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Wine News

Algae to fight mildew and grey rot

Algae may be the next tool in managing moulds and mildew in the vineyard, especially for organic and biodynamic growers.
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The commonly used cure for mildew and botrytis bad rot or grey rot has always been copper based solutions, however several organic and biodynamic producers are worried about the steady build up of copper in the vineyards. It now appears that Atlantic algae may be a solution instead. Engineer and oenologist Laurent de Crasto has been working with Lionel Navarro, a researcher at France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), to test a treatment using powdered Atlantic algae. The results look good for mildew with 100% efficiency, while for botrytis it is 50% efficient.

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Hail netting finally approved for use in France

Hail netting ban has been lifted to the relief of many growers after it was found not to influence the climate below the netting.
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Decades after the rest of the world introduced hail netting, France has accepted it as suitable for AOC wines. The concern with netting is that it may change the climate in the canopy. But the study by the INAO claims that “very limited influence on the mesoclimate of the vine and does not artificially modify or change substantially the fundamental characteristics of the local area in question”.
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Wine Australia cracks down, banning Ozzy wine for export

For first time Dalefold wines has been banned from exporting its wines over concern its branding may be confused with Penfolds.
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Wine Australia has for the first time used an export control order to ban the export of wine by a Chinese-owned Australian winery, meaning they are no longer licensed to export Dalefold branded wines to China. The concern was that the logo and label design may have been confused with Penfolds, the iconic Australian brand. The decision came just three months after Wine Australia was given the power to ban exports that they found were counterfeit or copycats.
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The 6 week heatwave has been great for the UK wine industry, both in the vineyard and the pubs

The hot weather and the Fifa World Cup has encouraged drinkers, while in the vineyard the weather has given a cracking start to the growing season.
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The UK's 6 week heatwave has been great for the UK wine industry, both in the vineyard and in the pubs.

Hot weather and the Fifa soccer world cup has resulted in an increase in wine consumption. Waitrose claimed that Champagne sales by volume were up by 49% year-on-year, with sparkling wines up 53% year-on-year. Wine merchant Corney & Barrow reported a '13% increase in sales' while Majestic claim Rosé sales are up by 28%. Restaurants are the only negative with sales in the UK down in June by 1.8% compared to last year, losing out to the pub trade.

Frazer Thompson, CEO of Chapel Down Wines in Kent, said the hot weather had resulted in near perfect flowering and according to Cherie Spriggs of Nyetimber, the higher daytime temperatures and plenty of moisture in the soils are the perfect growing conditions for their vines.

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UK Government Brexit Strategy could help larger wine companies

Brexit's 'trusted trader' proposal could make importing and exporting wine easier for larger UK wine companies.
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This week the British government has finally announced what Brexit actually means. Apart from Brexit meaning Brexit, it would appear Brexit means the Hokey Cokey, with one foot in and one foot out.

The Government's position is to offer a facilitated Customs Arrangement. This means importers into the UK could acquire trusted trader status, often known in Europe as Authorised Economic Operators status: those who can meet the stringent requirements will specify where the final goods are to be sold, domestically or EU. Goods for the EU will have to pay the EU taxes to the government in the UK which will be passed onto the EU. These operators will not need to be checked by customs when being re-exported into the EU, providing a friction-less trade.

For the wine world, large companies importing wines from Europe, will pay UK taxes, and wines exported to Europe from other countries will need to be tracked and duty paid to EU countries on arrival into the UK.

Obtaining a trusted trader status will not be straightforward but larger wine companies who run bonded warehouses will probably find that their systems and history with HMRC could make things easier.

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Top German producers introduce a new classification system for top end sparkling wines.

Germany's Verband Deutscher Prädikats (VDP) producers launch a new sparkling wine classification.

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Germans love sparkling wine, so much so that of the 2 billion bottles made in the world, approximately a quarter is consumed in Germany. Of this, 80% are made in Germany, according to wine critic Jamie Goode.

Now Germany's Verband Deutscher Prädikats (VDP) producers have launched a new range of sparkling wine classifications.

The VDP. Sekt classification demands that traditional bottle fermentation is compulsory for all four VDP categories for Sekt. Two of these — VDP. Gutsekt and VDP. Ortsekt must remain at least 15 months on the lees.

The single-vineyard categories VDP. Erste Lage and VDP. Grosse Lage Sekt, and all single-vintage Sekt expressions, must spend a minimum of 36 months on the lees.

Regulations are set for the alcohol content of the base wine and the grapes must be hand picked and must be derived from vineyards which belong to the VDP and are cultivated specifically for Sekt production.

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Also this month

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Wine is mainly sold in 750ml bottles but some producers are putting wine in 500ml bottles to share between two. Do you think smaller bottles are a good idea?