Final week for entries to Sydney International Wine Competition

Wineries have one more week to enter the 38th Sydney International Wine Competition – the only international wine show that judges all its finalists in combination with appropriate food.

Entries need to be submitted by Friday 22 September. Competition entry is eligible from wine producers from around the world, with entries capped at a total of 2000 wines to ensure the most rigorous judging process.

Already, wineries from a record 13 countries have submitted wines, with all the major wine-producing countries represented, along with smaller producers such as Greece, Israel and Turkey. This year, entries have included 57 individual grape varieties, another record.

Judging will take place from 9 – 13 October, and provisional award and trophy winners will be notified by the end of October.

Online entries can be made via the competition’s website www.top100wines.com, which contains full details of the judging criteria and judges’ comments on all award winners from the 2017 competition.

With no minimum production requirements, this show is particularly applicable to experimental and small makers to test their wines alongside wines from major producers.

This year’s competition will be judged by an international panel of fourteen highly experienced and credentialed judges which includes five Masters of Wine, with Kym Milne MW returning as Chair of the judging panel.

New judges to the competition are Mike DeGaris, Corey Ryan, Natasha Hughes MW, Matthew Deller MW and Tan Ying Hsien MW, who qualified as Singapore’s first-ever Master of Wine in 2015.

They join returning judges Kym Milne MW, Stuart Halliday, Sue Bastian, Warren Gibson, Brent Mariss, Ken Dobler, Meg Brodtmann MW and Oliver Masters.

Renowned Chef Michael Manners will once again develop menus for the final rounds when wines are tasted “with appropriate food”.

Increase in alcohol consumption for the first time in nearly a decade

New IBISWorld research has shown that the amount of alcohol consumed per person in Australia each year has increased for the first time in nine years, bucking a trend that has seen a steady decrease since 2006-07.

“The amount of pure alcohol consumed by each Australian over 15 years of age has increased from 9.52 litres in 2014-15 to 9.70 litres in 2015-16,’ said Mr James Thomson, IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst. ‘IBISWorld research shows per capita alcohol consumption is expected to reach 9.72 litres in 2017-18. It’s an interesting result as we are seeing lower consumption rates among young adults, those aged 15-24.”

Burgeoning beer

IBISWorld research found beer consumption was the driving force behind the recent rise in per capita alcohol consumption.

“Beer consumption is expected to rise from 3.76 litres per capita in 2014-15 to 3.86 litres in 2017-18. IBISWorld attributes this growth to the rising popularity of craft beer,” commented Mr Thomson.

The Australian craft beer production industry is expected to grow at an annualised 9.7% over the five years through 2017-18, outperforming the beer manufacturing industry, which is expected to grow at an annualised 2.1% over the same period.

“Craft beer’s popularity has been driven by consumers seeking variety and quality. An increasing number of small-scale craft breweries are opening to take advantage of changing consumer tastes, contributing to the expanding range of beers available in liquor retailers. Consumption of low-strength beer remained unchanged in 2015-16, while mid- and full-strength beer consumption grew,” said Mr Thomson.

Cider’s success

Cider’s popularity has increased strongly, with per capita consumption expected to grow at an annualised 13.3% over the five years through 2017-18. However, this segment still accounts for a small portion of total alcohol consumption.

“Cider has grown in popularity due to its image as a refreshing alternative to beer, aided by savvy marketing and promotion. Conversely, per capita spirits and RTD consumption has declined over the past five years,” said Mr Thomson.

Per capita wine consumption is expected to decline marginally over the five years through 2017-18. According to IBISWorld research, the declining popularity of fortified wines, particularly among younger consumers, has contributed to this decline. Wine consumption as a share of total per capita alcohol consumption has increased over the past decade, and is expected to represent 37.7% of total per capita consumption in 2017-18.

“Despite a decline in per capita wine consumption in Australia over the past five years, IBISWorld research highlights the growing popularity of Australian wines abroad. Strong export growth, particularly to Asia, is expected to drive the wine production industry’s performance over the next five years,” said Mr Thomson.

Alcohol’s future fortunes

IBISWorld’s research found rising health consciousness, increased taxation of alcohol and anti-alcohol advocacy have contributed to a long-term decline in per capita alcohol consumption over the past decade – and that these factors will continue in the future.

