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.

26/05/2015: Taylors joins wine tax debate
Mitchell Taylor, the managing director and winemaker at Taylors Wines has said that a move to volumetric tax "would be a disaster for the industry". Following Neil McGuigan's letter to the Australian Financial Review last week, Taylor has written to the same newspaper calling for a quick decision by the federal government regarding wine taxation. Taylor wrote: "The wine industry is united in its approach to freeze the amount of tax we pay as we are currently the highest-taxed wine-producing country in the World."

Announcements and Suppliers

26/05/2015: Rapid Cleaning Verification In Your Winery
Traditional methods for hygiene monitoring take days. Now with MVP ICON from AMSL Scientific you can check contact surfaces or CIP fluids for ATP residues to verify if cleaning has been effective. Results are available in just seconds, and can be tracked and trended using the system’s powerful Dashboard software. The system is easy to use with its new intuitive colour touch screen interface.

25/05/2015: Gemtree Wines: US growth
Gemtree Wines has an arrangement with a US wine company to supply around 900,000 litres of South Australian wine each year for a popular US brand. Efic’s export working capital guarantee helped Gemtree to continue building its international reputation by delivering on this important export contract. How could Efic help your export business grow?

25/05/2015: Enter Your Wines Now (Only Few Days Left)
Submissions to the Melbourne International Wine Competition will end soon. MIWC is the ONLY Competition that is also focused on Export and Trade benefits for producers in Australia and is judged by real buyers. Melbourne International Wine and Spirits Competition is the first major international competition in the Pacific with TRADE ONLY judges from top to bottom that consist of people who are buyers from the top retail stores, restaurant owners, sommeliers, hotel beverage directors, distributors and importers.

19/05/2015: Technical Sales Representative
Kauri Australia is a sales company promoting a range of quality products including oak barrels and alternatives, yeast nutrition, bacteria and tannins along with a range of equipment including micro oxygenation, turbo-steamers, cellar humidification, and stainless steel tanks for winery and brewery use. Based in our Port Melbourne office, this role is for a winemaker with both winemaking and sales experience to promote and sell technical products to wineries and breweries, and to provide after sales service.

19/05/2015: How much is oxygen affecting your wine?
Too much oxygen in bottled wine can seriously affect its shelf-life. This can be seen as a loss of fresh and fruity characters, lower levels of preservatives and an increased risk of spoilage. Audits of bottling lines carried out by the AWRI have shown that over 60% of the oxygen introduced into wine at bottling is present in the headspace and not detected by conventional quality control checks.

18/05/2015: New Wine Business Workshop for South Australia
This year, the focus of Wine Business Solutions’ workshop is improving sales and sales profitability. They’ll be a strong focus on direct to customer including what it is that the 20% of companies who are responsible for 88% of direct to customer wine sales are doing right. We’ll highlight all of the best emerging opportunities. Leading edge tools tips and technology to make your sales efforts more effective will be discussed. We’ll also look at managing distributors for best results.

12/05/2015: RECAP of AuTT Early Bird Exhibitor Pricing – ENDS MAY 31. Register Now.
Looking to grow your distribution? Get involved with AuTT. Exhibitors who book by MAY 31 will get special benefits including early bird pricing of $1400 (Melbourne or Sydney), brand awareness for your brand via BTN and AuTT Channels and to be included in our marketing, blogs and various other channels where we will promote the event including branding on the trade tasting floor itself.

8/05/2015: The new faces of Australian wine
Have you ever thought about a wine variety (where it’s from, how it grows in the vineyard and what type of wine it makes) and said ‘that reminds me of someone I know?’. The organisers of 21st Century Vino have, in fact they’ve matched a range of ‘alternative’ varieties to diverse and colourful personalities. Here’s one example: Nero d’aVola, “the original nice guy”. “Your would-be boyfriend or the helpful neighbour who’s always mowing your lawn or who will come give your car a jump start when the battery dies on the side of the road.

Australian Wine Industry News

29/05/2015: Seppeltsfield 100-year-old port gets a luxury Lalique crystal makeover worth $10,000
South Australian winery Seppeltsfield has answered the question by stepping into the world of high culture and design with its latest blend of Barossan fortified. The winery has partnered with luxury French crystal house Lalique to release a rare 100-year blend of tawny “port” in an exclusively crafted decanter to go on sale this week for $10,000. Only 150 of the pieces have been made worldwide, to be unveiled Wednesday and Thursday in $150 a head tasting events in Melbourne and Sydney.

28/05/2015: Australian Vintage’s full-year profit forecast to drop 10%
McGuigan wines owner Australian Vintage expects its full year profit to drop about 10 per cent because the winemaker has not produced as many grapes as expected. The company says grape yields from its vineyards have been disappointing. “Yields from owned vineyards are below expectations due to the effects of the previous year’s frost on our own vineyards,” Australian Vintage said today. The winemaker (AVG) also processed fewer tonnes of grapes for other customers.

28/05/2015: Barossa viticulturist makes the cut
After a record number of applications were received for the 2015 Future Leaders program 15 rising stars from the Australian grape and wine community been picked to contribute to the future success of the Australian wine community. Among the 15 people picked was Nigel Blieschke, a viticulturist from Peter Lehmann Wines. “It is an honour to be chosen,” Nigel said. “I have worked in many of Australia’s diverse wine regions, mostly in grower liaison and vineyard management."

28/05/2015: Australian rose ready to grow
Wine Communicators of Australia hosted a panel discussion and tasting looking at the opportunities for Australian Rosé on the domestic and international markets. The key outcomes from the evening were the potential to position Australia as leaders of Rosé wine, the opportunity to demonstrate the versatility of Rosé as a complement to food and how we might influence consumers at the point of purchase to both navigate the many styles and ultimately to purchase Rosé wines.

28/05/2015: Seppeltsfield 100-year-old port gets a luxury Lalique crystal makeover worth $10,000
South Australian winery Seppeltsfield has answered the question by stepping into the world of high culture and design with its latest blend of Barossan fortified. The winery has partnered with luxury French crystal house Lalique to release a rare 100-year blend of tawny “port” in an exclusively crafted decanter to go on sale this week for $10,000. Only 150 of the pieces have been made worldwide, to be unveiled Wednesday and Thursday in $150 a head tasting events in Melbourne and Sydney.

28/05/2015: Calling Australian Lagrein producers
Producers of Australian-made Lagrein and Lagrein-blends are being invited to register their interest in an upcoming tasting of these wines by the Wine & Viticulture Journal. This will be the first time the Journal has held a tasting of this Italian variety which nearly 30 Australian wine producers are now dabbling with, according to The Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Directory, the Journal’s sister publication.

27/05/2015: Substantial deals struck during trade mission to China: SA Premier
Lucrative deals have been struck between the South Australian Government and China during a trade mission overseas but details cannot yet be divulged, Premier Jay Weatherill said. Using wine as his prime example, Weatherill said: “Across China, on average, they consume a litre per person per year, whereas in Australia it's more than 20 litres. If China's (consumption) was to grow to 15 litres as they project, there's massive opportunities there."

27/05/2015: California looks to Australia for drought guidance
SYDNEY: California's longest and sharpest drought on record has its increasingly desperate water stewards looking for solutions in Australia, the world's driest inhabited continent. The struggle to survive with little water is a constant thread in the history of Australia, whose people now view drought as an inevitable feature of the land poet Dorothea Mackellar dubbed "a sunburnt country."

27/05/2015: ChardonnayPinot15 on track for July
Two of the Yarra Valley’s most distinguished wineries, Coldstream Hills and Toolangi, are joining forces to celebrate two varieties the region is famous for: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. ChardonnayPinot15 will be held between 11 and 12 July at the RACV Healesville Country Club with a range of activities for both producers and consumers. According to Garry Hounsell, Toolangi Vineyards owner, ChardonnayPinot15 is the ultimate event for lovers of Burgundy-style wines. “It’s not every day that you get to indulge in a selection of the finest expressions of Chardonnay and Pinot noir from Australia, France, New Zealand and the USA, whilst being tutored by a panel of esteemed wine critics.

27/05/2015: Schooled in the wine arts
IT all began with Russell and Dennis, two school-teacher mates who shared a taste for a good drop of red but whose financial resources didn't match their vinous aspirations. So in 1992 the pair teamed up to make a barrel of their own Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which was bottled, proudly labelled Rusden and consumed with great gusto. Russell Gehling and Dennis Canute followed up in 1994 with a home-made Rusden Shiraz, which earned considerable local appreciation and was nicknamed "Black Guts" and "alcoholic Ribena".

27/05/2015: VIC100 returning in September
After a successful 2014 event, this year’s VIC100 Wine Awards have opened registration for all Victorian wineries. Held at Federation Square on 5 September 2015, the award show has put a call out for wines spanning across all regions and varieties. Nick Stock, head judge and curator, said he was expecting big things for this year’s event after the 2014 debut of VIC100 was deemed a success. “Whilst the numbers were terrific, it was the calibre of wines and wineries that entered that really set it apart,” Stock said. “VIC100 is not like every other wine show. It looks to build and promote the inherent connection between great wines and their origins.”

27/05/2015: Fruit-fusion wines reaching "critical mass', Australian Vintage boss says
Fruit-fusion wines are reaching a tipping point that is seeing them readily accepted by consumers and able to be merchandised as a new category, a leading wine brand owner has claimed. Julian Dyer of Australian vintage said the wine industry needs to stop being squeamish and embrace lighter style fruit fusion wines as they are here to stay. "I don't think we should worry and criticise fruit flavoured wine saying it is not wine, but recognise it is innovation at the edges that is trying to broaden the spectrum of people trying to come into the wine family."

26/05/2015: Victoria to showcase growing wine industry to attract overseas buyers
The wine industry in Victoria will conduct a four-day trade mission for international buyers, including those from China, Japan and South Korea, who will visit local vineyards to get a taste of the state's best wines. The event, launched by the Victorian government on Monday, is aimed at attracting more than 150 potential buyers to visit Victoria's wineries and cellar doors, in a program called "Meet the Winemaker," which aims to allow local businesses to grow and exercise new export opportunities.

26/05/2015: Need for wine to match market
TASMANIA'S wine industry has a positive outlook with growing international interest in local vineyards. Lake Barrington Vineyard manager and White Rock Vineyard owner Phil Dolan said there was a lot of potential for the Tasmanian wine industry to grow, but it needed to match the market. This echoes what Wine Tasmania CEO Sheralee Davies told the ABC on Wednesday. Davies said the expansion needed to match the growth in domestic and export demand to remain sustainable.

