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News posted on Monday, 24 October 2011

China's genuine Benfold's not a bad drop
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Australian winemakers should be especially proud of how their wines are being sold in China -- as top-notch local tipples. Visiting Australia as a guest judge at the Melbourne Wine Show, Beijing-based wine consultant Fongyee Walker said Chinese wine companies were routinely passing off imported wines as their own creations, reports The Australian.

Anger at Aldi's booze for $1 in supermarkets from next year
Discount supermarket giant Aldi will begin stocking its shelves with $1 beers - including 80c cans of light - and wine for as little as $2.25 a litre across the state from next year, despite objections from NSW Health. The state's licensing authority has shrugged off warnings against selling super-cheap alcohol in supermarkets to give Aldi the green light for 34 outlets, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Wine: On the world stage (NZ)
New Zealand Sauvignon Banc regularly dominates the top awards at many international wine shows, with our Pinot Noir hot on its heels. But one recent result I was particularly pleased to see was a local Riesling winning an international trophy. Central Otago's Two Sisters Riesling 2007 claimed the trophy for Single Vineyard White at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, sending a message to the world that there are more exciting things in our vineyards than just our top two varieties, writes Jo Burzynsca in The New Zealand Herald.

Wines get shake-up
Treasury Wine Estates, the spun-off wine arm of Foster's, has pushed ahead with its management restructure to better align supply, sales and export of its best-known wine brands and serve its global customers. As part of the restructure, announced in August when it unveiled its full-year results, Treasury has made three key appointments to its executive leadership team, all to report directly to chief executive David Dearie, reports Business Day.

Chinese interest in lower-ranking chateaux increasing, say Bordeaux negociants (China)
While the market for the very top end of Bordeaux is correcting itself in China, interest in the lower end is increasing, Bordeaux negociants say. Both CVBG Grands Crus and Vintex have told Decanter they are seeing ‘very strong interest’ in the 5th growth and Cru Bourgeois wines retailing at around €20. Philippe Larché, one of the partners in negociant Vintex, which does 15% of its business in China, said wines like 5th growths Croizet-Bages and Pedesclaux in Pauillac, or Cantemerle in Medoc, were selling well in China.

How Chinese learn to drink wine (China)
China uncorks more than 1.2 billion bottles of wine every year. Yet wine still remains a conundrum to even the most educated Chinese: obscure words describing exotic vines, mysterious tasting notes referring to uncommon comestibles. All this, paired with the bleak unavailability of Chinese-language information about wine, makes the choice of a bottle at the bar a painful and often even embarrassing experience.To rescue Chinese consumers in the epic journey discovering the world of wine, "Wine Connoisseur" is China’s first online wine education program, reports CNN Go.

New Hungarian wine store opens amid interest 'tipping point' (Hungary)
A new online store dedicated to Hungarian wines is about to open – with what its founders claim is the biggest Hungarian list in the UK. London Tokaj will stock not only a Tokajs but ‘wines from across Hungary [with] a range range of whites, reds, Late Harvests and Tokaj Aszu all carefully selected after an extensive 18 month search,’ director Frank Smith told Decanter.com. The online-only store will be stocking native varietals such as Furmint, Harslevelu and Olaszreisling, as well as ‘dry Olaszreislings from volcanic Somlo, which has elegance, structure and incredible minerality,’ he said.

Virginia wine industry’s harvest blues (US)
Gray Ghost Vineyards has a curious way of building customer loyalty: Make them work for their wine. During the fall, hundreds of customers turn out to help with the harvest. Their reward? The opportunity to buy a case of wine at a 15 percent discount (plus lunch and a T-shirt), reports The Washington Times. “I love wine, and I wanted to see the process in action,” said Kristy Malik, 30, explaining why she woke up at 5:15a.m. to make the drive from Lucketts to Amissville, Va. “It is hard work,” she said.

Art on a bottle judgement day (NZ)
Wine-lovers examining entries displayed at the Yealands Estate Marlborough Art Gallery can decide how the entries would look reproduced on a bottle label. That is the main criteria guiding judges in the second annual Art in a Bottle, sponsored by the Yealands Estate. Its owner, Peter Yealands, is patron of the Marlborough Art Society. His wife Viv Yealands, herself an artist, is one of the judges again, along with Yealands marketing assistant Hayley McCairns, reports The Marlborough Express.

Casks promote safe drinking with new diagrams
Many of Australia’s biggest producers of cask wine have started using casks with diagrams that indicate the size of a standard drink. The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) developed the new-look casks in an initiative designed to educate consumers about responsible alcohol consumption.

Robust vintage with a bite: Lunch with Darren De Bortoli
I first met Darren De Bortoli in Griffith when I was covering a murder. An Indian fruit picker had been beaten to death, then dumped and burnt not far from the vineyard De Bortoli's grandfather, Vittorio, founded after fleeing the World War I wreckage of Italy. With the story in the bag I was asked to get some colour on what looked like the pending collapse of the Australian wine industry, writes Nick O'Malley in The Sydney Morning Herald.