now that’s something truly special!
15/12/2014: Natural ferments, what makes them tick?
Natural, spontaneous, wild and uninoculated are several terms used to describe a wine fermentation that has not been inoculated with a commercial yeast strain. The population of yeast species is dynamic throughout an uninoculated fermentation due to the range of initial microflora present and changing conditions as the fermentation progresses.
Australian Wine Industry News
19/12/2014: McGuigan UK’s 5th biggest wine brand
Australian wine brand McGuigan has grown to become the fifth largest selling wine brand in the UK according to the latest figures from Nielsen. The brand has enjoyed 14.6% year on year growth in the UK and 53.7% 12-week growth, making it the UK’s fastest growing wine brand in the last quarter. “This is fantastic news for our brand and it is something we couldn’t have achieved without our loyal McGuigan customers in the UK,” Neil McGuigan, chief executive of McGuigan’s parent company, Australian Vintage, said. This August, AVL signed a long term distribution agreement with the wine and spirits arm of China’s largest food manufacturer and trader, COFCO.
19/12/2014: Australian wine Giant Steps moves to Liberty Wines from OW Loeb
Yarra Valley’s Giant Steps wine has shifted its UK distribution from OW Loeb to Liberty Wines. Liberty Wines already distributed the firm’s Innocent Bystander wines to the UK market and says it wanted to “consolidate” distribution here by bringing Giant Steps to the same place. The Giant Steps wines will be available through Liberty from January 2015 – on show at the firm’s annual tasting on January 21 and at the Australia Day tasting on January 27.
19/12/2014: Global wine trade goes under the microscope in new Rabobank report
Giant wine bladders, thirsty Chinese and American consumers and growing demand for premium wine have been the most significant forces in the wine industry over the last five years, according to Rabobank researchers. And in the future they're predicting drops in production from 'new world' countries like Australia, New Zealand and some in South America.
19/12/2014: Smidge Wines announces new distribution in NSW
Smidge Wines announced a new distribution agreement with Combined Wines and Foods of New South Wales yesterday. Founded in 1972 by Ninel Molinari, the company has become one of the largest distributors of Italian wines and liqueurs in Australia. It expanded into food in 1992, Australian wines in 1994 and expanded its spirit range in 2010. Combined Wines and Foods has an Australia-wide distribution network and has a customer base of most major wholesalers and retailers, as well as direct distribution to restaurants, liquor stores, clubs, food service companies, delicatessens, supermarkets and function centres.
19/12/2014: FUN FRIDAY: The ultimate wine and spirit lover's gift guide
Take the drudgery out of holiday shopping with our gift ideas recommended by stores around the world. Gift guides are a seasonal standby in the publishing trade, so it was always on the cards that we were going to leap enthusiastically onto the bandwagon along with everyone else. Rather than give you our ideas, we reached out to some of the world's most exciting wine stores to come up with a few suggestions. What follows is what we can confidently describe as the best wish list for the wine (and spirit) lover in your life this year.
18/12/2014: Aldi promotes wine and whiskys with musical ads
Aldi is promoting various alcohol brands for the festive season with a series of musical ads featuring a bearded man in a Christmas jumper singing songs about the brands to the tune of well-known Christmas carols. Created by BMF, the ads spruik various deals in-store and online for its ‘17 Days of Christmas’ promotion.
18/12/2014: A milestone year for the Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association have labelled 2014 a milestone year for the area. It started with a vintage universally agreed by critics as one of the best Hunter Valley vintages of all time. Then, not long after the vintage was in the bottle, the Hunter Valley was chosen as Australia’s best food and wine region in the 2014 Gold List Awards for Luxury Travel Magazine, shortly followed by the announcement as one of the top 10 wine destinations in the world by USA Today.
18/12/2014: Japan free trade agreement to come into force in January
Andrew Robb, federal trade minister, has announced that Australia's free trade agreement with Japan will begin on January 15. Robb says the implementation of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) will mean exporters will benefit from two rounds of tariff cuts in the first half of 2015. The second round of tariff cuts will take place at the beginning of April. The JAEPA is the first free trade deal Japan has made with a major exporting nation and will lead to reduced or eliminated tariffs for a range of agricultural commodities, including beef, dairy, cotton, wine and beer.
18/12/2014: Program opens doors in China
Export Growth China is already sparking the interest of several Queensland businesses including Sunshine Coast based The Grape Hunter, which provides expert advice to boutique winemakers across Australia in establishing, marketing, and selling wine locally and overseas. "As a winemaker myself, I understand the challenges that many boutique wineries face," Michael Datta, The Grape Hunter founder said. "I started this business in 2010, initially to act as a central online hub of information about wine."
18/12/2014: Château Tanunda beats US wines for Top 100 Value rating
Château Tanunda’s Grand Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 has been featured in Wine Spectator's 2014 ‘Top 100 Values’ from around the world, listed as the second best value wine of Australian and New Zealand. Selected from more than 18,000 reviews, the Australian Cabernet Sauvignon has done well to achieve a high rating in the US, where Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red wine. Harvey Steinman, who reviewed the wine, said Cabernet has been coming on strong in Australia.
17/12/2014: Penfolds owner Treasury set to retire 'non-priority' wine brands
The chief executive of Penfolds owner Treasury Wine Estates has said that more than a quarter of the firm's wine brands could be 'retired' or put into joint-ventures with other companies. Of Treasury Wine Estates' 80 wine brands, 25 are 'non-priority, commercial brands', Michael Clarke (pictured) told shareholders at the firm's annual general meeting this week. Australia-based Treasury is looking to address those brands 'either by retiring them or by doing a deal with a third party, and therefore owning those in a joint-venture structure', Clarke said.
17/12/2014: Shrivelling returns for wine grape growers sees interest in dried fruit industry rise
Low returns for winegrapes have seen growers look to the dried fruit industry as a lifeline, according to a major processor. While the dried fruit industry doesn't offer stellar returns, it's better than what many wine grape growers in the warm inland wine regions of South Australia's Riverland and Sunraysia, in north-west Victoria, have received in recent years. Mike Maynard, Australian Premium Dried Fruits chief executive officer, says there's plenty of capacity in the market for new growers to come on board.
17/12/2014: Newcastle bottle shop goes 'up market' to gain liquor licence
A Newcastle woman has rebranded in a bid to get a liquor licence for what she is describing as an "up market" bottle shop in the CBD. Kathryn Brown says her first application as "Le Plonk" was refused earlier this year, and she is intending to reapply for a licence using the new name, "The Discerning Drop". "It is a premium wine shop with expensive wine sitting in it, and we're catering for the upper class," she said. "We don't stock any RTDs, cigarettes, we don't stock generic beers, no alcopops - nothing like that.”
17/12/2014: Glasses raised to Moppity
Six years ago Jason and Alecia Brown’s Moppity Vineyards venture faced bankruptcy when a winery, to which they had sold their entire grape crop, went bust owing them $500,000. The couple’s experience as KPMG accountants saved the day and today they can lay claim to the title of Australia’s top Shiraz producers after their $70 Moppity Vineyards 2013 Reserve Hilltops Shiraz last month won the Visy Great Australian Shiraz Challenge.
17/12/2014: Eden Valley hit by fire again
Winemakers, grapegrowers and farmers are working alongside CFS volunteers this morning to mop up in the Eden Valley after two fires burned across the rolling hills yesterday, pushed along by strong westerly winds. Stephen Henschke, winemaker and CEO of the iconic Henschke winery, spoke to ABC Adelaide’s breakfast program this morning and explained “a pretty scary day”.
16/12/2014: Alcohol: plain packaging’s next casualty
Two years after its implementation, plain packaging’s impact upon smoking and the illicit cigarette trade remains the subject of vigorous debate. No longer debatable, however, is plain packaging’s negative affect upon the alcohol industry and other non-tobacco sectors of the Australian economy. The unintended effects of plain packaging have the potential to vastly outweigh the legislation’s intended public health benefits, real or imagined. In fact, Australia’s imposition of plain packaging on tobacco opened a Pandora’s Box of potential trade costs with the nation’s alcohol sector set to become the first example of the policy’s collateral damage.
16/12/2014: Warrenmang Vineyard in Victoria's Pyrenees for sale
Victoria's Warrenmang Vineyard and Resort at Moonambel, located 20 kilometres north-west of Avoca, has been listed by the retiring owners Athalie and Luigi Bazzani. They ran the tourist destination winery for around 36 years. On the Great Grape Road in the cool-climate wine territory of the Pyrenees, Warrenmang is credited as having pioneered the vineyard resort concept in 1989.
