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

Announcements and Suppliers

16/01/2015: 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!

13/01/2015: The top 8 reasons it makes dollars and sense to move to the Cloud
It took us some time to move to the Cloud for our own internal systems but we're glad we did. Now we're helping wineries of all sizes make the transition to VINx2. For a number of years we used accounting software configured on a PC within our own network. When travelling we weren't able to get access to key accounting information to answer even the simplest of billing inquiries. All requests had to go via the office and tied up another staff members time. You may have the same problem when visiting a distributor, customer or custom crush client. It's often critical to get your hand on account status, inventory levels, wine composition and analysis in order to make decisions and close deals. The Cloud gives you that advantage.

12/01/2015: Yeast Nutrition – FermControl & FermControl BIO
FermControl is a truly special, one of a kind yeast supplement for the support of the yeast metabolism. Due to its unique and unrivalled composition FermControl provides specific co-factors in order to secure an optimal, reliable and clean fermentation. The effect is a significantly improved sensory impression of the wine without any reductive or other undesired flavour characteristics. Both FermControl and FermControl BIO are suitable as additives for all export markets and are DAP free.

Australian Wine Industry News

30/01/2015: Ghost Rock to create its first sparkling with the help of Jansz winemaker Natalie Fryar
Natalie Fryar completed school work experience with Hardys winery at age 13. At 15 she started making wine. Now, the former Jansz winemaker will work with the North-West's largest winery Ghost Rock as it makes its first sparkling. "My real passion is Tasmanian sparkling wine. This is not just the best region is Australia, but it's one of the best in the world," she said. "The most exciting thing about the Tassie wine industry is that most of it isn't planted yet." As well as consulting for Ghost Rock, she will work on her own sparkling vintage.

30/01/2015: More Riesling from the ground up
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Following a Winestate award for Australia's best Riesling last year, Port Augusta’s Boston Bay Wines has cleared one seventh of its vineyard to double Riesling output in two years. The former chardonnay vines, which were originally planted as Riesling in 1984, will return to their former glory. Boston Bay Wines' Tony Ford said his father grafted the vines in to chardonnay vines but they retained the original Riesling roots. He said they were sawn off at the base and would regrow as full size riesling vines in two years.

30/01/2015: WineTech and the future of wine retail
Wine Industry Suppliers Australia’s (WISA) WineTech event will be held at the Adelaide Exhibition & Events Centre in July. The national wine industry supplier trade exhibition will feature Sam Willard, senior business development manager for digital development and innovation with the Woolworths Liquor Group as keynote speaker. “Sam has almost 20 years’ experience in the hospitality and wine industry. He heads up Dan Murphy’s connections program, which allows the retailer to meet customer demands by offering a wider range of products specifically from the boutique end of the market."

30/01/2015: Mexico says ‘salud’ to Australian wine
The biggest tasting of Australian wine in Mexico was held in Mexico City for close to 200 media, trade and VIP guests, last Thursday. Hosted by Wine Australia, guests were able to taste more than 60 Australian wines from 13 wine regions including the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Heathcote, Frankland River and the Hunter Valley. The multi-format tasting event included blind tastings, mini-masterclasses and door prizes all designed to educate guests on the quality and diversity of Australian wine.

30/01/2015: WINE: Legends are made of this
David Clarke, founder and former chairman of Macquarie Bank and McGuigan Wines, built a significant wine empire embracing some prime Hunter vineyards and the Poole’s Rock, Cockfighter’s Ghost and Firestick brands. His investment grew in 2002 when he bought the 1500-tonne capacity J.Y. Tulloch and Sons Glen Elgin winery, cellar door and 9.6-hectare vineyard from the troubled Southcorp Wines Ltd. In 2011 Clarke lost his long battle with cancer at the age of 69 and the Agnew Wine Group made a friendly takeover of the Poole’s Rock De Beyers Road vineyard and winery, the Cockfighter’s Ghost vineyard and the Poole’s Rock, Cockfighter’s Ghost and Firestick wine brands... Reports The Herald.

29/01/2015: Sudden downpour threatens Hunter vintage
Hunter winemakers are hopeful that the 2015 red wine vintage can be saved despite recent heavy rains. Days of light rain culminated in a heavy deluge over the Hunter Valley wine region yesterday, with automatic weather stations recording falls of up to 40mm. Most white grapes have been picked, but the reds are not quite ready. Winemaker Andrew Margan says the worst time to get rain is when the grapes are almost ripe. "At the end of a day, what is a grape vine trying to do? It's trying to put a seed back into the ground to grow another grape vine, that’s its path in life.”

29/01/2015: AGWA looks to secure future for "next generation"
Australia is already starting to see the fruits of creating a single Australian Grape and Wine Authority although its principle strategy is focused on securing long term, sustainable benefits for the industry. That was the view of Brian Walsh, chairman of Wine Australia which came together with the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation in November 2013, to form a united body that could spearhead development projects across Australia.

29/01/2015: Premium wine producers struggling for growth despite opportunity in upmarket segment
Specialist agribusiness lender Rabobank reports that the premium end of the global wine market is still struggling for growth and profitability despite opportunities from consumers seeking to head upmarket. In a new report titled ‘Premium wine – It’s a long way to the top’, Rabobank highlights that wine suppliers and retailers alike are sensing a growing appetite in the market for wines beyond the mainstream, leading to global wine companies investing more in premium wine strategies.

29/01/2015: $20-$40 Cabernet Merlot tasting - last day for registrations of interest!
Wine producers have until the end of today to register their interest in the Wine & Viticulture Journal’s forthcoming tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot wines. The tasting will focus on blends made up of at least 50% Cabernet with recommended retails prices of between $20-$40. It is the first time the Journal has targeted the Bordeaux blend for its regular tastings, with the results to be published in its March/April issue. Entry to the tasting is free.

29/01/2015: The 2015 wine honours list
Here's our post-Australia Day Honours List, recognising the special contribution our wines, and the people behind them, make to our great nation. We may not have a long winemaking history in this country, not compared with the Europeans, but we have something they will never have, that true blue, dinky-di never-say-die spirit that is distinctly, utterly Australian. It's as Australian as a glass of hot red on a 40-degree day, as inflating your empty wine-cask bladder for a game of pool volleyball... Reports Good Food.

28/01/2015: 'Australian wine category not broken' says Accolade boss
Paul Schaafsma, general manager of UK and Ireland for Accolade, declared, “Australia is not broken” after announcing flagship brand Hardys grew 12.4 per cent in volume over Christmas. Schaafsma said he has been embroiled in debates about whether Australia needs to reinvent itself to solve perceived problems, but he believes the sector is healthy. Hardys sold 1.5 million more bottles during Christmas 2014 than during the same period last year. “Australia is definitely not broken. We have had a fantastic six months in terms of trading results. People are asking what Australia is doing to reinvent itself, but it is already doing a lot of things very well,” Schaafsma said.

28/01/2015: Riesling grapes at Port Lincoln lost to heat
A winery on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula has lost about 75 per cent of its award-winning Riesling crop due to hot weather. Tony Ford, from Boston Bay Wines in Port Lincoln, said one day which reached 46 degrees sucked all the moisture from the grapes. He said it was disappointing following a good 2014, when the winery won Australian and New Zealand Riesling of the Year. "We've got all these customers wanting to put it on wine lists and things and we were holding them off, and thank God we did, because we are going to be in very short supply of the Boston Bay fruit."

28/01/2015: SA Coalition backbencher Tony Pasin gathering support for dumping NZ wine tax rebate
Political support for axing a tax rebate enjoyed by New Zealand winemakers is growing, with the Prime Minister agreeing it needs to be eliminated, according to a coalition backbencher. Tony Pasin, Member for Barker in eastern South Australia, says the rebate is more like a subsidy, and scrapping it would save the Government millions of dollars, as well as helping Australian winemakers. Under the current system, some New Zealand winemakers selling wine in Australia are eligible for a rebate on the Wine Equalization Tax, which Mr Pasin says is hurting the local industry.

28/01/2015: How good are Aldi wines?
You might remember the stir that was created a few months ago when six cheap Aldi wines blitzed the Sydney International Wine Competition. “Australia’s biggest wine snobs have sniffed, sipped and spat their way through more than 2000 wines — only to judge six bottles from Aldi as among the best the country has to offer,” read the news reports. It was the best publicity the discount supermarket chain could have wished for, and demand immediately went through the roof. Christine Salins, writer for 'Food, Wine, Travel' set about the task of tasting all six wines to see for herself whether they are really that good.

28/01/2015: Why I would personally invest in Tassie
Cathy Huyghe, Forbes food and drink contributor, shares her views on the Tasmanian wine industry and why it is in a world of its own. “Here’s the reality check: more than 84 per cent of Australia’s wine production is considered unprofitable, or profitable only when combined with other farming or tourism-related activities. Another nine per cent of the time, the profit margin is $300 per tonne or less. So why is Tasmania — Australia’s cool-climate state — on my short mental list of wine regions where, given the opportunity, I would personally invest? Because taken as an individual wine producing region, it is almost 100 per cent profitable.”

27/01/2015: SEW buys Griffith winery
Privately owned Southern Estate Wines Australia (SEW) has completed its acquisition of a 20 million litre Griffith winery asset. The Original Cinzano, Cranswick and The Wine Group site has been acquired by SEW to support the growing company and expand bulk wine offerings. Capable of producing up to 20,000,000 litres of wine annually Andrew Dal Broi, SEW executive director, said the facility will ramp up production to his global customer base while maintaining a low-cost, efficiently run operation that over delivers on diligent customer service.

27/01/2015: Aussie organic wine back on Chinese tables
Australia's wine has always been popular with the Chinese but a new certification requirement temporarily stopped one local organic wine producer from continuing to sell into this lucrative market. South Australian-based organic winery Temple Bruer had been exporting its wines to China for many years but was stopped at the end of 2010 when the Chinese government introduced a certification requirement for imported organic wine.