26/05/2015: Taylors joins wine tax debate
Mitchell Taylor, the managing director and winemaker at Taylors Wines has said that a move to volumetric tax "would be a disaster for the industry". Following Neil McGuigan's letter to the Australian Financial Review last week, Taylor has written to the same newspaper calling for a quick decision by the federal government regarding wine taxation. Taylor wrote: "The wine industry is united in its approach to freeze the amount of tax we pay as we are currently the highest-taxed wine-producing country in the World."

26/05/2015: Cider 'should be taxed like wine'
Cider Australia, the national industry body representing more than 60 cider producers and suppliers, has joined the alcohol taxation debate, saying cider should be taxed in the same manner as wine. The body's position is that cider is a fruit wine and that the industry mirrors that of grape wine from fruit growing, production and manufacturing through to sales and distribution.

26/05/2015: Toowoomba to host Queensland wine challenge
MORE than 200 wines from 50 wineries across Australia have been entered in this year's Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland Wine Show and Mediterranean Challenge. The annual show will be held at the Clive Berghofer Events Centre at the Toowoomba Showgrounds this weekend. Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland chief executive officer Damon Phillips said there was a huge range of wines available for tasting. "We have been running the show for 16 years now and we are the first wine show on the calendar," Phillips said.

25/05/2015: Top sommeliers toast Wrattonbully’s appeal
The Wrattonbully wine region has been praised for its quality wines and unique sense of place after last week’s visit of highly influential Australian sommeliers. Ten guests representing some of the country’s best restaurants gained a unique view of the region’s geology by delving deep beneath a vineyard during an underground tour of Schultz Cave. Members of the SIP (Sommelier Immersion Program) Tour organised by Wine Australia were also given a comprehensive insight into the importance of the soils of Wrattonbully by geologist and Peppertree Wines owner John Davis, with a structured tasting at Pavy Wines and dinner at Struan House capping off the day.

25/05/2015: Wine Peloton announce 2015 Tour of Tassie
After a successful 2014 #7peaks7Days, The Wine Peloton are at it again, announcing a 2015 #TourofTassie. The group will cycle around Tasmania between 22-28 November to raise funds for wine writer Tyson Stelzer’s Teen Rescue Foundation. While the group can’t replicate the mountain climbing feats of the 7 peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge, the Tour of Tasmania will cross Hobart’s Mt Wellington and the Peak of Cradle Mountain as they cover more than 1,000km in seven days.

25/05/2015: Grape and wine Future Leaders revealed
Following a record number of entries, the 2015 Future Leaders program has singled out 15 individuals from the Australian grape and wine community to become the industry’s ‘next’ thought leaders. An initiative of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) in partnership with Wine and Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) and Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA), the program is designed to develop participants’ leadership capabilities and encourage innovation and thoughtful debate on the future of the sector.

25/05/2015: Home-grown Chinese wines jockey with Australian exports for the dollars of domestic wine consumers
Chinese vineyards might be young but the local investment in them is further confirmation from those on the ground, which an emerging middle class is ready to splurge on a quality drop of wine. The crowded domestic market in Australia has prompted many wineries to look north, with hopes to target a new Chinese consumer base. Others see opportunities in production, utilising a much cheaper workforce. In the northwest region of Ningxia a major facelift is underway. Quiet villages are experiencing double-digit growth as they work to establish modern cities.

25/05/2015: National workplace relations laws need to change, SAWIA chief
A submission from the wine industry to the Productivity Commission’s national workplace relations review has highlighted the need for comprehensive reforms to the federal workplace relations laws, according to the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA). The detailed submission prepared by SAWIA in collaboration with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) contains 22 recommendations. “We have identified a range of changes that need to be made to get flexibility and balance back into the system, lift productivity and cut red-tape and compliance costs, particularly for many of the small businesses in the wine industry,” Brian Smedley, SAWIA chief executive, said.

25/05/2015: English drink 12 million bottles of wine a week more than estimated
The amount of alcohol people in England drink has been underestimated by the equivalent of 12 million bottles of wine a week, according to new research. In England, surveys measuring typical drinking habits account for only around 60% of alcohol sold, the medical journal BMC Medicine report said. Report author Dr Mark Bellis said this was because many studies do not include drinking on special occasions. More than 6,000 people in England were interviewed for the study.

22/05/2015: Wine industry leaders’ meeting to focus on action
A wine industry leaders’ forum held in August will unite industry bodies to discuss key issues and offer solutions. With two main objectives, ‘Grape and Wine 2015 - A Focus for Action’, will call on representatives to decide on ways to accelerate return to profitability and reach agreement on an optimal future representative industry structure that presents a united industry voice on key issues and maximises industry’s resources and influence and at the same time values state and regional representation.

22/05/2015: Greek winemakers head to Australia
The largest contingent of Greek winemakers ever to visit Australia will arrive at the end of June to showcase the newest and most innovative wines from the world’s oldest winegrowing region. More than 20 winemakers, educators and grape-growers will visit Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide for a series of tastings, dinners and masterclasses that have previously only ever been held in the USA and Canada.

22/05/2015: Tassie Pinot Noir wins best in UK
The Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 has just been awarded Best Australian Red Wine at the International Wine Challenge in the UK. The Tolpuddle Vineyard is located in the Coal River Valley just 20 minutes outside of Hobart and is recognised as one of the finest vineyards in the island state. Michael Hill Smith, Tolpuddle managing director, said the winery's aim was to establish Tolpuddle as one of Australia's great single vineyard wines. "This vineyard produces wines of amazing aromatic intensity and flavour. It's a wonderful result."

22/05/2015: Hunter historic homestead pays tribute to wine industry founders
One of the Hunter's historic homesteads will be recognised today for its strong tie to the region's wine industry. Marthaville is the oldest sawn timber home in Cessnock and was awarded the Hunter Valley heritage award in 2014. It was built in 1885 by George Brown, who was one of the first vignerons in the region. A stone cairn will be unveiled on the property this afternoon. Bob Pynsent, Cessnock mayor said it is a significant gesture.

22/05/2015: Agnew looks to the south
HUNTER Valley-based Agnew Wines Pty Ltd has taken a significant stake in South Australia's McLaren Vale region, with the purchase of a 21-hectare vineyard in the Blewitt Springs subregion. The acquisition was set in train by the company's founder and chairman, Brian Agnew, before his death at the age of 69 on February 24 after a 2½-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Brian was a major figure in the law and horse racing, as well as wine.

21/05/2015: New survey to combine pricing and crush data collection
Australian wine producers are set to save valuable time this year with the introduction of a combined Wine Sector Survey to streamline the annual collection of data across the wine community. In a first for the Australian wine community, the Wine Sector Survey 2015 will combine the annual data collected by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) Price Dispersion Survey, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Vintage Survey, the South Australian Crush Survey and the Murray-Darling / Swan Hill Wine Grape Crush Report. Andreas Clark, AGWA chief executive officer, said the move should help lighten to load on wineries this year.

21/05/2015: Yellow Tail reaches milestone in UK
Yellow Tail is the fastest growing wine in the UK, according to Casella Family Brands, after selling 12 million 750ml bottles during the past fiscal year. John Casella, Casella Family Brands managing director, said the UK was the second largest market for Yellow Tail by volume. “We are grateful to our distributor partner, Percy Fox & Co, and our customers, for all their effort and commitment in helping us reach this milestone and we are very excited about what the future holds for the brand,” Casella said.

21/05/2015: National workplace relations laws need to change, SAWIA chief
A submission from the wine industry to the Productivity Commission’s national workplace relations review has highlighted the need for comprehensive reforms to the federal workplace relations laws. The detailed submission prepared by the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in collaboration with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) contains 22 recommendations. “We have identified a range of changes that need to be made to get flexibility and balance back into the system, lift productivity and cut red-tape and compliance costs, particularly for many of the small businesses in the wine industry,” Brian Smedley, SAWIA chief executive, said.

21/05/2015: Adelaide University launch new wine centre
A new centre launched at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus will help the wine industry address key challenges while producing the wines that consumers want and the market demands. Supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and 12 partner organisations, the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production aims to build knowledge and technologies that will help the wine industry face the challenges of climate warming, water limitations, changing consumer preferences and increasing production costs.

21/05/2015: Extra motivation to attend WineTech2015
Recently announced tax breaks for small businesses are expected to attract more interaction and investment at WineTech2015. Matthew Moate, Wine Industry Suppliers Association (WISA) executive officer, said the tax incentive could be “a major new driver of investment in plant and equipment supporting the wine sector and it is a very welcome development in the lead-up to WineTech2015.” Businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million can now claim a tax deduction on capital purchases for business assets of up to $20,000.

20/05/2015: Most TWE Karadoc staff to be axed union fears
The union representing Treasury Wine Estates' workers in Sunraysia, in north-west Victoria, says it expects about three-quarters of staff at a packaging warehouse near Mildura will lose their jobs. The Australian Workers' Union met company managers on Thursday to discuss the fate of more than 100 workers employed at the Karadoc facility, which is being shut down mid-next year. The union's Victorian vice-president Ben Davis said while there had been some progress, it was still trying to get more detail from the company.

20/05/2015: First joint forum for wine grape growers
In a first for the region’s winegrape growers, Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW) has teamed with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) to present an information forum on June 11. AWRI speakers will fill the morning session with presentations on issues affecting vineyard management and grape quality. MVW takes over for the afternoon program, focusing on topics that will give growers further insights into future prospects. “With this year’s vintage delivering some of the lowest average prices in 10 years, growers who want a future in the industry are desperate for information that helps in their decision-making,” Mike Stone, MVW executive officer, said.

20/05/2015: Hunter hotel mogul says $1m tourism handout "manifestly inadequtate"
Hotel mogul Jerry Schwartz has slammed the state government’s $1 million tourism handout calling it “manifestly inadequate”. Schwartz owns three major hotels in the Hunter and is a proud tourism advocate for the region. “The Hunter Valley needs a vibrant tourism industry if we are to generate sustainable future employment, and the NSW government would be better off allocating the $1 million directly to the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association – which now has full council support – to promote the region’s tourism assets,” he said.

20/05/2015: WINE: Agnew looks to the south
HUNTER Valley-based Agnew Wines Pty Ltd has taken a significant stake in South Australia's McLaren Vale region, with the purchase of a 21-hectare vineyard in the Blewitt Springs subregion. The acquisition was set in train by the company's founder and chairman, Brian Agnew, before his death at the age of 69 on February 24 after a 2½-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Brian was a major figure in the law and horse racing, as well as wine.