16/12/2014: Treasury wine AGM held today
Treasury Wine shareholders should not take it personally if their captain Michael Clarke – the other guy, not the cricketer – looks a little glum at his first AGM for the winemaker this morning. The level of takeover speculation surrounding the stock when he joined early this year meant the board had to make contingencies for an early departure. This included a cash payout of his $3.4 million long-term incentive plan if a suitor took control before the Tuesday meeting.
16/12/2014: Two Korean tariff cuts to benefit Australian industries
The landmark Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) has passed into the parliaments of both countries, along with the exchange of diplomatic notes by the Australian and Korean governments agreeing to its entry into force. These tariff cuts will benefit Australia’s agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry sectors. “The KAFTA means our beef, dairy, grains, sugar, horticulture, seafood and wine sectors will all achieve better access,” said Barnaby Joyce, Agriculture Minister.
16/12/2014: Paramedics call for limit on sales of spirits and wine in Port Augusta
Paramedics fed up with being assaulted on the job in South Australia want tougher restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Port Augusta. Ambulance Employees' Association state secretary Phil Palmer said "more often than not" alcohol was associated with assaults and there "was a lot of them" in the regional town. The rules banned takeaway sales of cask wine, and sales of other wine and spirits were limited to one bottle per person daily.
15/12/2014: Tim Atkin MW keynote speaker at Mornington Pinot celebration
The 7th Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Celebration announced Tim Atkin MW as keynote speaker. In 2015, the celebration will focus on the maturation and evolution of Australian Pinot Noir on a world stage. Tim Atkin MW will guide the two-day event, with his own take on the concept of terroir. Vignerons will be bringing it all back home, focusing on the soil, aspect, climate and nuances of the Mornington Peninsula.
15/12/2014: Hunter vignerons hopeful hot weather leads to good vintage
Hunter Valley vignerons anticipate they will start picking grapes for the 2015 vintage in four weeks time, if the worst of the humid tropical weather is over. Andrew Margan of Margan Family Wines said a hot and dry November has led to smaller, sweeter berries on his vines at Broke. He said that can result in a particularly good vintage because of a concentration of flavours and sugars. Mr Margan said the fruit ripens a lot quicker when there is less of it.
15/12/2014: Clare Valley's Pikes opens brewery
Pikes Winery has opened a $1 million brewery in the Clare Valley under the direction of Brad Nolen, formerly of WA's Gage Roads Brewing Company. Brewing is due to begin today, with the new tasting room to open in January. “We’re getting geared up right now,” said Andrew Pike, the winery’s director. “We’ll probably start off with a pilsner and then follow up with a sparkling ale. It’s all happening here at the moment.” The new facility to be overseen by Nolen includes a 2000-litre brewing system imported from Italy and a modern bottling plant.
15/12/2014: Aldi wine buyers have got their act together with their local range
A media release arrived in my inbox telling me how Aldi had triumphed at the National Wine Show in Canberra (a show sponsored, with not inconsiderable irony, by Dan Murphy’s), winning the best value red trophy with the 2013 Tudor Shiraz from central Victoria, which the German-owned supermarket sells for just $12.99. Crikey, I thought, this deserves some thorough investigation. So off I trooped to my nearest Aldi, and emerged a few minutes later with a bottle of the multi-award winning Shiraz.
15/12/2014: Wine critic fights the French champagne police
Can an Australian wine critic and educator call her business Champagne Jayne? That’s the question at the centre of a year-long dispute between businesswoman Jayne Powell, who has used the name for years, and the Comité Interprofessionnel du Cin de Champagne (CIVC), the French trade association that protects wines from the Champagne region. The committee claims Powell has misled consumers because she promoted sparkling wines that are not technically champagne.
12/12/2014: Drop in Aussie dollar revives slump in wine exports
A falling Australian dollar is bringing some relief to wine exporters trying to revive a slump in overseas sales. Earlier this week the dollar hit a four-year low and today it's trading around 83.2 US cents. Robert Fiumara, Southern New South Wales winemaker, sent his first pallet of wine to Hong Kong this week and says the improved exchange rate will be a big help.
12/12/2014: Sustainable Australia Winegrowing presentation shows sustainability is on the rise
The Sustainable Australia Winegrowing presentation on Thursday December 4 revealed an impressive 9.1 per cent improvement in sustainable practices across 116 members for the 2014 season. By comparison, the previous season recorded a 3.5 per cent improvement. Sustainable Australia Winegrowing is an initiative of the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association, led by sustainability officer, Dr Irina Santiago Brown.
12/12/2014: Biodynamic wine tasting event returns to Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
The world's top biodynamic vignerons will meet to exhibit their wines at next years Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Return to Terrior is an international gathering of more than 40 biodynamic wineries, returning to Melbourne following the success of their 2011 tasting at the MFWF. The event offers examples of biodynamic wines poured by the winemakers themselves. Champagne F. Bedel, Coulée de Serrant, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht and Nikolaihof are among the line-up, alongside Australia’s biodynamic wineries Castagna, Cullen, Jasper Hill and Ngeringa.
12/12/2014: Way now clear for haze-preventing enzymes in Australian winemaking
Australian winemakers can now use with confidence the protease enzyme mixture known as Proctase to ensure haze-free wine. An application to Food Standards Australian New Zealand (FSANZ) has just been approved, confirming that the enzymes are allowed for use in Australian winemaking for wines sold domestically or exported to New Zealand.
12/12/2014: FUN FRIDAY: Wine and love: a vintage twist to a Naked tale
WINE has been helping people fall in love for thousands of years, and for winemakers Adrian and Rebecca Santolin it has fuelled a classic tale of "boy meets girl" culminating in an epic romance. The young winemaking couple met among the vineyards back in 1999, and shared a dream of one day building a successful wine business together. In July 2012, with the help of Naked Wines, their dream finally became a reality.
11/12/2014: Second hail storm in less than a week for Bulga residents
Residents of Bulga in the Hunter Valley will spend the day counting the cost after a second savage hail storm hit the area in less than a week. The storm late yesterday dumped up to 80 millimetres of rain and hail on the area leaving paddocks awash and adding to a mounting damage bill. Hail dumped last Friday damaged winegrape crops in the area, with some vineyards losing all of their fruit for the next vintage.
11/12/2014: Report slams trade’s influence on policy
The alcohol industry’s ability to shape alcohol policy nationally and globally needs to be “curtailed” because of a fundamental conflict of interest, according to a recent study. That was the conclusion drawn by researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia, London’s King’s College and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The study, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, claims that lobbyists within the alcohol trade in Australia and the UK are hampering efforts to curb drinking rates, despite levels of consumption having dropped.
11/12/2014: Winemaking degree at Margaret River campus scrapped by Curtin University
The only undergraduate winemaking course in Western Australia has been scrapped due to falling student enrolments. Curtin University's viticulture and oenology bachelor degree based at its Margaret River campus provided students with hands-on skills in wine making and boasted a 92 per cent graduate employment rate.
11/12/2014: Asian rip-offs: Aussie businesses “day to day” battle with copycats
Increasing numbers of Australian businesses are becoming embroiled in legal battles with businesses in Asia which are ripping off their names, logos and businesses. As SmartCompany reported last week, Australian restaurant chain Meat and Wine Co is pursuing a Malaysian business which has copied its name and logo, but the steak chain is not alone. The Penfolds trademark has been reproduced sometimes identically and sometimes with slight alterations like “Benfolds” instead of Penfolds.
11/12/2014: Kate Harvey appointed to new AGWA role
Andreas Clark, Australian Grape and Wine Authority's (AGWA) acting chief executive officer, today announced that Kate Harvey has been appointed to a new leadership role. Harvey said she was excited to commence her new role as general manager of corporate affairs and strategy on 1 January 2015.
10/12/2014: Hunter growers assess weekend hail damage
Some Hunter Valley vignerons say they lost nearly all their grape crop in the hail storm that lashed parts of the region at the weekend. A large hail storm moved through the northern part of Broke Fordwich on Friday night, bringing with it more than 34 millimetres of rain. Andrew Margan of Margan Family Wines says it could have been much worse, and is hopeful the tropical humidity is over.
10/12/2014: Plan to raise premiums on Australia wine, boost competitiveness
It's time to refocus attention on Australia's best wines, sell more overseas and attract a higher price for them, according to the Australian Grape and Wine Authority. In a discussion paper about its new strategic plan for 2015-2020, the peak body for the wine industry says it wants to both boost demand and the premium paid for Australian wine, and the competitiveness of the industry.