27/01/2015: Drones are making sure you'll never have to go without wine
In Australia, where some vineyards are already starting to move to cooler regions, the 'Vineyard of the Future' is researching ways to adapt. One solution: using fleets of drones to take detailed shots of the grapes, analysing that data with an app, and then using automatic irrigation and fertilization to target specific vines that are suffering in a heat wave or drought. Wine producers have been using sensing and remote imaging for decades, but drones suddenly make the process cheap and more accurate. "People used to rely on satellite technology or airborne techniques," says Sigfredo Fuentes, the University of Melbourne researcher who leads the Vineyard of the Future.

27/01/2015: Wangaratta vignerons kept on toes
Heavy rainfalls have kept vignerons busy across the district over the past month but downy mildew at one Oxley grape grower’s vineyard hasn’t been a problem. Tony and Merryn Ciavarella have experienced some “nervous days” but the picture is still looking good for production if future rains hold off. The unexpected nature of the storms in the Wangaratta area have kept Tony and Merryn on their toes.

27/01/2015: Q&A with Naked wines founder Luke Jecks
As Cellarmaster’s marketing executive prior to Woolworths taking over, Luke Jecks saw, and disliked, the development of wine into a commodity. “It was a dulling down of the product and a race to the bottom on price,” Jecks says. In 2012 he established Naked Wines, an online wine distribution business that takes membership fees from its wine lovers and invests that into production of fledgling wine makers. Turnover doubled in the first two years and this year close to $20 million will be invested in wine production, with sales forecast to double again. Major shareholder is Richard Branson’s former right-hand-man Rowan Gormley, who launched Naked Wines in the UK in 2008.

23/01/2015: 'Hard to imagine how it could go any lower': Riverland grape growers facing another year of dismal prices
Riverland wine grape growers are facing another year of low price offers from wineries, according to industry body Riverland Wine. Despite some humid and rainy weather while grapes were ripening, yields across the region are on track to hit around 400,000 tonnes, 30,000 tonnes less than last year's crush. Wineries that have signed on to a voluntary code of conduct must give grapegrowers an indication of the price they could offer for each variety.

23/01/2015: Solid harvest expected for Southern Flinders
Grapegrowers in SA's Southern Flinders wine region say they're on track for an average vintage. The area is usually the first to start vintage because of its warmer climate. Frost damage and a dry spring in 2014 has made some crops in other wine regions lighter than usual. But Angela Meaney, from Bundaleer Wines, the region's largest winemaker, said their vines were looking good. "They're in very good condition," she said. "The rain we had two weeks ago we were a little bit worried about, because it can cause splitting and disease.

23/01/2015: Mudgee on their way for successful vintage
Provided Mudgee wine region does not experience massive rainfall over the next month it appears everything is on track for a successful 2015 vintage. Grapegrowers across the region are about to begin picking varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling wines before others ripen during the annual harvest. Yesterday Ted Cox, Mudgee Wine Grape Growers Association president, said this year’s vintage is likely to be slightly early as above average temperatures and less rain has fastened the growing the process.

23/01/2015: Andrew Leembruggen's brilliant career
PROFILE: As a born and bred Hunter boy, Andrew Leembruggen had three after-school occupational options - shovelling coal, chook poo or grape skins. A childhood spent helping with the chores on his parents' chicken farm at Branxton persuaded him to avoid any career involving chook poo. A coal industry job was ruled out after Andrew dropped out of a Newcastle University science degree course. And then there was option three: casual jobs in Hunter wineries, which included shovelling grape skins and cellar door sales.

23/01/2015: FUN FRIDAY: Beer vs. Wine: The Great Debate
You might not have ever attended one (or maybe you have), but I’m sure you’ve seen signs outside of your favourite bar or restaurant advertising a beer or wine-paired dinner. Pairing wine or beer with your meal is nothing new, but the enthusiasm for specific pairings has been increasing for the last few decades. The question, though, is which one pairs better with food? Chef Gaston Alfaro, from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, likes to design pairing dinners that feature both beer and wine instead of one or the other. “Wine pairing has long been considered an art by the general public and can seem intimidating.” Christopher Osburn reports for Craveonline.

22/01/2015: Stellar line up in tastings of Sydney International Wine Competition’s Top 1OO
The Sydney International Wine Competition (SIWC) will hold its annual Public Tastings of Award Winners on Saturday 7 February, at The Menzies Hotel in Sydney. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste more than 250 of the 2015 SIWC award winners, including the prestigious TOP 1OO. The 34th year of the competition offers a stellar line up of award winning wines, judged triple-blind, and presented in consumer friendly style categories for easy food matching, making this Australia’s most relevant exhibitions for discerning wine consumers.

22/01/2015: Entries invited for $20-$40 Cabernet Merlot tasting
The Wine & Viticulture Journal is calling for entries to its forthcoming tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends with recommended retails prices of between $20-$40. It is the first time the Journal has targeted the Bordeaux blend for its regular tastings, with the results to be published in its March/April issue. Entry to the tasting is free and will focus on those wines made up of at least 50% Cabernet.

22/01/2015: Inside Hunter's largest organic vineyard
It’s a long way from working in the Arctic to running a highly successful organic vineyard in the Hunter Valley but Barbara and Geoff Brown are enjoying life’s new challenges in a much warmer climate. Their Ascella Estate at Milbrodale is certainly the Hunter’s largest organic vineyard. With 32 hectares under vine, it may well be the country’s largest family-run organic vineyard. They bought the property in December 2007 and have turned the estate into a sustainable organic farm that produces high quality, award-winning wines.

22/01/2015: Winemakers forced to innovate to chase premium wine market says Rabobank study
A new Rabobank study on the premium wine market has found that many producers are struggling to take advantage of the growing demand for top quality wine. The report, Premium Wine - It's A Long Way to the Top, found that consumers in both Australian and overseas markets have a higher awareness of wine and quality than any generation before them. But with so many producers seeking to capture the premium market, winemakers must rely on regional identity and their ability to tell the story of their wine, in order to stand out.

22/01/2015: Value of Australian wine exports rises
Australian wine imports recorded growth for the first time since the 2007 global recession, according to the latest Wine Export Approval Report released by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) yesterday. Total Australian wine export volume increased by 1.9 per cent to 700 million litres and total value increased by the same rate to $1.82 billion. Over the past year, Australian wine has been exported to 121 destinations by 1,329 exporters and in contrast to 2013, the majority recorded volume growth.

21/01/2015: The China wine market – your questions answered
Wine & Viticulture Journal editor Sonya Logan will be hosting a live webcast on the China wine market on 3 February – and you have her ear. Titled ‘Road to China: Trade + Business + Culture’, the webcast is aimed at small to medium Australian wineries that are either currently in the market or actively working towards doing so.

21/01/2015: Adelaide Hills winemakers seek advice on potential smoke taint
About 100 winemakers met in the Adelaide Hills yesterday to discuss potential smoke damage to their grapes. The forum was held in response to the Sampson Flat bushfire this month, which burnt 12,500 hectares of land. At least 35 hectares of vineyards were damaged directly by the fire, across seven wineries. However, it's not yet clear how many crops might be affected by smoke. Dense plumes of smoke surrounding vines and grapes have the potential to reduce the quality of wine. Mark Krstic, from the Australian Wine Research Institute, said smoke taint could severely effect wine taste and smell.

21/01/2015: Australia Business Week in India identifies emerging opportunities for wine
Australia Business Week in India (ABWI), Australia’s largest ever trade mission to India, has been an important opportunity for Australian wine representatives to meet with Indian trade and media to showcase their wine through tasting events as well as explore emerging market opportunities. In 2014, Australia exported approximately one million litres of wine to India valued at $A3.7 million. While this is a relatively small component of Australia’s total exports, this was an increase of 27 per cent by volume and 24 per cent by value year-on-year, demonstrating the tremendous potential of the Indian wine market.

21/01/2015: Wet weather in 2013 haunting 2015 Grampians wine vintage
Cold and wet weather from 2013 is likely to reduce wine grape yields throughout the Grampians this year. Western Victorian winemakers say poor conditions more than a year ago have reduced the flowering potential of Shiraz and Pinot Noir grape varieties. Leigh Clarnette, chairman of Grampians Winemakers, said later than usual frosts in November 2013 will contribute to low yields for this season. "It told the plant there was really no need to produce bunches for the following season, so that means in 2014, the appearance of bunches on the young canes, the young shoots in September, October, we could see this season that we were very short of bunches, which is an extraordinary event," he said.

21/01/2015: Future could be uncorked for Charles Sturt University winery
Charles Sturt University (CSU) Orange could face a future without a vineyard, as the university hierarchy reviews its commercial winery operations in light of proposed changes to higher education and a highly competitive Australian wine market. Paul Dowler, CSU executive director of finance, said the university has two wineries, a commercial winery and a separate experimental winery in the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at CSU Wagga Wagga.

20/01/2015: Warming climate brings earliest vintage on record
ABC’s Monday night program PM focused on the changing climate and what it could mean for Australian grapegrowers and winemakers. Lucy Barbour spoke to Canberra winemaker Ken Helm about his upcoming vintage. “You have to go and say that we are seeing a definite increase in temperatures across the climate, and that the vines are responding. And we have seen this since going back to November, when the flowering started. It was the earliest flowering I've ever seen and in viticultural terms, it's usually 100 days from flowering to harvest, which brings us to the end of February,” said Helm.

20/01/2015: Accolade toasts Tassie show success
Accolade Wines’ House of Arras and Eddystone Point labels enjoyed a haul of trophies and gold medals at the 2015 Tasmanian Wine Show Presentation dinner in Hobart on Friday night. The 2002 House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged was awarded the trophy for the Best Late Disgorged Mature Vintage Sparkling Wine and the 2012 Eddystone Point Pinot Noir picked up the trophy for the Best Three Year Old Pinot Noir… Reports The Shout.

20/01/2015: Tassie sends submission for Ag Green paper
Australia sent out the call and Tasmania listened. This past month, the small island's wine association sent its submission for the country's Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper to the Government's Agricultural Competitiveness Taskforce. Wine Tasmania's submission for the Green Paper focuses on the country's growing wine market. “The Tasmanian wine sector is an important contributor to trade and the Tasmanian economy, regional employment, tourism and the overall Tasmanian brand,” the submission said. “Not only are existing Tasmanian wine producers expanding their investment through new vineyard area and infrastructure, many new investors have entered the Tasmanian wine sector in recent years.”

