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News posted on Thursday, 16 June 2011

Entries open for international food and wine competition
Entries for the 12th Sydney International Wine Competition now being considered and winemakers are being encouraged to apply fast before the 2000 entry cap is reached. The competition is the only major international wine show to judge finalists alongside appropriate food.

Winetitles bookstore offers free postage for limited time
Been thinking you need to update your library? Winetitles Bookstore has FREE postage, until 30 June 2011, for any book orders (including directories) made for delivery within Australia or New Zealand.

WFA busts 'great myths' of cask wine
With the Federal Government planning to set a floor price for alcohol, Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) chief executive, Stephen Strachan, explains why research suggests this is a mistake, reports The Shout. "The speed with which the idea gained publicity and traction last week reinforces our concern that despite countless hours of research into the social problems linked to alcohol the only answer that ever emerges is to make it more expensive."

Owens-Illinois tumbles after cutting profit-margin forecast
Owens-Illinois Inc. (OI), the world’s biggest maker of glass bottles, fell the most in almost 11 months after lowering its second-quarter profit margin forecast because of higher costs and weaker demand in Australia, reports Bloomberg. Sales of glass bottles have slumped in Australia and New Zealand because strong currencies have made wine exports less competitive and rising interest rates have damped consumer demand, hurting domestic beer consumption, Chief Financial Officer Ed White said.

New smoke taint index tool to aid grape growers
Smoke taint caused by bushfires and fuel reduction burns can pose a serious threat to Victoria’s grape and wine industries, but very little is known about smoke uptake and accumulation in grapes. Scientists from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have been investigating the link between smoke and wine quality with the aim to develop a web-based risk assessment tool to help growers determine the potential risk of smoke taint in grapes and wine, reports Stock and Land.

SA agriculture takes major budget hit
The end of an extended drought has been blamed for a number of last week's State Budget spending cuts to agriculture. Agricultural, Food and Fisheries spending will drop from $216 million to $181.7m in 2011-12 while the Agricultural Food & Wine program is set to fall from about $20.3m in the last financial year to $15.2m, reports The Stock Journal.

Australian winemakers may miss out after NZers excluded from shows (NZ)
New Zealand winemakers have reacted to their exclusion from the Royal Perth, Royal Hobart and Canberra National wine shows with a mixture of disappointment and we-were-just-too-good-for-them chest thumping, reports Voxy News. "I can understand both those reactions and, in a way, I can understand the decisions of the Australian show organisers too," said Warren Mason, Director of the Sydney International Wine Competition.

Good year for vineyards likely (NZ)
The grapes have been picked, the netting removed from over the vines, rolled up and stored away ready for next season, and work has begun on producing 2011's range of wines, reports The Southland Times. Peregrine Winery business manager Craig Biggs said although the yield from the vines this season was less than anticipated, they were happy with the quality of fruit, especially from the Gibbston vines.

Bordeaux 2010: Massive price rise for Smith Haut Lafitte fails to impress (France)
Smith Haut Lafitte has become the latest victim of buyer fatigue with this week's release of Bordeaux prices – but owner Florence Cathiard has fiercely defended her decision. Chateaux Lagrange, Grand Puy Lacoste, Leoville Barton, Leoville Poyferre, Smith Haut Lafitte have now all released their prices on the 2010 vintage, and some are considerably higher than last year, reports Decanter.

Winemaker's CEO's compensation jumps 25 per cent (US)
The chief executive and president of Constellation Brands Inc. saw his pay package rise 25 percent in fiscal 2011 as the alcoholic drinks company became more profitable but lost its status as the world's biggest winemaker, according to a filing the company made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AP reports.

Good year for vineyards likely (NZ)
The grapes have been picked, the netting removed from over the vines, rolled up and stored away ready for next season, and work has begun on producing 2011's range of wines. Peregrine Winery business manager Craig Biggs said although the yield from the vines this season was less than anticipated, they were happy with the quality of fruit, especially from the Gibbston vines, reports The Southland Times.

Balfour-Lynn calls for English wine to maintain exclusivity (UK)
Richard Balfour-Lynn, owner of Hush Heath vineyard in Kent, has urged English winemakers to maintain their exclusivity in order to succeed on the international market. Speaking at the unveiling of his new winery near Marden in Kent on Monday, Balfour-Lynn told the drinks business: “There’s a huge opportunity for English sparkling wine to compete with the best Champagne in the world, but it has to maintain its exclusivity and price point."

Bordeaux 2010: America baulks at 2010 prices (US)
With Bordeaux 2010 en primeur prices eclipsing last year's offerings, American merchants worry about the ability to sell mid-level wines whose prices are higher than ever. As has been the case with previous vintages, the market for the blue chip wines seems solid, but wines a bit further down the pecking order are struggling, reports Decanter.

5 minutes with ... biodynamic winemaker Mike Weesering (NZ)
Originally from the United States, Mike Weesering and his partner Claudia planted the first grapes on their Pyramid Valley vineyard in North Canterbury in 2000. Drawing on his studies of oencology and viticulture in Burgundy and work in vineyards and cellar doors across Europe, in Australia and in Oregon, Weesering has ensured the vineyard has been biodynamically managed from day one, reports The New Zealand Herald.