Yarra Valley company Seville Estate win winery of the year award

Seville Estate has been named Winery of the Year at the 2019 Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

Wine expert James Halliday presented the award at a ceremony in Melbourne, in early August.

Each year Halliday and a tasting panel determine the best from a pool of several thousand featured in the annual Halliday wine companion guide.

In addition to the Winery of the Year award, Seville Estate’s 2017 release includes 10 wines awarded with 95 points or more including its signature shiraz, pinot noir and chardonnay ranges.

READ: Victoria’s wine industry gets a $2 million boost from the government

Chief winemaker and general manager Dylan McMahon said he was honoured to accept the award.

“Seville Estate has been consistently producing great wines ever since my grandfather Peter McMahon first planted the vineyard. I feel the success is attributed to a combination of factors, location, vine material and a good understanding of the vineyard that can be translated into the winemaking,” he said.

“My grandmother Margaret chose this site for its sheer beauty and it was Pete’s drive and determination to make great cool climate wines from it. Our team work hard to ensure this vision continues,” said McMahon.

The Seville Estate 2017 wine release was produced from 26 acres of estate vineyard and will be released on allocation from the 5th of October 2018.

An hour’s drive from Melbourne, Seville Estate is located in the foothills of Mount Dandenong at the start of the Yarra River.

The winery has a recently refurbished cellar door, onsite accommodation and a weekend restaurant providing lunch and dinner.

Wine of the Year was awarded to 2017 Duke’s Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling, produced in Great Southern WA.

Winemaker of the Year went to Julian Langworthy of Deep Woods Estate in Margaret River, WA.

The Best Value Winery of the Year award went to Provenance Wines in Geelong, Victoria.

Best New Winery was awarded to Mewstone Wines, Tasmania.

Dark Horse Winery of the Year was awarded to Principia, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.

Photo: from left, Andrew Peggie, Jarrod Johnson, Dylan McMahon from Seville Estate.

Victoria’s wine industry gets a $2 million boost from the government

Victoria’s wine industry has received a $2 million boost from the government through the third round of the wine growth fund.

Member for Buninyong, Geoff Howard, represented minister for agriculture and regional development, Jaala Pulford, on the 30th of July, to announce the extra funding and expanded guidelines for the fund.

Howard said the wine industry contributed more than $7.6 billion to the economy.

“[It] employs more than 13,000 people in grape growing, wine making, cellar door sales and hospitality operations – that’s why we’re investing in its future.”

READ: Four of the five largest markets for Australian wine exports have grown in value

The fund aims to develop and sustainably grow the wine industry in Victoria by providing innovative growers, organisations and projects with money to build both domestic and international markets.

It supports activities including marketing, exporting, tourism and business development.

Funding guidelines have been altered so infrastructure projects that attract significant investment and create new jobs are eligible for grants of up to $100,000.

The first two rounds of the fund supported 106 projects worth nearly $2 million in Victoria.

These projects have created new jobs in the wine industry, generated an increase in visitation to Victoria’s wineries, and increased sales and exports of Victorian wines.

Pulford said the government was proud to announce a third round of this program.

“Victorian winemakers produce beautiful wines for every occasion, taste and price and we’re supporting them on the world stage and closer to home.”

Applications are open to businesses or organisations from all wine regions in Victoria directly involved in the wine industry, including the growing, making and marketing of wine.

Four of the five largest markets for Australian wine exports have grown in value

Four of the largest markets for Australian wine exports grew in value and volume in the 2017/18 financial year.

At $2.8 billion, the value of Australian wine exports has seen the largest growth in 15 years. This is a 20 per cent growth.

But, of the five largest markets, the only one not to grow in value and volume was the US market.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the strong growth in the value and volume of Australian wine exports is very welcome, but the challenges and opportunities for the sector were very clear.

READ: Wine Australia to invest $67.8m in ambitious agenda for coming year

“USA is the world’s largest wine market and Australia has the opportunity to capture more of the premium end of the market as American consumers trade up to higher priced wines,” said Clark.

Australia had been strong in the commercial half of the US market, as 54 per cent of the US off-trade volume was wines under US$8 per bottle, but this market was shrinking, he said.

American consumers are transitioning from commercial wines to more premium wines.

“The premium end of the USA wine market is enjoying robust growth, as are Australian exports in nearly all price points above $10 per litre. We’re working to accelerate this growth in demand through a marketing push supported by the Australian government’s $50 million export and regional wine support package,” said Clark.

An inaugural Australia Decanted event was launched at the end of July, at Lake Tahoe, California.

“This four-day wine education program is immersing 100 key influencers, from the USA in Australia’s diverse and thriving wine scene, to raise awareness of the breadth of Australia’s fine wine offering and the perception of the Australian wine category in the USA,” said Clark.

“Australia Decanted will become Wine Australia’s signature annual event in the USA and will be followed by Aussie Wine Week, in September this year, and Aussie Wine Month in September 2019,” he said.

Despite challenges in the US market, there was an increase in the average value of bottled
exports shared by 69 of the 127 destinations for Australian wine, with demand for premium
Australian wine in Northeast Asia being the biggest contributor to value and volume growth.