Despite a long-term decline in alcohol consumption, a rising consumer preference for quality over quantity has contributed to consumers spending more on alcohol. Many participants in the sector have enjoyed revenue growth, tapping into the trend towards the ‘premiumisation’ of alcoholic beverages.

“Consumers are increasingly seeking artisanal and high-quality beverages, while also looking for authentic experiences, such as visiting small breweries, distilleries and cellar doors. This trend has contributed to strong revenue growth for many small-scale alcohol producers, such as craft breweries and boutique wineries,” said Mr Thomson.

“IBISWorld expects per capita alcohol consumption to continue its long-term trend and decline over the next five years. Increasing health consciousness and lower consumption rates among younger consumers are expected to contribute to this decline,” concluded Mr Thomson.

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Drinkers want to know who makes their beer – study

An Australian study of 17,000 craft beer drinkers has revealed that ownership matters when it comes to beer selection, with a strong preference for independently owned breweries.

Created by craft beer retailer Beer Cartel, the 2017 Australian Craft Beer Survey is the most comprehensive, publicly available, study ever undertaken with Australian craft beer drinkers.

According to the research, 64 per cent of respondents said they want to know who owns the beer they’re drinking and 99 per cent said they are happy to buy craft beer from an independent Australian owned brewery. In contrast, just 23 percent of respondents said they are happy to buy craft beer from a large multi-national company.

In addition, 82 per cent of respondents indicated that an independent brewers seal would have a medium to large impact on the craft beer they purchase.

Respondents voted Pirate Life Australia’s best craft brewery, ahead of Feral Brewing which took out the top position in last year’s study.

Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel said the findings were a reflection of the attitudes of those who purchase craft beer.

“Craft beer is an artisanal product that is produced by skilled workers using the best ingredients possible. There is a story behind the beers and the brewery that makes them. Independent ownership is a part of this story that drinkers buy into,” said Kelsey.

“We’re seeing consumer backlash when small breweries sell out to a large corporations worldwide. An Australian example was the displeasure voiced when Perth’s Little Creatures was bought by Lion in 2012. As a result these findings are not altogether surprising, but the difference in willingness to buy craft beer from an independent brewery compared to a large corporation is.”

Chris McNamara, Executive Officer at the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) of Australia said that the study was a great way to better understand consumer perceptions towards the Australian craft beer industry, particularly around the topic of ownership.

“Earlier in the year we made a change in our constitution to only allow breweries that were independently owned. This change was made to support our member base and the objectives of the association, but it is also refreshing to see that consumers share the same viewpoint”, said McNamara.

Cerise Pink Gin by Bass and Flinders Distillery

Back by popular demand after a successful small scale trial of the product in May, Bass and Flinders Distillery will officially release Cerise Gin in time for Spring on Tuesday 12 September.

Cerise is a contemporary gin with subtle hibiscus and orange blossom aromas blended with cherry and raspberry flavours. A playful spirit reveals a balanced velvety finish with a subtle sweetness reminiscent of Turkish delight. Just right for a Gin and Tonic at a fun Springtime garden party or other celebration.

The delicate pink blush of Cerise Gin comes from a unique infusion of cherries and raspberries. Cerise Gin has been made in small batches to yield the best quality spirit that celebrates ingredients from local farms on Red Hill. All gins by Bass and Flinders are handcrafted from grape based spirit.

“Using grape spirit for gin provides another dimension to the gin’s botanicals and adds to the, texture, viscosity and flavour of the spirit.  This, combined with seasonal produce, produces extraordinary spirits,” said Wayne Klintworth, head distiller of Bass and Flinders Distillery.

Cerise gin can be purchased through the distillery’s cellar door or via the website for a limited time.

Bass and Flinders Distillery was founded in 2009 on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. An artisanal distillery, Bass and Flinders Distillery targets a niche market of gin lovers who appreciate seasonal and harvest products such as our Winter gin, Truffle gin & Truffle vodka and our Angry Ant gin.

Bass and Flinders produce grape spirit using a traditional Alembic Pot Still to create a range of eclectic gins and award winning spirits and liqueurs including Vodka, Limoncello, Grappa and of course our outstanding five-year aged brandy, Ochre.