20/05/2015: Voluntary redundancies sought at Wynn's Coonawarra
Jobs and production will be cut at Wynn's Coonawarra Estate as part of a major reorganisation by parent company Treasury Wine Estates. The 'changes' were announced in a wide-ranging statement to the ASX statement on March 31 but not widely reported locally. Treasury Wine Estates has declined to be interviewed by ABC SE, saying the changes will be finalised throughout fiscal 2016 and its priority is to speak directly with employees and their representatives. A statement provided to ABC SE reads: "As previously announced on 31 March, TWE is making significant changes to the company’s supply chain in Australia and the United States to deliver a more efficient and focused wine production network.

20/05/2015: China wine targets middle class
Premium sales to China will not give Australia’s wine industry the bounce it is hoping for, a new study suggests. Melbourne University academics say an exporting focus on high-priced wines is being undermined by a new Chinese drive to buy local. The findings, to be published in the Journal of Research in Marketing, counter the assumption that Chinese consumers pay top dollar for foreign gifts to ¬impress friends and associates.

19/05/2015: An open letter from Huon Hooke and Bob Campbell
Dear Colleague, We’d like to share some news with you which we feel is very important to your business and the wine industry. As many of you will know, independent opinion in wine has come under pressure from several fronts: 1. Excessively high scores by some critics, which undermines the credibility of wine ratings for the consumer; 2. Wine writers being paid directly by retailers, or entering into revenue share arrangements, for reviewing wines; 3. Advertorials masquerading as independent opinion...

19/05/2015: TWE launches Global Volunteering Week
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) employees from across the world are banding together to lend a helping hand in their local communities. From making hot meals to collecting litter and planting trees, employees will be out in force this week to support charities and not-for-profit organisations across the world as part of the company’s inaugural Global Volunteering Week, running from 18-22 May 2015. While TWE employees have been involved in volunteering activities in previous years, this is the first time all activities are focused on a single week across the globe.

19/05/2015: Wine smoke taint is on the rise
Since 2003 smoke taint in wines has been on the rise and the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) says it expects the problem will worsen. Grapes exposed to smoke from bushfires and controlled burns can leave more than just an ashy taste in the mouth, with some smoke compounds causing wine to smell and taste like plastic, band aids or even faecal matter. Recently 25 Adelaide Hills vineyards tested positive for smoke taint from bushfires earlier this year and in 2009 40 per cent of Victoria's wine production was affected.

19/05/2015: Texas being targeted to increase South Australian wine exports
THERE’S nothing better than teaming a prime cut of beef with a bold South Australian read. It’s part of the reason why Texas — heartland of the United State’s cattle country — is the target of a State Government strategy to reignite Americans’ hankering for South Australia’s premium wines after years of underperforming exports. Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell said Australian wines have been out of favour in the US after cheap labels flooded the market damaging the brand of our top shelf ranges.

19/05/2015: What's in a wine label?
Going on a journey is a bit of a buzz concept today's culture and it's no different with wine where customers want to engage with the story, colour and life behind what's in their glass. Simon Forsythe runs a wine bar and cellar door offering only wines from Orange in central west New South Wales and he's well aware of how customers choose their drop. With a background in marketing and having worked to change the image of several well-known international food brands, he believes the colour, life and story of the wine as portrayed in the label is key.

19/05/2015: Australia triumphant at IWC
Australian wines have taken home hundreds of medals from the International Wine Challenge (IWC), with the country winning the second highest number of medals, with only France ahead. The incredible haul of medals for Australian wines included over 90 gold medals. The IWC is known as one of the world’s largest, and most prestigious, blind tasting competitions. Wines are tasted and assessed by a panel of industry experts with the winery name, grape variety and country of origin not revealed.

18/05/2015: TWE and Pernod team up to fight for tax change
The Australian Financial Review can reveal that the country's biggest wine company, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) and its rival, French drinks giant Pernod Ricard Winemakers - whose brands include Wyndham Estate, Jacob's Creek and Orlando Wines - have unusually joined forces to campaign for radical changes to wine tax. TWE and Pernod have employed Newgate Communications to lobby for changes to the tax system, including replacing it with a category-based volumetric tax and outright removal of the WET rebate, which was introduced in 2004.

18/05/2015: WA farm lobby groups slam budget
The head of Western Australia's peak wine body says industry was not consulted before it had millions of dollars of subsidies slashed in the state budget. The State Government has committed to abolish a cellar door subsidy for wine producers from July 1 this year, which will save $11 million. The subsidy applies only to wine sold at the cellar door and is generally used by larger producers who exceed their $500,000 wine equilisation tax rebate claim.

18/05/2015: Dan Murphy’s puts focus on ‘local heroes’ in month-long campaign from Red Jelly
Dan Murphy’s is turning its focus on Australia’s ‘local wine heroes’ in a campaign from Red Jelly to coincide with Aussie Wine Month. The Woolworths-owned retailer has teamed up with Wine Australia for the month-long push which includes a TV ad focusing on its monthly buyer’s guide. Central to the campaign will be wine tastings across its stores nationwide which the brand said will provide customers with greater knowledge of the country’s wine regions, varieties and local brands.

18/05/2015: Winemakers forced to recruit overseas workers
GRAPEGROWERS and winemakers say they are being forced to hire foreign workers because people from Adelaide’s high-unemployment areas seem unwilling to move even temporarily to the country. More than 105,000 temporary work visas were granted by the Department of Immigration to foreign nationals in 2013-14. The South Australian Wine Industry Association has told a Senate committee inquiry into temporary work visas that many of its members experience difficulty recruiting skilled and unskilled workers.

18/05/2015: Accolade sets sights on further expansion
Accolade Wines is upping spend on its flagship Hardys brand and setting its sights on further expansion to strengthen its global coverage. Paul Schaafsma, general manager for UK, Ireland and global partners, said: “Retailers tell us Hardys is by far the strongest wine brand, because no one is spending or doing as much to back anything else. “The Australian category started to take itself a bit too seriously so we needed to inject some fun. The fact an Australian brand is sponsoring the England team gave us the perfect ammunition.

15/05/2015: Grapegrowers harvesting on average eight days earlier each decade
Researchers from the Australian Wine Research Institute are warning grape growers they must adapt to warmer and drier conditions leading to earlier harvests. The institute reported wine grape harvests had on average become eight days earlier every decade since the 1980s due to warmer weather. Dr Paul Petrie, viticulture scientist, said there were things growers could do now to delay harvest and make sure grapes were not being picked in hot weather.

15/05/2015: Volume declines of Southern hemisphere harvest pushes up demand for bulk wines
Smaller harvest in the Southern hemisphere are set to boost demand for bulk wine, the latest report from Ciatti has said. Volume estimates for the harvest across the Southern hemisphere are expected to be down on last year, the update said, with Argentine and New Zealand set to see the biggest declines. The Australian harvest is broadly in line with last year, but the average price for bulk wine has decreased however, down 4.7 per cent, largely on the back of increased demand at the lower level.

15/05/2015: McGuigan Wines moves into fourth position in the UK by volume
The maker of Australia’s number one selling bottled red wine, McGuigan Wines, has reached number four global wine brand by volume in the United Kingdom. Figures released last month by Nielsen demonstrate a +22% YTD volume growth for McGuigan in the UK (week ending 28 March 2015), making it one of the fastest growing brands in the past twelve months and the second most popular Australian brand in the UK. McGuigan Wines’ strong performance comes on the back of an improved half year profit of AUD$4.4million for parent company Australian Vintage Limited (AVL).

15/05/2015: Australian wines take home big haul from vino comp
Australia finished second behind France in the recent 2015 International Wine Challenge (IWC) medal count, taking home more than 800 medals and earning glowing praise from the event’s co-chair, Charles Metcalfe. “Australian wine continues to go from strength to strength, as its native winemakers demonstrate their star quality,” Metcalfe told Australia’s Food Magazine. “Australian Shiraz has impressed yet again, and Aussie Chardonnay really has come a long way.”

15/05/2015: Glaetzer versus Glaetzer
One successful winemaker in the family is usually plenty, but this Australian clan doesn't do things by half. Since the day he was born, Ben Glaetzer has been surrounded by vineyards, and immersed in a family tradition of making wine. There was no question he would follow suit. After all, it was in his genes. Fast-forward 38 years and the Barossa Valley winemaker is the successful name behind the lauded Amon-Ra Shiraz, and the designer behind its striking hieroglyphic label. He co-owns and runs the family business, Glaetzer Wine, which his father Colin created in 1995.

14/05/2015: Australia’s First Families of Wine launch in North America
During Aussie Wine Month this May, some of Australia’s leading family wineries will tour North America to showcase the heritage and modern diversity of Australian fine wine. Australia’s First Families of Wine Chairman Robert Hill-Smith will lead family member representatives from the 12 family-owned wineries on a North American tour coordinated by Wine Australia. The tour will start with trade and consumer launch events in San Francisco on 18 May and New York on 20 May, before heading to Canada.

14/05/2015: Tariffs going, going, gone
DEALS have now been completed with Australia’s “big three markets” after years of negotiations, says Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) assistant secretary of the free trade agreement (FTA) division, Michael Growder. “The basic point is; tariffs are going and they’re going in a big way,” he said. “The countries themselves are the economic powerhouses of Asia growing five per cent per year, dozens of times the size of the Australian economy - 14pc of our investment is from these three countries, but it’s growing really quickly.”

14/05/2015: Small business commissioner wants better treatment of Riverina growers
The NSW small business commissioner says she is appalled by the way some wineries are treating grape growers in south-west New South Wales. This week Robyn Hobbs joined state and federal business agencies in Griffith, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Taxation Office and Rural Financial Counselling Service. They met with grape growers and small businesses in response to concerns from the Riverina Winegrapes Marketing Board.

14/05/2015: Is there Australian confidence for wine in the UK?
Since establishment of the business in 1979 boutique Australian producer Maxwell Wines has been building a following in Australia and around the world. The brand has seen steady growth in all markets since its launch except for the United Kingdom. Maxwell Wines saw firsthand the catastrophic decline of Aussie wine in the UK as their distributor went out of business in 2005 leaving the brand without representation at a time when Aussie wine was on the nose.

14/05/2015: Wine export sales hit record growth in Great Southern
Great Southern wines have experienced record growth in export sales in the past 12 months with export wine volumes growing by 90 per cent and export wine values up 95 per cent, bringing in about $2.2 million to the local industry. Peter Bailey, Australian Grape and Wine Authority analyst, said this was great news for Great Southern wine. "The other point is that it's coming at a relatively high average value of $8.42 per litre which reflects Great Southern's premium offering," Bailey said.