The growth in exports was driven by a 15 per cent increase in active exporters compared to the previous 12 months, with 2298 exporters shipping 23,761 unique products. Of these exporters, 1616 either started exporting or grew the value of their exports, contributing $653 million to the growth in overall export value.

Sydney Royal’s Grape, Grain & Graze Festival to ignite wine-lovers’ taste buds

People can keep warm in this winter with the Grape, Grain and Graze wine festival in Sydney.

The festival, formerly known as the Sydney Royal Wine Experience, will showcase hundreds of wines.

But it’s not only for wine lovers. There will be Sydney Royal award-winning beers and ciders as well.

Experts will be on site to explain why these beverages are considered the cream of the crop.

READ: First sweet wine symposium held at Margaret River, Australia

All this with Sydney Royal award–winning food and music to match.

Each of the 2300 wines are judged in the annual KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show just days earlier. Ticketholders can then make their own judgements.

Industry judges will be on hand to answer questions and guide people’s palates around the stunning array of drinks on offer.

Sydney Royal Wine committee chairwoman Sally Evans said nowhere else in Australia would people be given this sort of opportunity to taste a vast array of award-winning wines, beers, ciders and produce.

“This is a once a year experience, offering extraordinary value for money, which brings the public into direct contact with the very best Australia has to offer from the land. These producers take extreme pride in what they create, and for the public to be able to enjoy these offerings on such a grand scale and all in the one location is a real treat,” said Evans.

“Whether you are seeking a fun afternoon out with your girlfriends, your partner or a group of mates, our team at Sydney Royal has every base covered for you,” she said.

The event will be held on the 11th of August at Sydney Olympic Park.


First sweet wine symposium held at Margaret River, Australia

Australia’s first sweet wine symposium will celebrate the diversity of sweeter style wine varieties produced in Australia.

The symposium is being held on the 20th and 21st of October in the Margaret River region.

The inaugural event is taking place at Happs Wines, kicking off with an event that will feature 20 sweet wine tasting stations located throughout the winery.

Styles include Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris and Late Harvest.

READ: Riesling back on top at 2017 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show

There’s a chance to meet with winemakers and marketing experts on the Sunday.

People can also participate in a masterclass and discover the evolution of sweet wines in Australia.

The weekend program will be rounded off with a lunch paired with sweet wines – showcasing the many flavours that can be matched with these styles.

Organisers hope the event will increase awareness and acceptance of sweet wines to the greater wine loving community.

Happs Wines manager, Leah Clearwater, said she was surprised there was no other event like it in Australia.

“I believe this will bring sweet-wine-lovers out in numbers and we look forward to joining with other Aussie producers to reveal some of the incredible sweet wines being produced out there,” she said.

Sweet wines can be enjoyed with a variety of foods, including with a spicy curry, or with cheese and crackers.

It is hoped the symposium will help consumers reconnect with Australia’s sweeter wines, which are seeing good growth in both the domestic and international retail markets.

Brown Brothers Milawa assistant winemaker and brand ambassador, Katherine Brown, said it was a great initiative to ensure that sweet wines were taken seriously.

“Of course, we can still drink them for the good fun that they are but understand that it takes a lot of time and skill to make this style of wine,” she said.

“One of the bestselling white wines in Australia is a Moscato style wine and this fact is overlooked by many of the industry as it is not taken as a serious wine. Bringing industry and consumers together to discuss and enjoy these wines is going to be a fabulous event for all that get involved,” said Brown.

Entry to the event costs $30, which includes branded glassware and the chance to give a People’s Choice vote for each category.

Dalefold Wines’ licence suspended for exporting unapproved products

Australian company Dalefold Wines has had its licence to export grape products from Australia suspended.

The Board of Wine Australia suspended the licence in late-July after discovering the company was exporting grape products that were not approved by Wine Australia.

While the suspension remains in place, Dalefold Wines may not export wine from Australia.

Wine Australia is seeking further information from Dalefold Wines before deciding the length of the suspension and considering whether the licence should be cancelled.

READ: Wine Australia to invest $67.8m in ambitious agenda for coming year

Wine Australia last cancelled a licence in the 2015-16 financial year.

Wine Australia found out that Dalefold Wines exported three grape products from Australia for which an export certificate was not in force.

By doing so, Dalefold Wines contravened section 44 of the Wine Australia Act 2013 and the Wine Australia Regulations 2018.

The company also engaged in activity that aimed to leverage from the reputation of another wine brand in China through causing consumer confusion.

This was done to the extent that it could affect the export trade in all grape products from Australia by diminishing consumer confidence in the integrity and authenticity of Australian grape products in China.

It could also cause harm to the reputation of all Australian grape products, relations with importers, current promotional strategies or the marketability of Australian grape products relative to competitors.

Changes to the Wine Australia Regulations 2018 earlier this year mean that other exporters may not export wine on behalf of Dalefold Wines now that its licence has been suspended.

Wine Australia acts to protect the reputation of Australian wine by regulating export shipments, conducting audits of wine producers and ensuring the truthfulness of claims made on Australian wine labels in both the domestic and export markets.