Image: Katherine Jamison Photography

A lesson in Australian wine for international students

More than 150 international university students studying in Adelaide experienced a taste of Australia last week at the Australian Wine Showcase 2017, held at the National Wine Centre of Australia.

The seventh annual Australian Wine Showcase was a collaborative event, with Wine Australia, Study Adelaide, the National Wine Education and Training Centre and National Wine Centre of Australia introducing the students to an impressive range of Australian wine and familiarising students with producers from more than 20 Australian wine regions.

Wine Australia Head of Market, Asia Pacific, Hiro Tejima, said the Australian Wine Showcase was an interactive opportunity for students from across the world to taste wines from different Australian wine regions, in their host city.

“International students to Australia are curious about all aspects of life in their host country, including its food and wine culture. We hope that the Showcase inspires the students to learn more about our wine regions and to share their appreciation for our wines with their families and friends,” Tejima said.

Study Adelaide Chief Executive, Karyn Kent, said the students greatly valued the opportunity to learn about Australian wine in a fun, yet safe and responsible environment.

“Access to great food and wine is one of the best things about living in Adelaide. We’re pleased to partner with Wine Australia on the Australian Wine Showcase 2017, as it’s a great way to introduce this special part of the Adelaide lifestyle to international students in a fun, informative and responsible way. It is our hope that the Showcase will develop their appreciation for Australian wine and create a lifelong connection with and passion for the state,” said Kent.

At the free event, students discovered wines from more than 20 regions across Australia, including classic Australian wine styles and alternative varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino and Nebbiolo.

The international students attending this year’s Australian Wine Showcase were from 30 different countries including from some of Australia’s largest wine export markets, such as China where Australian wine exports increased in value by 44 per cent to $607 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2017.

CUB extends partnership with NRL

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and the National Rugby League (NRL) have announced a new partnership, taking the relationship into its 19th year.

The elevated partnership includes CUB becoming the official beer and cider partner of the Kangaroos and Jillaroos Australian representative teams; and CUB becoming the official beer and cider partner of the Holden State of Origin series.

Under the agreement the VB Friday Night Football partnership will also continue.

CUB’s VP of Marketing, Richard Oppy, was pleased to reaffirm CUB’s long-term sponsorship of rugby league in Australia.

“CUB has a long association with rugby league in Australia and we’re proud to be continuing to develop world class fan engagement initiatives to support this great and iconic game,” Oppy said.

NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said the NRL and CUB partnership would continue to deliver great outcomes for two of Australia’s most iconic brands.

“CUB has been a supporter of rugby league and its fans over many years and we thank them for a partnership that is extending to be one of our longest standing,” Abdo said.

“We look forward to even greater opportunities together in the years ahead.”

 

Coopers releases 2017 Vintage Ale

A new combination and hops and enriched malt flavours are the key characteristics of 2017 Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale.

The release of Vintage Ale is an annual event in the liquor trade and wider beer industry and is being celebrated this year with special evening launches in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

While hops remain the cornerstone of the 2017 Coopers Vintage Ale, this year brewers have revised the grist recipe, the first change in a decade.

Coopers Managing Director and Chief Brewer, Dr Tim Cooper, said the new grist recipe included a special blend of caramalt to provide a distinctive crimson red colour and a full bodied taste rich in malty, honey and dry nutty characters.

“The caramalt contributes well to the balance of bold malt flavours and the softness of a fine and creamy head,” he said.

“Vintage Ale is known for its bold and robust selection of hops and this year we have chosen the new bittering and aromatic varieties Denali and Calypso, which deliver a delicate spectrum of fruity aromas, with pineapple and pear characteristics alongside pine and citrus notes.

“Last year’s Vintage used a combination of Astra, Melba, Northern Brewer, Styrian Goldings and Cascade.”

Dr Cooper said the 2017 Vintage had a bitterness of 50 IBU that was expected to carry well as the beer matures.

The beer retains an alcohol level of 7.5 per cent ABV, which will also help with the maturation process.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said only a limited number of kegs and cartons would be made available and Vintage Ale lovers were encouraged to plan their purchases early.

“This is one of the few beers on the market that is designed to age and is unique in Australia,” he said.

