Crown launches new rider pallet truck range

The new RT 4000 Series rider pallet truck line, which is available in stand-up or sit-down models with load capacities of up to 2000 kilograms, offers flexible control arrangements and configurable seating on sit-down models to provide comfort for operators of all sizes.

Stand-up models can be configured for right-hand or left-hand steering, meeting the needs and preferences of individual operators.

The Crown RT 4020 stand-up rider pallet truck has a load capacity of up to 2,000 kg. It combines rugged, powerful lift-truck technology with innovative safety features to deliver both responsiveness and reliability.

Thanks to a chassis width of just 780mm, its maneuverability and performance is ideal for fast-paced dock work, even in very confined spaces.

Designed and manufactured by Crown, the AC motor is capable of powerful acceleration at speeds of up to 12.5 km/h.

For ride comfort, the RT 4020 features a suspended floorboard plus a wraparound, soft-foam lean pad, and can be configured with right-hand or left-hand steering as required.

Industrial gear boxes suitable for food & beverage makers

Regal Australia has introduced its range of Marathon Gearboxes, suitable for industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, water, chemical/petrochemical, metal/steel and mining. The range features models with single piece die cast housings and vacuum impregnated housing for greater sealing and synthetic oils for “long life” lubrication.

The range is available in aluminium, cast iron and stainless steel. It features the following gearboxes: right angle worm, square worm, inline coaxial, shaft mounted, helical bevel and stainless steel.

Clean room differential pressure monitor

In order to monitor differential pressures in clean rooms, defined as a room in which the concentration of airborne particles is maintained within established parameters, ALVI offers a differential pressure transmitter; the DE21.

It is a compact, DIN Rail Mounted measuring instrument in 2-wire technology, serving to cover numerous measuring ranges in the low pressure area. Using capacitive measuring cells specially designed for nominal pressure ranges along with high overpressure safety, monitor ensures high precision, long term stability and drift free operation.

The measurement units, mbar, Pa, kPa and inWC, are selectable via the DIP Switch on the unit. It’s equipped with the 4 digit LCD display clearly indicating the measured differential pressure in selected pressure units.

Differential pressure is simply the measured pressure deviation between two points in different pressure systems.

If the pressure is too low, especially when a door is opened, contaminants can enter. If it is too high, energy is being wasted.

Fruity, with a hint of gobbledygook: it’s time to give up on wine wankery

Barnyardy. Herbacious. Unctuous. Chewy. Hedonistic. Ponderous. Shallow. Backward. The wine industry has been using evocative descriptors to characterise the taste and aroma of its products for generations. But how does the industry justify such precise language to describe such a subjective experience?

Especially given empirical research, which has demonstrated that the average consumer struggles to recognise descriptions of the wine that experts identify on the label, it is likely the wine industry alienates consumers more than it attracts them.

Furthermore, although wine experts use a larger vocabulary to describe wine, and discriminate between two wines more effectively than novices, a body of evidence suggests that wine expertise is a questionable label with respect to the degree of rating variability in wine judging.

This plight of wine label irrelevance afflicting wine consumers is typically met with the response of a need for wine education, according to the wine sector. Is it that such consumers are simply out of touch with the wine industry, or is it that the wine industry is out of touch with itself?

We believe the evidence clearly points towards the latter. Welcome to the concept of Wine Wankery.

Previous studies (such as these, by Spawton, Hall & Winchester, and Geraghty & Torres) have suggested there are three to four types of wine consumer:

  1. Connoisseurs or enthusiasts – those who know a lot about wine
  2. Enjoyment-based or casual wine consumers – those who enjoy quaffing their wine and are not too fussed on impressing anyone with it
  3. Risk averse or value seeking wine consumers – those who do not know a lot about wine and look for special offers
  4. Image conscious or aspirational wine consumers – those who are not experts in wine and are insecure about their lack of knowledge.

While there is limited evidence on the proportions of the population that make up each of the above groups, the limited evidence available suggests that fewer than one in five wine drinkers are connoisseurs. It is clear that most wine drinkers are not particularly sophisticated, suggesting that overly complex wine labels are irrelevant to most of the market.

The reality of the market is that most wine consumers are likely to seek a more simple explanation of what they drink. Most people are interested in wine being cheap, and tasting reasonably good. The UK’s biggest selling wines are big brands, and these are mainly sold through the major supermarkets.