There are currently 2298 active licensed exporters.

Wine cannot be exported from Australia without an export licence issued by Wine Australia, which has the power to suspend or cancel licenses when necessary.

Australian grape and wine tech receives $9 million partnership boost

Wine Australia and the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) have signed a $9 million co-investment research, development and extension (RD&E) agreement to develop new technologies and provide practical information to growers and winemakers to increase profitability and competitiveness, as well as improve environmental sustainability.

The NWGIC, is an alliance between Charles Sturt University (CSU), the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the NSW Wine Industry Association.

The strategic partnership agreement will fund research projects that align with Wine Australia’s Strategic Plan and RD&E priorities and have been developed in consultation with the wine sector in New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria and with the NSW DPI.

Wine Australia will contribute $2.5 million, Charles Sturt University (CSU) will contribute $4.1 million (cash and in-kind) and NSW DPI $2.4 million over the next five years. The projects will:

  • determine the thresholds for botrytis and other bunch rot contamination of grapes, and conduct a feasibility assessment of the most appropriate practices to manage faults in wine when bunch rot thresholds are exceeded
  • develop a decision support tool and a field-tested smartphone app for assessing fruit volume and predicting optimal harvest date
  • develop a smartphone app for on-the-spot nutrient assessments and diagnosis of nutritional disorders in the vineyard
  • explore the potential for controlling berry acidity in the vineyard through the addition of minerals such as calcium and magnesium in fertiliser to decrease additional intervention in managing acidity when making wine, and
  • develop recommendations on how to tailor sulfur dioxide and ascorbic acid use based on wine compositional parameters.

‘We are delighted to partner with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre to deliver some outstanding practical tools and outcomes for our sector over the next five years,” said Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark.

“This agreement with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre reflects our united commitment to finding effective solutions to improving the competitiveness of Australia’s grape and wine community. We would like to thank all of those who participated in the development of these projects to help us ensure the timely delivery of relevant and valuable outcomes for our sector.”

“This research is based on meeting the needs of industry and aims to deliver practical information and innovation to make Australia’s wine industry more profitable and sustainable to support thriving rural communities,” said NWGIC Director, Professor Leigh Schmidtke.

This agreement is the fourth in a series of bilateral partnerships between Wine Australia and major research institutions under a new research and development funding framework that aims to allow the Australian grape and wine community’s research partners to be better able to make strategic investments and plan for the future, maintain technical capabilities in key areas, and have greater flexibility to pursue promising research results within an overall agreed framework.

Roadshow success for Oz wines in China

Australian wineries have been making the most of the China Roadshow to the four cities of Shenyang, Jinan, Wuhan and Shanghai (4–11 June) and packing their programs with extra customer engagement activities in the four cities and beyond.

Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, said, “China is an incredibly competitive market and it’s been great to see wine exporters out in force using Vinexpo Hong Kong and China Roadshow as platforms to showcase their quality brands.”

Wine Australia’s Regional General Manager for China, David Lucas said, “We’ve had a record 71 exhibitors showcasing more than 150 brands and 700 wines in this year’s Roadshow, assisted by support from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.”

‘We’ve had a busy eight-day program and many companies have been using the opportunity of being in market to organise meetings and events around the Roadshow, while others have been visiting extra cities to build relationships with clients old and new,” he said.

Making the most of being in market are Guy and Liz Adams from Brothers in Arms in Langhorne Creek. They have added side trips to Shenzhen, Tianjin and Changzhou to their itinerary over the last week.

“The timeframe is tight but with good planning you can create opportunities to both cement existing relationships and nurture new ones. And with the infrastructure in China – especially the fast trains – you can reach many cities quickly and efficiently,” Guy Adams, managing director, said.

Sharon Bosveld, Proprietor of Churchview Estate in Margaret River, added trips to Guangzhou both before and after Roadshow. She said, “After the event, it is worth investing extra time in following up on leads and contacts. Time in the market is invaluable.”

Chester Osborn, Chief Winemaker and Viticulturist at d’Arenberg Wines in McLaren Vale added Harbin, Jinzhou, Hebei and Beijing to d’Arenberg’s itinerary. He said, “The Roadshow is a great springboard to reach all parts of China. We’ve visited north, central and east China and have been blown away with the interest and excitement in our wines from long-standing and new clients.

“We have a strong focus on education and bringing to life the story of McLaren Vale and d’Arenberg. We take every opportunity to engage with our customers and build deeper relationships,” Osborn said.

Ben Crossing, general manager of Angullong Wines in Orange has also visited Beijing. He said, “It’s a great opportunity to use the time to connect with your customers through dinners and other tasting events. Building and maintaining relationships is key in this market.”

Innovative wine research centre to future-proof Australia’s industry

Supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and based at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus, the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production will undertake research aiming to build the sustainability and competitive edge of Australia’s $5 billion wine industry.

In establishing the centre, researchers consulted widely with producers, suppliers, industry bodies and other researcher agencies to identify research priorities.

Centre Director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, who is also Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide, said the research projects would help industry respond to the challenges of climate extremes, diseases, spoilage, water limitations and quality losses.