13/05/2015: OPINION: A Government and budget that is delivering for farmers
BARNABY JOYCE: Here’s a little story about Jack and Diane. Two young farmers doing as best as they can. And if they sell $1.9 million of cattle and grain a year, or grapes and wine, or wool and lamb and their turnover is under $2 million then they have the benefit of record commodity prices and now have an overwhelming reason to invest in their farms to make it bigger for them and better for Australia. From 1, July 2016, the fences they build are 100 per cent deductible in the first year. The water infrastructure and dams they put will also be immediately 100 per cent tax deductible.

13/05/2015: Federal Budget 2015: How do I claim this $20,000 tax break?
Sydney Morning Herald takes an in-depth look at he 2015 budget and explains how to claim your share. If you are registered business, i.e. you have an ABN, and it turned over less that $2 million you can claim. Businesses can buy any machinery or equipment related to their business if each item is valued at less than $20,000. You can claim the full amount from your income to reduce your tax bill. There is no limit on the number of items a business can claim. A long list of machinery and general appliances will be 100 per cent tax deductible.

13/05/2015: SA looks to growing China exports
SOUTH Australian businesses have the potential to create jobs and double in size by embracing exports to China, Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith says. THE minister is about to lead the state's largest trade mission to China, which is South Australia's biggest trading partner. Hamilton-Smith says local products and services are in high demand and the Chinese are willing to pay premium prices.

13/05/2015: Australia’s top sommeliers immersed in wine
Australian sommeliers from some of the country’s best restaurants have today ventured off to spend eight days in wine regions across three states for Wine Australia’s fourth annual Sommelier Immersion Program (SIP) trip. The 10 guests, including Romaine Cauvin from Sydney’s prestigious ARIA restaurant and Tim Briar from The Botanical/ Colonial Leisure Group in Melbourne, will develop a deeper understanding of the fine wines being produced in their own backyards by taking in the regions of King Valley, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Langhorne Creek, and Margaret River.

13/05/2015: Boost to Alpine wine industry
ALPINE Valley Vignerons have welcomed the State Government’s $1 million investment, aimed at boosting Victorian wine exports and tourism. President of the Alpine Valleys Vignerons Micheal Freudenstein said any boost to wine related tourism in the region is welcomed as it not only benefits the wine region, but all associated tourism businesses. “Alpine Valleys, Bright, Myrtleford and Mt Beauty are all major drawcards to North East Victoria, offering a high level experience of wine and food,” he said.

12/05/2015: Aus wine producers called to UK to keep Aussie wine king
Australian wine producers are being called to head to the United Kingdom to promote their produce. Australia continues to be the market leader in the UK but Wine Australia said there could be more done to increase sales and sure up Australian exports in the country. Regional Director for Wine Australia for the UK and Europe, Laura Jewell, said Australian wine is the focus of tastings in January and the presence of Australian wine producers and grape growers at these events would help to get the story behind the wine to the British public.

12/05/2015: Twenty-five Adelaide Hills vineyards test positive to smoke taint but fail to draw compensation
Twenty-five vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, with grapes that have tested positive to smoke taint, are unlikely to receive compensation. Smoke-affected grapes have been a concern for wineries following the Sampson Flat bushfire, which burnt through thousands of hectares in January. Adelaide Hills Wine Region president Tom Keelan said growers had not been able to receive financial assistance. "Nothing other then the government-assisted packages that were worked up for all the fire-affected victims, so nothing specific for our industry" he said.

12/05/2015: Top 12 Australian fine wines
A new free trade agreement with Korea and “global renewed interest” in its fine wines has made Australia hit the headlines of late. But what are the names to look out for? In In a recent Wine Classification seminar in Hong Kong by Langton’s, founder Andrew Caillard guided members of the trade through the highest-rated wines as considered by Langton’s, based on auction demands and track records since its establishment in 1989.

12/05/2015: WCA to host Australian rosé event
Wine Communicators Australia is hosting an Australian rosé tasting and panel discussion in Sydney on Thursday, 21 May. The event will explore the appeal of Australian rosé including the breadth of style, regional variation, consumer preferences and will aim to shed some light on potential for growth, not just in summer but throughout the year. As the popularity of rosé increases around the world, what opportunities are there for Australian rosé both domestically and abroad?

12/05/2015: Where to go to customise your wine
Wine or Champagne is no longer limited to imbibing; hotels and wineries around the world are giving their guests the chance to customise their own blends. Artéis & Co., a vintage Champagne brand in France, for example, offers disgorging of a half-dozen bottles. Visitors work with the winemaker, Jean-Philippe Diot, to remove the yeast from the bottles, add a reserved wine that has been sweetened to their liking, and design a custom label.

11/05/2015: Vineyard fears bureaucratic rescue of ‘non-existent frogs’
One of Australia’s more esteemed makers of shiraz is locked in an existential struggle with bureaucrats intent on turning his historic winery into a haven for a frog he says hasn’t been seen on the property for 50 years. Pat Carmody, whose Craiglee Vineyard sits on Melbourne’s western outskirts, discovered by chance in 2013 that his property had had a growling grass frog overlay placed on it covering 75 per cent of the property. On a horseshoe bend of Jackson’s Creek at Sunbury, the vineyard produces a few thousands cases a year of some the ¬nation’s finest shiraz, regularly ranking in Halliday’s top 100.

11/05/2015: May 2015 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
The May 2015 issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine is out now – and is available online for all subscribers. The annual vintage report is featured this month with a wide range of Australian wine regions commenting on their ‘fast and furious’ 2015 harvest season. The May issue also looks at the latest in post-harvest vineyard care, pruning, frost management and oaks. We also feature an in-depth look at boutique wineries, inviting a number of industry leaders to share their opinion on what it takes to be small and successful.

11/05/2015: Aus winemakers see red over 'absurd' subsidy for NZ growers
Australia's winemakers have given the Government legal advice on how to end what they describe as a "perverse" and "absurd" subsidy for the New Zealand's industry. The wine equalisation tax (WET) was introduced to make up the difference when the GST replaced higher wholesale sales taxes. In a move initially designed to support smaller winemakers and grape growers, the Government allowed them to claim a rebate of up to $500,000.

11/05/2015: Low yields pave way for high quality West Australian vintage
Despite hail storms, an unusually warm spring and low yields, West Australian winemakers say they have finished a successful vintage. Growers in the south of the state say low volumes led to excellent quality in some varieties. Whereas further north, the Swan Valley pick is set to be one of the best vintages on record. For many growers, this year's harvest was quite a long one. Some of those in the Swan Valley wine region kicked off their pick in December. Yet others were left wrapping up at the end of April.

11/05/2015: Signs point to excellent Tassie vintage
AFTER a low-yielding 2014 vintage, Tasmania’s wine producers say early signs point to a much better yield this year. Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies said she expected this year’s vintage to be similar to the ‘‘excellent’’ vintage of 2005. Davies said although she would not consider the yield a ‘‘bumper crop,’’ it was a marked improvement on 2014. "It’s looking really, really good, lots of producers right around the state are pleased with what they’re seeing for 2015,’’ she said.

8/05/2015: Big bikkies for Aus brands in China
AN Adelaide entrepreneur has secured a distribution agreement with China's biggest hypermarket chain, RT-Mart, which is set to deliver more than $500 million in annual sales to Australian food and beverage brands. The deal, to be signed in Shanghai on Thursday, will see the establishment of a designated aisle selling "famous Australian brands" including milk powder, vitamins, wine and biscuits. It was negotiated by Randal Tomich, an Adelaide winemaker who came to China looking to secure a distribution agreement for his family label.

8/05/2015: Lion signs China wine deal
Lion has signed a long-term deal with Jebsen Fine Wines to have its Fine Wine Partners portfolio distributed across China. The deal will see Jebsen distribute Australian and American wine brands across many of China's provinces. The wine brands soon to reach Chinese adult consumers include St. Hallett, Petaluma, Stonier, Knappstein and Argyle. Bill Webb, managing director of Lion's Fine Wine Partners, said that China is a key focus for the business' global strategy.

8/05/2015: Chinese wine demand set to outstrip supply by 2018
Wine industry researchers have announced China's net wine imports could rise by up to 790 million litres by 2018. Research from the University of Adelaide reported China's wine consumption could grow by 60 per cent over the next few years. The Red Dragon has become the fifth largest producer of wine grapes in the world but the University of Adelaide's Wine Economics Research Centre believes domestic demand will quickly outstrip supply.

8/05/2015: Winemakers call for extra funds to boost overseas marketing
The Australian wine industry has a "fleeting window" of opportunity to boost exports, and needs extra funding to make it happen, according to the Winemakers Federation of Australia. The WFA has called on the Federal Government to provide $25 million over four years to the statutory marketing body Wine Australia. It says that, with the Australian dollar sitting below 80 US cents, an uptick in demand for wine in North America and the recent signing of free trade deals with Asian nations, now is the time for a strong promotional push into export markets.

8/05/2015: Tasmanian wine list award launched
Wine Tasmania and the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) have partnered again to recognise and reward Tasmanian venues that support the local wine sector. Now in its second year, the Tasmanian Wine List of the Year Award was launched recently as part of the THA’s 2015 TasTAFE Awards for Excellence. Sheralee Davies, Wine Tasmania chief executive officer, said the Tasmanian Wine List of the Year Award aimed to both recognise and encourage licensed premises to feature the island’s outstanding wines as part of their overall offering.

8/05/2015: The Portuguese influence: Simon becomes Simão
Simon Killeen says he’s occasionally mistaken for league legend Billy Slater. But with his growing list of accolades, it’s surely only a matter of time before Slater gets mistaken for the wine superstar. The 28-year-old, seventh generation winemaker has created his own wine label, sits as a judge at one of Australia’s most prestigious wine shows and has been recognised nationally for his commitment to the industry. Emilie Reynolds filed this report for the May edition of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine.

7/05/2015: City Cellar Door launches in Sydney for Aussie Wine Month
Last night Wine Australia’s City Cellar Door popped up in Sydney’s CBD for the first of a two night run to celebrate the fourth annual Aussie Wine Month. Winemakers from regions across Australia poured a selection of their wines to Sydneysiders while Oysters Australia served freshly shucked oysters and Salumi Australia offered charcuterie. After a couple of weeks of wild and wet weather conditions, Sydney played its part and provided blue skies and sunshine for the event.

7/05/2015: WET Rebate reform delayed
The Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate will not be changed through the 2015-16 Federal Budget reform will remain on the agenda according to Josh Frydenberg, the Assistant Treasurer. Eligibility for New Zealand wine producers will remain, while bulk and unbranded wine will not be phased out through the budget process, despite calls from the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia (WFA) to adjust both these areas.