10/12/2014: "Bullet proof" grape making good wine in NSW
A "bullet proof" French-American hybrid grape is tipped by several local winemakers on the New South Wales far south coast to provide the best variety for the region. Bottling for 2014 at the small Tilba Valley winery between Tilba and Narooma has been completed by winemakers Clint Bradley and Sue O'Rourke.
10/12/2014: Winemaker David Lowe says low alcohol wines could pave way for healthier future
Winemaker David Lowe says the concerns about Australia's binge-drinking culture are real, and aren't going away, so there's a role for quality winemakers in taking up the challenge and creating a new culture around drinking. Lowe, from Mudgee in New South Wales, says he is one of a group of winemakers who have received funding to commercialise low alcohol wine.
10/12/2014: What one of China's most respected bankers thinks about Australian business
Dr Ma Weihua, former chief executive of the China Merchant Bank and executive chairman of China Entrepreneur Club, whose members include industry captains like Jack Ma of Alibaba and Liu Chuanzhi of Lenovo, is one the country’s most highly regarded bankers. Ma thinks Australia’s wine industry is much more open about exporting to China as well as accepting foreign investment.
9/12/2014: Organic certification opens Chinese market for SA Winery
Temple Bruer Winery estimates as much as a 25 per cent boost in its export market after attaining full organic certification in China. The winery has become the first NASAA Certified Organic operator to attain full organic certification under the NASAA – CHC Global Organic Market Access Agreement. David Bruer, Temple Bruer owner, estimates achieving Chinese organic certification via NASAA could be worth more than $760,000 annually.
9/12/2014: New book reveals Tasmania's key role in Australian wine industry
Tasmania's importance in creating some of the country's best-known wine regions has been outlined in a new book launched in Hobart. Historian Tony Walker has spent the past four years writing the first history of the state's wine industry. His book - Vintage Tasmania - has revealed little known facts about the early industry and its chequered past.
9/12/2014: Wine advice from Wolf Blass chief winemaker Chris Hatcher
All rules are made to be broken, but any wine and food combination must always be in balance without domination from either. Find wines you like and then experiment with different food styles to find the combinations you like. One wine rule that doesn’t apply in Australia is red wine should be served at room temperature — red wines should only be served at 18-20C.
9/12/2014: AGWA releases discussion paper for five-year strategic plan
The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) today released a paper to stimulate discussion with grape and wine levy payers ahead of developing AGWA’s ‘Strategic Plan 2015–2020’. Brian Walsh, AGWA chair, said Australia had the resources and capability to be recognised internationally as the world’s pre-eminent wine producing country.
9/12/2014: Best Australian wines of 2014: from Shiraz to Gruner Veltliner
There's a story about the 2014 harvest that beautifully – and painfully – puts the year's harvest across much of Victoria into perspective. A Mornington Peninsula winemaker with 6.8 hectares of vines, knowing full well his crop would be low due to poor fruit set at flowering, put out his 400 kilogram bins and started picking. He filled just one bin, and there were many Victorian winemakers who shared his pain. Overall, the Australian wine industry took in 1.7 million tonnes of grapes, which was less than last year but wasn't enough to reduce its oversupply issues.
8/12/2014: Hail storm wreaks havoc on Lake George wineries
Wet weather and hail has hit the region's vineyards causing havoc for some wineries across the region but ideal conditions for others. A hail storm destroyed more than one third of the crops at Lerida Estate vineyard near Lake George, and continued wet weather could ruin the rest. Jim Lumbers, Lerida Estate owner, said about two feet of hail dumped down on his prized grapes on Saturday night, causing irreversible damage.
8/12/2014: Australia to substantially increase Japanese grape exports
The grape harvest has already started in Queensland, Australia. Mid November saw the start of the early season grape harvest and harvesting will progress through the different regions as the season progresses. By the end of December, beginning of January, Sunraysia, the main grape growing region in Australia will be harvesting. This is where the majority of export grapes come from.
8/12/2014: Grants needed for tornado damage
Nearly two weeks on from the tornado that destroyed vineyards in south-west New South Wales, many growers still confront the mammoth task of repairs and clean-up. Damage inflicted on around 100 properties in the path of the tornado ranged from minor to total destruction of horticultural crops and associated infrastructure, stretching from Yelta on the Victorian side of the border to Gol Gol North in NSW.
8/12/2014: Wine Australia steps up foodie focus
Food matching and regionality will provide the major focuses for next month’s annual Australia Day Tasting in London. Taking place at Lindley Hall on 27 January, the trade event will feature over 1,000 Australian wines from 213 wineries and 53 exhibitors. There will also be a number of wineries seeking distribution in the UK market. As an extension of the “Restaurant Australia” campaign run by Tourism Australia earlier this year, the tasting will feature four pop-up food and wine matching stalls.
8/12/2014: In praise of the avant-garde
The natural-wine movement is so important in Australia because of the often constrictive value placed on technical rectitude by the Australian winemaking establishment. In France, by contrast, where the lessons of limpidity and difference were learned long ago, the most useful questions tend to be asked by those at the quality apex, looking for the next quarter-per-cent of expressive grace.
5/12/2014: Australian winemakers turn to alternative grape varieties
The wine-speak term "alternative" is fairly neutral. On iTunes, "alternative" is a catchall, covering everyone from The Killers to your uncle's garage band. But something rarely considered "alternative" is Australian wine. To most drinkers, Australian wine is much more Chardonnay than Rotgipfler, more Kylie Minogue than Nick Cave.
5/12/2014: Korea free trade deal about to take effect
Australia's free trade agreement with South Korea will take effect from December 12, Andrew Robb, trade and investment minister, has confirmed. The South Korean National Assembly has just passed the Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) Bill, which was signed in April by Robb and Yoon Sang-jik, Korean trade, industry and energy minister.
5/12/2014: Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago on Grange, death and luck
Peter Gago’s first sip of Grange was not, as it is for so many other devotees, an epiphany. In fact, he hardly recalls the moment. It was during his university days. “There was no ceremony... It was all a bit of a blur,” he says. Instead, Gago’s appreciation of the drop evolved “as a gradual realisation... Grange became something that just made sense to me. It’s like death in a way, in the manner that you don’t know how to deal with it [Grange] at the time. It only hits you later - the realisation of what you’ve missed when you go back to a bottle and see what you lost. You think, ‘that is profoundly wow’.”
5/12/2014: Beer, spirits have stolen our playbook: building 'brand wine'
Troy Christensen, Enotria Wine Cellars chief executive officer, warns the wine industry that spirits and beer have stolen its play book and says the industry needs to build ‘brand wine’ more effectively to attract consumers who can afford premium wines. Christensen's resume includes stints as Accolade Wines' chief executive officer and was previously president of Constellation Australia.
5/12/2014: FUN FRIDAY: 10 things every wine lover should know about Henschke
Far from their roots in Poland, South Australia's Henschke family make some of the country's most respected wines. The rich history of the Barossa and Eden valleys is partly defined by the diaspora of Silesian Lutherans who exited Europe in the mid-1800s. Fifth-generation winemaker, Stephen Henschke, is a direct descendant of Johann Christian Henschke, founder of Henschke Wines, whose journey brought him to settle in the region after departing from the village of Tschicherzig in Poland, under some duress.
4/12/2014: Tourism Australia's plan to whet China's appetite
Huge billboards featuring pictures of Australian lobsters, Tasmanian sparkling Brut and fresh oysters are gracing Shanghai subway stations and busy shopping malls - the public face of Tourism Australia’s $10 million marketing blitz in China. The country is the focal point for tourism marketers around the world. Europeans are peddling their history and magnificent cathedrals while the Kiwis are campaigning on their hugely successful Pure New Zealand brand.
4/12/2014: Speak of the devil: Tasmanian viticulture poised for growth?
The Apple Isle has the potential to go a long way. A study recently released by viticulture experts Dr. Richard Smart, of Smart Viticulture, and Dr. Ruben Wells, of Ag Logic, said Tasmania is ripe for an expansion in its wine production.
4/12/2014: Wrattonbully who? Penfolds Grange shines spotlight on tiny SA wine region
Have you ever tried wine made from Wrattonbully grapes? Chances are you wouldn't even know because marketing teams haven't seen much point in promoting the South Australian region on their labels. Until now. Grapes from Smiths Vineyard, in the tiny and largely secret south east region, have been selected for inclusion in the 2014 Penfolds Grange vintage.
4/12/2014: Canberra wine industry produces top wines in 2014
As the Australian wine industry moved into another round of takeovers and rationalisation in 2014, Canberra's vignerons remained many, small and independent. They released probably more outstanding wines in the year than they ever had before, attracting a remarkable flow of wine show gongs.
4/12/2014: Final issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal for 2014 out now!