“We will also be helping industry increase profitability through the production of sought-after, distinct wines that fetch higher prices, and more efficient wine-making processes,” Professor Jiranek said.

“For example, one project will aim to characterise the distinctive flavours of Australia’s Cabernet Sauvignon wines, focusing initially on the Coonawarra region.

“We want to determine how pragmatic and cost-effective vineyard practices can change grape composition to meet consumer preferences, whether in traditional Western or booming Asian markets.”

Other projects aim to develop strategies for meeting quality and yield targets despite environmental challenges; better understanding, detecting and controlling disease, spoilage and wine taint; and developing and adapting new technologies to reduce waste and cost, and drive profitability.

The University of Adelaide’s Waite campus is part of Australia’s largest wine research hub in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, which also includes the Australian Wine Research Institute, CSIRO and the university’s teaching winery.

A secondary ARC Training Centre node will be established at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen said the centre built on a long history of wine research and multi-agency collaboration at the Waite campus.

“This is a perfect example of how our university can leverage research strengths and intellectual capability to meet industry needs, which will brings economic benefits for the state and the nation,” he said.

Launched today by Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham, the centre is being backed by an A$4.46 million government grant.

Minister Birmingham said the centre further cemented Adelaide as Australia’s wine capital.

“Spanning the entire product chain—from grape-growing to the consumer—this training centre will continue to be critical to improving the competitiveness and viability of Australian wine production in the long-term,” he said.

“World first research and technological breakthroughs in the vineyard, winemaking processes, marketing practices and even bottle closures have helped make Australia a world leader, but it is essential that we invest and train to stay ahead of our many global competitors.”

A key objective of the centre is to train the next generation of wine scientists and researchers focused on industry outcomes.

Partner organisations include: NSW Department of Primary Industries, VA Filtration, CSIRO, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Coonawarra Grape and Wine Inc., Australian Genome Research Facility, Australian Wine Research Institute, E&J Gallo, Chalmers Wines, Charles Sturt University, Wine Australia, Availer and Lallemand Australia.

Premium wine business course to be launched at Vinexpo

Two of the world’s great wine regions have come together to offer a high-end business course spanning two continents.

The 10-day Business of Wine course will give industry professionals access to some of the leading minds in Adelaide, Australia, and Bordeaux, France.

The course is the result of collaboration between renowned wine industry educators the University of Adelaide and the KEDGE Wine and Spirits Academy in Bordeaux.

The 10-day course was launched today, 29 May, at the Vinexpo in Hong Kong.

Course participants will spend five days in each region where they will be given exclusive access to vineyard tours and master classes led by chief winemakers. Alongside this, a tailored academic program will cover subjects such as research and development, global market insights, wine marketing, and consumer behaviour.

Bordeaux is probably the most famous wine region in the world while Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is within an hour’s drive of globally renowned regions Barossa, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.

Adelaide joined Bordeaux as a Great Wine Capital in 2016.

“This unique and immersive program has been designed to allow people from all over the world to learn from the experiences of experts from two of the world’s greatest wine regions,” said University of Adelaide Wine Business Program Director Marni Ladd.

“Participants will learn from the best academics and business leaders not just about the science of wine, but also about future challenges in the wine business.”

The program is a direct result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Adelaide Business School and KEDGE Business School last year.

KEDGE Wine and Spirits Academy Director Professor Jacques-Olivier Pesme said France and Australia’s winemaking histories and experiences were different but very complimentary.

“As such, the experiences, practices, and technologies of these two regions provide different perspectives which are among the most successful ones in the world of wine,” he said.

“This polarity is what make this program so unique; a truly holistic learning experience.”

Australia is the world’s fifth largest wine producer and the second largest exporter to China, behind France. South Australia produces about 50 per cent of Australia’s wine and is home to leading brands including Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, Hardys Wines and Wolf Blass.

Expressions of interest are being sought for the inaugural course, which will likely be held in Adelaide in November 2018 and Bordeaux in May 2019.

The new course was launched at a Vinexpo event attended by wine business leaders, industry bodies, dignitaries and the Great Wine Capitals Global Network community.

Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018, involving the participation of both the University of Adelaide and KEDGE, is the most influential wine and spirits trade fair in Asia. This year, the fair celebrates Australia as the ‘Country of Honour’.

Speaking at Vinexpo, Australian Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the course would take advantage of existing and emerging market opportunities.

“Australian wine producers have never been so connected with the world as the global demand for our wine only grows,” Senator Ruston said.

Rabobank appoints new horticulture and wine analyst

Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has announced the appointment of Hayden Higgins to head up its horticulture and wine sector research. 

Higgins joins the bank’s food and agribusiness research team from his role as major agribusiness manager with Rabobank New Zealand.

General manager of RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Tim Hunt said the new appointment was an opportunity to take advantage of Mr Higgins’ extensive knowledge of the horticulture and viticulture industries.

 “Over the past 15 years in his career in rural banking, Hayden has worked extensively across a range of industries, but has had particular exposure to both wine and horticulture,” he said.

“Since joining Rabobank in 2010 in the Hawkes Bay region, he has worked closely with some of the largest and most complex wine, horticulture and other agribusiness clients in the North Island and has built a substantial in-depth knowledge of these key industries in this time.”