20/01/2015: Boom in Asian tourism to help Australian business
Companies in several industries, including wine, stand to benefit from a boom in Asian tourists that will help offset the economic drag from declining resources investment. The broker's head of Australia research, Scott Ryall, has issued a lengthy report identifying $40 billion of major tourism projects in progress or planning that will help create critical mass for new developments as Australia looks to upgrade its tourism stock to meet demand from growing markets such as China. "We believe government and industry are co-ordinating to attract foreign investors," he said, adding he was impressed by the bipartisan nature of the focus… Reports The Age.

20/01/2015: Gwyn Olsen takes on world
She landed her first job at a French winery after running her application through an auto-translate website and duping the business into believing she spoke the language - welcome to the life of Gwyn Olsen. Emilie Reynolds caught up with the ‘2014 Young Winemaker of the Year’ to chat about wine, fitness and her deep love of pies.

19/01/2015: Rising temperatures cause winegrapes to ripen early
Wine grape growers in the Canberra district are expecting the earliest vintage on record. The CSIRO says rising temperatures across southern Australia have contributed to grapes ripening earlier, and the trend is likely to continue. Winemaker, Ken Helm, from Murrumbateman, said growers are adapting by planting varieties better suited to a warmer climate. "We have seen this since going back to November, when flowering started. It was the earliest flowering I've ever seen," he said. "You have to go and say that we are seeing a definite increase in temperatures across the climate and that the vines are responding."

19/01/2015: Rain causes powdery mildew in some Canberra winecrops
Recent rain in the Canberra wine district has caused powdery mildew in some Pinot Noir crops. Winemaker Frank van de Loo, from Majura, said some of his crop has been affected, but he was confident the majority will be okay. "We've opened up this canopy and we've also sprayed fungicide, so the powdery mildew is probably dead here," he explained. "We'll go through and crop thin, and cut out the powdery mildew affected bunches so they're not even around when we come to harvest time. That will help the balance of the fruit to ripen well and, secondly, it means that that fruit will never enter the winery." Mr van de Loo said the recent rainfall, coupled with humid, cloudy weather, had been perfect conditions for powdery mildew to develop.

19/01/2015: Generational change drives wine industry innovation
There is a generational change coming to the wine industry, as the Millennials come of drinking age. "It's a really, really good business, because you can be quite creative," Tanja Baumann says. The 26-year-old German winemaker is part of an important, younger demographic, that is changing the types of wine being produced. "Especially the younger people, they don't know anything about wine," she said. "Like me, I started with drinking really, really sweet wine, or sweet sparkling wine." That's why I have the idea to make a 'dryology' of wine and sparkling wine. "So the line is called 'Be Sweet, Be Smart, Be Dry' and is a sweet sparkling wine, a medium-dry sparkling wine and a dry sparkling wine.

19/01/2015: South Australia’s women of wine are having a vine time
If I had to pick two words to describe South Australia’s women in wine they would be glamour and grit. To work in an industry that aims to bring pleasure to people, to give them something to look forward to, to enjoy with friends, is a fabulous thing. But, like so much in life, beneath the glossy surface lies an intense commitment to providing quality that can only be achieved through dedication and sacrifice. Having recently worked together to bring their best white wines to the appreciative masses at the Strathalbyn Cup, Sidewood Wine’s Cassandra Inglis, K1’s Bec Hardy, Golding’s Lucy Golding, and Bird in Hand’s Erin McIntyre reflected on the different paths that led them to wine but the similarities that have kept them there.

19/01/2015: No end in sight for rise of Riesling
Riesling is set to be the white wine of choice this summer — at least it will be if Australia’s winemakers, retailers, event organisers and sommeliers have their way. The classic white grape still suffers from an image problem for some wine drinkers: consumers weaned on Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc often think Riesling is going to taste sweet, so avoid trying it. Sommelier Jacquie Lewis believes they’re missing out on a whole world of fun, especially in the hotter months. “It’s such a versatile grape that produces so many different styles of super-refreshing wine,” said Ms Lewis, the organiser of the Summer of Riesling festival taking place in Sydney over the next few weeks.

16/01/2015: To blame or not to blame?
During the current discussions about how the industry continues to face adverse times, it is often easy to revert to the behaviour of blame. Growers blame wine companies for failing to pay prices that are sustainable, wine companies blame growers for failings in fruit quality, and everyone blames supermarkets for the pressure exerted back upstream in the supply chain, and so on. This finger pointing fails to recognise the current lack of profitability as a global challenge that all wine growers and producers are trying to deal with, especially in the “popular premium” category that the Riverland is so good at producing.

16/01/2015: Australia-Japan trade deal enters into force
The landmark free trade agreement between Australia and Japan entered into force on January 15, 2015. When it is fully implemented, more than 97 per cent of Australian exports will receive preferential or duty-free access to Japan. The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) was signed in July 2014. According to a joint statement issued by the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the deal "lays the foundation for the next phase of bilateral economic relations, and will strengthen 'the special strategic partnership' between Japan and Australia."

16/01/2015: Grapes survive wrath of heat
For a man whose grape crop could have so easily been ruined, John Griffiths is understandably upbeat. A week ago, the Swan Valley winemaker watched as soaring temperatures on one of Perth's hottest recorded days threatened to shrivel the life out of the fruit. And for what must have seemed an eternity, he kept an eye out for fires that have torn a path through bush not far from the valley. Despite the perils, Mr Griffiths was able to start the harvest yesterday at the Faber Vineyard he and his wife own, confident the vintage would be a good one.

16/01/2015: Aussie wine region on the rise
Canberra is becoming more than just the home to Australia's capital city. The Canberra region's wine industry has seen a considerable growth in the past five years, according to a story published this past Sunday by The Canberra Times. “Canberra district fine wines have been labelled the 'flavour of the month' with many vignerons experiencing an increased demand for the boutique-labelled beverages,” reporter Kimberley Granger said. “The growing market for Canberra's fine wine has been occurring steadily for a few years, however in the last six months especially wine producers have been feeling the pressure.”

16/01/2015: Adam Wadewitz from Shaw and Smith and Tolpuddle Vineyard reveals his wine tips
Adam Wadewitz is a winemaker at Shaw and Smith in the Adelaide Hills and Tolpuddle Vineyard in Tasmania. “Lots of wine rules should be broken. There’s no place for snobbery — the important thing is to encourage people to enjoy wine and not make it intimidating by having lots of rules.”

15/01/2015: Dry spell to limit fungal disease in SA vineyards
Heavy rainfall and humid weather normally pose a serious risk of fungal diseases for winegrapes, but an extended dry spell this season may lower the risk, according to a plant pathologist. Vineyards in the Riverland, Clare and Barossa Valleys, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills received heavy rainfall, followed by humid weather; the perfect conditions for downy mildew and bunch rot to spread. Riverland plant pathologist, Peter Magarey, said it is also quite late in the season for downy mildew which further lowers the risk of an outbreak.

15/01/2015: Thunderstorms a godsend for Hope Estate
It's not often you hear a vigneron hailing thunderstorms, but for Hope Estate’s founder Michael Hope, it has been a godsend. The December and January storms, and sunshine and breeze afterwards, have saved his Pokolbin crops from disease and given the vines enough moisture to produce a top yield. Rainfall over the weekend, and showers predicted this week, also won’t hamper the quality of his crop. He said showers were not a problem in the lead up to harvest because the breeze or sunshine afterwards stopped disease setting in.

15/01/2015: Roadblocks to Chinese-Aussie wineries
Three separate Chinese investors made $6 million bids to buy a 410-hectare Hyde Park Vineyard in the township of Great Western, 225 kilometres west of Melbourne last year. “Contracts have been exchanged with one Chinese investor and final negotiations are in place,” LJ Hooker Glen Waverley’s director of business development, Joseph Ngo said. “While we cannot reveal the name of the buyer, they own hotels in China.” Ngo said the buyer planned on bottling Hyde Park wines with their own label and sending them to their hotels in China for Chinese patrons.

15/01/2015: Hunter Valley trophy lifestyle vineyard estate listed
Loggerheads, the trophy Hunter Valley vineyard estate last sold in 2008, has been listed with $10 million price expectations. The Pokolbin property has wonderful provenance being the former home of the late Len Evans and before that the Tyrrell family. It was last sold to Robin and Judy Crawford by Len Evan's widow, Trish Evans. There's still a village-like setting at the estate which has its rambling residential homestead with three adjoining pavilions.

15/01/2015: Spokenwine: The Iconic co-founder Cameron Votan's new start-up
Cameron Votan, one of the co-founders of online fashion retailer The Iconic, has vowed not to pursue the traditional venture capital route with his new start-up, Spokenwine. Votan and his co-founders, Victor Garcia, Nicholas Turner and Michael Larsen, launched online wine retailer Spokenwine in December. He says he is trying to approach wine retailing differently, by giving the consumer a strong voice and by partnering with the winemakers rather than treating them as suppliers. Behind the scenes, Spokenwine has built a logistics network that means customers can order from Spokenwine and the wine will be shipped directly from the winery.

14/01/2015: January Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The January 2015 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. Ann Killeen’s winning shot of Rutherglen Estate in Victoria features on the front cover, and the top ten pictures from the ADAMA/GW photo competition are included inside. This month, we discuss the latest in vineyard management; yeast and enzymes; laboratory equipment and bottling, labelling and packaging. We also feature a weather wrap up, discussing how the variable conditions throughout spring and early summer could impact on Vintage 2105.

14/01/2015: Hunter vignerons turn noses up at use of winery effluent to irrigate grapes
Hunter Valley vignerons say there is no way they would use winery effluent to irrigate grape crops. A three-year trial by the CSIRO has investigated options for the use of wastewater on vineyards - including irrigation, evaporation and disposal. It found irrigation was the most sustainable, and identified a 'safe' level of sodium and potassium in wastewater which does not impact on the health of the grapes. But Andrew Margan, vice-president of the Hunter Valley Wine Tourism Association, said he would never use his treated wastewater to irrigate his vines.