The November-December issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal has landed just in time for subscribers to get in a spot of timely must-know wine industry reading during whatever downtime they may have over the Christmas and New Year period before preparations for vintage 2015 get under way. Fresh from winning the award for Best Trade/Technical Writer at this year's Wine Communicator Awards in Sydney, regular contributor Cathy Howard keeps up the good work that attracted the judges’ attention in this issue by turning her hand to the subject of malolactic fermentation, exploring those practices that give winemakers the best chance of achieving the outcomes they desire whether using cultured or ambient yeasts.
3/12/2014: December 2014 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The December 2014 issue of Grapegrower & Winemaker is out now and available online for all subscribers. ’Tis the season to celebrate so sit back with bubbles and join us as we discuss the latest in bird control; analytical services; oak; harvesting; and law among others.
3/12/2014: NSW growers wiped out by storms can apply for financial help
Loans of up to $130,000 will be available for growers impacted by a storm that decimated crops in south-west New South Wales last weekend. The state government declared the storm a natural disaster, after it wiped out 1,000 hectares of wine and table grapes, and nearly 800 hectares of citrus in Sunraysia.
3/12/2014: Wine Tasmania joins bid to reform WET rebate
Tasmania's wine industry has joined a national campaign to keep, but reform, the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate in a bid to stop tax increases crippling the island’s small cellar-door operators. The WET entitles wine producers to a rebate of up to $500,000 each financial year but there is now talk from Canberra about changing the system.
3/12/2014: Commercial release of Barossa Valley Heritage Shiraz clones
South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) has turned scientific trials into an industry reality with the commercial release of Heritage Shiraz clones in the Barossa Valley. The selection of these clones began back in 1986, initiated by industry stalwarts Ross Heinze, Richard Cirami and Dr Michael McCarthy in conjunction with state vine improvement organisations.
3/12/2014: Woolworths Liquor buys China's Summergate
One of China’s major wine importers, Summergate Fine Wines & Spirits, and its retail subsidiary Pudao Wines have been bought by Australian drinks retail giant Woolworth’s Liquor Group (WLG). The deal marks the combination of Summergate’s Chinese market network and high quality wine and spirit agency portfolio, which includes producers such as Domaine Armand Rousseau, Hugel & Fils, Ridge Vineyards and Dominio de Pingus, with the retail scale offered by WLG, part of Australian supermarket group Woolworths.
2/12/2014: Dry grapes flourishing despite drought
In a story that is almost too good to be true one north west New South Wales industry is flourishing despite ongoing drought conditions. Scott Wright, Winemaker, says he has been lucky to keep his vineyard operating because of a choice he made when he first planted his vines.
2/12/2014: Margan Wines bags gold at tourism awards
Andrew Margan, Hunter Valley vigneron says he is proud to be part of developing wine tourism after collecting two gold trophies at the state tourism awards. Margan Wines of Broke won the best winery and excellence in food tourism titles, and took out silver for excellence in sustainable tourism.
2/12/2014: Novak Djokovic stars in Jacob's Creek film series
Jacob’s Creek has announced a partnership with Novak Djokovic, world number one tennis player, with the trailer release for a short film series, called ‘Made By’. Directed by US film maker Keith ‘Keef’ Ehrlich, the documentary style ‘Made By’ films are shot on location in Djokovic’s home town of Belgrade, Serbia and show him revealing never before told stories about his life.
2/12/2014: Accolade and Grant Burge reach sale agreement
Accolade Wines and Grant Burge Wines have reached an agreement on the acquisition of the Barossa family brand and business, along with the Krondorf Winery. Rumours of the deal have been circling the industry since late October and the two wineries confirmed they were in “exclusive discussions” in mid-November. No details about staff impacts or the Illaparra winery, located in Tanunda and subject to current plans for a significant upgrade, were made available with the announcement.
2/12/2014: 2014 Air Liquide Concours des Vins de Victoria results
Organised by the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce, the Annual Concours des Vins de Victoria brings together two renowned wine-producing cultures; French and Australian. The 2014 edition of the annual event boasted a record number of entries and a new Fortified judging class.
1/12/2014: Casella puts a cork in profit speculation
Casella Wines has refused to provide profit or revenue forecasts for the merged entity if its $57 million takeover of Peter Lehmann Wines is successful because of extreme volatility in the sector, but says it will strip out some head office jobs from the Barossa Valley group. Casella, the maker of Australia's biggest-selling wine, Yellow Tail, has told shareholders in Peter Lehmann Wines in a bidder's statement for its proposed $1.50-per-share buyout the inclusion of financial forecasts "would be unduly speculative and potentially misleading for shareholders".
1/12/2014: Huge wine investment potential in Tasmania demonstrated
The report identifies large land areas of tens of thousands of hectares suitable for viticulture in 20 regions, which includes 15 "new” regions with few or no vineyards. Climate was intensively studied and mapped along with frost incidence in several of these regions. Tasmania offers a climate covering a range of temperature from less than 900 to 1,500 heat degree-day units, and is comparable to New Zealand and other cool climate wine regions.
1/12/2014: Hobart invites the world to dinner and counts the cost of influence
Brisbane had its G20; Hobart had its I86. That’s the number of prominent 'influencers', from all corners of the globe, who woke up in Hobart a fortnight ago with varying degrees of hangover reflecting the largesse of Tourism Australia and its campaign to promote our food and wine assets.
1/12/2014: Power prices skyrocket by 62 per cent in South Australia's Riverland
Electricity bills have jumped by 62 per cent in South Australia's Riverland, according to an irrigator who says he is facing increased costs. Sam Albanese, a grower at Pike River near Renmark, said high electricity bills were the latest challenge for a region that was already suffering from the impacts of low commodity prices and drought in recent years.
1/12/2014: SA accountant who stole $600k was not motivated by greed
An accountant was not motivated by greed when he stole more than $600,000 from a group of Barossa wine companies, the South Australian district court has heard. James Stanley George Martin, 53, pleaded guilty to 45 counts of theft relating to $638,596.25 he obtained by stealing the tax refunds of the Dural Wines Group. Dural Wines own Kaesler, in the Barossa; Nashwauk, McLaren Vale; and the Clare Wine Co. and also has financial interest in Yarra Yering and Warramate Wines.
International Wine Industry News
19/12/2014: Sports hit back at advertising rule proposals
New Zealand's biggest sports teams including the All Blacks, the New Zealand Warriors and the Black Caps say proposed changes to alcohol sponsorship and advertising would threaten the sustainability of their codes at nearly every level. The biggest impact would be on grassroots clubs which depended heavily on funding from liquor companies, sporting bodies said after the release of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship's report yesterday.
19/12/2014: International wine enthusiasts coming to Queenstown
One of the world’s premier wine events returns to Queenstown next year, bringing together international wine enthusiasts from across the globe for a special celebration of Central Otago Pinot Noir. The two-day ‘Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration’ is now in its 11th year, and is featuring up to 40 Central Otago winemakers and 200 other wine enthusiasts. It’s a unique occasion where guests share experiences and philosophies with local winemakers, taste the wines, visit their vineyards and sample the very best cuisine the area has to offer.
19/12/2014: French prohibitionists aim to spoil the wine party
An anti-alcohol group in France could make the country an international laughing stock by demanding ridiculous limitations on wine marketing. Lobbyists from ANPAA, an organization described by French magazine Le Point as "prohibitionist", have their sights set on altering the country's laws to prohibit any reference to enjoyment of wine on any publicity and that may include wine labels.
19/12/2014: Winery investigated for allegedly selling diluted red wine
A winery in Yangmei, Taoyuan County was under investigation on Thursday for allegedly selling Australian red wine diluted with a locally-made version to distributors and supermarkets, reaping illegal profits. The Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office said that Universal Distiller Product Co. had sold various kinds of red wine, labelled as imports, to distributors, including hypermarket and convenience store chains.
19/12/2014: Saving rare winegrapes from extinction
For more than five years now, one of the world's foremost grapevine geneticists and a dedicated team of volunteers have been working to save an unwanted half-acre vineyard from destruction. Why? Because four of the grape varieties planted in this parcel in Switzerland's mountains are incredibly rare and historic. In 2010, Swiss winemaker Josef-Marie Chanton, a pioneer in grapevine preservation, contacted his fellow countryman and grapevine geneticist José Vouillamoz about a terraced vineyard in Switzerland's Haut Valais region.
19/12/2014: FUN FRIDAY: Worried about wine staining your teeth? Try Winestraws
Jenny LaFever was searching for a way to keep her teeth white while drinking red wine, and she came up with a new solution. It’s never pretty when you come home from a holiday party and look in the mirror only to realize you have red wine stain teeth, and even worse, that unattractive rim of red around your inner lips. Horrified, you wonder why no one told you, and how long were you talking with stained teeth. This is why many partygoers forgo their favourite reds and stick to white wine at parties. But now Californian Jenny LaFever has a solution.