 Higgins has also served as chair of Rabobank’s NZ horticulture strategy team since 2014.

Based in Hastings on New Zealand’s North Island, Mr Higgins will cover the horticulture and viticulture sectors for the bank in both Australia and New Zealand.

New wine platform aims to forge bonds between consumers and winemakers

Twenty Five Doors is a technology solution empowering wineries to easily create, market and deliver accessible and unique wine experiences at their cellar door. The purpose isn’t to ‘educate’ but rather to create a personal connection between every wine lover and their favourite wineries. Wine education is, ironically, the by-product.

Through the integrated planning website, launching this month with the Yarra Valley, Twenty Five Doors brings together the wine experiences available from wineries in a region in one place. It allows the wine lover to select and self-discover the wines and wine experiences that are on offer, and plan an itinerary to get the most out a particular region that suits their tastes.

The platform has an unique mapping feature which allows consumers to create, for free, personalised self-guided itineraries of wine regions selecting wineries which match their tastes and interests. The itineraries help all wineries to be discovered by visitors, especially the smaller wineries that don’t have marketing budgets to promote themselves widely. The wineries get qualified customers delivered right to their cellar door.

There is no cost for wineries to be listed on Twenty Five Doors. Instead, consumers pay an annual membership fee and wineries pay a small booking fee only when visitors book an experience.

As a member, consumers get access to unique and exclusive experiences at wineries so they can get the best from their travels. There are no more hours of researching, driving around in circles or standing in the wineries waiting for the next small taste of wine.

“Twenty Five Doors is a major step forward to providing scale to the hundreds of wine makers across Australia. It will allow them to focus on what they do best, make great wine and deliver a growing audience of informed, interested wine lovers to their cellar door and to their business,” said Australian wine authority Peter Bourne.


$7.4 million investment boost for international wine tourism

Wine regions across Australia stand to benefit from a $7.4 million investment boost for 21 international wine tourism projects, including $2.8 million from the International Wine Tourism Competitive Grants Program – a component of the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, said the response to the competitive grants program had been positive, with regional communities banding together to submit exciting wine tourism projects for their districts.

‘Our regions have really embraced the opportunity to expand and enhance Australia’s diverse and unique wine tourism experiences.

‘It’s about growing the reputation of Australia’s food, wine and tourism experiences.

‘Together with targeted marketing campaigns in China and the USA, the grants are creating a platform for the commercial success of our local brands and investing back into local jobs’, she said.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the 21 successful wine tourism projects will diversify our wine tourism offering and create a lasting impression of Australian wine, in terms of visitor enjoyment and satisfaction.

‘It is important for the growth and success of our wine regions that we deepen engagement with international tourists and these successful projects will help attract more visitors to experience Australia’s wine offering’, he said.

Reborn TPP good news for Australian wine and cheese makers

The Trans Pacific Partnership has been reborn as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Matthew McDonald examines the new agreement and what it means for our food and beverage industry.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which originally was to include 12 Pacific nations, seemed dead in the water early last year when the then newly elected President Donald Trump declared that the US would not be involved in the deal.

However, at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January, the 11 remaining nations –  Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei – agreed to a new deal known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Then in March, all parties signed the deal (which is also being called TPP-11). Broadly, it cuts tariffs and puts in place common laws and regulations. It is a framework under which separate 18 new bilateral deals between participating countries will sit. Australia, for example, has made new deals with Canada and Mexico.

What’s in it for Australia

From an Australian perspective, farmers and the service sector are the big winners.

In terms of agriculture, our beef exports to Japan (which were worth $2 billion in 2016-17) will be boosted by tariff reductions; and there will be new access for dairy products into Japan, Canada and Mexico.

In addition, Australia will have new access into the Japanese, Canadian and Mexican sugar markets; and there will be an elimination of all tariffs on sheep meat, as well as an elimination of many tariffs on seafood and horticulture.

Also, our cereals and grain exporters will gain new access into Japan. Significantly, for the first time in 20 years, this will include rice products.


However, agriculture isn’t the only winner. The CPTPP will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in the free trade area. Australian cheese makers, for example, can look forward to the scrapping of a range of tariffs into Japan which currently cover over $100 million of trade.

Also, Australian wine makers, who were already on a high following the recent release of record-breaking export figures for 2017, will further benefit from the news that the CPTPP will see the elimination of tariffs on wine. CEO of Wine Australia, Andreas Clark told Food & Beverage Industry News that the two core benefits for the sector are reduced tariffs and a specific annex for wine and spirits.

“The annex is an exciting part of the partnership as it provides an opportunity to remove a range of technical barriers that can impact our exports. All the parties involved in the CPTPP have agreed on a cooperative framework to remove some of these barriers, which will help streamline trade,” he said.

“The Australian grape and wine community has seen many benefits from our existing free trade agreements with the USA, Japan, Korea and China – among many others – and the CPTPP may allow additional benefits to flow back to grape and wine businesses across the country.”

Clark’s positive reaction was echoed across Australian industry.