The 2017 Extra Strong Vintage Ale is the 17th in the series that goes back to its launch in 1998. It will be available in key venues in August.

Record demand for wine and spirit education in Australia

New figures from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) reveal that demand for wine and spirits education is higher than ever both in Australia and globally.

WSET, the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines and spirits, is reporting a record 85,487 candidates taken globally in the academic year finishing 31 July 2017, an increase of 19 per cent on last year, marking 15 years of growth. The UK continued to lead the global table with candidate numbers up 14 per cent to 19,401 with Mainland China and USA following closely behind, while Australia moved up from 8th to 7th place seeing 27 per cent growth in candidate numbers compared to the 2015-16 academic year.

As more and more consumers seek to learn more about wine and spirits, the need for more knowledgeable staff is rising, encouraging professionals to pursue accredited qualifications and hospitality businesses to prioritise formal training to cater to customers’ discerning tastes.

Top 10 WSET Markets for the Academic Year 2016/17 (growth from previous year):

  1. UK (+14%)
  2. Mainland China (+41%)
  3. USA (+48%)
  4. Canada (+4%)
  5. Hong Kong (+16%)
  6. France (+32%)
  7. Australia (+27%)
  8. Taiwan (+5%)
  9. South Korea (+13%)
  10. Switzerland (+11%)

Looking Ahead

In the last year, WSET expanded its global reach with the opening of its first international office in Hong Kong and launching courses in new markets including Czech Republic and Montenegro. WSET welcomed over 100 new Approved Programme Providers and there are now 750 Providers offering WSET courses to wine, spirits and sake consumer enthusiasts and trade professionals in over 70 countries. In Australia, 26 Approved Programme Providers now offer WSET courses.

This year, as the USA remains a strong region for growth across the wine, spirits and sake arenas, WSET will be cementing its presence in the market with the appointment of a dedicated team on-territory that will nurture its potential.

The new academic year will also see the release of the freshly updated Level 2 Award in Spirits and the availability of a full suite of printed materials for the Level 3 Award in Sake.

 

Western Australian grain growers break into Asian beer market

The CBH Group joins Interflour Group in celebrating the opening of the US$70 million Intermalt facility in Vietnam providing Western Australian grain growers with direct access to the Asian beer market.

CBH Chairman Wally Newman and Chief Executive Officer Andy Crane attended the ceremony together with directors and senior leaders including Interflour Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Greg Harvey, Intermalt General Manager James Kirton and representatives from the Vietnamese government.

Mr Newman said CBH’s involvement in downstream grain processing, through its 50 per cent shareholding of Interflour, had diversified the co-operative’s income stream and resulted in increased market opportunities for Australian grain.

“CBH’s investment in Interflour 12 years ago was ground breaking and today’s opening of the Intermalt facility in Vietnam marks a new phase of growth for the business as it moves into barley processing and expands across South East Asia,” said Newman.

“It will be a new chapter for Western Australian barley growers who now have direct access to Vietnam’s burgeoning beer market – the fastest growing beer market in Asia.”

Mr Newman said over the past harvest growers delivered 1.5 million tonnes of malt barley into the CBH receival network and the facility provides a new market for growers.

As part of the final commissioning phase, Intermalt has already purchased 42,000 tonnes of malt barley, with 32,000 tonnes coming from the Kwinana and Albany port zones of the Western Australian grain belt.

Intermalt is located in Cai Mep, Vietnam, and will be the largest malting plant in South East Asia. It will have the capacity to produce 110,000 tonnes of malt a year and will service major brewers in the region including Heineken Vietnam.

“Not only is the Intermalt infrastructure impressive, but so too is the growth and opportunity it affords our growers, our businesses and the Asia Pacific region as a whole,” Mr Newman said.

“Our current and future growers can look forward to benefiting from Interflour’s expansion and this new venture generating value that we can then return to them a number of ways including through our investment rebate.”

Heineken Vietnam Corporate Affairs Director Matt Wilson said, “Heineken Vietnam always seeks to use local suppliers where possible in order to drive jobs and wealth in Vietnam”.

“Our preference for local sourcing has seen us contribute around 0.75 per cent of Vietnam’s total GDP and support nearly 200,000 jobs in Vietnam,” he said.