7/05/2015: Aussie alcohol consumption at 50-year low, ABS says
Australians appear to be drinking less alcohol now than at any time in the past 50 years, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The ABS found there were 9.7 litres of pure alcohol available for consumption for every Australian aged 15 years and over in 2013-14 - the equivalent of 2.1 standard drinks per person per day. ABS spokeswoman Louise Gates said this was the lowest level of alcohol consumption since the early 1960s.

7/05/2015: China to change global wine markets “dramatically’ this decade
CHINA will be “by far the most dominant player in Asia, and ... change global markets for wines dramatically’’ in coming years, a new study from the University of Adelaide’s Wine Economics Research Centre says. The working paper, Asia’s Evolving Role in Global Wine Markets, by Kym Anderson and Glyn Wittwer, forecasts China’s wine consumption to increase by 40-60 per cent between 2011 and 2018.

7/05/2015: Agriculture could be the next boom for Australia
Iron ore has been Australia’s largest export, but as minerals prices plunge, Australia’s economy is under pressure to pivot away from mining and toward the next big boom. With the exception of Rio Tinto and BHP, the whole Australian iron ore industry is now digging dirt for a loss. The fourth largest iron ore producer, Atlas Iron, will suspend its entire production by the end of this month. Chinese demand for Australian minerals may be slowing but demand for Australian food and agricultural products is predicted to grow.

International Wine Industry News

27/05/2015: Marlborough wineries urged to cater for Chinese tourists
Marlborough wineries are being urged to cater for the needs of increasing numbers of Chinese tourists visiting the region, on top of more Marlborough wine being sold to China. Chinese visitors to Marlborough represented a small but growing market for the region compared to other countries. Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said the wine industry was a logical introduction to enhance Chinese visitors experience here.

27/05/2015: New Zealand "premium brand" invisible to overseas consumers: study
WELLINGTON: Many overseas consumers are unaware that their food comes from New Zealand, undermining attempts to promote the country's "premium brand" image, according to a study out Tuesday. A report from Lincoln University's Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit said food and beverage producers were missing out on significant opportunities in overseas markets because they were not communicating with consumers.

27/05/2015: Russians say 'nyet' to imported wine
In other words, Putin wants politicians to stop spending taxpayers' hard earned rubles on expensive Burgundy and Bordeaux. Rather, he says, they should spend money on Russian-made wines. Bloomberg News Moscow correspondent Jason Corcoran wrote that the combination of a crashing ruble and US and EU embargoes make foreign produced wines too expensive and hard to get. However, when one door closes, another opens. Russians wines have been enjoying a sort of "renaissance," in part because of the country's financial woes.

27/05/2015: Temperature plunge leaves Ontario vineyards devastated
TORONTO - Vineyard owners in parts of southern Ontario are assessing the damage from a record-breaking plunge into cold weather that some growers say has devastated their grapecrops. Both Prince Edward County and the Niagara region were hit with unseasonably low temperatures over the weekend that sent farmers scrambling to prevent frost from killing their fruit. They rented helicopters, turned on wind machines and set bales of hay aflame in the dead of night, hoping their rescue effort wasn't for naught.

27/05/2015: Drought darkens Baja's wine region
VALLE DE GUADALUPE: The past five years have left Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe high and dry. High, in that it’s become one of the hottest wine regions in the world, with jet-setting tourists and food and travel writers fuelling an explosive growth in upscale wineries, trendy restaurants and boutique hotels. Dry, in that the semiarid Valle has fallen well below its already paltry eight to 10 inches annual average rainfall since 2010. Last year saw less than three inches of rain; even the desert that is Las Vegas gets an average of 4.2 inches a year.

27/05/2015: South Africa confidence returning as winemakers concentrate on quality
South Africa needs to evolve its premium wines and offer wines better suited to the terroir, leading South African producer has said. Kleine Zalze's managing director Kobus Basson said both South Africa and Kleine Zalze had a lot of potential and scope to grow, and it was developing better understanding of terrior that would benefit its premium offering. As a result, confidence was returning, he said. "I am excited about what is happening in South Africa at the moment."

26/05/2015: Trust provides funding for initiatives to benefit NZ wine
The Cresswell Jackson New Zealand Wine Trust has awarded funding for two University of Otago projects, both designed to benefit the country’s wine industry. The first was awarded to Associate Professor David J Burritt of the Department of Botany to undertake research concerning the process of extracting phenolics during the winemaking process. Professor Burritt said, "The wine industry is incredibly important to the New Zealand economy.”

26/05/2015: New CEO for Palliser Estate in Martinborough
The founding managing director of Palliser Estate Wines is retiring after 25 years at the helm. Richard Riddiford has been one of the success stories of the New Zealand wine industry. Under his stewardship, Palliser had an international focus, exporting a majority of wine since the early 1990s. Riddiford has led industry initiatives including Toast Martinborough, the Pinot noir conferences and the Family of Twelve - a fraternity of twelve of New Zealand's artisanal wineries that promote New Zealand wine in key export markets.

26/05/2015: China's wine tastes evolving fast
The co-founder of Pont des Arts - a collection of exclusive wines - tells Bernice Chan he is amazed by the Hong Kong wine scene, and talks about growing up on a top wine estate. "Five years ago we did big wine dinners with Chinese officials and generals, who only wanted to drink Bordeaux wines at banquets with 100 other people. It was all about face. But China has done in five years what America did in 30 in terms of interest in wine.”

26/05/2015: Impending Prosecco shortage sparks lookalikes
Producers are looking to capitalise on an impending Prosecco shortfall and associated price rises with lookalike sparkling wines from Spain and Australia. A couple of major wine producers have developed Prosecco equivalents from outside Italy, which were launched at this year’s London Wine Fair specifically to target the UK consumer. One of these, called Provetto, hails from La Mancha in Spain, where Félix Solís has created a white and pink sparkling wine modelled on the Italian sparkling phenomenon.

26/05/2015: China’s impact looms large as U.S. debates its own trade deals
China’s impact is partly shaping the U.S. debate over whether Congress should grant Obama greater trade-negotiation authority. If the U.S. doesn’t write the rules of international trade, President Barack Obama warns, China will. In fact, China is already helping write those rules, and in some ways has jumped ahead of the game. There’s intense competition between the U.S. and China for economic influence in the world. As Obama seeks to persuade lawmakers to back his trade agenda, he has cast that competition as an economic threat.

26/05/2015: Loza named GM at Accolade Wines
Accolade Wines has appointed MJ Loza, currently head of its New Zealand operations, as its new general manager for North America. He will be based in Napa. Accolade Wines' brands include Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak and XYZin from California, among others. Hailing from New Zealand and with extensive wine industry experience, Loza’s appointment supports Accolade Wines’ strategic goal to maximize New Zealand brand growth opportunities in the North American market, said a news release.

25/05/2015: Marlborough 2015 harvest worsens Sauvignon Blanc 'squeeze'
The reduced 2015 crop in New Zealand has exacerbated the on-going squeeze of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc grapes, says Cloudy Bay Estate Director Ian Morden. "The Wairau valley is changing and Marlborough is not infinite. So it’s more important than ever for us to secure good grapes because there are only certain places that are suited to our classic cool climate style such as Renwick, Fairhall, Brancott and Rapaura," he told Decanter.com in London.

25/05/2015: Huge tanks destined for Blenheim winery
Four large wine blending tanks are being built in Blenheim and transported to a winery in three sections because they are too big to be trucked as a finished product. Crown Sheet Metals is building the 500,000 litre tanks for Drylands Winery, in Blenheim, over the next two months. Crown Sheet Metals site manager Crichton Purdie said the 11-metre high by 9-metre wide stainless steel tanks were too big to fit on a truck in one piece so were being trucked in three sections before being assembled on site at Drylands.

25/05/2015: Prosecco shortage: What’s behind the wine shortage in Italy?
A Prosecco shortage is expected as a result of high demand and exceeding rainy conditions in Italy. Robert Cremonese is the export manager for Prosecutor manufacturer Bisol, and talks about the wine failing to meet demand in 2015, USA Today reports. “Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50% in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage,” Cremonese said in an interview with The Drinks Business.

25/05/2015: Chinese wine and wine culture
Drinking habits are changing in China. Once the preserve of men, particularly in the cooler north of the country, alcohol consumption for women is now relatively accepted as they enter the workforce and gain a degree of independence. While it is now mainstream culture, no longer reserved for family functions and formal dinners, it is also relatively uncommon to drink during the day although post work drinks are gaining popularity among Chinese urban professionals.

25/05/2015: Wine from wastewater: It's not a joke, and it may be the future
The drought in California is so severe, no solution is considered too far-fetched. Not even using recycled toilet water to irrigate the nation's most prestigious wine grapes in Napa Valley. Call it effluent for the affluent. "California has a lot of growing up to do on how to use water well," said Will Nord, a long time Napa wine grape grower who has been using recycled wastewater for years to irrigate his vines. As for concerns that the water might affect the flavor of the grape's juice? "No impact at all," he said.

25/05/2015: What goes into wine-label design?
Does blue on a bottle turn off buyers? Will a fussy label hamper the sale of a cheap wine? Some graphic artists have been designing wine labels for decades, and they know what works. Lettie Teague investigates. Ask someone the kind of wine they prefer and they may or may not be able to describe it; ask someone what kind of wine label they like and you’re guaranteed to get a reply. From occasional imbibers to serious oenophiles, just about every wine drinker I know cares about labels—and even employs them as a buying guide.

22/05/2015: Former wine boss guilty of corruption
Former chief executive officer of the New Zealand Wine Company (NZWC) has been found guilty on 17 fraud charges in the Auckland High Court today. Three years ago Peter John Scutts agreed to take a commission from an Australian wholesaler for advising his company to enter into a supply contract. During his tenure with NZWC from July 2011 to September 2012, Scutts pocketed $64,000. Following an eight week investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in 2013, the 59-year-old was found guilty today of dishonesty and corruption.

22/05/2015: Giesen Wines appoints general manager in Marlborough
Rhyan Wardman has been appointed General Manager – Marlborough for Giesen Wines. Wardman has worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years. He started his winemaking career at Seresin Estate in Marlborough in the mid-90s and has held a variety of winemaking positions. In 2010 Wardman returned from the UK, where he was wine director at Constellation Europe, to join Indevin partners as chief winemaker and latterly chief operating officer. He is a board member of Wine Marlborough.

22/05/2015: Millennials are drinking wine instead of beer and the industry is freaking out
Millennials are increasingly moving away from beer in favour of wine and spirits. This trend is scaring major companies like Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Heineken, according to a recent report by Morgan Stanley. “Overall beer consumption trends remain weak, and it appears millennials are increasingly turning to other alcoholic beverages,” the analysts write. And many millennials who do drink beer prefer craft varieties to traditional pale lagers like Budweiser.