18/12/2014: Wine launch at 17,000ft breaks record
A New Zealand winery has broken a world record by staging a wine launch at 17,000 feet in the shadow of Mount Everest. Central Otago winemakers, Drumsara Wines, officially launched its vintage 2012 Ventifacts Block Pinot Noir with the help of high altitude rescue pilot, Jason Laing. The team captured the wine’s launch at the Kala Patthar landing in the Mahalangur Himalaya mountain range at 17,323ft, smashing the previous world’s highest altitude wine launch on Mt Ararat, Turkey by 470ft.
18/12/2014: Call for ban on alcohol advertising at sport events
The Government has been told to end alcohol sponsorship of sports clubs and ban any advertising of beer, wine and spirits during televised matches by a ministerial forum. The forum, chaired by former rugby league coach and businessman Graham Lowe, concluded after a two-year inquiry that the total cost of alcohol-related harm in this country was "enough to justify further restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship". The six-person panel was set up by former Justice Minister Judith Collins as part of alcohol law reforms in 2012.
18/12/2014: Bulk wine shipping and New World plantings to slow, says Rabobank
Shipping wine in bulk is set to slow, while New World plantings are also declining – according to Rabobank’s recently published World Wine Map. The report predicts while the number of markets consuming wine is set to expand, the growth from hotly-tipped China and the US is decelerating. “The advent of improved technology for shipping bulk wine has provided great efficiencies for shipping certain types of wine, but it is not an appropriate solution in all cases,” the report shows.
18/12/2014: Wine and beer get calorie treatment
Don't want to be confronted with the number of calories in that margarita or craft beer? Then avoid the menu and order at the bar. New menu labelling rules from the US Food and Drug Administration will require chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets to list the amount of calories in alcoholic drinks, along with other foods, on menus by next November. The idea is that people often don't know — or even think about — how many calories they are imbibing.
18/12/2014: Government to rake in €2 million on vino tax
An excise duty on wines will be accompanied by a campaign promoting Maltese wines. Wine, the only alcohol which to date had never been taxed will now increase by 20c per litre. While the excise duty is intended to readdress market discrepancies, Scicluna said government will embark on a campaign promoting Maltese wines.
18/12/2014: Sauternes growers fear new train line will sour sweet French wine
Producers of Sauternes, France's world-famous sweet wine, are up in arms about a proposed high-speed train line they fear could sour their tipple. The wines owe their sweetness to a morning mist generated by the cool waters of the local River Ciron - around 13 degrees. The mist flows over the warmer plains of the Sauternes growing region, which lies below Bordeaux in south-west France, and encourages a special type of mould known as "noble rot" or botrytis cinerea that attacks the grapes before they are fermented.
17/12/2014: New Zealand wine industry gets ready to boost presence in South Korea export market
The New Zealand winegrowers are ecstatic at the recently concluded free trade agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. Philip Gregan, NZ Winegrowers chief executive officer, said the "FTA is going to give a big fillip to wine exports.” Gregan said tariff-free access to South Korea right from the start of the deal is a significant boost in bolstering the export ambitions into a key Asian market. Gregan also noted until this Korean deal, New Zealand wine industry had not been in an advantageous position in South Korea.
17/12/2014: Rain boosts growers, farmers
While some are not happy with the rainy weather, local farmers and growers are thriving. Farmer Bruno Chambers described the December rain as "an early Christmas present." For farmers the entire equation has changed in a positive way. Local winegrower, Nicholas Buck said the vineyards were going well at this point and they had good growth from the weather over spring and early summer. "For photosynthesis to happen you need water" so at this point the rain came at a good time, allowing them to put off irrigation," he said.
17/12/2014: Jackson Family buys South African vineyard
Jackson Family Wines, which owns more than 20,000 acres of vineyards in California and around the world, is expanding to a new wine region: South Africa. The company is buying Fijnbosch farm, which includes 20 acres of vines in the Banghoek Valley, a ward in the prominent Stellenbosch region, according to a spokesperson for the firm.
17/12/2014: Alcohol removal on the up in US
One in four bottles of Californian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have been through the industrial alcohol removal process supplied by ConeTech in the past year. Jack Ryno, ConeTech’s vice-president of operations, stated that the company “processes one quarter of all the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced in California”. ConeTech’s alcohol removal technology sees a portion of wine go through a spinning cone which separates all the volatile aromas compounds from the liquid, before removing the alcohol from the remaining odourless liquid.
17/12/2014: Champagne UNESCO hopes 'looking good', says official
Champagne is believed to have enhanced its chances of joining the UNESCO World Heritage list following a cellar tour by members of the voting committee. Franck Lalliot, France’s ambassador to UNESCO, used the 15th Habits de Lumiere festival in Epernay in the heart of Champagne country as an opportune moment to bring eight of his fellow ambassadors from different countries to the region. Their opinions will help to determine Champagne’s fortunes when its UNESCO application is put to a vote before the 21-member World Heritage Committee in Bonn next July.
17/12/2014: Single serve wine brand Zipz looks to hit UK shelves early 2015
Single serve PET wine glass Zipz, which took the US by storm after securing the largest ever investment on the country’s TV show Shark Tank, is aiming to hit UK shelves by the first quarter of 2015. J Henry Scott, chief executive of Zipz, said it is in the “middle of finding the right distribution partner” in the UK, and is working with the company who developed the Copa di Vino product in France on developing a stem glass for it.
16/12/2014: NZ Pacific encouraged for new Seasonal Worker Scheme
Domestic Pacific workers can be as successful as overseas Pacific workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries says Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Pacific Island affairs minister. Lotu-Iiga is encouraging employers to take up the New Zealand Seasonal Worker Scheme announced by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. Bennett also announced an increase to the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. The scheme recruits seasonal workers from overseas to assist in the horticulture and viticulture industries where there are not enough New Zealand workers.
16/12/2014: Urban pressure squeezes winery
Mills Reef Winery in Tauranga is being squeezed off its site by urban sprawl, but it is determined to maintain business as usual. Directors of the multi-award winning winery have accepted that future growth will be constrained on the site now the city has grown out to meet it, and have started long-term planning to relocate to a fresh site in the Western Bay.
16/12/2014: Wine Pride: Is France coming out?
There is every reason for France to crow about its wine achievements. The wine and spirit sector produces the country’s second largest balance-of-trade-surplus after the aerospace industry, and ahead of pharmaceuticals. (And remember that France’s greatest spirit products – Cognac and Armagnac – are grape-based, not grain-based, even if the French themselves spend 12 times more on whisky than on Cognac.) This year, France will be the world’s biggest wine producer, and the world’s top-value exporter. Wine production accounts for only three per cent of France’s agricultural land, yet wine represents 15.4 per cent of the country’s agricultural production value.
16/12/2014: Napa revisits wine wastewater
Vintners in Napa County and elsewhere in the North Bay have found it less expensive to haul high-strength wastewater to the East Bay for recycling, but Napa treatment officials are again asking if there is a better, closer alternative. Napa Sanitation District, which treats sewage from homes and businesses in the city and surrounding unincorporated areas, has been getting requests from wineries to consider taking in this waste, according to General Manager Tim Healy.
16/12/2014: Portugal is shaking up the wine world
LISBON, Portugal - The world's greatest wine region? If you're thinking Bordeaux, Burgundy or Napa Valley, it may be time to think again. Wines from Portugal's Douro Valley claimed three of the top four places in Wine Spectator's 2014 top 100 ranking - including the No. 1 spot awarded to Dow's 2011 Vintage Port. "It's been famous for producing extraordinary ports for over 300 years and it's got a unique beauty all its own," says Paul Symington, whose family produces the top wine.
16/12/2014: Campaign calls for 2% duty cut on wine and spirits
Chancellor George Osborne is being urged to cut duty on wine and spirits by two per cent, with a campaign claiming it would remove an unfair tax burden of British drinkers and give a £1.5bn (A$2.8bn) boost to the public finances in 2015. Research by Ernst &Young, commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), is being used to back their 'Drop the Duty!' campaign, in advance of the next budget in March.
16/12/2014: Wine-ing about the economy is the new indicator: Pro
Unsure about the economy's strength? Then answer this question: when was the last time you bought a bottle of wine? David Duncan, president and chief executive officer of California-based high-end winemaker Silver Oak, told CNBC in a recent interview that wine consumption can be a decent gauge of how the economy is doing. Consumption is hitting record levels in the United States, as collectors and connoisseurs have caused sales to surpass the notorious oenophiles in some European countries.