“Because of this, we are very happy to see Intermalt entering the local market with the potential to supply us with locally produced malt in the future and increase our contribution to the Vietnamese economy.”

Newcomer surprises at the CBIA Craft Beer Awards 2017

After only four months on the market Philter XPA Draught has taken out Best Pale Ale at the 2017 CBIA Craft Beer Awards in Adelaide.

Hitting locals in March this year, the XPA was the first release for the young Sydney brewing company that sets itself apart with its late 1980’s Australiana aesthetic and distinctive can design.

In her many years in the industry, Head Brewer Samara Füss has collected loads of national and international awards, but this is her first individual Champion win. “I’m absolutely stoked. I am so proud of this beer, it’s everything we wanted for our first release so it’s a sweet win,” Füss said.

Füss crafted the XPA as a naturally cloudy ale with tropical fruit aromas and a refreshing hop flavour. It’s already an easy-drinking hit and is all set to be a summer session favourite. New warm-weather releases are in the pipeline, too, so watch this space.

“We know it’s a great beer and it’s been really well-received so far, and Sam is a bloody great brewer, so part of me was quietly confident. But we’re so new, we thought it was a massive long shot,” said Sales and Marketing Director, Stef Constantoulas.

 

Entries open for 38th Sydney International Wine Competition

The 38th Sydney International Wine Competition – the only international wine show that judges all its finalists in combination with appropriate food – has opened for entry.

Entries are eligible from wine producers from around the world, with entries capped at a total of 2000 wines to ensure the most rigorous judging process.

Last year’s Competition attracted the most diverse range of entries in the competition’s history, with wines entered from 13 countries, representing over 100 different grape varieties.

Wineries have till 15 September to enter the competition, with judging to take place from 9 – 13 October, and provisional award and trophy winners will be notified by the end of October.

Online entries can be made via the competition’s website www.top100wines.com, which contains full details of the judging criteria and judges’ comments on all award winners from the 2017 competition.

With no minimum production requirements, this show is particularly applicable to experimental and small makers to test their wines alongside wines from major producers.

This year’s competition will be judged by an international panel of fourteen highly experienced and credentialed judges which includes five Masters of Wine, with Kym Milne MW returning as Chair of the judging panel.

New judges to the competition are Mike DeGaris, Corey Ryan, Natasha Hughes MW, Matthew Deller MW and Tan Ying Hsien MW, who qualified as Singapore’s first-ever Master of Wine in 2015.

They join returning judges Kym Milne MW, Stuart Halliday, Sue Bastian, Warren Gibson, Brent Mariss, Ken Dobler, Meg Brodtmann MW and Oliver Masters.

Renowned Chef Michael Manners will once again develop menus for the final rounds when wines are tasted “with appropriate food”.

Competition Director of the Sydney International Wine Competition, Brett Ling, said the Competition continued to attract national and international attention because of the relevance of the judging process to consumer tastes.

“Recent Competition results have shown that some of the best performing wines are also amongst the best-value wines, reflecting the industry’s move towards food friendly wines of balance and harmony at all price points,” said Ling.

“For most consumers, wine is best enjoyed with food, and so judging wines with food, in the right environment, is the best way to ensure that wine show awards are relevant for consumers. Warren Mason founded the Sydney International Wine Competition on that premise, and the tradition continues under our long-standing Chairman of Judges, Kym Milne.”

Owner denies closure of iconic XXXX brewery

Japanese beverage company Lion has denied claims that the XXXX Brisbane brewery will be closing, following reports that the facility would be shut due to pay disputes.

Lion spokesperson Dan Holland has assured that the brewery will not be closing and is in fact looking to hire five more people.

“There are no job losses or changes,” he said in a statement, adding that the company was “actually hiring five more permanent people”, not firing workers.

“In fact, there will be pay offers on the table – on top of the best pay and work conditions in brewing in Queensland,” said Holland.

However, United Voice coordinator Damien Davies claimed workers at the Castlemaine Perkins brewery in Milton had received threats that the plant would close if negotiations to eliminate full-time jobs in favour of labour-hire, part-time and casual positions were not successful.

Referring to the five new positions which Lion has claimed to be hiring for, Davies has alleged that these are part-time positions which will replace full-time roles. He has called upon Lion to put its claims in writing and commit to full-time jobs in its Queensland brewery.