14/01/2015: Winegrape harvest underway in the Upper Hunter
The winegrape harvest is underway in the Upper Hunter with Two Rivers at Denman reporting a positive start to picking. Sparkling grapes have been first off the vines, while a test run of the company's whites has returned good results. James Estate at Baerami expects harvesting of its crop will commence this weekend. Brett Keeping from Two Rivers said after a challenging growing season, December rainfall has filled out the fruit. "Surprisingly the tonnages look to be well up," he said.

14/01/2015: Treasury appoints new supply chief
Treasury Wine Estates has appointed Bob Spooner, the former head of UK bread business Hovis, as its new supply chief. Spooner has been appointed chief supply officer of the winemaker, which owns the Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Lindemans brands, replacing company veteran Stuart McNab. He will relocate to Australia from the UK, where he has had an extensive career in supply chain management and was most recently chief executive of Hovis.

14/01/2015: Should scientists work with industry on alcohol policy?
It’s undeniable that there’s an irreconcilable conflict of interest in the alcohol industry being involved in developing health policy. And by participating in meetings involving industry representatives, scientists risk giving credibility to a fundamentally flawed process that’s unlikely to produce sound policy. The more recent was the Intergovernmental Committee on Drug Policy (IGCD) National Stakeholder Meeting on Alcohol Related Violence and Harm in Canberra in November.

13/01/2015: Rain sparks disease in Sunraysia vineyards
Wine grape growers are hoping for cool and dry conditions after rain triggered a downy mildew outbreak in grapevines across Sunraysia. About 30 millimetres fell on most vineyards, but Brian Englefield, Murray Valley Wine Grape Growers chair, says they can't use chemical sprays to fight the disease because vintage is approaching. "No it's not ideal. It's a bit unfortunate at this stage in growing period to have a rain event. That's not unusual, it's just putting adding pressure on growers trying to complete this season and get this harvest off that some of them have already commenced."

13/01/2015: Hunter Valley winemakers look forward to outstanding vintage, if the rain holds off
“It could be spectacular, but it could all go pear shaped in a hurry.” Those are the words of Rod Kempe, speaking on behalf of Hunter winemakers who are experiencing some restless nights as rain threatens to bring unstuck the potentially outstanding 2015 vintage. In short, Hunter winemakers are on the verge of a third cracking vintage in succession – if the weather behaves over the next couple of weeks. “I’ve been saying for the last month that this could be another vintage to look out for,” Kempe, head winemaker at the iconic Lake’s Folly winery, said.

13/01/2015: Queensland winery rises from the ashes
A Queensland winery owner says after years of hardship and a bushfire that wiped out the majority of their crop, they are finally back on their feet and looking to the future. The Gecko Valley Winery in Gladstone was established in 1996. In 2010 it was damaged by floods, the global financial crisis hit the owners and their plans to build a residential block on their land, and finally bushfires in 2011 burnt the majority of their vines, ruling out any further production. But owners Tony and Coleen McCray have found the silver lining in this series of unfortunate events.

13/01/2015: Blue Penguin Wines makes wines using natural processes
Blue Penguin Wines is a world away from a bustling Queensland legal firm. In 2002, Alan Irish quit his day job, moved to Birches Bay in Southern Tasmania, and started exploring his love of wine. Irish made his first foray into winemaking when he started the Grandview Winery at Birches Bay that same year. "I had developed a keen interest in the process of how wine was made, but was really keen on turning my theoretical knowledge into something more tangible," he said. Seven years later, Irish and his wife Marji established Blue Penguin Wines when they moved into their sprawling Revell Lane property at Penguin.

13/01/2015: Highest priority to sign FTA with India by end of year
Reaffirming its commitment to boost bilateral trade with India, Australia today said it accords the 'highest priority' to the conclusion of a free trade agreement with with New Delhi by the end of this year. Pointing out that Australia has inked FTAs with china, Japan and Korea, the country's minister for trade and investment Andrew Robb said, "Our highest FTA priority is now the conclusion of a bilateral trade deal with India." Describing Australia and India as world-renowned agriculture producers, Robb said: "We see India as a major market for our premium products like pulses, wool, dairy and wine.”

13/01/2015: Ann Killeen wins ADAMA/GW photo competition
A big congratulations to Ann Killeen, whose winning photograph is featured on the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine's front cover this month. Ann, an amateur photographer, took the stunning shot at Victoria’s Rutherglen Estate vineyard in the early hours of the morning. “It was worth getting up before dawn to get the photo,” she said. “There is a big irrigation dam at the back of the vineyard that gets some amazing fog. I was standing at the top, looking down on the dam.”

12/01/2015: Treasures from the late Barossa legend Peter Lehmann’s wine cellar are going up for sale
A vast collection of wines considered to be a national treasure has been unlocked from the Barossa legend Peter Lehmann’s private cellar to be sold to collectors, history buffs and wine lovers. The first lots of thousands of wines ranging in vintages from 1945 to 1976 have been released by Peter Lehmann’s wife Margaret and sons David and Phil after being catalogued and many tasted by Jeremy Holmes, Barossa-based vintage wine expert. The cellar, which Peter Lehmann thought of as a “museum” or “library” was always considered more than just a collection for old wines’ sake.

12/01/2015: Hunter vignerons urged to rethink using wastewater for irrigation
Hunter Valley vignerons are being urged to consider better ways to re-use wastewater, using new guidelines developed by the CSIRO. A three-year trial has looked at options for the use of wastewater on vineyards - including irrigation, evaporation and disposal. Anu Kumar, project leader, said it found irrigation was the most sustainable. "For the wineries, they're in this business of growing wine, so the best option is to irrigate with this water on wine," she said.

12/01/2015: Canberra region fine wines increase in popularity
Canberra district fine wines have been labelled the "flavour of the month" with many vignerons experiencing an increased demand for their boutique-labelled beverages. The growing market for Canberra's fine wine has been occurring steadily for a few years, however in the last six months wine producers have been feeling the pressure. Bill Crowe, Four Winds co-owner, previously worked as a winemaker in the Napa Valley. Four years ago he started at the family-run vineyard near Murrumbateman, and the winery has been doubling production every year.

12/01/2015: Strong and stoic: surviving the devastation
The five-hectare expanse of Frank Baldasso’s destroyed Viognier vines looks, from any distance, as green as the rest. Come closer and you notice that the fruit is withered, and the undersides of the vines are brown. The grapes taste like smoke. Frank was alone on Saturday morning, defending his shed on the western side of the property, when the Sampson Flat fire came roaring over the hill in front of him. Country Fire Service volunteers managed to keep the flames from jumping the road separating his Kenton Valley property from his neighbour’s. But the wind was erratic, and the fire was approaching the property, at pace, from every direction.

12/01/2015: Future Leaders returns in 2015: Be Next
People with the skills to ‘be next’ and contribute to the future success of the Australian wine community are invited to apply for Future Leaders, the grape and wine sector’s leadership development program. Funded by the sector and coordinated by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA), Future Leaders will be offered to 15 applicants with open, creative, inquisitive minds who are early- to mid-career and already demonstrating leadership potential. Anne Duncan, AGWA Program Manager, said that Future Leaders is for committed wine people who want to develop leadership skills, extend their knowledge of the sector and foster collaborative partnerships.

International Wine Industry News

30/01/2015: Pinot Noir event returns to Wellington
New Zealand Winegrowers have announced ‘Pinot Noir New Zealand’ will return over three days in 2017. Described as “the best Pinot Noir event on the planet”, the event will be held at the Wellington waterfront, commencing on January 31 2017. Attracting media, trade and enthusiasts of Pinot Noir from all corners of the globe, Ben Glover, Chairman of Pinot Noir NZ 2017 said that the event brings in some of the greatest international minds on the subject of Pinot Noir.

30/01/2015: UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to visit NZ
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will visit New Zealand next week to hold trade talks and discuss New Zealand's upcoming role on the United Nations Security Council. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has welcomed the visit, saying New Zealand and Britain had an "excellent relationship". Talks would centre on the two countries' political, defence and trade ties, he said. "The UK is New Zealand's fifth-largest trading partner and a key market for New Zealand lamb, fruit, and wine," McCully said.

30/01/2015: Valley grapevines disappear as imports flood market for low-priced wine
SACRAMENTO — Faced with stagnant sales of low-priced wine and a glut of overseas competitors, grape growers in the San Joaquin Valley are ripping out their vines and replacing them with more profitable crops such as almonds. The attrition of vineyards was highlighted in Wednesday’s State of the Industry briefing at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, the annual trade show and convention for the state’s wine industry. The presentation by Bay Area wine consultant Jon Fredrikson drew a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,500 to the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency hotel across from the state Capitol.

30/01/2015: Much ado about wine appellations
One of the trends in the wine world, especially in the New World, is to stress the place where the wine comes from. I don’t mean big places, like Australia, California, Chile and Ontario, but the more precise places of origin. Take today’s four wines. They’re from New Zealand, Ontario, Spain, and South Africa. But the places of origin (appellations) on each bottle are, in turn, Marlborough, Twenty Mile Bench, Catalunya, and Swartland. Of these, Marlborough might be familiar, as it’s the source of so many Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs.

30/01/2015: Don't judge a bottle by its label
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Over the many years I have spent in the wine industry, I have also told myself not to judge a wine by its packaging. Yet I still find myself jumping to conclusions even before I get that first sip into my mouth! So much has changed in the wine world in such a short time. At this point, I feel it may be necessary to back up a little and let go of many preconceived notions.

30/01/2015: FUN FRIDAY: This robot can improve wine production
It seems that robots are becoming more important in our daily lives, doing everything from reminding us of our appointments to vacuuming our carpets. Now, though, robots are helping us in another way: by assisting vineyard owners manage their wine production tasks. This robot, aptly called the VineRobot, comes with a set of sensors that allows it to measure important qualities in grapevines, such as vine development, water levels, production and composition of the grapes themselves. After collecting its data, it wirelessly sends it to the vineyard owner for further analysis.