Brands such as Yellowtail, Jacob’s Creek and Hardy’s show that the majority of consumers are not into expensive wines nor are they enthusiastic oenologists. Moreover, consumer purchase patterns that hold true in FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) markets also hold true in those where consumers purchase wine. It may be a surprise to many that bulk wine brands are likely to get more consumer loyalty than boutique, expensive brands.

Given that wine operates in a market just like any other consumer product, why does this industry put so much effort into Wine Wankery?

 

nocturnika

 

When you read wine magazines or a wine industry journal, ironically much more page space is dedicated to the premium and boutique end of the market. This segment actually represents a disproportionately smaller portion of the wine market in sales volume.

The proportions vary by sales format, but somewhere between 1% and 20% of sales volume is attributed to the premium end of the market. On the other hand, the high volume brands get almost no coverage in wine magazines and journals, yet these brands are responsible for most of the sales. Most people appear happy to describe wine in one or two words. But those who write about wine need to fill space in a wine magazine, so two words isn’t nearly enough detail.

Perhaps wine that’s made to a formula is just not as sexy … Or is it simply that at the high volume end of the market, the consumer isn’t interested in wine descriptions? The appeal of wine is in its diversity and nuance, which attracts people to the category.

 

Ula Peiciute

 

Even across social media, the wine industry works toward the few customers who are enthusiasts or connoisseurs. This year, successful wine apps Vivino, and Delectable, which have millions of subscribers, began releasing data on users’ behaviours. Both of these apps use label recognition from the user’s phone to reveal information on the wine being photographed, as well as reviews from other users. These are game changer apps because the user doesn’t need to put the data in manually, unlike previous wine apps.

These millions of consumers may sound like a lot of users on which claims on wine market trends can be made. The problem with these app owners releasing data on their users’ behaviours is that their users aren’t “typical” wine consumers. A recent example from digital trends, on the Delectable app illustrates the situation.

If the industry was to use customer profiles and data on usage from these apps, it would be easy to believe that Growers Champagne and Loire Valley reds are the big trends in the wine market. Given that most subscribers on delectable reside in the US, you’d be forgiven for thinking that small producers of lesser-known wines were storming into households all over the country.

But, the latest Impact data on the US market shows that sweet red wines are still a fast-growing category, also that New Zealand Sauvignon blanc has grown almost 20% over the past year, and Prosecco sales being the big increase in the segment of foreign sparkling wine category.

What these results show is that these app users are more likely to resemble the small proportion of connoisseurs, and that any analysis from these apps will encourage the industry to be more out of touch with their assertions with respect to real wine drinkers.

Most consumers have probably had enough of wine wankery, and it’s probably time the wine industry got to terms with the fact it’s just another consumer product like any other.

The Conversation

Maxwell Winchester, Discipline Leader, Marketing , Victoria University and Damien Wilson, Programme Director, MSc in Wine Business, Burgundy School of Business

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Queensland gets its very own beer

XXXX has announced XXXX Origins – a limited edition beer that has been brewed just for Queensland locals, and features 36 of their iconic towns on the label in a tribute to the sunshine state.

XXXX Origins is a crisp lager, with low bitterness and medium body with a 4.2 per cent ABV content with a subtle Saaz hop aroma that gives it a light and refreshing finish.

Tanya Marler, XXXX Brand Director, said that the launch of XXXX Origins celebrates the varied and distinct personalities of Queensland’s many towns that help to make this state truly incomparable.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to recognise their significance than by commemorating them on a bottle of XXXX Origins.

“We know that Queenslanders want a contemporary beer that appeals to their evolving tastes, so we created XXXX Origins just for them,” said Marler.

Marler said that it was a tough decision to whittle down to a final list of 36 towns which includes Atherton, Bellbowrie, Birdsville, Bluff, Cairns, Calen, Chinchilla, Cloncurry, Coolangatta, Curra, Deeragun, Drillham, Emerald, Foxdale, Gatton, Gin Gin, Giru, Gladstone, Goondiwindi, Herberton,
Inkerman, Jimboomba, Karara, Laura, Mackay, Maryborough, Mirani, Mount Isa, Nobby, Rockhampton, Roma, Stonehenge, Toowoomba, Townsville, Warwick and Windorah.

“We believe that we’ve reached a great mix of towns across the state and there is a pretty good chance every Queenslander will have a connection to at least one of the 36 towns,” said Marler.