Indigenous beverage company launches Wattleseed Lager

Beer made with seeds from Australia’s floral emblem will be launched as the second product of an indigenous beverage company following the release of its green ant gin earlier this year.

Something Wild Beverages will officially release its Wattleseed Lager at an event in Darwin on July 4. The beer has been brewed in the Adelaide Hills in partnership with Mismatch Brewing Company.

The wattleseed is roasted and milled before being added to the brew towards the end of the mash.

Adding wattleseed to brews is not new, with other examples including Woolshed Brewery’s Judas the Dark from South Australia and the Coca-Cola owned Aus Beer Co’s Wattle Seed Ale.

Mismatch Brewing works in collaboration with Adelaide Hills Distillery and Hills Cider Company. The group’s Toby Kline said a few kegs of the Wattleseed Lager were already being poured at craft beer bars in Sydney.

He said wattleseed’s subtle nutty aroma and hints of chocolate and coffee when roasted were well suited to the brewing process.

“It’s a really crisp, clean lager with some secondary characteristics of honey and toasted peanuts on the back end,” he said.

“There’s a lot of interest in it but it’s very early days for the product.

“It’s currently a tap offer only but we’ll be going to a packaged format soon.”

Wattleseed has been part of the diet of indigenous Australians for thousands of years and was traditionally ground into a flour.

Adelaide-based Something Wild Beverages is a division of native food company Something Wild Australia, which specialises in sustainably sourced indigenous foods such as kangaroo, wallaby, magpie goose, native herbs and fruits.

Something Wild is majority owned by famous Northern Territory Australian rules football family the Motlops and is committed to promoting the ethical, sustainable and permitted use of native Australian ingredients.

The Wattleseed Lager launch at Skycity Darwin on July 4 will coincide with the Northern Territory launch of Something Wild Beverages.

“As an Indigenous-owned company it’s great to be able to come home and show people how we’re shaking up the Australian food and beverage industry,” said Managing Director and part-owner Daniel Motlop.

“By working with traditional land-owners we can create opportunities and outcomes for the Indigenous communities who not only harvest products, but also hold a wealth of knowledge about how to use them.”

Something Wild Beverages teamed up with Adelaide Hills Distillery in February to launch Australian Green Ant Gin, which features a “pinch” of green ants in each bottle in the same way worms are used in tequila to provide the finishing touch.

Mismatch brews out of the same facility as Adelaide Hills Distillery and Kline said more Something Wild beverages were on the way.

“If we can get them out before the end of the year that would be good but the demand for the Green Ant Gin has been quite high and hopefully the lager will go quite well,” he said.

“The satisfying thing about the gin is that most people said it was going to be a gimmick but the actual liquid inside the bottle is of such a high quality that it is ensuring it keeps going and we have also have that commitment to sourcing native botanicals using the permit system.

“Mismatch Brewing and Adelaide Hills Distillery are soon to commission their new plant so we should have plenty of capacity to start playing and creating some more beverages then.”

wattleseed

Challenging perceptions of Australian wine in Japan

Japan’s first Master of Wine Kenichi Ohashi shared his enthusiasm for the ‘New Australia’ with influential trade and media in Tokyo at a sold-out Wine Australia master class on 23 May.

The dynamic New Australia master class and networking event made a pivotal statement in one of Australian wine’s key markets, presenting new and unexpected elements of Australian wine to challenge perceptions and build enthusiasm for all Australian wine.

Last year, as a guest of Wine Australia, Kenichi Ohashi MW explored first-hand the new trends in Australian wine and met with Australian wine figures. His experience inspired him to convey the vision, dynamism and creativity of Australia’s wine community back to the Japanese wine trade.

“My visit to Australia last December was an eye-opening experience, which excited me but also humbled me about the need to always keep up with the fast changes that occur with Australian wine, said Kenichi Ohashi MW.

“I led the New Australia master class based on my convictions that understanding Australian wine is key for Japan’s wine professional community to become more international – a transition which many of us in Japan feel we need to achieve rather quickly.”

The New Australia master class was Wine Australia’s first paid-admission trade event in Japan and was sold-out with 100 wine trade and media guests in attendance.