15/12/2014: NMIT launches new degree in viticulture and winemaking
A new viticulture and winemaking degree with a strong focus on practical and applied training will be launched at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) next year. The new bachelor of viticulture and winemaking will begin in 2015 at NMIT’s Marlborough campus. NMIT has offered viticulture and wine education for the past 23 years and previously, NMIT’s diploma in viticulture and wine production graduates were able to pathway into the Lincoln University bachelor of viticulture and oenology which could be studied at NMIT’s Marlborough campus.
15/12/2014: Winery savours Rob Fyfe's vision
Rob Fyfe thought life would be a lot quieter when he stepped down as boss of Air New Zealand in 2012 but he has just taken up his latest role as strategic adviser to winery Craggy Range, on top of work as chief executive of Icebreaker and a board member for Michael Hill International. Fyfe said he was originally drawn to the role with Craggy Range because of the company's potential and the vision of the owners and founders.
15/12/2014: Russia may ban French wine imports in retaliation to sanctions
Russia's government has raised the possibility of banning imports of French wine in retaliation to economic sanctions, in the same week that officials confiscated 3,000 litres of imported wine because it failed to meet regulations. The proposal is set to be discussed before the end of the year and is due to the French government's decision to suspend the transfer of Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia - as part of wider sanctions by the European Union and US following the political crisis in Ukraine.
15/12/2014: Minister backs call for lower duty tax band for reduced alcohol wines
The UK’s public health minister has expressed “frustration” with a lack of flexibility around introducing a lower tax band for lower end wines, but the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) warns such a step would discriminate against wine from warmer climes. Jane Ellison, public health minister said, in evidence to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs, Health and Education sub-committee on a new EU alcohol strategy, that there were some areas of “frustration”, with the current strategy, and that the UK government would like to have the “flexibility” to go further on certain issues.
15/12/2014: Small Indian wineries face bankruptcy, says winemaker body
While wine consumption in India is growing at 30 per cent per year, the state of around 40 small wineries largely based in Maharashtra remains a concern for the industry. The All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA) said the survival of these wineries is at risk. It is preparing to ask the new BJP-led government in Maharashtra for 2bn rupees (A$38m) on wineries’ behalf.
15/12/2014: Conference: Aim for quality over quantity with wine grapes
Viticulturist urges growers to avoid overproduction in speech at High Plains Agriculture Conference. Like the beverage they produce, winegrapes are better in moderation, Ed Hellman, viticulturist, said Friday morning. During a presentation at Texas A&M AgriLife’s High Plains Agriculture Conference, Hellman, a viticulture specialist for AgriLife and Texas Tech, encouraged growers to focus on quality over quantity.
12/12/2014: Cool weather slows grape development
Grapevines in Central Otago are about a week behind where they normally are but the region's wineries are in good shape, an industry leader says. James Dicey, Central Otago Winegrowers Association president, said an ''exceptionally'' cool November had slowed shoot extension and vine growth. There had been few damaging frosts, however.
12/12/2014: The trials of being organic
Last week, the New Zealand Organic Focus Project gave a public presentation on three medium to large NZ wineries who participated in a side-by-side organic versus conventional agriculture trial. The aim was to demonstrate the relative ease or difficulty of conversion to organic viticulture. Two of the three wineries were convinced enough by their results to want to continue – but Wither Hills, the biggest, most well-known producer, could not apparently reconcile their business drivers with the decidedly lower yields from the organic plots.
12/12/2014: The incredible story of starting the world's largest wine brand, Barefoot Wines
This is the story of how two people overcame remarkable odds and built a beloved brand that transformed the wine industry. It is hard to believe that such an iconic brand as Barefoot Wines began in a laundry room of a rented farmhouse in the Sonoma County hills. Even more surprising is that the people who started it were just an average business couple, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey with virtually no money and no wine industry experience.
12/12/2014: Winery giant releases consumer wine trends
Wine's standing as a social stalwart continues to be a trend in today's social-media driven world, say the results of the 2014 Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey conducted by Libran Research & Consulting on behalf of Gallo. The Libran survey revealed interesting facts about social media use and wine, as well as many other areas of consumer choice and habit.
12/12/2014: Wines from Argentina putting in ‘serious effort’ to drive UK growth
Wines from Argentina are enjoying a “unique time” in the UK market, and the country is putting in serious effort to drive growth, says the generic body’s European head. Andrew Maidment, Wines of Argentina’s European and Asian director, said Argentinian wine is “continuing to do very well in Europe, particularly in the UK”.
12/12/2014: FUN FRIDAY: Mercer’s wine-infused ice cream is the stuff dreams are made of
Based in Boonville, New York, Mercer’s offers six different wine-infused flavors, each containing an alcohol content of five per cent: Cherry Merlot, Chocolate Cabernet, Peach White Zinfandel, Port, Red Raspberry Chardonnay, and Riesling. According to their blog, they offered a spiced wine flavor once upon a time; alas, it appeared to have been a seasonal selection, as there was no evidence of its existence on Mercer’s website.
11/12/2014: New market report: wine in New Zealand
The profile contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the market. Essential resource for top-line data and analysis covering the New Zealand wine market. Includes market size data, textual and graphical analysis of market growth trends, leading companies and macroeconomic information.
11/12/2014: Long term investors buy majority shareholding in Dry Hills
The future of one of Marlborough’s leading wine producers is looking particularly rosy. Strong confidence in the quality and potential of Lawson’s Dry Hills, a pioneer of the Marlborough wine industry, has enticed two of the company’s long-term partners to invest further in the company. After a 15 year involvement, investors Tim and Pauline Evill have purchased additional shares previously owned by the Lawson family, so as to take a majority interest.
11/12/2014: Russian regulator bans sale of 200 batches of imported wine totalling 3,000 litres
Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor sanitary and consumer rights agency has banned the sale of more than 500 batches of wine, including more than 200 batches of imported wine totalling 3,000 litres after recent checks in which about 7,000 wine samples were tested. According to the consumer rights watchdog, the share of counterfeit wine is three times higher in imported products.
11/12/2014: Global vineyard shrinks and diversity lessens
A new report shows the increasing "internationalisation" of the world's vineyards at the beginning of this century. The global vineyard is shrinking and so is the choice of wines as available grape varieties become more homogenous, according to a new study. The report in the Journal of Wine Economics compared vineyard area and the diversity of grape varieties planted throughout the decade 2000-2010 and found that both were getting smaller.
11/12/2014: California drought amounts to mixed blessing for winemakers this harvest
When you walk around Tablas Creek vineyard in Paso Robles, there are few obvious signs that California is in one of its worst droughts on record. “It actually looks less different than you would expect grapevines have evolved to grow well in climates that are dry,” says Jason Haas, who runs this vineyard. Grapes have their origins in the Middle East and Mediterranean, two regions with similar and sometimes even drier climates than the Central Coast.
11/12/2014: National Wine Tourism Conference is heading to Loudoun
Loudoun County will host hundreds of wine industry and tourism leaders from across the country and the world at next year’s national Wine Tourism Conference — a development that Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Governor and local tourism officials have hailed as a milestone in the ascent of Virginia’s wine industry. In a statement, McAuliffe said Virginia was already well on the way to becoming a “premier international destination” for lovers of wine and food.
11/12/2014: Over-65s spend less than £4.99 on wine
New research from Wine Intelligence suggests that 28 per cent of over-65s spend £4.99 (A$9.40) or less on a bottle of wine for a party or celebration, compared with 15 per cent of under 35s. The survey, conducted among 1,000 UK regular wine drinkers, also found middle-aged wine consumers were least likely take cheap wine to a party. Just 13 per cent of 45-54s said they would spend less than a fiver on party wine.
10/12/2014: Yealands looks to fast-track expansion
New Zealand’s Yealands Wine Group is looking at funding options in order to fast-track expansion plans and increase its vineyard holdings. The group is undertaking a strategic review to assess capital requirements in order to take advantage of the “significant opportunities” it sees for New Zealand wines internationally.
10/12/2014: Award-winning winery's block for sale
An established Hawkes Bay vineyard owned and operated by the award winning Villa Maria winery on the edge of Hastings is for sale. Karamu Vineyard is located on a high-profile site at 236 State Highway 2 in Mangateretere and is also close to Napier and Havelock North.
10/12/2014: Government crime unit to probe UK wine fraud
The issue of wine fraud is moving up the UK political agenda after it emerged a newly-established unit of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is to investigate the issue. The Food Crime Unit (FCU), which officially launches next month, is being established in the wake of last year's horse meat scandal. The unit's remit will also include probing the issue of fake wine.