22/05/2015: Bulk Wine growth may slow, but it is not going away, debate hears
The growth of the bulk wine market may slow, but it is here to stay, according to expert panellist in a recent debate. The debate on bulk wine looked at bulk sourcing as a means to grow profit but asked if the impact on jobs in the country of origin outweighed commercial gains. Sue Birch, former Wines of South Africa chief executive, argued that the market was stripping value out of the country of origin and eroding profits.

22/05/2015: Accolade Wines appoints GM North America
Accolade Wines has appointed MJ Loza, currently head of its New Zealand operations, as its new General Manager for North America. Accolade Wines is a global wine company with some of the world’s best-known brands including Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak and XYZin from California, Australian brands Hardys, Houghton and Banrock Station, New Zealand’s Mud House and Waipara Hills and Kumala and Flagstone Wines from South Africa. The company is known as the world’s leading supplier of New World premium commercial and value wines.

22/05/2015: Vivino, world's largest wine community, grows to 10 million
Vivino announced that the company's user community has grown to 10 million worldwide. Wine lovers have been using Vivino's application to discover and share new styles and labels via crowd-sourced reviews and ratings since it launched in 2011. The company also announced several updates including a new e-commerce capability for users to snap or search for a particular wine, then seamlessly purchase that wine from a third party merchant via mobile device.

21/05/2015: Boutique winery gets Hobbit-style spin
A new boutique winery outside Renwick designed by The Hobbit's art director has been granted resource consent by the Marlborough District Council. Jackson Estate, one of the oldest wineries in Marlborough, is behind the winery on vineyard land at Jacksons Rd. It will be capable of producing 250 tonnes of grapes per year. A council resource hearing committee heard the application in April and has granted the application a five-year consent. The Hobbit trilogy's art director Brian Massey is designing the hosting centre which will look like a 1850s settlers' hut.

21/05/2015: 2015 NZ Organic Wine Awards results
After a successful debut in 2014, the New Zealand Organic Wine Awards has enjoyed large growth in terms of both participating vineyards and media interest for the 2015 awards. We believe that the increased participation is due to both a successful debut season, but also an increase in organic certifications and conversions from both existing and new wineries. Organic wine is a fast market growth area, with consumer demand and interest growing exponentially.

21/05/2015: Canada’s beef with American wine
Canada has a beef with the US. They’re pawing the ground and seeing red. Red wine, that is. Such a dispute is rare for the two NAFTA countries that share the longest undefended border in the world. The meat of the matter is, well, meat. Canada–and Mexico–complained last year to the World Trade Organization that US regulations were burdensome and discriminatory. The regs require that certain cuts of meat state on the label where the meat was raised (they are known as “country of origin labeling,” or COOL in the language of trade negotiators).

21/05/2015: California farms added workers in 2014, even amid drought
Despite the drought, the number of workers employed in California’s agricultural industry rose to its highest level in at least 24 years, as many farmers shifted toward labor-intensive, permanent crops, according to the latest state and federal statistics. The employment figures paint a more complicated picture than the message from some state officials and agricultural employers who publicly lament the drought’s impact on farmworkers. For example, Gov. Jerry Brown last month told a national television audience that “farmworkers who are at the very low end of the economic scale here are out of work.”

21/05/2015: Kingsland invests in plans to launch fruit flavoured wines
Kingsland Wine & Spirits is investing further in its Irlam site as it plans to roll out new fruit-flavoured wines. The company is redeveloping its onsite winery, which was mothballed in 2004, back into use to develop blended and fusion products and British-made wines, the Winery is being upgraded and will be operational from October. Anderson said the new capabilities combined with its new carbonation line would open up a new stream of innovation and npd.

21/05/2015: UK wine market is ‘toxic’
The trend for deep discounting in the race to the bottom has created a “toxic” UK wine market, according to one key merchant. Speaking at a seminar during the London Wine Fair this week, Emma Shaw, head of commercial operations for Oddbins, said: “The UK market has been built around the race to the bottom with deep discounting. Before 2011, Oddbins was known for its special offers, which we sold at not fantastic margins. It’s a toxic approach.

20/05/2015: Kiwi organization launches 2015 young viticulturist contest
New Zealand Wine, in partnership with Bayer, has begun its search for the 2015 Young Viticulturist of the Year. The 2015 contest marks the 10th year the event has taken place, according to the competition’s website. “Since the inception, this competition has attracted a high calibre of entrants from throughout the country and is now recognized within the industry as being a leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to aspire and achieve,” the site said.

20/05/2015: Korean festival to feature 75 NZ wines
For lovers of world class wine, the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea (Kiwi Chamber) will host two New Zealand Wine Festival events in Seoul and Busan. The Seoul tasting will take place on May 30 at the Waterfall Garden of the Grand Hyatt Seoul, with the second of the wine extravaganzas being held at the Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Busan on June 13. This will mark the seventh-annual New Zealand Wine Festival in Seoul and third in Busan, offering enthusiasts more than 75 premium New Zealand red and white wines from more than 25 participating vineyards.

20/05/2015: Careers encouraged in Central Otago's wine industry
Wine is one of Central Otago's most important industries and people interested in making it their career will get a chance to learn all about it. As part of the 2015 Otago Careers Festival, the Central Otago Winegrowers' Association, with the support of the Otago Polytechnic, is hosting a seminar called "Introducing the Wine Industry" for anyone interested in becoming involved in the industry.

20/05/2015: Online wine sales set to grow to 15% within three years
Online wine sales are set to increase to around 15% by 2018, according to new data from the Wilson Drinks Report. Tim Wilson, Wilson Drinks Report managing director, said online sales currently make up around 11 per cent of the market, compared to the off-trade, but the trend was likely to grow over the next three years. “It shows online wine is both here to stay and likely to take a bigger share of the market,” he said.

20/05/2015: Trade fight could raise tariffs on California wine
The wine industry is urging Congress to repeal or reform the rule to make it compliant with international trade regulations, especially as U.S. wine exports to Canada topped $1 billion in retail sales last year; the U.S. surpassed Italy and France to rank as the top wine exporter to Canada. “In Canada it has taken decades to build the market for U.S. wine, and it could be irreparably harmed in an instant if Congress does not act,” said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute, a trade group representing California wineries, in a statement.

20/05/2015: Consumer perception of Prosecco is improving
According to a new Wine Intelligence report released today, 95% of consumers that drink Prosecco see it as ‘very good or good value for money.’ The research is based on the response of more than 500 UK sparkling wine drinkers that were surveyed using the Wine Intelligence platform. “Prosecco has managed to hit the perfect balance, offering perception of quality and value for money without being perceived as too cheap, an image problem that has befallen some other sparkling wine types.”

20/05/2015: Winery boss jailed over fake Chablis
A producer has been accused of blending inferior wines and passing them off as Chablis in a decade-long scam. The head of a French wine company has been arrested and jailed after an alleged scam was uncovered, involving inferior wine being labeled and sold as Chablis. Jean-Claude Fromont, the CEO of Maison Fromont, in Ligny-le-Châtel, Yonne, was remanded in custody over the alleged fraud. "He is accused of using wines from the south to blend with Chablis and calling them 'Chablis'," the Deputy-Prosecutor, Frédérique Olivaux told regional daily newspaper Le Journal du Centre.

19/05/2015: Whale of an opportunity for wine company
A boutique Marlborough winemaker has signed up as a sponsor of the National Whale Centre in Picton. Johanneshof Cellars founder and winemaker Edel Everling said when she was contacted about sponsoring the centre she was keen to help out. "We try to stay local with our support because that's where we live and where we want to help." The Whale Centre was an amazing initiative, Everling said. "Even though it's local it reaches far. It's quite a global thing."

19/05/2015: Wine flights ready to take off
A special visitor touched down on the tarmac at Hawke's Bay Airport yesterday - and the high-flying plane will soon be connecting the country's biggest wine-producing regions. A group of wine-industry representatives was given a test flight in the nine-seater Pilatus PC12 plane, which is set to fly direct between Hawke's Bay and Marlborough. Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford said his company was in the "final stages" of sealing the deal with Hawke's Bay Airport, with the service proposed to start in early August.

19/05/2015: Wine institute urges US congress to act now
Today's announcement by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that the United States continues to violate WTO rules could pave the way for Canada and Mexico to immediately seek billions of dollars' worth of retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products including wine. This is the third time that the WTO has ruled that U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) of certain meat products is discriminatory and violates WTO rules.

19/05/2015: Recyclable wine cork is world’s first carbon-free cork
As concern over the damage humankind is doing to the environment grows, more and more companies and individuals try to find new ways to make their habits more in tune with the planet for a sustainable way to live - and now, that includes the new recyclable wine cork. According to The Independent, the new recyclable wine cork comes from US-based company Normacorc, which has named its product Select Bio as it's about to go on sale in the United Kingdom; and it doesn't really feel different from a regular one.

19/05/2015: Once in decline, wine sales rise in China
What a difference a year makes. Earlier this month, CNN Money’s London office reported that, after seeing a five per cent drop in wine sales in 2013, the Chinese uncorked in 2014 a year in which they saw wine sales grow 4.5 per cent. “The Chinese are enjoying a tipple once again after the government’s crackdown on extravagance gave high-end wine sales a knock,” the story said. “Sales of wine, excluding sparkling, in China rose by 4.5% in 2014, reversing a 5% fall the previous year.”

19/05/2015: Why women are becoming the key in making and marketing wine
Making wines that appeal to women is changing the way the industry thinks, from marketing campaigns to all-female tasting sessions. "I would say there isn't specifically a female palate, but there are trends," says Lynne Whitaker, managing Director of Winebrand, a branding and market research consultancy for the wine industry. "Most women we speak to prefer white or rosé, and upfront, juicy wines." She adds that New World wines tend to do well – partly because they tend to be labelled with the grape variety, which makes choosing easier.

18/05/2015: Domestic NZ wine sales up 18 per cent
Domestic New Zealand wine sales soared 18 per cent in the year to March following a bumper 2014 vintage. New Zealand Winegrowers figures show nearly 60 million litres of New Zealand wine was sold domestically. New Zealand Winegrowers has about 850 grower members and 700 winery members. Its chief executive Philip Gregan said domestic New Zealand wine sales experienced such high growth because 2014 was a big vintage for New Zealand wineries.

18/05/2015: New coordinator for NZ young viticulturist comp
Nicky Grandorge has been appointed as the new National Coordinator for NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year, taking over from Emma Taylor, a previous winner of the title. Grandorge brings with her a wealth of experience from many years in the wine industry and plans to grow the competition even further. She is a WSET Certified Educator and says she is delighted to be involved in such a positive event, which helps encourage and develop young professionals within the industry.