“The deal covers 11 nations that together constitute around 30 per cent of the global economy, and four of Australia’s top 10 export markets for food and beverages. The economic weight of the TPP and common set of rules established among 11 countries will greatly support Australian food exporters, providing Australian jobs and economic growth,” said Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) CEO Tanya Barden.

She pointed out that the deal will result in greater alignment and harmonisation across the region on regulation and behind-the-border trade issues and added that this is particularly relevant to the food industry, which generally face onerous import controls that differ from one nation to another.

“The parliamentary process for reviewing international trade agreements will provide an opportunity to review the TPP agreement in great detail. At the forefront of that review must be the promotion of jobs, investment and growth for Australia’s economic prosperity,” said Barden.

What are the negatives?

While the Opposition has been mostly positive about the deal, sections of the Labor Party claim some Australian workers could suffer as a result of the CPTPP. They say the establishment of labour market testing for any foreign workers are crucial. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called for the Productivity Commission to conduct an independent analysis of the deal first. He said that if modelling shows the deal is good for the nation and Australian jobs, Labor would back it.

One important feature of trade deals not often noted by the lay person is the fact that they aren’t all about free trade. They are also investor rights agreements. As such, the deal includes an investor-statement-dispute-settlement mechanism (ISDS). This has raised fears that, as the result of the CPTPP, corporations could sue the Australian Government if Australian laws adversely affect their performance. Many point to Philip Morris suing the Australian Government for introducing plain cigarette packaging as an example of what could happen.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo responded to the fears by saying Australia will retain the right to make its own legislation and that the fears were unfounded.

Scholarships set students on course for vintage careers

Thanks to a donation from Casella Family Brands, four University of Adelaide students are pursuing their dreams of careers in the wine industry.

Edith Parsons-Lucas, Benjamin Jones and Lucas Allen have been awarded undergraduate scholarships worth $15,000 each to support them in the first year of their studies, and Lukas Papagiannis will benefit from an honours scholarship worth $5,000. 

This is the first year the scholarships have been awarded. A total of $180,000 over three years will support new students.

“Thanks to the generous support of Casella Family Brands, aspiring grape growers and winemakers from outside Adelaide, or those who would not otherwise be able to afford the cost of studying and living in Adelaide, will be able to pursue their passion,” says Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology at The University of Adelaide’s Waite campus.

Lukas Papagiannis will use his scholarship to support himself while focusing on the final year of his studies.

“What sparked my interest in winemaking was a love for chemistry and a need for a mobile career path not limited to one corner of the globe,” says Mr Papagiannis.

Edith Parsons-Lucas, has worked in the industry for four years but unlike many of her colleagues, she can now undertake formal studies.

“I am now realising my dream of studying wine-making. I am concerned about the long-term effects of climate change on the wine industry and I want to play a part in ensuring its future,” says Ms Parsons-Lucas.

Benjamin Jones moved from Victoria as he feels Adelaide is the best place to learn his craft.

“I was attracted to studying at the University of Adelaide as it has the best facilities and reputation. This scholarship has certainly helped me achieve my goals of studying with the best,” says Mr Jones.

Lucas Allen fell in love with the world of wine while working overseas in the hospitality and retail industry.

“All the lecturers have been very welcoming. They make us feel that if we believe in ourselves and do the hard yards, we can succeed in our dreams whatever they may be,” he says.

 “There are intensive overseas study tours as part of my course that I can now take that I could not otherwise have afforded without this scholarship. I hope that one day I can shake Mr Casella’s hand over a glass of red and tell him personally how much this has made a difference to my university life,” says Mr Allen.

“Casella Family Brands has always championed excellence in grape growing and winemaking ever since the 1950s,” says John Casella, Managing Director of Casella Family Brands, Australia’s largest family-owned winery and makers of world-renowned wines which include yellow tail.

“These scholarships will encourage students to excel in their studies and plant the seeds for the future of young grape growers and winemakers.”

Higher wine prices do not discourage investors – report

With current tight global inventories, higher prices are now assumed and accepted by buyers, while innovation in wine is increasing, according to a new report.

Rabobank’s latest Global Wine Quarterly report also found that bBeverage categories are blending and demand for organic wine is growing, even if this has taken longer than initially anticipated. These are just some of the trends observed at the world’s leading wine and spirits trade fair, Dusseldorf’s ProWein 2018, and outlined in the report.

Australian wine exports in 2017 reflected the sharp increase in sales to China, with China now outpacing the US to be the largest buyer of Australian wine in value terms. Exports of bulk wine contracted, with the exception of sales to China, while exports of bottled wine to Europe – UK, Germany, The Netherlands, and Sweden – saw a positive trend that more than offset the slightly weaker bottled sales to North America.

Australian exports to the US were up by 24 per cent in volume in 2017, driven by an 89 per cent increase in shipments of bulk wine, with bottled wine down by six per cent. Bulk wine export volumes to the US are quickly approaching those of bottled wines and the change in the mix is having a clear impact on the average price per litre.

Across the board, Australian wine exports increased by 9.4 per cent in volume terms and 16.7 per cent in value in 2017.