10/12/2014: Indian grape sector strengthened by 2014 export campaign
An Indian subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) sold 668 containers equalling 9,400 tonnes of grapes to overseas markets during the 2014 export campaign, signalling a solid improvement in quality and productivity in the Indian grape sector. Around 500 grape farmers gathered at a ceremony in Nashik, in the main grapegrowing state of Maharashtra, in December to celebrate an excellent export campaign.
10/12/2014: Are wine industry events a good investment?
It’s that time of the year. Most wineries are considering their 2015 calendar and one of the biggest decisions will be whether to participate in industry events. We are often asked whether wine industry events are a good investment. Most of our winery clients have participated in industry events and most were underwhelmed with the results. Not all visitors have the same objective and we’ve seen that there are at least three prevalent guest segments.
10/12/2014: Chinese hotel group to buy 37ha Bordeaux estate
One of China's largest hotel companies, New Century Tourism Group, has provisionally agreed to buy Chateau de Birot in the Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux appellation, as Chinese investors continue to pursue vineyard deals across France. Christie's Real Estate is understood to have brokered the sale of the 37-hectare property, which is owned by Eric and Helene Fournier-Casteja and has been run by their son, Arthur, since 2010.
9/12/2014: Yealands Wine hires UBS for capital raising advice
Yealands Wine Group, New Zealand's sixth-largest wine exporter, has hired investment bank UBS to advise on capital-raising options, including an initial public offering to expand its vineyard assets and grape supply. The company, which is majority owned by founder Peter Yealands, didn't give a capital raising target. Yealands Wine was created in 2011 through the merger of Yealands Estate Wines and Ager Sectus Wine Estates.
9/12/2014: Conviction for refusing to spray vines with pesticides is overturned in Burgundy
Few wine drinkers consider pesticides a required ingredient but a vineyard owner in Burgundy had to resort to the courts to uphold his right to keep them from his latest vintage. Emmanuel Giboulot, 53, won broad support last year when he refused a government edict to spray pesticide on his vines near Beaune in the celebrated Côte d'Or region of France.
9/12/2014: Wine app Drync delivers wines to consumers local shop
US wine app Drync has launched a new feature that allows customers to buy online and have their wine shipped to a local wine retailer for pickup - a move it claims turns local shops into the world’s largest wine store. The new feature will turn local wine shops into a network, Drync claims, making up the world’s largest wine store and offering 30,000 wines for delivery and local pick up.
9/12/2014: The great grape divide is a source of debate for Pennsylvania wineries
One of the issues that will continue to divide the Pennsylvania Winery Association is grape sourcing. Various states legislate the percentage of grapes that a winery can use to make its wines. As an example, wineries with a farm license must use 100 per cent grapes sourced from New York state. Otherwise, as per federal laws, in order to label something a New York wine must contain at least 75 per cent of the grapes from in-state.
9/12/2014: Top grapes strengthen their grip
Global wine production is showing signs of increasing homogeneity as international varieties expand their share of the world’s vineyards. A study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Wine Economics reported that, despite “the competitive challenges for producers seeking to differentiate their product”, the 35 most widely planted grape varieties saw their share of the global vineyard area rise from 59% in 2000 to 66% by 2010.
9/12/2014: Emirates invest in NZ wines
Emirates has unveiled details of its more than half a billion dollar "liquor investment" program. The airline says that on any given day, more than 60 different wines, champagnes and ports, sourced from vineyards in 11 countries, including New Zealand, are served on-board Emirates to passengers throughout their planes.
8/12/2014: Organic vineyard trial shows mixed results
Does organic matter? The answer is a bit more complicated than Organic Winegrowers New Zealand was hoping for from the Organic Focus Project, which tested organic management side-by-side with conventional practices in three New Zealand vineyards. Final results of the three-year project were presented last week at events held close to the participating vineyards. The consensus from growers was that organics mostly doesn't hurt, sometimes makes more interesting wines, and does show obvious benefits for soil health. But the financial caveats are, in some cases, the deciding factor.
8/12/2014: Aussie wine firm leases council land
The Australian wine company that owns Matua Marlborough has leased 24 hectares of council-owned land. An Overseas Investment Office decision summary shows Treasury Wine Estates signed the 30-year lease with the Marlborough District Council for land on Giffords Rd at a cost of almost $19 million (A$17.6m). Dean Heiford, council support services manager, said the value of the lease was nothing like the amount shown on the decision summary, but refused to be exact because it was commercially sensitive information.
8/12/2014: Wine cork makers seek to put a stop to declining sales
The world's wine cork producers want you to know they're sorry. 250 years of market dominance may have left a whiff of complacency. They didn't always listen to your gripes about cork taint — that awkward moment when you pop open your prized Cabernet and it smells like wet dog.
8/12/2014: Wine M&A pace may slow in 2015
After a relatively active string of sales of California vineyard, winery and brands in the past few years, the thirst for new deals likely will subside in the new year, thanks to back-to-back bumper crops and increasingly attractive alternatives in the Pacific Northwest, according to industry mergers-and-acquisitions experts at the North Coast Wine Industry Expo on Thursday.
8/12/2014: Top 30 suppliers control 90% of wine lists in UK on-trade
The top 30 wine distributors in the UK are responsible for supplying 89% of all on-trade wine lists in the UK, according to new research released this week from Wine Business Solutions. The Wine On-Premise UK 2014 report is based on the analysis of around 1,000 wine lists, featuring 20,000 different wines.
8/12/2014: India acquires a taste for wine
Although whiskey remains the top choice for most Indians when they reach for an alcoholic drink, the country is gradually acquiring a taste for wine. India's first vineyard began operations 15 years ago, and since then the domestic wine industry has grown rapidly. With middle-class incomes growing and aspirational lifestyles spreading beyond the big cities, the wine industry hopes the market will grow exponentially in a country where total annual wine consumption measures less than a teaspoon per person.
5/12/2014: Turkish viticulturist helps with Hawke's Bay research
Dr Elman Bahar, an associate professor of viticulture from a country with one of the world’s longest records of winemaking, recently worked with EIT scientists on several major industry research projects. From Namik Kemal University in Turkey, Bahar primarily worked with EIT researchers on a study aimed at establishing whether the use of an anti-transpirant spray may be a viable alternative to removing foliage on grapevines - a practice aimed at achieving optimum berry ripeness and wine quality.
5/12/2014: Invivo seeks $2m for growth
Award-winning winemaker Invivo Wines is on the capital-raising trail to help pay for faster growth and expansion into new markets, after a year of record sales. The company wants to raise $2 million (A$1.8m) through private investors, which will be used to fund expansion and increase the amount of wine produced, with the aim of boosting turnover from about $5.5m ($5.1m) this year to $10m ($9.2m) within two years.
5/12/2014: Bordeaux consultant to test oak influence on wine aroma
Winemakers may gain more influence over aromas in their wines if a new research project led by trained perfumer and winery consultant Alexandre Schmitt goes to plan. Schmitt, whose perfume training and subsequent re-invention in wine has earned him the nickname 'nose of Bordeaux', has started a three-year experiment with barrel maker Charlois on different oak treatments for wine.
5/12/2014: Global and Chinese 'Sparkling Wine Report' announced
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the 2014 'Global and Chinese Sparkling Wine Industry Report' to their offering. The Global and Chinese Sparkling Wine Industry Report is a professional and in-depth study on the current state of the global sparkling wine industry with a focus on the Chinese situation. The report provides a basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure.
5/12/2014: FUN FRIDAY: Rock star says cannabis-infused wine delivers "full body buzz"
Pot brownies, cookies and other potent treats have been around for years, but as more states pass legislation to legalize marijuana, a rock star would like to introduce you to a more sophisticated form of cannabis cuisine. In partnership with the owners of Greenway Compassionate Relief, a medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Cruz, California, Melissa Etheridge, Grammy award winning singer-songwriter is cultivating a line of "cannabis-infused fine wines." Due to legal restrictions, however, she's only allowed to call her creation a "wine tincture."
5/12/2014: Swiss winemaker Giroud cleared of wine fraud
Swiss winemaker, Dominique Giroud has been cleared of illegally topping up tens of thousands of bottles of AOC St Saphorin with unapproved wine. Swiss officials in the canton of Vaud said they found no evidence that Giroud had bulked up St Saphorin appellation wines with unapproved Fendant wine.