XXXX Origins ‘Queensland Towns’ is a limited edition release and will be available from October 26 until the end of February 2016.

Cheeky Rascal steals win at the Australian Cider Awards

Boutique cider house Rebello has taken out best in class in the inaugural ‘cider with fruit’ category of this year’s Australian Cider Awards with its ‘Passionfruit Pink Lady’.

Made with Victorian grown pink lady apples and real passionfruit, Passionfruit Pink Lady was created as a limited edition range to the Cheeky Rascal Cider family, but proved was so popular, it’s now part of the core range.

As with all of Cheeky Rascal Ciders it’s made using 100% real fresh fruit, without concentrates and flavourings by third generation entrepreneurs of the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, Matt and Ruth Gallace.

There were 155 entries across 18 classes in the annual awards, but this was the first time a category was created for cider or perry with real fruit.

Judges described it as a “well-made, clean, bright, crisp cider with grippy passionfruit character”.

Cider Australia President Sam Reid says the addition of the new class for ciders, made with the addition of natural fruits other than apple and pear, was to ensure the awards reflect the diversity of cider styles available to and enjoyed by Australian consumers.

"Our goal is to drive and reward innovation in cider making, and it's great to be seeing some solid results in these new classes."

Rebello CEO Ruth Gallace says it’s humbling to take out the inaugural award at what is the largest cider awards in the country.

“Having a category to recognise the work which goes into blending real fruit with cider is not only validation for cider makers like ourselves who have invested heavily for many years to produce a quality real fruit cider alternative, but it also provides credibility and clarity for the customer.”

Passionfruit Pink Lady was created on the back of requests by Cheeky Rascal’s loyal followers who it canvassed asking them to identify fruits they’d like to see blended with cider.

Yellowtail’s efficiency overhaul

One of Australia's largest beverage distributors, Casella Family Brands, has made some unprecedented efficiency gains at their distribution centres. 

Distributor of the Yellowtail wine label, Casella, supplies around 27 per cent of Australia's bottled table wine, holds a record for the fastest growing imported wine in US market history, and distributes more than 12.5 million cases of wine to 50 countries around the world each year.

 Following such a sustained period of rapid growth, Casella recognised it needed new technology that could improve visibility of inventory across its two distribution centres (DCs), which could offer the required degree of scalability to improve product availability and drive future growth. 

After an 18 month search for the right candidate, Casella settled on a partnership with logistics specialists Manhattan Associates, which has seen implementation of the SCALE (Supply Chain Architected for Logistics Execution) software at Casella's distribution centres. 

Casella Family Brands Distribution Manager Sam McLeod said the new warehousing software system has made some significant changes to their business, streamlining their old supply chain methods and increasing efficiency by 22 per cent. 

"Prior to the implementation of Manhattan's SCALE software we had something that wasn't far off a paper based system," McLeod said. 

"We could not scan or log anything leaving the warehouse aside from which we wrote down and then logged back in through our previous system. 

"For us it's been a big change because now we scan every single outgoing product via unique Licence Plate Numbers (LPNs) which gives us a great degree of traceability that we certainly didn't have before." 

With traceability being the number one concern in the wine distribution game, McLeod said the new system ensures minimum disruption in the event of a recall thanks to enhanced product monitoring. 

"We could run a product, say a Shiraz 1.5L retail product, which would be about 30,000 to 40,000 cases in one hit. Under our previous system if we had a recall based around one hour's worth of product, we would still have to recall all 40,000 cases to get the required batch, because there was no way of determining what products were processed in a given time period," McLeod said. 

"Now, in theory, we could narrow that range down to 500-600 cases. 
The old Casella system required manual marking of pallets on order sheets, an extensive checking process of 40 sea-containers worth of product each day. However, now orders are picked, placed in staging areas, and then scanned back out to the containers. 

"That's made an awfully big difference to us; this is hours each week that we're saving because we don't have to go back and double check." 

McLeod said the new system is anticipated to save Casella three per cent on wages in the coming financial year, a significant share in an operation of that size. 

The other major benefit Casella has seen is an increase in the utilisation of warehouse space by 22 per cent. 

"Being able to increase our warehousing capacity means that, as we have the fastest bottling line in the Southern Hemisphere, our warehouse is our limiting factor," McLeod said. 

"By increasing our usage of the floor space by 22 per cent, we can run to 22 per cent greater efficiency over the course of the year, and that's a big saving on revenue, which is fantastic." 