Entering the harvesting period for the southern hemisphere, bulk wine prices remain high after having steadily increased in the last months of last year. The report says tight availability is likely to prevent any correction in the near future, and although larger volumes are expected in various markets (South Africa being the key exception), this is not enough to move the market back to balance.

From a M&A perspective, the recent acquisition of Accolade Wines by US private equity group P.E Carlyle for AUD1billion reflects investor interest in the wine industry and the growth potential of the Chinese market, with rising exports of Australian wine to China.

Winemaker announces Graduate Program Intake

Pernod Ricard Winemakers has announced its 2018 Graduate Program Intake, a program intended to open up a world of wine to the next generation.

Since 2015, the Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Graduate Wine Ambassador Program has opened doors for young professionals who are keen to pursue a future in the international wine industry. Over the past three years, the company has placed 25 Graduate Wine Ambassadors in 14 countries, guiding them on a journey to some of the most famous and stunning wine regions in the world.

The program itself is broken up into two stages, each offering the graduates a unique insight into the world of wine, and the Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ portfolio. Once selected for the program, participants are invited to undertake a four-month training program that sees them introduced to all aspects of wine, including tasting and viticulture, and to have the opportunity to visit wineries and vineyards across Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the USA. To ensure that the business is supporting leaders of the future, graduates are also mentored in business and professional skills, receiving training in finance, marketing, consumer insights and business development to prepare them for a multitude of roles across then business.

“Through this program, graduates are provided with the opportunity to focus their natural talents and passion for wine while securing a strong development career path in the second largest wine and spirits organisation in the world.” says Alicia Partridge, Pernod Ricard Winemakers Graduate Program Manager.

“Our Winemakers and team are proud to be sharing our knowledge, instilling a love of wine and winemaking, and to also be attracting young talent to our diverse industry. Our Graduate Wine Ambassadors are advocates for wine right across the world.”

Following the initial introduction to the Pernod Ricard Winemakers business and its wine labels, graduates then progress to the next phase of the program, commencing their in-market placement. Completed over a two-year period, this stage of the program provides the graduate with a holistic view of Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ global operations, establish opportunities for continued learning and development opportunities, as well as providing the graduates a personal introduction to the global Pernod Ricard Winemakers family.


Adelaide Hills wineries head to Surry Hills

More than 25 Adelaide Hills wineries will descend on Winebar One in Sydney’s Surry Hills on May 8 for three hours of tastings and masterclasses.

With around 70 wines on offer, the trade will be able taste their way through the 70km stretch of the Adelaide Hills from sparkling wine and gruner veltliner, to shiraz and pinot noir, experiencing the best of the Adelaide Hills.

A trade tasting hosted by the winemakers will run from 2-5pm while three masterclasses will run consecutively from 3-5pm. Places to the following masterclasses are limited and must be booked in advance by emailing wine@liquidideas.com.au.

The winemakers attending include Murdoch Hill’s Michael Downer, crowned the nation’s best emerging talent at the 2017 Young Gun of Wine awards, along with Adelaide Hills’ royalty Andrew Hardy (Petaluma, pictured), Adam Wadewitz (Shaw + Smith) and Tim Knappstein (Riposte) among others.

Situated just 45 minutes outside of Adelaide, the Hills is home to every winemaking approach and philosophy and is currently seen as Australia’s hottest region at the moment.

The Hills Heist event is aimed to reflect the diversity of the region with Adelaide Hills’ originals and household names including Penfolds, Henschke and Shaw + Smith standing alongside The Pawn Wine Co, Nepenthe and Hahndorf Hills, producers of the Austrian variety, Gruner Veltliner, which has found its home in Australia in the Adelaide Hills.

Other Adelaide Hills specialties to discover include sparkling wine, Mediterranean varieties and cool new shiraz.

Attending wineries include:

Anderson Hill; ArtWine; Barristers Block; Bird in Hand; Chain of Ponds; Deviation Road; Elderslie; Elysian Springs; Fox Gordon; Golding; Hanhdorf Hill; Henschke; Howard Vineyard; Lobethal Road; Longview; Mike Press Wines; Mt Lofty Ranges; Murdoch Hill; Nepenthe; Paracombe; Penfolds; Petaluma; Red Heads; Riposte; Sew & Sew; Shaw + Smith; Somerled; The Lane Vineyard; The Pawn Wine Co; Tomich; Wicks Estate



Top international visitors experience Australian wine regions

April is proving to be one of the busiest months ever for immersive wine tours due to additional funding through the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, with Wine Australia hosting more than 30 international wine professionals this month.

The groups of journalists, sommeliers, wine buyers and wine influencers from China mainland, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States (USA) are in Australia to gain first-hand experience of the unique regions that help make Australian wine so special.

Across five visits, guests are meeting producers face-to-face and sampling wines over tastings and master classes in regions including the Adelaide Hills, Hunter Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Macedon Ranges, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Margaret River. These visits build their knowledge and confidence to become ambassadors of Australian wine.

Visitors are also exploring wines from Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra, Limestone Coast, Tasmania, Canberra, Tumbarumba, Orange, Mudgee and New England at centrally held master classes, allowing them to explore more regional expressions within the limited time of their visit.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the visits give guests insight into the history of Australian wine, modern innovations and our food and wine culture.

