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News posted on Monday, 30 May 2011

Tax office sees red over wealthy wine company
Wealthy wine family the Tidswells are under investigation for allegedly avoiding tax on tens of millions of dollars worth of land and other assets. The Australian Taxation Office alleges the Tidswells undervalued the assets by $11 million when they wound up two family investment companies in 2007, potentially avoiding millions in capital gain tax, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Aussie wine for 'butcher's' arrest
For years two bottles of vintage Australian wine have sat in Serbian prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic's office. The bottles are unique - not simply for being in a European office far from Australia - but because on them they bear photos of war crimes suspects Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Gifts from former UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, the bottles of 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon were to be drunk when two of Europe's most-wanted men were finally arrested. Following Mladic's arrest this week, the bottles will finally be opened, reports AAP.

Wine industry collaboration 'will crack Chinese market' (NZ)
New Zealand's wine industry must mount a joint effort if it is to crack the Chinese market, an Australian consultant has told wine exporters. Frank Gibson, an experienced adviser to businesses entering China, told an Auckland workshop that New Zealand wine had enormous prospects, reports Business Day.

We're becoming premium drinkers (NZ)
Kiwis are drinking less alcohol but, despite the impact of the recession, we are drinking more premium brands. Statistics from Nielsen show spirit consumption has dropped most dramatically since 2007, followed by beer, then wine. Ready-to-drinks are the only beverage that has shown a slight increase in the numbers, reports Sunday Star Times.

When is the right time to sell? (NZ)
When to release wines to the marketplace can be a vexed decision for winemakers, but is primarily driven by two things – when is it ready and how much of the previous vintage do we have left? Some varieties need to be aged a little before consumers get to taste them, Chardonnay and most red wines in particular, reports The Nelson Mail.

Supreme award to Villa Maria Chardonnay (NZ)
The highest vineyard in the district, located on the foothills of the Gentle Annie, is once again part of a winning formula and its viticulturist is “over the moon.” Villa Maria’s Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 last night took out the supreme wine of show at the inaugural Gisborne Regional Wine Awards last Friday night, reports The Gisborne Herald.

Chateau Latour, Chinese art snapped up in $106M Christie’s Auction (China)
Chinese buyers spent HK$821.2 million ($106 million) on vintage bottles of Chateau Latour and modern paintings at the start of a week-long Hong Kong auction. The three-day total was an increase of about 40 percent on equivalent auctions last autumn. The weekend event raises the chance that the series - including gems, watches, Chinese ceramics and classical paintings - will beat an estimate of HK$2.4 billion, which would be a record for Christie’s International, reports Bloomberg.

Wine industry aims to attract more Latinos (US)
Research shows that wine consumption among Latinos has dramatically increased in the last few years, and wine makers are taking notice. Part of what's pushing the increase in consumption is sheer demographics, with Hispanics accounting for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade. Another factor is a cultural shift among the more established Latino generations, reports Bloomberg.

South Africa's Klein Constantia sold (South Africa)
Klein Constantia, one of South Africa’s most historic estates, has been sold. Owner Lowell Jooste has entered into an agreement to sell the estate to Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman, a pair of investment bankers affiliated with the Dutch-based BXR Group. The purchase price was not disclosed, reports Wine Spectator.

Internet gives wine auctions new wrinkle (US)
Wine, around since the Stone Age, is now slowly catching up with the Digital Age. In recent years, a number of famous auction houses, including Sotheby’s and Christie’s, have been experimenting with online bidding during their live sales of brands like Château Lafite Rothschild and Opus One. So far, the adoption of Internet bidding has been slow. But the gradual push to go online raises the question of whether it really matters where a wine auction takes place, even as some cities like Hong Kong vie to become global wine trading capitals, reports The New York Times.

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President’s Medal judges visit Yalumba winery
Judges in the 2011 President’s Medal will today tour the Yalumba Wine Company in the Barossa as part of their search for Australia’s finest producer. The South Australian winery is among several finalists in the running of this year’s President’s Medal Competition, for its 2009 FSW8B Botrytis Viognier. The winner, to be announced in July, will take home $10,000 and the silver Heritage medal.

KI wine makers feel left out
The Kangaroo Island Grape Growers and Winemakers Association says the island's wine industry is losing out, because of a lack of marketing and recognition. The island was officially declared a wine region in 2000, reports ABC Rural.