The wines presented at the New Australia master class:

  • Clonakilla Canberra District Riesling 2008
  • Express Winemakers Great Southern Tempranillo 2016
  • Jauma McLaren Vale Pet Nat Chenin 2016
  • Jilly ‘Big Cats’ New England Touriga blend 2016
  • Koerner ‘Rolle’ Clare Valley Vermentino 2016
  • Mayer Yarra Valley Cabernet 2016
  • Rockford ‘Basket Press’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010
  • Swinging Bridge ‘#003 by Tom Ward’ Orange 2016
  • Thomas Wines Cellar Reserve ‘Braemore’ Hunter Valley Semillon 2010
  • Tolpuddle Vineyard Tasmania Pinot Noir 2015
  • Vasse Felix ‘Heytesbury’ Margaret River Chardonnay 2014
  • Yarra Yering Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Labelling plays significant role in wine choice – research

Research by the University of Adelaide has shown that consumers are much more influenced by wine label descriptions than previously thought.

A consumer study by wine researchers at the University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine has shown that far more than just influencing consumer choice, wine descriptions can alter consumer emotions, increase their wine liking and encourage them to pay more for a bottle. The study has been published in the journal Food Research International.

“Choosing the right wine at the point of sale whether in a wine store, in a restaurant or online can be a difficult task,” says project leader Associate Professor Sue Bastian.

“The importance of wine labels and label information has been widely studied and it’s been clearly shown that they represent useful information which influences consumer choice. Our study extends these findings, showing that wine descriptions also influence our whole wine consumption experience.”

“Cleverly written wine and producer descriptions when coupled with unbranded wine tasting can evoke more positive emotions, increasing our positive perception of the wine, our estimation of its quality and the amount we would be willing to pay for it.”

The researchers conducted a study with Australian white wines and 126 regular white wine consumers. The consumersevaluated the same set of three commercially available white wines (Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc) under three information levels: a blind tasting with no information; the provision of a basic sensory description; and provision of an elaborate/emotional description.

The presentation of more elaborate wine descriptions, which included information regarding winery history and positive wine quality statements, significantly increased the preference rating the consumers allocated to the wines.

Further to this, the results showed that if the expectations elicited by the wine description closely matched the actual liking from tasting, consumers felt far more positive emotions than if it didn’t meet expectations.

“These findings have important implications for wine producers and the hospitality industry in that descriptions require more than just wine tasting notes,” says Dr Lukas Danner, post-doctoral research fellow and first author on the study. “Companies could even consider involving consumers in label description optimisation.”

This research was funded by Australian grapegrowers and winemakers through Wine Australia with matching funds from the Australian Government.

Wine Communicator Awards open for entries

Entries are now open for WCA’s prestigious annual Wine Communicator of the Year Awards, which this year will be offered in 10 categories.

Following judges feedback in 2016, both the ‘Best Wine Book’ and ‘Best Wine Publication’ will this year be split in to two distinct categories, technical and trade, and consumer. A new category has also been developed for Best Wine Public Relations Campaign.

“We felt it necessary to split the two awards into different categories, to better reflect the technical and trade and consumer media industries,” said WCA National Chair Angus Barnes.

“The introduction of the Best Wine Public Relations Campaign Award also highlights the great work being produced for wine brands across the nation.

“We look forward to reviewing this year’s entries and the quality standard of work consistently being produced in the wine media industry.”

Entries are sought in the following categories, with the overall Wine Communicator of the Year selected from category winners.

  • Best Wine Book Award (Trade, Technical)
  • Best Wine Book Award (Consumer)
  • Best Wine Publication Award (Trade, Technical)
  • Best Wine Publication Award (Consumer)
  • Digital Wine Communicator of the Year Award
  • Best Wine Website or Wine App Award
  • Best Published Feature Articles or Column Award
  • Best Wine Educator Award
  • Best Public Relations Campaign
  • New Wine Writer of the Year

Entries close on Thursday 31 August 2017, with winners to be announced at a special presentation night in Sydney on Wednesday 1 November 2017, which will be sponsored by Riedel Australia.

The annual WCA Wine Communicator Awards recognise outstanding contribution to, and excellence in, wine communication in all its forms. In each category, a short list of finalists is reviewed and selected by the panel of expert judges. A winner is then chosen in consultation with WCA Board. The overall Wine Communicator of the Year is then chosen from the category winners.