“Wine Australia hosts more than 140 visitors each year – bringing influential members of the international wine trade and media to our wine regions to help them discover the people and places that influence the unique characteristics of Australian wine,” he said.

“With the support of the $50m Package, we’re able to amplify the Australian wine experience for many visitors and ensure that they return home with a refreshed perspective of our wines that can be shared with trade, media and consumers in-market.”

Chinese Sommelier Arneis Wu of two–Michelan starred restaurant, L’atelier de Joel Robuchon took part in this year’s China Vintage trip and said the visit provided insight into Australian wine and wine culture.

“The trip is a very good chance to get to know the wine people here, to understand their hardworking and innovative spirits, along with their winemaking philosophy.”

On the wine varieties, he said ‘It’s really rare to find back vintage Semillon in China and during the visit I saw the potential aging of the grape variety, which has quite a different aroma, creaminess and roundness after ageing compared with a young one.

“We also came across grape varieties like Grüner Veltliner and Sangiovese, and wines made from 100% Pinot Meunier from Yarra Valley, which demonstrate the diversity here, as well as the climate, the soil and terroir,” he said.

Sylvia Wu, web editor from Decanter China said she is most surprised with the various expressions and styles of the more familiar varieties, such as ‘the elegant and vibrant Cabernet and Shiraz/Syrah in Yarra Valley, also the incredible complexity of aged Semillon from Hunter Valley.

“I think the diversity is the most exciting element of Australian wines. The trip has been deeply educational for me as we were able to gain visual and sensual experience with the “terroir” of these legendary New World wine regions. The trip will certainly help me to talk and write about Australian wines with deeper understanding and personal interest,” she said.

Australian wine exports setting new records

Australian wine exports continue to set records, with a new high for the average value of bottled wine exports of $5.74 per litre and exports to China (including Hong Kong and Macau) increasing by 51 per cent for the year to March 2018 to reach $1.04 billion – a first for exports to a single country – according to data released by Wine Australia today.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the 12 months to March saw exports increase by 16 per cent in value to reach $2.65 billion – the highest value in a decade – and volume also increased by 10 per cent to a near-record level of 844 million litres or 94 million 9 litre case equivalents.

Clark said as value growth outpaced volume growth, the average value per litre of all Australian wine exported increased by 5 per cent to $3.14 per litre.

The value of bottled wine exports increased by 15 per cent to $2.15 billion, the highest value since 2009.

The average value of bulk wine also increased, by 8 per cent to $1.05 per litre, the highest value since 2009.

Higher value wine exports grew substantially with exports of wine above $10 per litre reaching a new peak of $779 million for the year to March 2018.

Clark said the high quality of Australian wine plus historically low Northern Hemisphere harvests were driving the demand for Australian wine exported in bulk containers, leading to growth in both volume, which grew by 10 per cent to 462 million litres, and the total value of exported bulk wine, which grew by 19 per cent to $486 million.

“Every country in Australia’s top 10 bulk wine destinations recorded an increase in average value, especially Germany, the largest importer of wine in the world, where average values for bulk wine increased by 20 per cent from $0.87 to $1.05 per litre,” said Clark.

He explained that wine exports to China had grown as wine tariffs had dropped again in January 2018, in line with the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The tariff would be removed completely in January 2019, providing Australian wine exporters with a competitive advantage over key producers such as France, Italy and Spain.

“Mainland China has now overtaken the USA to become Australia’s second largest export market by volume. Pleasingly there was very strong growth at all price points as imported wine becomes more approachable and is increasingly consumed by middle-class drinkers and seen as suitable for consumption at informal gatherings and while relaxing at home.”


Clark said that while the commercial end of the USA market was in decline, contributing to the drop in volume, there had been strong growth in the premium sectors. For wines $10 per litre and over, the strongest contribution came from the $30–49.99 segment, which increased in value by 25 per cent to $5 million.

According to IRI Worldwide, in 2017, Australian sales in the USA off-trade market declined by 1 per cent in value but there was strong growth in two price segments. At US$8–11.99 per bottle, Australian sales doubled while at US$20–24.99 per bottle grew by 22 per cent.

Exports to the United Kingdom (UK), Australia’s largest export destination by volume, increased in value by 9 per cent to $373 million and in volume by 8 per cent to 241 million litres. Average value increased slightly by 1 per cent to $1.55 per litre.

In the UK off-trade retail market Australian sales increased by 2 per cent in value in 2017, maintaining the nation’s long-held number one position in the UK retail market according to market data analysts, Nielsen.

On the domestic front, Australian wine sales in the off-trade retail market increased by 3 per cent in value to $3.5 billion in the 12 months ended 4 March 2018, with the strongest growth occurring in the $15–30 per bottle segment according to IRI MarketEdge.

Clark said excellent vintage conditions in Australia would sustain the sector’s growth as the relatively cool, dry summer had produced high-quality grapes and winemakers are excited about the exceptional quality of the 2018 vintage wines.

“Wine Australia is already reaching out to producers to remind them that now is the time to set their vineyards up for an outstanding 2019 vintage.”