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Wine News

China flexes muscle to put Australian wine producers under pressure

Importers of Australian wine are cancelling orders over confusion on whether Australian wine is banned in the country.
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Chinese importers of Australian wine are cancelling orders over confusion on whether Australian wine is banned in the country.

China has been displeased with Australia requests for a full investigation into the source of the coronavirus. Last week state-owned media and customs were warning of restrictions being imposed on goods, including wine, coming from Australia.

Tony Battaglene, chief executive of industry body Australian Grape & Wine told Harpers news “There has been no official confirmation of a ban, although the [Chinese] state-run Global Times reported that it was in place.” Battaglene said there were reports of importers telling exporters not to ship product until the situation is more clear.

This week's trade conflict is at odds with China who signed the world's largest trade deal with 14 other countries from the Asian and Pacific regions including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

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English Nouveau compètes with Beaujolais Nouveau

English Nouveau is being released by Sixteen Ridges Vineyard in Herefordshire and Hush Heath Estate in Kent at the same time as this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau.
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English Nouveau is being released by Sixteen Ridges Vineyard in Herefordshire and Hush Heath Estate in Kent at the same time as this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau.

Beaujolais Nouveau is usually the first wine released in France from this years harvest coming out on the 3rd Thursday of November. But this year two producers, Sixteen Ridges Vineyard in Herefordshire and Hush Heath Estate in Kent are also releasing a wine made using similar techniques. Carbonic Maceration is the special method of wine making that gives the wines low tannins and jammy kirsch and confected bubble gum flavours.

Unlike Beaujolais Nouveau whose wines are often very cheap and made from Gamay grapes, Sixteen Ridges has opted for Pinot Noir Précoce, and early ripening clone of Pinot Noir. Hush Heath's Nouveau, is also made using Pinot Noir, but unlike its Beaujolais counterpart is being sold for a significantly higher price of £20 per bottle.

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Pink Prosecco - it’s official and arriving now!

Pink Prosecco could be this Christmas's must have new drink as Aldi, Sainsbury and Freixenet all launch new wines this month.
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Pink Prosecco could be this Christmas's must have new drink, with Aldi, Sainsbury and Freixenet all launching new wines this month.

Last May the rules were changed to allow up to 15% Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) to be added to the Glera grape variety to give the wine some colour.

The UK is the world’s biggest Prosecco import market and Sainsbury’s said it expected the Taste the Difference Rose Prosecco wine to quickly account for 20% of all its Prosecco sales.

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UK enters four-week lockdown

The pubs and restaurants shut their doors on Wednesday as England went into lockdown lite for four weeks.
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Pubs and restaurants shut their doors on Wednesday as England went into lockdown lite - a four week lockdown. This time around, schools, garden centres and off licenses have been allowed to stay open along with shops selling food and essentials. Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues are closed.

The hospitality industry will breathe a small sigh as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his 80% furlough scheme would be extended to March 2021. UK Hospitality welcomed the last minute change to allow restaurants, bars and pubs to sell pre-ordered takeaway alcohol during the new English lockdown.

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Sexual assault charges lead to resignations in the American Court of Master Sommeliers

The American Court of Master Sommeliers is in uproar after Geoff Kruth president of GuildSomm resigned over sexual assault allegations. Co-founder Fred Dame, along with 7 others, were all suspended.
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The American court of Master Sommeliers is in uproar after Geoff Kruth president of GuildSomm resigned over sexual assault allegations. Co-founder Fred Dame, along with 7 others, were all suspended.

The New York Times claims that 21 women have been sexually harassed, manipulated or assaulted by male master sommeliers. One master sommelier, was claimed to have propositioned at least 15 candidates, sometimes promising professional favours in return for sex.

Geoff Kruth, the previous president of the wine educational program GuildSomm, was at the centre of the investigation. He was accused of inviting women to taste wine in his hotel room and opening the door naked and asking Master Sommelier candidates what their favourite sex positions were in a Facebook post.

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UK's 2020 grape harvest small but perfectly formed

In a year where cellar doors have been closed, a small but high-quality year could be just the thing for the UK wine industry.
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In a year where cellar doors have been closed, a small but high-quality year could be just the thing for the UK wine industry. A long spell of warm weather over spring resulted in an early start in spring. Some vineyards were hit by spring frosts and lost some grapes. The weather stayed good into summer and even into early autumn. The early start in spring meant the 2020 harvest was one of the earliest on record.

There are over 3,500 hectares of vines planted in the UK, producing 10.5 million bottles. In the next three to four years it is expected to go from 3,500 hectares up to 6,000 hectares of vines.

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Also this month

UK plays whack-a-mole with Covid lockdown

The UK government's plan to avoid a second national lockdown by creating a three-tier system is lambasted as not enough by the government's own scientific advisors, while some in the hospitality industry say it goes too far.
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