4/12/2014: Vineyards hoping 'long frost season' is finally over
A late cold snap yesterday morning had Marlborough vineyard managers on high alert, but for some, the damage had already been done. Temperatures dropped to 0.3 degrees Celsius in some parts of Marlborough yesterday morning, triggering frost fans and sprinklers in the region. Rex Butt, Wither Hills viticulturist, said frosts in November hit them worse than yesterday's cooler weather, with some of their vines suffering frost damage
4/12/2014: NZ winery seeks Australian distribution
Ohau Wines, a New Zealand winery which claims it is the newest wine region in the new world, is looking for distribution into the Australian market. Located on a 40 hectare vineyard near the Tararua Ranges, Ohau Wines is across from the well-known Marlborough region, at the top of the South Island.
4/12/2014: Saperavi: A deep, dark and rich red wine now produced in the Finger Lakes
Saperavi is a word that means "paint" or "ink" in the language of the Republic of Georgia (part of the old Soviet Union). It's also the name of a deeply dark red winegrape first grown there. It is now a word and name that you will see on bottles of wine made in the Finger Lakes.
4/12/2014: Wine fraud in the UK is ‘massive’, says expert
Fraud in the UK’s wine industry is rampant because the sector has failed to implement the controls necessary to stamp it out, a food safety expert has claimed. Wine fraud in the UK has been grossly underestimated because of the way the sector is structured, claimed the food safety expert, who did not want to be named.
4/12/2014: Computer-based testing certification available for specialists
Wine and spirits specialists throughout the world can now achieve certifications through computer-based testing. The Society of Wine Educators has entered into a new partnership with computer-based testing (CBT) leader Pearson VUE to transform the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) certification exams to CBT globally.
4/12/2014: Fine wine and caviar - made in China?
China has never shied away from duplicating mass-produced Western goods. Now it’s trying its hand at boutique wine, artisanal cheeses and homegrown caviar. Will it succeed? Grace Vineyard, 310 miles (500km) south-west of Beijing, might be mistaken for a winery in Tuscany. The balcony of the Italianate mansion overlooks lush rows of grapevines stretching to the horizon, where low mountains hover in the haze.
3/12/2014: Delegat's to push into China next year as part of global expansion
The Delegat's Group (DGL), plan to put a toehold in China next year as part of a long term goal of boosting overall sales by 52 per cent in the next five years. The Auckland-based company set up an in-market sales team in Japan this year and plans to do the same with three to four staff in Shanghai next year to push both its Oyster Bay and Barossa Valley Estate brands.
3/12/2014: Overpriced wine in UK mainstream faces ‘grim process of elimination’
Wine Intelligence warns that a bifurcating UK wine market means that more consumers are trading up, while more are also trading down, and predicts this will leave scant space for the mediocre in-between. In Wine Intelligence's newly released Wine Market Landscape report for November 2014, Richard Halstead, chief operating officer, says that more of the UK's 23.7 million regular wine drinkers are willing to buy wine at £8 (A$14) per bottle.
3/12/2014: Georgia government backs wine industry revival
Georgia's government has agreed to fund a new winery that is set to be one of the country's largest, as part of plans to overhaul the sector and increase exports. A ministry of agriculture spokesperson said government funding will be provided to build a new winery in the area of Keda, Adjara.
3/12/2014: Moët Hennessy maps out ambitious plans for Napa’s Newton Vineyard
Moët Hennessy’s Estates and Wines division is targeting a renaissance for its Newton Vineyard winery in the Napa Valley, focused on boosting the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered. While Newton has had ample success in recent years with its Chardonnay Unfiltered, Jean-Guillaume Prats Estates and Wines chief executive officer, said there is plenty of potential to take the Cabernet program to new heights.
3/12/2014: Among the vines of Nelson
Tranja Fry of Fossil Ridge Wines in Nelson produced some freshly roasted macadamia nuts in the mild climate of her Tasman Bay vineyard. The sunny, north-facing region, sheltered by mountains to the east, west and south, besides being home to artists and food producers also boasts a number of wineries and craft brewers.
3/12/2014: Champagne leads fine wine market
The Liv-ex 100 index showed a rise for the fourth month in a row in November, with Champagne top of the movers as Christmas approaches. The Fine Wine 100 index, which follows the 100 most sought after wines in the secondary market, rose 0.3 per cent in November, as the market continues to edge slowly upwards after 17 months of quite serious decline.
2/12/2014: Villa Maria appoints chief operating officer
Villa Maria has appointed its first chief operating officer, who will manage the company’s 300 employees and business in over 50 markets globally. Reporting to Sir George Fistonich, Richard Thomas will be responsible for all Villa Maria sales and marketing, winery and bottling operations, restaurants, cellar doors and events.
2/12/2014: Tests show no vineyard pests in Washington
The most extensive trapping for certain winegrape pests conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture has resulted in a clean bill of health. The department trapped and took leaf and root samples at a total of 3,186 sites, from the San Juan Islands to the Columbia Gorge but mainly in the Eastern Washington counties of Yakima, Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla. Trapping went from the end of June into September, looking for four species of destructive moths, vine mealy bug and grape phylloxera.
2/12/2014: PN say vino-tax will harm local wine industry
Malta’s major wine producers Marsovin, Meridiana, Camilleri Wines, and producers’ coop Vitimalta have come out against a 15 cent excise on Maltese wine, complaining that the measure was taken without them being consulted. “The wine tax threatens to undermine all that the local wine sector has achieved over the last ten years. We are as concerned with the uncompetitive impact of the tax – 20 cents per litre or 15 cents per bottle, as with the levity and lack of discussion with which it was presented,” the producers said.
2/12/2014: Indian wine brand in UK launch online campaign to raise funds
A UK-based Indian wine company, seeking to establish its brand in the global market, has launched a campaign to raise £350,000 (A$647,000) through an online crowd-funding platform. Soul Tree seeks to raise the money for 16.5 per cent of the business on the crowd-funding platform Crowdcube and has already raised 30 per cent of the target, or £107,000 (A$314,000) from 47 investors within weeks of launching the campaign Alok Mathur, co-founder of the company, said.
2/12/2014: Sensory-active compounds influencing perception of red wine
For experts, wine quality is linked to high contents of norisoprenoids. For consumers, wine quality is linked to high contents of oak-related volatiles. Ethanol increases finish intensity and duration of coconut and floral flavors in red wine. There is a lack of studies focusing on the chemical compounds involved in quality perception.
2/12/2014: Roger Jones concludes wine tour with praise for sustainability
Amongst all the highlights and amazing experiences, including flying a plane, one common theme kept coming up, besides the quality of the wines, and that is the word sustainability. The figures given out by New Zealand winegrowers are impressive, 94 per cent of their vineyard's are certified under sustainable winegrowing NZ.
1/12/2014: China loves red wine, but white is gaining
China adores red wine. It's not surprising, since anywhere from 80 to 90 per cent of what is in the market is red. But what is surprising is the widespread belief that this is set in stone. Nothing underscores this attitude more than claims that Chinese favour red wine because the colour is lucky.
1/12/2014: Drones could be the answer for vineyards
Hot-air balloons drifting in multicolored splashes against a blue heaven are a common sight in Napa Valley. But lately, more than balloons have been taking to the wine-country skies. A few pioneers are experimenting with unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, exploring their potential for agricultural chores such as monitoring, irrigation and crop spraying.
1/12/2014: Wine merchants warn of skyrocketing costs under new pricing scheme
A US$40 (A$47) bottle of wine in British Columbia will cost as much as US$56 (A$66) next year if the province goes ahead with a new wholesale pricing system. That was the warning from Mark Hicken, Vancouver wine industry lawyer, who feels the wholesale price model that takes effect on April 1, 2015 has serious flaws.
1/12/2014: Australian wine uncorked for Korean market opening
Australia’s scorching sun and mineral-rich soil provide excellent conditions for growing grapes. The innovativeness and adventurism of Australian's has led to the production of some of the finest wines in the world. In an effort to get more of this wine flowing in Korea, the event 'Discover New Australian Wines 2014' was held at Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul on November 24, introducing 170 premium wines from 21 wineries in Australia to Korean importers, retailers and journalists.
1/12/2014: Low-alcohol wine logical step
Once thought of as watered-down, tasteless and a waste of time, lower-alcohol wine might be about to take its place in the sun. With the new drink-drive limits about to come into effect, some winegrowers are touting lower-alcohol as the way of the future.
1/12/2014: Competition might heat up in China
Kiwi businesses exporting to China may need to adjust their prices after Australia reached a free trade agreement with Asia's economic powerhouse, a former trade director says. A new free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and China is planned to take effect next year, seven years after New Zealand agreed its FTA with China. New Zealand's agreement eliminates tariffs on 96 per cent of current exports to China.