29/01/2015: Opposition against tax rebate nothing new
The New Zealand wine industry body is defending exporters being able to collect a tax rebate in Australia, as politicians across the Tasman call for it to be axed. Under the Closer Economic Relations (CER) trade agreement with the Australian government, some New Zealand wine exporters were eligible for a refund on the Wine Equalization Tax. Some Australian politicians and wine industry figures wanted it stopped, calling it a subsidy that was disadvantaging their industry. But New Zealand Wine Growers chief executive Philip Gregan said the CER agreement had been in place for 30 years and opposition had been around for a while.

29/01/2015: Accolade sees its Mud House New Zealand wine brand go from 10K cases to 250k in a year
Mud House, the New Zealand wine brand, grew sales 2,500 per cent in the last 12 months from 10,000 nine litre cases to a quarter of a million cases, according to figures released by brand owner Accolade Wines. Mud House has only been part of the group since 2013 and is on course “to be the third largest New Zealand brand in the UK,” according to Paul Schaafsma, the general manager for Accolade Wines UK & Ireland.

29/01/2015: Coyotes wreak havoc in California vineyards
California vineyards face a lot of pests, most of them, insects. But a four-legged critter is also becoming a serious problem. It's estimated there are between 1.5 million and 3 million coyotes in California. While the total may be uncertain, the population is increasing. In the Central Valley the animals can be found making their dens in the vineyards. Fresno County Department of Agriculture Wildlife Specialist Fred Rinder says in his county alone coyotes have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage especially to vineyard drip irrigation systems.

29/01/2015: Old World influence and New World innovation
CALIFORNIA: There’s an endless discussion of Old World versus New World wines, and what a recent trip to France revealed is that both are wonderful in different ways and for different reasons. Old World wines are restrained, structured and redolent with tastes of earth and minerals. New World wines are bursting with fruit flavours and ripeness. Climate, growing conditions and thoughts on the winemaking process largely are responsible for these differences. Living in the centre of where New World wine originates, this discussion has specific meaning for us.

29/01/2015: Boutique revolution puts Israeli wines on world map
Sales of Israeli wines bring in between $300 and $350 million per year, about 10 per cent from overseas exports. According to French wine expert Marc Dworkin, Israel is 'a small country where each wine-producing region is more interesting than the last.' In the rolling pine-covered hills west of Jerusalem, winemaker Eran Pick checks on the vines he cultivates, plying an ancient trade which has been common to the area since biblical times. "For 3,000 years wine has been produced in these hills," says Pick, 40, who is trained in a mix of New and Old World winemaking and worked in California and Bordeaux before joining Tzora Vineyards.

29/01/2015: Drought major topic at Grape and Wine Symposium
The Wine & Grape Symposium is underway at the Sacramento Convention Centre. Thousands of people are expected to see the latest trends in the industry. And while more than 14,000 wine lovers are expected to hit the exhibit floor starting Wednesday, the drought will be on the minds of many. "It's been challenging with some growers who are restricted with water," said Mark Greenspan, a vineyard consultant. He works with growers to create healthier vineyards by using less resources, such as water – a critical factor when there's not much of it.

28/01/2015: Hawke's Bay has a pronounced advantage in China
Hawke's Bay's wines are top class, but the fact the region is easy to pronounce in Mandarin may be its biggest advantage in the Chinese market, according to that nation's leading wine commentator. Fongyee Walker, a tutor, commentator and the only person from mainland China to pass her Master of Wine exam, said "Huo ke si wan rolled off the tongue and that is very important. I get asked a lot why [Chateau] Lafite is the most popular wine in China. One of the reasons is that 'La Fay' is easy to say. 'Haut-Brion' isn't, so no-one buys Haut-Brion in China."

28/01/2015: Rivals "would kill" for NZ wine shopper base
Rival countries would kill for New Zealand's affluent young consumer base, according to Mud House supplier Accolade. The UK’s leading supplier made its first move into the dynamic category when it bought Mud House last year, and it has grown UK sales from 10,000 9-litre cases to 250,000 in nine months. Jane Robertson, Accolade’s category development manager said, “New Zealand shoppers are younger and more affluent than any of the other countries of origin. “It’s a dream shopper – young, engaged, knowledgeable, willing to spend money on New Zealand, willing to learn more.”

28/01/2015: Accolade Wines recruits Daniel l'Anson as first UK fine wine director to drive premium wines
Accolade Wines hopes to establish a footprint and market for its extensive range of premium wines by appointing its first fine wine director in the UK. Daniel l’Anson has been recruited from Champagne Jacquart from his UK business development role to establish a new market and interest in the group’s portfolio of premium and super premium wines, many of which are not currently seen in the UK. Paul Schaafsma, UK head of Accolade Wines, confirmed l’Anson is to take on his new role in February and will be responsible for establishing Accolade’s fine wine division.

28/01/2015: Plant plaster protects wine from vine decline
Symptoms of fungal disease esca, or vine decline, include reduced yields, stunted growth and even the sudden death of vines. Esca is prevalent throughout the world and poses a significant threat to the wine industry – some countries have lost 40 per cent of their grape harvest to the fungus. Often whole collections of vines have to be removed and replaced. No fungicide treatment is available – sodium arsenite was previously used for control in Europe, but is now banned for health reasons.

28/01/2015: Tokaj wine region to get 330 mil investment
Hungary's Tokaj wine region is to get a 330 million euro investment to both upgrade its vineyards and bolster the international reputation of its wines. The funding will come from both Hungary’s central government and the European Union and has been allocated until 2020, the Hungarian government said this week. The wine industry is one of the main employment sources in Unesco-listed Tokaj, with an estimated 5,000 jobs relaying directly on wine.

28/01/2015: Largest organic wine show broadens out
France celebrates all things organic with growing numbers attending the Millésime Bio exhibition in the South of France. Organic wines and vinegrowing are increasing in popularity among the younger generation, according to the president of Millésime Bio, the organic trade show that is taking place this week in Montpellier, France. The show has 800 wine producers from 14 countries present, and organisers expect 4500 people to attend the show including around 20 per cent foreign visitors from 20 different countries.

27/01/2015: US to become NZ's biggest market by 2016
The US is to become the largest market in volume and value for New Zealand wines by the end of this year, according to Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. Speaking to the drinks business in London this week, Gregan said that the US market for wines from New Zealand, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, was outgrowing the country’s current two largest export countries, the UK and Australia. “The biggest growth is from the US… the US is going to become number one, and it will probably be number one by volume and value by the end of this year,” he stated.

27/01/2015: Tasty treats for wine industry visitors
Hawke's Bay came under the global winemaking spotlight yesterday as 20 leading international trade and media representatives were treated to the region's finest wines and got to meet many of the people who created them. Billed as the Hawke's Bay Wine Celebration and staged at the Masonic in Napier, the event hosted by Hawke's Bay Winegrowers was set up to take advantage of the influx of wine industry visitors who have arrived in the country for the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration, being staged on Thursday.

27/01/2015: Harvard buys up water rights in drought-hit wine country
Harvard University has quietly become one of the biggest grapegrowers in California’s drought-stricken Paso Robles wine region, securing water well drilling permits to feed its vineyards days before lawmakers banned new pumping, according to records reviewed by Reuters. The investment, which began as a bet on the grape market, has turned into a smart water play as the wells boosted the value of its land in the up-and-coming wine region of Paso Robles. But it has also raised questions about the role of big investors in agriculture in the midst of a water crisis.

27/01/2015: Wine industry could create 100,000 jobs in a decade
SOUTH AFRICA: The wine industry has the potential to create 100,000 new jobs over the next decade, provided it remains stable, wine producers’ body VinPro says.The number of people employed directly or indirectly in the wine industry has increased to slightly more than 275,000, from fewer than 160,000 in 2000, and now represents 1.5 per cent of the workforce in the economy. But the industry has been rocked by a wave of labour unrest in recent years and faces uncertainty because of government’s land reform.

27/01/2015: Fraudsters target victims of collapsed wine investment firm
European Fine Wines Ltd was placed in liquidation in June last year, with debts of around £3million (A$5.7m). Liquidator Abbott Fielding said that fraudsters were trying to take advantage of the situation. 'In recent weeks, a company has been writing to the creditors on European Fine Wines letterhead alleging that they are the company and trying to obtain money from them,’ said Abbott Fielding’s Nedim Aliyan, who issued a warning about the wine fraud. ‘In addition, a third party has been ringing creditors alleging he works for my office and that for a small payment, he can get people's wine. Needless to say, anyone who passes any money to both these parties receives nothing.’

27/01/2015: US demand spurs world wine market
London - US demand is set to drive expansion in the world wine market through to 2018 as consumption growth slows in China and traditional markets such as France and Italy contract. Consumption in the US is poised to rise 11 per cent over the period from 2014 to 2018 to reach 378 million 9-litre cases, close to its 12 per cent growth rate between 2009 and 2013, according to data from Vinexpo and International Wine and Spirit Research. Chinese growth is set to slow to 25 per cent from 69 per cent, taking its total to 181 million cases.

23/01/2015: Marlborough to be 'fully planted in 5 to 10 years'
Higher consumer demand for New Zealand wines has continued to put pressure on land space and some producers believe Marlborough will be fully planted in as little as five years. Winemakers and grapegrowers are running out of space in Marlborough, famous for Sauvignon Blanc and which constitutes around three quarters of New Zealand’s wine production. Vineyard prices in the region were last year rising at more than 10 per cent year-on-year, according to estate agency Knight Frank.

23/01/2015: International Sauvignon Blanc conference announced for 2016
New Zealand Winegowers have announced an international conference to celebrate its most famed wine, Sauvignon Blanc. The inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration (ISBC) will be held in Marlborough in February 2016 to shine the spotlight on the diverse and sought-after variety. Accounting for 85 per cent of wine exported from New Zealand, Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers, said Sauvignon Blanc has set the international bench mark for the countries wine style.

23/01/2015: Wine exporters shift focus from Asia to United States
The United States not China is – and will continue to be – the world's most important consumer of wine. The United States, as the world's most important wine market in terms of volume, value and growth, will be a "Special Guest" at Vinexpo 2015. At a London press conference to launch the 2015 edition of the biannual Bordeaux wine trade fair, chief executive Guillaume Deglise said the U.S. would be "under the spotlight" at Vinexpo. The fair, which hosts 2400 exhibitors from 44 countries and attracts some 28,000 visitors, takes place in Bordeaux in June this year.

