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News posted on Thursday, 19 May 2011

Constellation Brands would eye Treasury deal
Constellation Brands Inc would evaluate an acquisition of Australia's Treasury Wine Estates if the newly independent Treasury was up for sale, Constellation's chief executive said on Wednesday. "There are elements of Treasury which we think are strong, and there are elements that might not (be). In the meantime, Treasury is not for sale," Constellation CEO Rob Sands said. A spokeswoman at Treasury could not immediately be reached for comment, reports Reuters.

... as Jim Barry Wines looks to improve on Perfection
Jim Barry Wines has received a rare perfect score for its Armagh Shiraz 2006 with winemaker and self-confessed cricket tragic, Peter Barry, comparing the achievement to scoring a century at Lords. The respected Clare Valley producer received a perfect 20/20 score from one of the UK’s leading wine critics, Matthew Jukes, who early this week announced his 100 Best Australian Wines at a special function in London’s West End, reports The Shout.

Winery blast survivor gives evidence at inquest
An assistant winemaker has told a coronial inquest his whole body was on fire and he was knocked off his feet after a Hunter Valley winery exploded. William Rikard-Bell was composed during the three hours he gave evidence. He told the inquest he is still recovering from horrific burns sustained in the blast on January 17 2008, reports ABC News.

New festival to bless McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale’s events calendar is about to get bigger, with a new festival celebrating the start of vintage set to launch in January. The inaugural Harvest Festival McLaren Vale is being slated for January 14, 2012, with the McLaren Vale Sporting Complex the proposed venue for the fledgling event, reports Southern Times Messenger.

Vignerons' group to lose events manager
The long-serving events manager of the Coonawarra Vignerons' Association, Lisa Gulyas, has announced she will leave the role in August to return home to Canada. Ms Gulyas has been in the role for about five years and has been instrumental in increasing the region's profile through things like the Coonawarra Travelling Roadshow and Cellar Dwellers series, reports ABC News.

Ring the bells for Church's new drop (NZ)
In late-2009, 10 years after the release of the iconic Bordeaux blend Tom, Church Road Winery put a new stake in the ground with the release of a white counterpart - Church Road Tom Chardonnay 2006. The wine became a benchmark for serious New Zealand Burgundian-style whites, just as the original Tom did for Bordeaux-style reds. Produced in exceptional years, the second release of Church Road winery's meticulously crafted, prestige chardonnay is definitely a big event, reports Hawke's Bay Today.

Wine: Striving for excellence (NZ)
There are a number of local producers who have been so consistent over a significant period of time that there is a danger of them being taken for granted... Wither Hills springs to mind, so it was good to be reminded just how good, consistent and determined they are not to just keep on keeping on, but to continue developing, experimenting and striving for whatever it ultimately is that makes a New Zealand wine stellar, reports The New Zealand Herald.

Cheap, cheerful get their chance (NZ)
Nowadays, the road to becoming a successful small winery is littered with obstacles. Our high dollar inhibiting export prospects, an oversupply creating a lake of cheap wine and being at the mercy of Mother Nature at every turn in the winemaking cycle is enough to turn anyone prematurely grey and fragile... But here's where wine producers could get lucky. Entries are now open for the 2011 New World Wine Awards and, in addition to the distinction of an award, the competition guarantees winning winemakers national distribution and extensive brand exposure, reports Hawke's Bay Today.

Winemakers true calling (NZ)
'If I wasn't making wine, I'd be milking cows," says Ben Glover. This would have been the case, had it not been for his father's decision to eschew dairy farming in favour of grapegrowing, which sparked an interest in the young Glover and led to him training as a winemaker, taking over the reigns at Wither Hills and last month being appointed to the lofty post of Group Winemaker of the New Zealand arm of drinks multinational Lion Nathan, reports The Press.

Madoff wine collection fetches handy sum for creditors (US)
Bernard L. Madoff's wine and spirit collection fetched $US41,530 in an internet sale at Morrell & Co. Fine Wine Auctions today as US marshalls continue the work or raising money for the victims of his $US65 billion Ponzi scheme. Despite unknown storage conditions, all 59 lots in the Madoff group found buyers, with most exceeding their presale estimates, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Harpers debate: industry leaders slam big brands (UK)
Big brand wines were slammed for being over-priced, poor quality and lacking in self-confidence by industry leaders at Harpers debate. Speaking at the London Wine Fair debate on Wednesday, Dan Jago, head of BWS at Tesco, said big brands were going through a "period of self-reflection", reports Harpers Wine & Spirit.

Bottling in green glass could reduce CO2 emissions by 20%
Businesses could reduce their CO2 emissions by 20% by bottling in green glass according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme, WRAP. Gavin Partington, communications director WSTA, hosted the session at the London International Wine Fair, 2011 revealing findings of a trial partnered by Australian Vintage and Sainsbury’s that asked 1124 consumers their attitude towards buying bottles in different coloured glass, reports Harpers Wine & Spirit.

Baile buys back Oddbins branches (UK)
Simon Baile, the former owner of Oddbins, has prompted a flurry of negative comment after buying five of his shops back from administrators Deloitte. Three of the sites are in London - Canonbury, East Sheen and Farringdon Street, one is in Surbiton and the fifth in Summertown, Oxford, reports Decanter.

Bordeaux's 'Guggenheim' unveiled (France)
Bordeaux’s answer to Bilbao’s Guggenheim was revealed this week – drawing comparisons to a decanter, wine swirling in a glass and a ‘giant thumb’. The futuristic Wine Centre, plans for which were unveiled in Bordeaux on Monday, will be designed by Parisian architects X-Tu, with London company Casson Mann working on the interior. The two companies, selected from among 113 candidates, will start building in early 2013, with a completion date set for 2014, reports Decanter.

2011 crush indicates long-term wine glut
Oversupply will continue to dog the Australian wine industry despite predictions of a 20 per cent reduction of the 2011 winegrape crush. Wine Grape Growers of Australia (WGGA) have predicted this year’s annual crush will be between 1.3 – 1.4 million tonnes, down 12 – 19% to last years because of disease-affected grapes lost or rejected by wineries.