Researchers aim to help Northern vineyards, winemakers improve quality with new grape (US)

Researchers aim to help Northern vineyards, winemakers improve quality with new grape (US)

Greenlee and his wife, Sue, fermented their first batch of Marquette two years ago, and they’ve been trading tips since then with peers in other cold states as they work to improve the quality of their wine. Now, they’ll get help from a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that has university researchers from a dozen states gathering information about cold-hardy grapes and teaching viticulturists and winemakers how to improve their products and market them to a wider audience, reports the Washington Post.

Minimum pricing will affect just 5% of wine (UK)

Just 5% of wines in the UK supermarket sector are selling below 40 pence per unit, according to the Wilson Drinks Report. The drinks industry analyst considered the impact of minimum pricing on a basket of 191 wines and sparkling wines in the six major multiple grocers and found only nine SKUs were selling at less than 40p per unit, or approximately 5%. Looking at the prices of these products in the same week the government announced its plan to impose a minimum unit price for alcohol in the UK, it appears the suggested 40p per unit would have little impact in the wine and sparkling wine category, reports The Drinks Business.

Excise tax illogical (NZ)

Excise on alcohol has been levied since 1868, so you would think anyone producing alcohol in any form would be used to it by now, but then, increases in the excise were linked to annual consumer price index (CPI) rises. Apart from the tax increases boosting the CPI, which in turn boosts the excise the next year like some demonic merry-go-round, it’s also a nonsensical, unfair and ignorant form of tax, writes Peter Morice in the Marlborough Express.

Grape crop down but hopes high for top quality wines (NZ)

Waitaki winemakers will have a later than usual harvest this year after enduring a cold wet summer. From late January in the Waitaki, it turned into a cold summer, making it a very difficult season for wine growers within the region, Waitaki Valley Wine Growers Association chairman Jim Jerram said. Winemakers are hoping for plenty of sunshine between now and harvest to allow the fruit to reach its full potential, reports the Central South Island Farmer.

Vintage quality looking ‘surprisingly good’ (NZ)

It’s been a battle against bad weather, botrytis and birds, but Nelson wineries remain hopeful of producing a better than average vintage as the grape harvest gets under way. With the season running two weeks behind after a cool summer, Waimea Estates was one of the first out of the blocks when it picked some of its early Sauvignon Blanc last week. It was followed by Seifried Estate which began harvesting its Pinot Noir yesterday, reports the Nelson Mail.

WA wine vintage shaping up to be a corker

Winegrape growers in the south west of Western Australia weren’t too positive about vintage after the early summer rain. But Mother Nature has pulled out the goods for a beautiful end to the season, reports ABC Rural. Viticulturalist at St Margaret’s Vineyard in Margaret River, Alex Scott, says harvest is plodding along well. “The season has ripened nicely, it’s looking like a pretty magic year for cool climate Cabernet,” he said. “We’ve harvested our Sauvignon Blanc, we’ll be harvesting Merlot next week and Cabernet is a week and a half away.”

Continental drift

“What a crock,” I thought as I sipped a Jones ’09 marsanne and chatted with the winemaker, Mandy Jones. Actually I was thinking: “Wow, what a croque monsieur.” I was enjoying the French bar staple with the equally delicious marsanne at Mandy’s winery cafe a couple of kilometres outside Rutherglen, in north-east Victoria. Jones worked in Bordeaux, France, for many years before returning to the family winery, and so had plenty of time to perfect this classic ham and cheese sandwich. Jones’s winemaking sensibilities have also benefited from her time in France, if the styling of her marsanne is anything to go by, reports the Australian Financial Review.

Winegrowers celebrate quality vintage

Winegrape growers in the Murray Valley are wrapping up what they say was an outstanding season for grape quality but one that has been down on size. Growers are reporting the harvest was down between 15 and 20 per cent but there was positive movement on prices for most varieties, reports ABC News.

Vine supply dries up for late-ordering growers (US)

After keeping their wallets in their pockets during the height of the recession, California winegrape growers are ready to expand their vineyards or replant existing ones. Everyone is hustling to get their vines in the ground by May. The problem: There is a shortage of vines. Nurseries got so slammed with orders from the big growers in the summer and fall that anyone who didn’t get in on the frenzy early is now grape out of luck, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Light and fresh styles on Pernod’s radar (UK)

Pernod Ricard is turning its attention to “premium light and fresh wines” on the back of recent sales figures that show the £6.50-£8.50 price bracket is the fastest-growing segment by value in the UK. The drinks giant believes this summer is set to be “an unprecedented season for sport and celebration” with the Queen’s Jubilee, The Olympics and the Euro Championships “serving as a huge opportunity for on and off-trade retailers”, reports Harpers Wine & Spirit.

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