 

Australasia Scotch Whisky market set to decline, Asia to grow

Australian craft scotch whisky makers would be wise to eye the Asian export market, as the latest Vinexpo report by the International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) predicts it will enter new growth after three difficult years.

Malt Scotch, benefiting from its craft and provenance credentials, will continue to erode share of premium blended Scotch, according to the IWSR, a London-based industry research group.

The report noted that a slowdown in North America, Russia and Australasia will drag down category performance, but strong growth in Asia and Latin America will bring overall year-on-year growth.

From their smaller base, malts are forecast to grow faster than blends.

The report noted that the higher price segments continue to gain market share. North America and Asia will see the fastest development of malt Scotch over the forecast period.

 

 

‘Ethical and sustainable’ Fair Açaí Liqueur

Fair, a sprits brand which markets itself as ‘socially responsible’, has unveiled a new liqueur made using açaí – a ‘superfood’ berry from the Amazon rainforest.

Fair Açaí Liqueur is made using açaí berries from the Amazon rainforest. This berry contains antioxidants, fibre and heart-healthy fats that are claimed to be good for the skin, hair and metabolism.

The sugar used in the liqueur is organically grown and sourced from a Fairtrade co-op in Malawi.

Essence of the berries is extracted through a maceration process. Then follows a slow and progressive reduction by adding the raw sugar juice and a Fairtrade neutral spirit. The water used is sourced from the Cognac region of France, where the liqueur is also bottled.

Açaí Liqueur will be launching at the upcoming Good Food & Wine Show in Melbourne on 2 June and distribution across NSW and VIC is underway.

One alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk

Drinking just one alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk, a new report by World Cancer Research Fund has revealed.

The report found strong evidence that drinking just the equivalent of a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer a day (about 10g alcohol content), could increase your pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and your post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9 per cent.

World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 12,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented in the UK each year if nobody drank alcohol.

This robust scientific report evaluated all of the research worldwide on how diet, weight and exercise affect breast cancer risk. It also found that vigorous exercise that increases heart rate such as cycling, swimming or running can decrease the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and both moderate exercise, such as walking, and vigorous exercise can decrease the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

In addition the report showed that being overweight or obese increases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. Being overweight or obese is also linked to several other cancers, including liver, pancreatic and bowel cancers.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK with over 55,000 new cases each year. It is responsible for more than half a million deaths worldwide each year.

The UK government recommends drinking no more than 14 units a week equivalent to seven drinks a week, spread across at least three days.

“To help prevent breast cancer, one of the most important steps women can take is to not drink alcohol or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink,” said Dr Rachel Thompson, Head of Research Interpretation at World Cancer Research Fund.

“Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise are also important for preventing breast cancer.

“It may be the most common cancer in women worldwide, but our evidence shows that there are steps that women can take to significantly reduce their breast cancer risk.”

Vic Govt confirms support for Victorian Liquor Subsidy

Wine Victoria has welcomed confirmation from the Victorian Government that the Victorian Liquor Subsidy (VLS – also known as the Cellar Door rebate) will remain intact and unchanged.

Wine Victoria Chair, Damien Sheehan said Victoria was now the only state with this level of industry support and was just another demonstration of how the Government was supporting Victorian winemakers and making sure Victoria was the best place to do business.

“Wine Victoria took a proactive role in engaging with Members of Parliament (MPs) and responsible departments on this issue,” Sheehan said.

“We wanted to make sure MP’s clearly understood how the rebate was being invested and the significant knock-on economic impacts – particularly in regional areas,” he said.

When reviewing the VLS, Wine Victoria engaged expert assistance to examine the subsidy and evaluate how the rebate was being used.

They found that subsidy recipients generated $680 million in gross state product annually and supported almost 5,000 ongoing full-time equivalent jobs (direct and indirect).

“This ongoing investment into cellar doors is so important – the Victorian visitor experience is often focused on big natural icons, but for a strong economic impact to be realised, providing access to value-add experiences such as an exceptional cellar doors is key,” Sheehan said.

“With the continuation of this subsidy, the Victorian wine industry looks forward to working in partnership with the Government on their tourism objectives by delivering first class wine experiences.”