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News posted on Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Baillieu uncorks TV campaign to sell wine to China
The Victorian government has funded a four-part television series on the state's wine industry that will be screened around China to a potential audience of 410 million. The program is designed to underpin a fresh push for the state's food and wine sector into the world biggest market. China already purchases $1 billion in food and wine products from Australia and is set to overtake Japan as Australia's largest export destination for the sector. The country's rising middle class is demanding ever-increasing volumes of quality food and drink, reports The Australian.

SA wine industry labelled as lazy
Australia's wine industry is "lazy" and lost its innovative edge, SA's outgoing Thinker in Residence says. Professor Goran Roos said the industry was one of a number at risk of global competition, along with printing, which had been protected from international competition until recently. China and India were the likely sources of future competition based solely on the strength of numbers, reports AdelaideNow.

Across the grape divide
The Australian wine industry wants to explore the controversial world of genetic modification to help combat climate change and enhance flavour in wines. National wine policy is against the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in wine production but the door remains open to conduct research and a GM proposal is part of a five-year research and development plan prepared by the Winemakers' Federation of Australia, writes Jeni Port in The Age.

Smaller players want status quo
The supporting Australian wine industry group yesterday called for a rational approach to industry restructure that is inclusive rather than exclusive. This group includes major industry players Australian Vintage, Accolade Wines and Casella Wines, and is supported by the Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) medium and small winemakers committees, the Murray Valley Winegrowers' Council and other grower and worker groups. All believe that a change from an advalorem to volumetric tax will be devastating to the Australian wine industry, reports The Shout.

Victorians dominate Rutherglen Wine Show
Victorian wineries have dominated the medals at one of Australia's major wine shows, Rutherglen. The 123rd Rutherglen Wine Show drew 250 entrants from around the nation with 1950 red and white table wine, and sparkling entries. The show was held last week in conjunction with the 2nd annual Australian Fortified Wine Show. A total of 23 senior and associate judges assessed the wines over six days, at a rate of 2500 glasses a day, reports Weekly Times Now.

Buyers' market in rural Nelson (NZ)
The Nelson rural property market remains subdued with virtually no takers for horticultural blocks and vineyards, but signs of renewed interest in pastoral properties. At least 10 vineyards and wineries are on the market in the region, as the industry retrenches after several years of over-production and poor returns. However, the only sale recently has been one of four blocks offered by contract grapegrower Golden Hill Estates, which has grown rapidly since starting up in 2002, reports Nelson Mail.

Don Kavanagh: Cheap ... but not nasty (NZ)
I've been drinking a fair bit of red wine recently, mostly as a result of the weather. Now, although I've been a long-time fan of New Zealand reds, I'm also a staunch defender of the much-maligned Aussie red. Certainly local reds are lovely and the popularity of Pinot Noir and Syrah is down to much more than clever marketing; the good wines are exquisite. However, we are in danger of overlooking some great reds from across the ditch as a result of our burgeoning parochialism, writes Don Kavanagh in The New Zealand Herald.

Bay Syrah gains sommelier praise (NZ)
A leading wine and spirits director for a chain of hotels across Britain has described Hawke's Bay-produced Syrah as "a new world classic in its own category". Ronan Sayburn, a master sommelier with the luxury Hotel du Vin Group, was one of four renowned experts who visited a string of the region's wineries last week as well as experiencing a regional tasting presentation put on by Hawke's Bay Winegrowers. Along with Australian sommeliers Andrew Phillpot, Patrick White and Matt Swieboda, Mr Sayburn toasted the region's Syrah, calling it "fantastic" and "very well made", reports Hawke's Bay Today.

Hand-picked grapes 'compulsory' for Burgundy wine (France)
The makers of the most expensive Burgundy wines have changed the rule book to make grape-picking by hand compulsory in bid to defend the region's age-old traditions. The domains, who say machines damage taste and are bad for vines, want other top Burgundy wine makers to follow suit, in view of a total ban in the region by 2014, reports The Telegraph.

Nederburg auction sees rise and record (South Africa)
Prices rose and a new record was set at this year's Nederburg Wine Auction, which was marked by renewed interest in South Africa’s old and scarce red and fortified wines. Receipts at the 37th annual sale, held in Paarl on 16-17 September, were up 8% on last year to ZAR6.1m (£488,512) but, with about 19% fewer cases on offer, average prices soared by 30%. Nigerian businessman and wine importer Obi Josephat Ndibe set a new record price for a South African wine when he paid ZAR68,000 (£5,445) for a six-bottle case of Monis Collectors Port 1948, reports Decanter.

U.S. wine drinkers root for home team (US)
Domestic table wine sales are trending ahead of 2010 in the United States, and a paper in the current issue of the Journal of Wine Economics indicates that even five years ago, New Hampshire consumers showed a distinct bias in favor of domestic wines over international competitors, reports Wines & Vines.

St Hugo to showcase Barossa (video)
Jacob’s Creek gave a sneak preview of its new St Hugo range extension on Friday in the Barossa Valley. Wine media tasted back vintages spanning from 1996 to 2009 of the Jacob’s Creek St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, which is due to be joined by a Barossa Valley Shiraz, a Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro and a South Australian Shiraz Cabernet under the St Hugo label. The 2008 St Hugo Shiraz and the 2010 St Hugo Grenache Shiraz Mataro are scheduled to be released within the month and have an RRP of $49.99, reports The Shout.

Wine becomes people’s choice (US)
Social media is changing business and sweeping aside the traditional gatekeepers that have been responsible for formulating customers’ opinions. Addressing this year’s Nederburg Auction, US wine blogger David White commented that soon wine consumers would not turn to eminent wine critic Robert Parker or international magazines to determine if a wine was worth buying. They would turn to each other – and whether it is through internet sites or their local specialist wine shop, tomorrow’s consumers would neither want nor need global arbiters of good taste, reports IOL Lifestyle.