23/01/2015: 'Tough season' for California growers
More than three years of drought has reduced reservoir storage in California and groundwater supply. Some grapegrowers in Amador County are worried the limited resource could make this season more challenging.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that, barring "epic rain and snowfall," the drought will continue through at least the spring and likely linger into the summer in California. That's a worry for grapegrowers that rely on groundwater. "There's a lot of concern out there amongst growers that I work with in the four counties in the Central Sierra," said Lynn Wunderlich, a Farm Advisor with UC Davis Cooperative Extension.

23/01/2015: State to evolve wine policy to boost India's industry
NASHIK: The state government is planning to evolve the wine policy to boost the industry in Maharashtra. The news was announced by development commissioner (industries) of the state Surendra Kumar Bagade during a meeting with the office-bearers of the All India Wine Producers' Association (AIWPA) and the Nashik District Industries & Exporters' Association (NDIEA) in Mumbai on Tuesday. The first wine policy of the state — the Maharashtra Grape Processing Industrial Policy — was declared on September 19, 2001. The new policy aims at sorting out the problems of the wineries and thus boosting the industry.

23/01/2015: FUN FRIDAY: There’s now a ‘wine’ for pregnant women
What’s a pregnant woman to sip? Well, one North Carolina company thinks it has an answer — boutique sparkling grape juice, imported from Australia. That’s essentially what 9Months is (and it comes in white and red varieties). The new wine (er, juice) label is the brainchild of Carrie Marvin, a corporate recruiter-turned-mom and entrepreneur. When Marvin was pregnant, she says she couldn’t find anything festive enough to drink for a special occasion — the closest product that came to mind was Martinelli’s sparkling cider — so she developed something on her own.

22/01/2015: Proposed fee hike a blow to wine firms
Marlborough's wine industry will be the worst-affected wine region if a proposal to increase regulation fees by $2.9 million (A$2.7m) goes ahead, New Zealand Winegrowers chairman says. The Ministry of Primary Industries announced on Monday it was proposing a $12.8m increase in fees for all of New Zealand's primary industries to maintain food safety and protect New Zealand from biosecurity risks. Almost $3m would fall on the wine industry. Steve Green, New Zealand Winegrowers chairman, said making New Zealand's wine industry fork out another $2.9m a year was "manifestly unfair".

22/01/2015: Bay winery making it big in Japan
Hawke's Bay wines are well known and regarded in Japan, which along with China has become an important market for the region. And one of the wineries now serving up fine wines to the expanding Japanese market is a recent addition to the Bay's vineyard landscape - in fact its first grapes were not arriving from the vines until 2008. Its name tells you it is a crucial part of the Japanese market as well as the Hawke's Bay economy and the region's export business: Osawa Wines.

22/01/2015: Drink wine, make money? The new trend
WINE TASTING PARTY: Out of the way Avon and Pampered Chef. Wine is the newest excuse to throw a party, sell things to your friends and neighbours — and make a little money. “I tried selling cosmetics and nutritional products, but couldn’t make a go of it,” said Diane Nozik, a 35-year-old mother of two married to an active-duty sailor in the US Navy. Then Nozik had a flash of inspiration after her husband took her to a number of wine tastings “and I really enjoyed them.” Since she had wanted to make a little extra money, without the hassle of storing boxes of goods, Nozik had found the perfect solution… reports BBC.com.

22/01/2015: Fine wine prices expected to rise
Customers are likely to pay more for a bottle of fine wine this year as wine prices rise, the result of an improved economy and strong demand, according to a new survey by Silicon Valley Bank. The survey, based on responses from almost 600 West Coast wineries and ongoing research, found that fine wine sales should grow between 14 to 18 per cent in 2015. The fine-wine business is defined by bottles that cost $20 or more. “My expectation is we’re going to have absolute breakout year of sales growth,” said Rob McMillan, founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s wine division and author of the report.

22/01/2015: Britons to spend more on wine than French
British wine lovers are set to outspend their French counterparts as they develop a taste for more expensive bottles. Although people drank less after the financial crisis, between 2008 and 2014, the value of the UK wine market rose 15 per cent to $16.1bn. Research by Vinexpo, a wine exhibition and forum, and the International Wine and Spirits Record forecasts it will reach $17.1bn by 2018, overtaking France as the world’s second-largest still wine market by value behind the US. Much of the growth has been driven by the rise in popularity of “premium” wines that cost from £7 to £14.

22/01/2015: Counterfeit wine investigator's idea on fighting fakes
Nick Bartman, intellectual property lawyer, has worked undercover in China for 25 years, tracking down sources of counterfeit goods and the people making them. Now, Bartman has an idea on how to fight fake wine and argues that the most effective identifier of authenticity is already on the bottom of every bottle. "Look at the base of a bottle and you'll see small insignias, numbers and an odd sequence of dots, moulded into the glass during manufacturing. If there were a system to record which wines are placed in which bottles, the combination of insignia, numbers and dots that was always changing..." Reports Wine Spectator.

21/01/2015: Marlborough wine brands lose out in Air NZ shake-up
Air New Zealand's decision to drastically cut its wine selection for economy and premium economy classes and move to just one supplier is disappointing for Marlborough wine brands, says the head of the regional industry body. New Zealand Winegrowers confirmed yesterday that New Zealand's national carrier had selected Villa Maria as its sole wine supplier. This followed a similar move last week when Air New Zealand cancelled its contract with Marlborough brewer Moa to supply its Koru Lounge and international flights only a year into a three-year contract.

21/01/2015: New Zealand wine producers ‘excited’ about 'rebalanced' UK market
Sauvignon Blanc continues to be the most popular variety in the UK and no other region is more synonymous with the aromatic grape variety than New Zealand, which continues to make inroads in the UK market. New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Greegan, speaking at the 34th annual trade taste in London, told Harpers.co.uk the country’s wines are performing strongly in this market, with average bottle prices bolstered by the exchange rate.

21/01/2015: Oregon wine industry worth $3.35B to the state economy
The Oregon wine juggernaut shows no sign of slowing in the latest tally of the industry's economic impact. There were 18 per cent more vineyard acres planted in 2013 than in 2011, the number of wineries grew 45 per cent to 605 and the number of cases sold grew 39 per cent to 2.8 million, according to an industry review released Tuesday by Full Glass Research, a Berkeley, California firm that specializes in the wine and food industries. The Oregon Wine Board, responsible for promoting the industry, has commissioned the semi-annual study since 2005. The collective impact grew to $3.35 billion, Full Glass reports.

21/01/2015: Wine industry by-products create stable delivery system for resveratrol
Combining oil and extracts from grape seeds, two by-products from the wine industry, can form stable nanoemulsions for delivering resveratrol, and protect the ingredient for use in functional food applications. Scientists from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, report that that nanoemulsions remained physically stable during storage at different temperatures, as well as protecting resveratrol against UV-light isomerization and degradation.

21/01/2015: Premium wine growth hampered by big grocers, warns Rabobank
The growth of premium wines is being restricted by major grocers and tough economic conditions, despite more adventurous consumers seeking them out. A new report from Rabobank into premium wine entitled “It’s a long way to the top”, warned that pricing growth in the UK has been deceptive, given “steady rises in government excise taxes”. The report adds that the increasing prices has had the “unwelcome effect of dampening demand in the face of considerable economic headwinds”... Reports Harpers.

21/01/2015: Champagne sales hit second highest total on record
Around 308 million bottles of Champagne were sold around the world in 2014, according to provisional figures, while the new head of regional body Comite Champagne expects exports to overtake domestic sales this year. The Comite Champagne, formerly known as the CIVC, also estimated that worldwide Champagne sales reached 4.5 billion euros in value terms, up from 4.3bn euros in 2013 and the second highest annual total on record, behind 2007. That suggests consumers have traded up to higher priced Champagne, despite fierce discounting in several markets over the key Christmas selling period.

20/01/2015: Drought fears grow as dry spell continues
Nathan Guy, Primary Industries minister, is expected to visit the parched South Canterbury area in the next few weeks as concern mounts that it and some other regions may be heading for a serious drought. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is monitoring the conditions in South Canterbury, as well as North Otago, Wairarapa and southern Hawke's Bay. David Wansbrough, MPI director of resource policy, said it had been talking with farmers and rural support trusts on a weekly basis. However, he said farmers and communities appeared to be coping so far and the Government was not planning to step in with any support measures at this stage.

20/01/2015: Young gun winemakers
Of course they're young and hungry – that cliche applies to every new generation in every field. But a number of things set the new breed of Kiwi vigneron apart from many of their predecessors, not least their professionalism. "They've arrived into a mature industry that offers defined career paths," says Emma Taylor, national coordinator of the Young Viticulturist Competition (and herself a previous winner). "Typically they've trained here in New Zealand, rather than Australia, as many pioneers did. Wine production isn't something they've fallen into as a lifestyle option – they've focused on it right from the start. They've got business sense, they're technologically savvy and they want respect." Reports John Saker for Stuff.co.uk.

20/01/2015: Ex-vineyard manager-winery owner pleads not guilty to grape theft
NAPA VALLEY: A former vineyard manager and vintner may be tried for allegedly stealing $50,000 worth of premium grapes from a Mount Howell client in October 2013, according to court records. Jeffry Hill, 36, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty in Napa County Superior Court to two counts of grand theft for allegedly stealing eight bins of grapes for high-end wines from David Paul Del Dotto, according to court records. Napa County Superior Court Judge Mark Boessenecker set the trial date for April 13. Hill, a Clovis resident, remains out of custody on $25,000 bail, according to court records… Reports Napa Valley Register.

20/01/2015: Rioja has become Spain's most diverse wine region
In 2004, the American super-critic, Robert Parker, predicted that Spain would emerge as a leader in wine. He spoke both of better quality and also greater creativity. He was not far wrong. When he predicted that traditional wine regions like Rioja would play second fiddle to up-and-coming areas – Toro, Jumilla and Priorat in particular – his crystal ball clouded over. The fact is, Rioja has more than kept pace with changing tastes. It has embraced it, in fact, becoming Spain's most diverse wine region, with a broad mix of styles ranging from traditional to modern, from oaked to unoaked, from commercial to great, from blends to single vineyard wines – and, importantly, from fine reds to excellent whites… Reports The Independent.