18/05/2015: French winegrower risks jail to protect grapes
One of France’s most venerated winemakers, whose vineyards supply leading restaurants, including those owned by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, will this week risk a six-month prison sentence or a large fine for the sake of both his grapes and, he says, future generations who will want to enjoy the fruit of his soil. Thibault Liger-Belair, an organic wine producer, is defying orders to spray a pesticide on his vines because of an outbreak 40km from his Burgundy and Beaujolais vineyards of flavescence dorée.

18/05/2015: Wine cull as Tesco decides it has too much variety on offer
Tesco has apparently admitted it has too many types of wine on sale – and plans to cull 300 of them. Off Licence News says it follows competition from discount chains Aldi and Lidl, and has seen its wine sales fall by 3.3 per cent. A Tesco spokesman said: ‘The wine team is taking a fresh look at the wines available in stores to reduce product duplications and to simplify the range for customers. ‘The idea is not to cut the range to a certain size, but to ensure Tesco has the right selection of wines for customers, in the right stores and at the right price.

18/05/2015: South Africa dips as New World wine rivals surge
South Africa’s golden run of consecutive growth in the off-trade has come to an end as sales dropped 3% in volume and 1% in value (Nielsen, year to February 2015). The rainbow nation has been a star performer in recent years, regularly posting double-digit growth due to the weakness of the rand and a resonance with consumers at various price points. But the run has ended, leaving Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Argentina as the only countries in growth in the top 10 countries of origin chart.

18/05/2015: Uncorked: Buying wine at Costco
Over the years, there has been some controversy regarding buying wines at Costco. Many wine buyers feel as if Costco doesn’t have a true appreciation for the wine business and the products they sell. Annette Alvarez-Peters, leading wine buyer for Costco, received a lot of heat for her comments on CNN in 2012 that "wine is no different than toilet paper." Wine lovers were outraged by this remark. However, as the largest importer of French wine in the world, Costco is about moving product.

15/05/2015: Public talk to explore the clever use of science in wine
Chemistry and physics experts will be visiting Masterton to talk about innovative scientific developments as part of the Victoria University of Wellington 2015 Public Lecture Series. Dr Nicola Gaston will be joined by Dr Rob Keyzers, also a senior lecturer in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, who will discuss how chemistry could help New Zealand’s wine industry. Dr Keyzers will describe how the clever use of chemistry can help control the sensory properties of wine, help to unlock new and lucrative markets and, ultimately, enhance sales.

15/05/2015: Capital Markets: Crowding in on the honeymoon
The business of raising capital and borrowing money through the 'crowd in the cloud' is off to a flying start, but the real test will be how the new industry handles its first failures. The most noise and activity on the equity side is coming from Snowball Effect, which has hosted five successful capital raisings on its equity crowdfunding platform since it launched in August last year. The enthusiasm and the party mood extends to two of Snowball Effect's most high-profile capital raising companies, both of which sell the ingredients for a celebration- beer and wine.

15/05/2015: Young Chinese wine drinkers driving 'fundamental' change
A power shift in China’s imported wine market has seen a switch from traditional, high-end wine connoisseurs to younger and more casual drinkers, says a new study. According to Wine Intelligence’s China Portraits 2015 report, a brand new wine consumer segment has emerged since its last study in 2012: Developing Drinkers, typically younger and less involved consumers who tend to buy wine at mainstream or entry-level prices. These people are more likely to be graduates, working in high-earning professions and in their late 20s or early 30s.

15/05/2015: Where would you put 32 billion bottles of wine?
Imagine the entire island of Manhattan flooded in wine a foot deep. That's how much vino the world will drink in 2018, according to a new study. Vinexpo, the international wine and spirits exhibition held in Bordeaux biennially, commissioned the report to examine how the global wine market has changed since 2009 and where it's going next. Apparently, more wine is next. From 2009 to 2013, global wine consumption increased by 2.7 per cent, from 2.58 billion cases worth to 2.64 billion.

15/05/2015: California wine exports to Canada set records
US wine exports to Canada — roughly 90 per cent of them from California — topped $1 billion in retail sales for the first time last year, making our northern neighbour the biggest single customer for American wine. US vintners, the vast majority of them in the Golden State, sold a record 6.1 million cases, according to the San Francisco-based Wine Institute, which represents about 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses. Over the last five years, U.S. wine sales in Canada have jumped 78 per cent, compared to just 16 percent growth for the overall Canadian wine market, according to Canadian data.

15/05/2015: California Drought: Opportunity, not problem for wine industry?
OPINION: Another year, another drought in California. Having recently returned from the state, however, Chris Losh suggests that what looks like a dire situation for the wine industry could actually present an opportunity to those keen on tending vines. The good folk of Los Angeles like their lawns. So, when you see the city's hallowed turf being dug up and replaced by artificial grass, then you know something is badly wrong. California is in the middle of a prolonged drought and, with Governor Jerry Brown ordering a 25 per cent cut-back on domestic water use over the coming year, lawns are having to go.

14/05/2015: Alcohol rules 'going back to the old days'
Aucklanders will soon no longer be able to buy their bottle of wine or box of beer from their local supermarket before 9am or after 9pm following the Provisional Auckland Council Local Alcohol Policy being passed at the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee today by 14 votes to one. "Going back to the old days when wine sections were roped off is definitely a ‘back to the future’ step. I don’t believe penalising early morning mum or dad grocery shoppers or the likes of shift workers in the evening will make any difference whatsoever.”

14/05/2015: Get to know a new grape or two
One of wine's chief attractions is its astonishing diversity. The drink may come in only two colours (well, three if you count pink), but beneath that there are hundreds – nay, thousands – of subsets and possibilities that imbue the act of opening a bottle of wine with a sense of adventure. Different vintages, different countries, different vineyards, different winemakers… all play a role in giving a wine its own personality. And then there's grape variety. Here we find a breadth of vocabulary few other plant species can match. There are more than 10,000 known varieties of Vitis Vinifera in the world. Of these, around 800 are made into wine.

14/05/2015: Marks & Spencer wine triumphs at international awards
If you're looking for a new favourite wine, you needn't look any further than your local supermarket. For the second year in a row, Marks and Spencer have topped the medal chart at the International Wine Challenge. The retailer received 169 accolades in total, including 12 gold, 52 silver, and 102 bronze medals. The IWC said the retailer "continued to prove it is at the top its game when it comes to selecting exceptional wines for consumers", adding that their Mount Bluff NV Sparkling Chardonnay is "expected to be a particular favourite with customers."

14/05/2015: California farmers in line for more drought cutbacks
California’s water regulators spent last week hammering cities and suburbs, implementing first-ever cutbacks in urban water use in response to the state’s prolonged drought. Now they’re turning their attention back to agriculture. State Water Resources Control Board officials said Monday that they expect to issue “curtailment orders” soon to the state’s most senior water rights holders, effectively shutting off the flow of river water to some of the major agricultural districts in California.

14/05/2015: Wine growers are toasting biodynamic methods
Wine making is a complicated business. The vagaries of the weather, the impact of pests and diseases, the condition of the soil and the threat of sour grapes have no doubt driven many an ill-fated viticulturist to drink. And in recent years, things have become even trickier, thanks to the growing popularity of biodynamic wine in a world where organic is old hat. While biodynamic agriculture follows the central tenets of organic, it adds spiritual and philosophical elements to produce what some experts describe as the "purest" wine possible.

14/05/2015: Survey shows how consumers use mobile in wine aisle
Wine brands can no longer afford to downplay the importance of mobile optimisation. With Google’s recent mobile algorithm update, having a website that is not just mobile optimized but gives your customer the best possible experience is necessary to compete and win not just online sales and tasting room visits, but in the grocery store aisle as well. In Angelsmith’s ground-breaking Digital Consumer Survey of U.S. wine drinkers, the mobile wine buying statistics reveal how mobile devices have dramatically altered the wine purchase ecosystem.

13/05/2015: Yealands Family Wines picks Special Group NZ as global advertising partner
After a strategic pitch process, Yealands Family Wines has appointed Special Group to be its global design and advertising agency partner. Michael Wentworth, Yealands general manager of marketing said: "We are impressed by Special's holistic design and advertising capability. As a global business we're also excited about their team's broad international experience, and the success of their office in Australia - one of our key export markets. Culturally too, they just seem a great fit for Yealands."

13/05/2015: Hawke’s Bay visitor numbers at record high
Statistics New Zealand has released their latest report for March 2015 visitor arrivals and it revealed a fantastic result for Hawke’s Bay’s tourism industry. March 2015 in comparison to March 2014 showed a 14.6% increased in visitor nights, totalling 116,740 in actual figures. That increase was made up of a leap in both domestic and international visitor nights. International visitor nights rose 10.6% to 35,119 with domestic visitor nights recording a whopping 16.5% increase, totalling 81,621.

13/05/2015: Rains reduce Indian grape exports by 26.47%
NASHIK: With the unseasonal rain and hailstorms badly affecting the quality and production, grape exports from Nashik district have declined by 26.47% in the current grape season (January-April) due to unseasonal rain and hailstorms in February and March. The district exported 49,443 metric tonnes of grapes by April-end in the current grape season, against 67,244 metric tonnes exported in 2014. Speaking to TOI, Jagannath Khapare, president, Grape Exporters' Association of India (GEAI), said: "Close to 80% of the total grape exports of the state comes from the district."

13/05/2015: California growers given extension on pest assessment vote
A state agency has extended by a month the deadline for California grape growers to return ballots on whether to continue an assessment on their crops to fund pest research. The state Department of Food and Agriculture said the new deadline to return ballots will be June 10. The deadline had been Monday, but balloting has been plagued by voter apathy. At least 40 percent of the estimated 6,500 eligible voters must participate for the referendum to be valid.

13/05/2015: Grape-picker job scam leaves victims with bitter aftertaste
About 30 people who paid a Thai-Australian man to secure them well-paid jobs as grape pickers down under showed up at Suvarnabhumi airport last night only to discover they had been conned. Thanida Sitthiruek and the other victims filed a fraud complaint with Crime Suppression Division police after finding they had all been told to show up at the airport to meet Natee Howard Bodyham for a 7pm flight to Australia. He never showed and they had no tickets.

13/05/2015: Who are you? Limoux Wine's identity crisis
The fastest-growing French sparkling wine appellation in the US has many faces. Any visitor to the tiny winemaking area of Limoux in France's southern Languedoc region inevitably hears the local legend about how Dom Pérignon stole the secret of the area's sparkling wines before popularizing it back in Champagne. Despite being patently untrue, this story highlights the extent to which Limoux's claim to what little fame it enjoys rests upon the legacy of its bubbles.