20/01/2015: How falling oil prices pair with fine wine
After three years of falling prices for fine wine, there are plenty of people who are not just hoping for the bottom to have been reached, but who need it to have been, reports Jane Anson for Decanter. According to Anson, more than one négociant in Bordeaux has spoken to her about the likelihood of businesses shutting up shop this year if the châteaux continue to price their wine higher than the market will sustain. “And it is no coincidence that more and more of them are looking outside of their own region – traditionally a heretical thing to do.” Anson said.

20/01/2015: Grape rotting fruit fly raises alarm in German vineyards
German winemakers have become the latest in Europe to raise concerns over an Asian fruit fly that causes grapes to rot in the vineyards. The fly, known as Drosophila Suzukii, was the ‘biggest threat’ to vineyards in Germany’s key winegrowing regions during the 2014 harvest, according to the German wine export association, ‘Mo-Rhe-Na’. Producers in other wine regions, including Bordeaux, Burgundy and Veneto in northern Italy, have also reported concerns about the flies. ‘This insect caused considerable damage to red grapes, such as Dornfelder and Regent,’ said Mo-Rhe-Na, which is named after the Mosel, Rhine and Nahe growing areas and represents estates that bottle their own wines.

19/01/2015: 2015 looks another corker after run of great vintages
New Zealand wine drinkers are now enjoying the results of two good vintage years and the outlook for the sector is positive, NZ Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan says. Both 2013 and 2014 vintages rated highly for the quality of wine produced, thanks to generally warm and dry conditions. Gregan said production was up with new plantings on the rise. Grapes liked the same kind of weather as holidaymakers - warm and dry - so both years were good for the national crop. It's too early to tell what the 2015 season will hold, but the current fine weather won't be doing the crop any harm.

19/01/2015: Wine industry opposes MPI cost recovery proposal
New Zealand Winegrowers is opposing a proposal from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to recover $2.9 million (A$2.75m) per year from the wine industry to meet the costs of its wine regulatory programme. “Wineries currently pay just over $200m each year in excise to the government,” said Steve Green, New Zealand Winegrowers chair. “Payments have increased by $70m, or more than 60 per cent, in the past decade. From our perspective requiring the industry to pay an additional $2.9m to MPI every year is manifestly unjustifiable.”

19/01/2015: Where in the world will our best wines come from this year?
The list of wine-producing regions around the world grows every year. At one time wine books argued that in order to produce quality wine, a vineyard had to be located between 30 and 50 degrees north or south of the equator. If you take a look at any world map, this covers all of the world’s great wine-producing regions. Only these regions had the temperate climate necessary for viticulture. Large swathes within these bands, including parts of China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea, have yet to develop quality wine industries, although some, such as Russia, produce large quantities of wine and have great potential.

19/01/2015: Boutique wine enterprises put Israeli wines on global wine list
In the rolling pine-covered hills west of Jerusalem, winemaker Eran Pick checks on the vines he cultivates, plying an ancient trade which has been common to the area since biblical times. “For 3,000 years wine has been produced in these hills,” says Pick, 40, who is trained in a mix of New and Old World winemaking and worked in California and Bordeaux before joining Tzora Vineyards. Established in 1993, Tzora was one of Israel’s first boutique wineries — defined as those which produce fewer than 100,000 bottles per year. “We have renewed this tradition in order to make a typically Israeli wine which will be at the level of the world’s best wines,” he says. The vineyard produces 80,000 bottles annually, of which 15,000 are sold abroad.

19/01/2015: Whole Foods wine buyer urges Sonoma growers to push sustainability
The top wine buyer for Whole Foods Market on Thursday lauded the effort by Sonoma County growers to make the county’s grapecrop 100 per cent sustainable before the end of the decade, but cautioned it will be a difficult task to get a national standard that will embraced by wine consumers. Doug Bell, Whole Foods Market’s global beverage buyer, told the Sonoma County Winegrowers at its annual meeting that he backs its efforts to create the nation’s first 100 per cent sustainable wine growing region by 2019. To qualify, growers must be certified in numerous areas such as water and air quality, pest management, carbon emissions and even employment practices.

19/01/2015: EU wine study: Reach out to emerging countries, don't forget the little guy
Europe has long been the icon of world-class winemaking, adding to the lore and prestige of its “Old World” title. A study financed by the European Commission released this past December sought to gauge the international influence of Old World wines by analysing the competitiveness of European wines in relation to New World wines from Argentine, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. The report identified several actions the European market can take in order to remain competitive in the global wine industry. In the conclusion section of the report, the study recommended that the European wine industry tackle the issue of market access.

16/01/2015: Search for perfect soil leads to practical magic in New Zealand
We have all had conversations with people that we wish would go on forever, where topics arise flow so smoothly – from practical to mysterious and back again – that a new nexus is born inside us. We learn to look a little more passively, at more things, and we connect differently. This is how it went for me with Mike Weersing. As it goes with the wines of Pyramid Valley Vineyards, which he and his wife, Claudia, began in 2000.

16/01/2015: New Zealand wineries increase profitability again in 2014
Winegrowers are enjoying increased profitability, according to the Deloitte Vintage 2014 survey. The survey divides producers into five categories according to size: those with turnover higher than $20m (A$21m), those between $10m and $20m, those between $5m and $10m, $1.5m to $5m, and those below $1.5m. For the first time in seven years it found that all categories reported profitability before tax. Furthermore, it reported that since 2010 there has been a general trend of growing profitability. This run comes despite concerns over the impact of oversupply, high levels of external debt, the financial crisis and the turbulent bulk market

16/01/2015: Idaho wine industry has $169 million impact on economy
Idaho’s fast-growing wine industry had a $169.3 million (A$205m) impact on the state’s economy in 2013, according to a new study. According to the economic impact study, the industry was also responsible for 1,226 jobs. The report by Stonebridge Research Group, a wine industry consultant based in Napa, California, said the impact would have been greater if a January frost had not reduced wine grape yields by 30 per cent that year.

16/01/2015: Chinese wine industry to improve its national standards
China’s emerging wine industry is set to get new winemaking rules, to be drawn up by an expert committee established by government officials as the country seeks to meet international standards. The 27-member committee was summoned by the China National Wine Quality Supervision and Inspection Centre late last month to refine and upgrade existing winemaking rules in the country. The committee will be affiliated to the Standardization Administration of China, according to a government statement.

16/01/2015: FUN FRIDAY: Self-service wine dispenser helps improve productivity at F&B outlets
Do not be surprised if you are asked to dispense your wine yourself the next time you visit a restaurant - a growing number of F&B outlets are now using the self-service WineStation, which was first introduced towards the end of 2013. The Pump Room at Clarke Quay started using the WineStation in December 2014. To use the machine, customers buy a stored-value card which they use to purchase wine from the automated dispenser. Alternatively, customers can opt for a tap card which records the amount spent on the wine stations during their visit.

16/01/2015: Investing in India’s emerging wine industry
India’s expanding wine industry is in the midst of a vital transition. Last year, the country’s wine production hit a record 17 million litres, with export sales rising 40 per cent year-on-year to reach US$4.4 million (A$5.4m) in the first seven months. With a rapidly growing export sector, expanding domestic consumer market and increasing industry support in major wine-producing States, the Indian wine industry has potential to be a global market competitor.

15/01/2015: Organic vineyard allows wines to express terroir
It was a classical education; stints travelling and working in Burgundy, Bordeaux and Cote Rotie in France, and Alto Adige and Sicily in Italy. 1987. As a newly qualified wine maker, Rebecca Salmond made the mature decision that the theory she learned at Massey University and Adelaide University's Roseworthy College needed to be fortified by some practical experience of the old-world variety. Returning home again, Salmond launched Odyssey Wines in 1994, committing to the making of small amounts of premium wine from single vineyard vintages, and aptly labelled after Homer's great journey.

15/01/2015: Grape yields down so no glut tipped
Marlborough grapegrowers are expecting the 2015 vintage to be "significantly" smaller than last year's bumper harvest, ruling out a repeat of the 2008 wine glut. Clive Jones, Wine Marlborough board chairman, said bunch numbers were well down on last year and the yield size was looking similar to Marlborough's 2013 vintage. Last year, Marlborough's 168 wineries and 568 grapegrowers collectively harvested a record 329,572 tonnes of grapes. In 2013, they harvested 251,680 tonnes. Jones, who is also Nautilus Estate winemaker and winery manager, said yield sizes were back to normal after a bumper harvest last year.

15/01/2015: Graphic: California leads global vineyard price rises
Data from estate agency Knight Frank shows that Sonoma in California has seen some of the steepest rises in vineyard prices. Napa Valley might have spearheaded California's emergence on the world wine scene in the past 40 years, but it is neighbouring Sonoma that appears to have seen stronger interest in vineyard acquisitions in the last couple of years. Vineyard prices across Sonoma County were up by 18 per cent for the year to the end of June 2014, according to estate agency Knight Frank's latest global vineyard index.

15/01/2015: South Africa: Rapid drop in grape prices
The grape harvest is drawing to a close in the Limpopo region of South Africa, unlike other regions in the country the season started a bit later than last year’s according to Gert Smit from Top 8. “Most of the producers will start to round up their season this week, but some will go on with the late varieties such as Crimson & Scarlotta up to week 6 or 7." He said that volumes for the company will be up around 10 per cent on last year reaching 800,000 4.5 Kg equivalent cartons, this is mainly due to new plantings coming into production and good yields.

15/01/2015: Terlato adds Duval-Leroy Champagnes to luxury wine portfolio
Terlato Wines today announced a new partnership to import the Champagnes of Duval-Leroy. The long-term agreement with the Duval-Leroy family adds depth and diversity to the Terlato Estate portfolio with a highly respected producer and brand with significant growth potential in the U.S. The House of Duval-Leroy, located in Vertus in the Cote des Blancs region of France, traces its roots back to 1859, when the Duval and Leroy families joined together to create Premier Cru and Grand Cru Champagnes of exceptional elegance and finesse.