12/05/2015: Kiwi success may push Arunachal for more fruit wine production
After the successful launch of a drink made from kiwi fruits grown in Arunachal Pradesh, experts have suggested that the state government venture into making fruit wine from the various fruits which are abundant in the northeastern state. Arunachal, which enjoys the distinction of being the largest kiwi producing state in the country, annually produces an average of 30,945.2 MT of apples, 4,720.5 MT of kiwi, 1,76,707 MT citrus and 67,580 MT of pineapples.

12/05/2015: Constellation appoints new marketing guru for wine and spirits
Constellation Brands, Inc., leading beverage alcohol company, announced Jared Fix has been appointed as chief marketing officer reporting to Jay Wright, president, Wine & Spirts Division. Fix will join the company effective June 8, 2015, replacing Chris Fehrnstrom who will be returning to a marketing and leadership consulting business he owned prior to joining Constellation. "Jared brings extraordinary business expertise and marketing leadership to Constellation Brands," said Wright.

12/05/2015: Top 10 things to know about the Majestic and Naked Wines merger
Last month following the announcement that Naked Wines was to be acquired by Majestic Plc for £70m (A$138m), harpers.co.uk had an opportunity to talk with both Eamon Fitzgerald, the managing director of Naked Wines and the new chief executive officer, Rowan Gormley of Majestic Plc about what the merger would mean for their businesses. The deal surprised many in the trade, as the two companies were able to keep the takeover quite quiet.

12/05/2015: English bubbly booms as UK vineyards toast production record
Move over Moët, bye-bye Bollinger. The march of English sparkling wine from a mouth-puckering novelty to a player on the burgeoning global market for premium fizz has taken a further step forward with a boom in production. Burgeoning demand for brands such as Nyetimber and Ridgeview is turning parts of the South Downs and beyond into an English Épernay after a doubling of the amount of land in England devoted to vineyards in the last seven years and a 43 per cent rise last year in wine production.

12/05/2015: Oregon wine industry eyes trade deal
PORTLAND — Oregon’s wine industry has come into its own in recent years, spurring the growth of wineries and newly planted acres of vineyards from the California border to the Columbia River. Now the wine industry wants in the trans-Pacific trade agreement that President Obama came to Oregon to promote. Vineyard owners and winemakers say the trade deal would help open up foreign markets and increase job growth in Oregon.

12/05/2015: The Great British wine fair returns
With this year’s London Wine Fair promising to be more diverse than ever, Helen Arnolds guides Harper’s through the must-attend debates, seminars and masterclasses. It’s that time of year again when the drinks trade starts gearing up for the annual jamboree that is the London Wine Fair. Now in its 35th year, the fair aims to bring together all aspects of the wine business for three days of trading, negotiating, networking and discovery, attracting a myriad of wine industry professionals

11/05/2015: Delegat Group's harvest hit by bad weather
Delegat Group's New Zealand harvest has fallen by more than a quarter but the wine company is still confident sales will rise this year. Delegat's said it harvested nearly 27,000 tonnes of grapes for the 2015 season. The New Zealand harvest has accounted for 25,000 tonnes, 26 percent lower than last year. The company said that was partly due to higher than average yields the previous year and lower than average yields this year.

11/05/2015: Grape quality 'exceptionally good'
It was an ''intense'' wine harvest for Central Otago vineyards this year but fruit quality is ''exceptionally good''. That is the word from Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey who said harvesting was all but finished for the region. ''We are overjoyed with the quality and quantity with what we have got,'' he said. Grapes going through fermentation were very aromatic with concentrated, intense colours, Dicey said.

11/05/2015: Scientists prefer aluminium screw tops for fine wine
They don’t stand on snobbishness when it comes to making wine at Washington State University. For the past six years, every wine made by a Washington State oenology student or researcher has come with a screw cap. Cork used to be the only method for sealing a wine bottle. But that has changed, as aluminium screw caps have become more popular. Screw caps help winemakers avoid cork taint, which can wreck as many as seven bottles of wine out of a hundred. Cork taint leaves a mouldy, musty, off-putting smell inside a bottle.

11/05/2015: Spanish winery becomes third biggest in the world after €40 million expansion
A SPANISH winery is hitting the bottle hard with a €40 million (A$56m) expansion. After the investment, Felix Solis Avantis will be in the world’s top three wineries. Famous for its Vina Albali, the company’s annual production will grow from 200m to 300m litres (that’s 400 million bottles) by the end of 2016. The investment will go mostly boost technologies, automation and capacity to start a new range of sparkling wines. Solis Ramos, the firm’s international director said: “The first new brands of sparkling wine will be called Provetto and Penasol made from the Viura and Airen grapes.

11/05/2015: Clarke traces wine history bottle by bottle
The British wine writer offers an off-kilter history of wine's development. What do the Bordeaux first growths, Tokaji, Blue Nun and Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc have in common? For British wine writer Oz Clarke, they all mark crucial steps in the development of wine. Clarke's new book, The History of Wine in 100 Bottles From Bacchus to Bordeaux and Beyond, is an ambitious task, as the author himself acknowledges in the preface. "This isn't just a history of 100 bottles.

11/05/2015: Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 opens for entries
The search for the best wines on sale in Asia has begun after the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 opened for entries, with DecanterChina columnist professor Li Demei appointed as a vice-chair for this year’s competition. Entries are now open for the fourth annual Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA). The competition gives wineries a chance to gain independent recognition for quality, while offering the region’s consumers a guide to the best wines available in their area in a range of styles.

8/05/2015: Winemaker Joe Babich celebrates Royal honour
Veteran winemaker Joe Babich, who has played a vital part in the establishment of Babich Wines in Marlborough, has been presented his New Year's Honour. Babich attended a ceremony at Government House in Auckland on Wednesday where he was formerly appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the wine industry. He was presented it by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

8/05/2015: EIT Hawke's Bays winemaking program attracts overseas graduates
New Zealand is gaining a reputation as a leading educator with overseas graduates seeking further study opportunities as a springboard into employment in the wine industry. Offering an on-campus option for its graduate diplomas in oenology and viticulture for the first time this year, EIT enrolled some 18 postgraduates in the inaugural one-year winemaking program, and two-thirds are overseas graduates.

8/05/2015: US gives farmers approval to spray crops from drones
A drone large enough to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides has won rare approval from federal authorities to spray crops in the United States, officials said Tuesday. The drone, called the RMAX, is a remotely piloted helicopter that weighs 207 pounds (94 kilograms), said Steve Markofski, a spokesman for Yamaha Corp. U.S.A., which developed the aircraft. Smaller drones weighing a few pounds had already been approved for limited use to take pictures that help farmers identify unhealthy crops.

8/05/2015: Cultural shift in Indian wine drinking
A growing and more affluent middle class is driving India’s fascination with wine which has been improving in quality and recently has been winning several international awards and recognitions, writes our guest writer Dan Traucki who suggests it would be very interesting to see how some of the Iberian, Greek or southern Italian native varieties would thrive and perform there, especially the whites. India, the second most populous nation on earth consumes a mere 0.012 litres of wine per person – roughly six tablespoons – per annum.

8/05/2015: 2014 Bordeaux moving – If the price is right
Mouton Rothschild and Lynch-Bages snapped up but Angelus and Palmer failing to attract buyers. Well-priced wines from Bordeaux's 2014 vintage are making a splash, but merchants are ignoring some big-name wines whose prices are a turn-off for buyers. Heavyweight châteaux Haut-Brion and Cos d'Estournel, as well as the highly respected Tertre Rôteboeuf released their en primeur wines on Tuesday, following last week's releases of Angelus, Palmer, Lynch-Bages and others.

8/05/2015: The world’s biggest wine producers
South Africa is one of the biggest wine producers and exporters in the world – but the relative affordability of our offerings means the country does not benefit as much financially as some of its counterparts. This is according the latest data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), detailing reported and estimated data on the global wine industry in 2014. Global wine production, excluding juice and musts, is expected to hit 279 million hectolitres (mhl) in 2014 – a decrease of 4.1 per cent compared with 2013, according to the OIV.

7/05/2015: Wine meets beer in crafty twist
A Marlborough wine company has put a brewer's twist on the region's flagship wine variety by blending grapes and hops. Green Hopped Gooseberry Bomb Sauvignon Blanc, made from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc grapes and green Sauvin hops from Nelson, is one of the first "craft wines" to come out of Allan Scott Family Winemakers, near Blenheim. Winemaking director Josh Scott said craft wines were a twist on conventional winemaking.

7/05/2015: Delegat group buys Hawke's Bay farm for $29m
Winemaker, Delegat Group has bought an 838 hectare farm in Hawke's Bay's Crownthorpe region from Hopkins Farming Group for $29.3 million. The purchase will support the group's long term growth strategy, Delegat said. The agreement will settle in May 2016 and be funded within the group's long term bank facilities. Managing director of Delegat Group Graeme Lord said the Crownthorpe region offered prime wine grape growing conditions.

7/05/2015: UK online wine market: the facts
New research has highlighted the unique nature of online wine buyers in the UK, as well as the best-selling source countries. Commissioned by Inter Rhône and compiled by the Wilson Drinks Report, the pioneering piece of research shows a web-based wine market performing very differently from high-street retailing, which is dominated by the supermarkets.

7/05/2015: Smaller, high quality South Africa harvest
The South African wine industry will remember the 2015 season as one of the driest and earliest in years, with a somewhat smaller wine grape harvest promising exceptional wines. According to regional viticulturists of VinPro – the representative organisation for close to 3,500 winegrape producers and cellars – this year’s harvest kicked off two weeks earlier than usual. Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro’s Consultation Service said the dry weather led to one of the healthiest seasons in years, with almost no losses due to disease or rot.

7/05/2015: Feds worry about contamination in bottles
It seemed like a worthwhile experiment to a small winery: Submerge bottles of wine in sea water to see how they age. But a federal agency is concerned that ocean water could contaminate the wine. For two years, Napa Valley, California-based Mira Winery has been submerging bottles of wine in the harbour in Charleston, South Carolina, where its president lives, to determine the effects of water, motion, light and temperature on aging.

7/05/2015: Wine pours millions into Idaho economy
SNAKE RIVER VALLEY, Idaho - It is Idaho's fastest-growing agricultural industry, bringing millions and millions of dollars into the state every single year, and it is not potatoes. It's wine. Also, the changing climate elsewhere could drive more winemakers to Idaho. Right now, at Koenig Vineyards along the Snake River near Marsing, workers are busy, and cramped. "We're just constantly trying to make room for more wines," says owner Greg Koenig. Koenig built their current facility a few years ago.

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