15/01/2015: The psychology of wine labels
After multiple opportunities to do field research this holiday season, I’ve come to the conclusion most of us choose wine based on brand, rather than taste. Sure, many people have an oenophile friend who knows that a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite with the initials Th.J. etched on it sold for more than $150K. However, most of us either stick with a few vintages we’re already familiar with or, when we want to choose a new wine, we make the decision largely based on the label. That’s right, the label. According to David Schuemann of CF Napa Brand Design, “a carefully crafted label can make us think the bottle is way more expensive than it is, and it can boost our enjoyment of the wine itself.”

14/01/2015: New Zealand Winegrowers launch Mandarin-language website
New Zealand Winegrowers launched a Mandarin-language website to support ongoing marketing activities in China. Featuring information about New Zealand’s winegrowing regions and key grape varietals the website, www.nz-wine.cn, has content mirroring the flagship English-language site www.nzwine.com. The site also includes details of upcoming events in Mainland China, links to popular Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat, and offers insight to the New Zealand wine industry’s widespread commitment to sustainability.

14/01/2015: Overseas demand for land on the rise
An extra 270 hectares of Marlborough grapegrowing land was sold, or leased, to overseas investors last year. Figures released to the Express from Land Information New Zealand show 1246.99ha of land was sold, or leased, to 13 Overseas Investment Office (OIO) applicants last year, compared with 976.68ha to nine applicants in 2013. Marcus Pickens, Wine Marlborough general manager, said he was not surprised that overseas investors were buying and leasing more Marlborough land. "This news probably wouldn't surprise anyone involved in the wine industry in New Zealand.

14/01/2015: California has no future without sustainable water
It only took several years and before it was done several billion dollars were shaved off the top because the Governor believed it was too expensive. Late in the previous California legislative session, lawmakers got together in small-groups and, together with negotiations with Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., and his staff, hammered out an agreement that eventually became Proposition 1 – the water bond. California voters passed the $7.5 billion (A"$9.1bn) measure in November, paving the way for a host of projects aimed at rebuilding California’s broken water system. Included in that is $2.5 billion (A$3bn) for water storage.

14/01/2015: Are wineries going to buy fewer grapes in 2015?
The headline chart is displaying grape purchase expectations for 2015 from wineries. I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear after a third year of record setting yields that we are a bit long on wine. The real question is "how long" and what can growers expect for orders in 2015? If we had a third year of record yields and wine sales hit the skids as happened in the start of the Great Recession, then the answer to "how long are we," would be really long. But that's not where the business is at the moment.

14/01/2015: Wine closure firm Nomacorc bought out by founder and Bespoke Capital
Synthetic wine closure firm Nomacorc is set for long-term growth after being bought out from Summit Partners by Marc Noël, current founder and chairman, along with Bespoke Capital. The new owners plan to invest more heavily in Normacorc’s long term growth plan and expand its brand, infrastructure and overall global presence following the deal. The group plan to ramp up its research and development on closures and oxygen management in order to “drive global growth as well as help the company capitalise on the large long term opportunity to consolidate certain attractive segments of the global wine industry.

14/01/2015: French winery sues Harrison importer
A French winemaker claims that Pasternak Wine Importers of Harrison conspired with a European rival to limit its sales in the United States. Vignerons de la Mediteranee of Narbonne, France accused Pasternak Wine Importers of breaching a contract to exclusively sell Vigneron's Pays d'Oc wines in the United States. Vignerons also accused Pasternak of selling the distribution rights to Vigneron's French competitor, Domaines Barons de Rothschild.

13/01/2015: MP sells interest in vineyard estate
Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith and his family have sold their 25-hectare vineyard estate in Marlborough. The National MP, who owned the property with wife Julie and her parents Ken and Jill Small, sold their Wrekin Rd property to Colin and Paula Hill, Hill's daughter Charlotte Bray, and her husband Brendon Bray, who took over early last month. Smith said the decision to sell the property was made because of work commitments. "I had other commitments with work, so [selling] just worked out and it all sort of fell into place," he said.

13/01/2015: Vineyard sub-division gets go-ahead
A housing sub-division to build 230 homes at Colonial Vineyard can go ahead after an appeal was dismissed by the High Court. Marlborough Aero Club Incorporated and New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust lost its five-year fight to have the Burleigh housing development scotched. Following an appeal hearing in Blenheim High Court last August, Justice Lowell Goddard dismissed the appeal in a decision just before Christmas. Colonial Vineyard is 21.4 hectares of flat land planted in Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

13/01/2015: Stomping out grape disease one vineyard at a time
Cracking the genetic code of a common disease affecting grape production could improve vineyard management and help protect the multi-billion dollar industry that includes raisins, juice, jam/jelly, fresh grapes, grape-seed extract and oil, vinegar and wine. A Rochester Institute of Technology scientist and an RIT alumnus are close to completing the genetic blueprint, or micro-biome, of grape crown gall tumour disease—the bane of vineyards worldwide.

13/01/2015: FAA approves the use of agricultural drones; could be a 'game changer' for wine industry
It's a big step forward for technology in agriculture. The FAA has issued an exception to the current ban on the commercial use of unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles, or drones. The agency has approved the use of drones to monitor crops and survey farm fields. This means, growers can hire outside companies to use drones as a commercial service for crop monitoring and surveying purposes. By doing so, it will take hours, instead of days to conduct certain studies. Farmers say, the benefit is that they can catch any vineyard disease or threats to prevent loss of production, with the potential to save them billions of dollars.

13/01/2015: Sparkling wine supplier Frizzenti hits back over Prosecco legal battle
Daniel Spinath, director of sparkling wine supplier Frizzenti, has hit back at claims that selling Prosecco on tap will be “illegal” if Italian producers of the wine win the legal right to fine bars and pubs that sell the drink by the keg instead of bottles. Following reports that Italian producers of Prosecco are attacking British pubs and bars, Spinath said it is not illegal to sell the sparkling wine on tap. However he did point out that calling it Prosecco is against a European law passed in 2009 that dictates what can be labelled and sold as Prosecco.

13/01/2015: Unpretentious millennials are changing the way we drink wine, Barefoot's CMO says
When it comes to successful family businesses, it's hard to find a more American example than E&J Gallo. Now in its 81st year, the winery is the largest on earth (16,000 acres in California) whose 60 brands have a lock on nearly a quarter of the U.S. wine market—and it's still being run by the family. But you won't find Stephanie Gallo with her feet up at her desk. As one of the third generation of Gallos in the business (she's vice president of marketing, the equivalent of the CMO), she instead thinks about all the Americans who aren't drinking wine—like the millennials who prefer to order cold beers and fizzy cocktails instead of a glass of Barefoot Riesling.

12/01/2015: Summer heat good for grape quality
Marlborough vineyard owners are happy that warmer conditions experienced in recent weeks point towards quality grapes for the 2015 vintage. The hotter weather has helped growth following on from cooler patches last year that slowed vine and grape development. The owners are now trimming their vines to make the most of the developing grapes. Jane Hunter, owner of Hunters Wine, was reluctant to make predictions this far out from the 2015 harvest, which would take place around late March, early April. But she was encouraged by the warmer conditions for her Rapaura Road, Wairau Valley operation outside Blenheim.

12/01/2015: Waiheke Island's fine time for wine
Glorious weather is boosting the chances of a vintage to remember for winegrowers on Waiheke Island. The tourist hotspot in the Hauraki Gulf, just 35 minutes by boat from Auckland, has been building a reputation for its wines since its first boutique vineyards became established in the 1980s. Since then, more than 30 now pepper the island between Oneroa in the west and eastern Man O'War Bay. The island's second-oldest vineyard is Stonyridge in Onetangi and David Jackson, business manager, said grapegrowing conditions were currently excellent.

12/01/2015: USA: Wine trends for 2015
Although sales of wine have recovered strongly from the depths of the recession, Impact Databank reports that the total U.S. wine market only grew 0.3 per cent in 2014 to a volume of 322 million nine-litre cases. The tepid sales result largely from weak on-premise sales in restaurants and bars. The report is from the current edition of The U.S. Wine Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast. The report said that the sparkling wine segment drove what growth there was, with an estimated increase in volume of 3 per cent to 16 million cases.

12/01/2015: Future of French wine may reside in the Rhone region known for its reds
In the face of astronomic price hikes in Bordeaux over the past few years, and with prices also rising in Burgundy, smart consumers seeking French wine should be looking to the Rhone region. Like Bordeaux it makes a small amount of great white wine, but very much concentrates on reds. How does one get to get to grips with the Rhone? It is broken into two distinct sub-regions, the Northern and Southern. Each has its own identity. The north, with its mild summers and harsh winters, starts with the sharp inclines of the Cote Rotie where only Syrah and a little Viognier are grown.

12/01/2015: Terlato Wines acquires Juliana Vineyard in California
Terlato Wines International has increased its vineyard holdings with the acquisition of Juliana Vineyard in Pope Valley, California. The Juliana Vineyard offers Merlot and Cabernet Franc, which is used in the making of Rutherford Hill Merlot and select Rutherford Hill Bordeaux-style blends. Terlato family previously had a long-term lease on the Juliana Vineyard and developed the vineyard in 1998. Commenting on the acquisition, Terlato Wines CEO William A. Terlato said, "This was a strategic acquisition for us."

12/01/2015: Wine heists highlight value of luxury vino
Thieves with a nose for some of the world’s most sought-after wines found what they were looking for twice in 2014 inside two exclusive Wine Country restaurants only blocks apart. The heists were timed perfectly, when the restaurants were closed for winter remodelling and security alarms were not set. The thieves apparently knew exactly what they wanted, including bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or DRC, which can command up to $10,000 a bottle and often are compared to works of art.

12/01/2015: Wine heists highlight value of luxury vino
Thieves with a nose for some of the world’s most sought-after wines found what they were looking for twice in 2014 inside two exclusive Wine Country restaurants only blocks apart. The heists were timed perfectly, when the restaurants were closed for winter remodelling and security alarms were not set. The thieves apparently knew exactly what they wanted, including bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or DRC, which can command up to $10,000 a bottle and often are compared to works of art.

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