McLeod said the company previously had to employ up to five people allocating stock from different regions of the warehouse to be picked and placed in the loading bays, a task which can now be co-ordinated from a single computer. 

"Before we had five people across 500 SKUs, trying to pick independently of one another, but now our system allows us to use up one row before we look at another one, then we can use that up and move on," he said. 

"As you can imagine it's a very complex equation for individuals to handle, sitting at a computer with data entry, but for scale at the click of a button we can allocate those associated rows, and that's where the 22 per cent comes in. 

"Simply put, thanks to the availability improvements we've achieved with Manhattan's technology, our coveted Yellow Tail brand is seen on more dining tables, on more store shelves, and in more bars, pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants around the world with every passing week and month."

 

China’s taste for Australian products

Australia has an edge in the alcoholic beverages, enhanced soft drinks and fresh grocery markets in China due to our heritage, expertise and geography.

There are many new ways Australia can diversify its product offerings and capitalise on the growing number of Sino-Australian partnerships in agribusinesses which are benefiting SMEs and MNCs alike.

Alcoholic beverages

According to a British medical journal, The Lancet, when excluding non-drinkers, Chinese middle class consumers now drink more litres of alcohol annually than their Western counterparts, including Australia, the U.S, the U.K and Germany. The report cites rising wages and high-pressure workplaces for the rise in consumption. Chinese consumers drink a far greater share of spirits compared to the international average, and though the alcoholic beverage industry has faced challenges due to anti-corruption prosecution on luxurious gift giving, China still consumes a quarter of the world’s beer.

But Australia’s main opportunity is in the wine category, which is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2011-2016, driven largely by Chinese middle class families and the young urban elite. Of all Chinese wine imports in 2011, Australian wine came in second (after France), at 19 percent of market share. France has benefited from an early perception of quality in the market, but as China’s wine market grows in conjunction with the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, there are significant opportunities for Australia. The Australian Grape and Wine Authority noted that the market share for Australian wine in China grew by 20 percent last year. A significant trend for Chinese consumers is the increasing desire to appreciate a brand experience whilst consuming wine. For example, Spanish producers capitalised on this and inspired interest amongst Chinese wine drinkers with three month classes at a Guangzhou school for consumers to learn all there is about Spanish wine.

Red wine enjoys a good reputation both for containing less alcohol compared to Chinese spirits and because of its luxurious connotations. The (fruity, antioxidant) health claims also appeal to older Chinese, while younger, well-travelled consumers are drawn to the flavour. New players in this category must also decide whether to tap into China’s growing e-commerce mass market, or at the other end of the scale, take advantage of China’s luxurious gift giving culture.

Tapping into craft beer

Another less-conventional avenue of opportunity is the rise of niche alcoholic beverages. China, as the world’s largest beer producer and consumer is seeing domestic production slow in tandem with the rising popularity of foreign beers amongst young consumers. In fact, China saw a 66 percent increase in beer imports in 2013.  The Shanghai Beer Festival held last Autumn even included beers made with purple rice and Sichuan peppercorns.  To tap into this market, Australian craft beer producers such as the Balmain Brewing Company in Sydney have entered China (after initially entering Hong Kong) by signing a deal with a Chinese distributor to position high end craft beers to wealthy consumers in hotel bars and restaurants. To get this right, the consumer must be understood. In an interview with The Silk Initiative, Daniel Taytslin of Gotham East, a Shanghai based spirits importer and brand developer, said that the strategy isn’t about ‘going to a traditional Chinese restaurant and presenting them with one-of-a-kind gins where they’ll just drink beer and baijiu…but more about holding an education session to have bartenders act as de-facto brand advocates’.

Enhanced soft drinks

Coca Cola’s recent purchase of a Chinese multi-grain drink maker (Cu Liang Wang) is an example of the dynamic nature of China’s soft drink industry.  As the interest in sodas wane (the market saw a 3 percent decline in 2012), China’s fruit and vegetable soft drink industry is currently growing at 20 percent annually.  There is a lot of variety in this sector, with soft drinks flavoured with fruits, vegetables and even traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients.  The industry has also seen products combining different market categories, such as Super Milky Pulpy Juice, a drink developed by Coca-Cola that mixes dairy and juice.

Tapping into China’s $66 billion soft drink industry (2013) with annual growth of 15 percent requires a deep understanding of the consumer due to its flavouring and distribution challenges. The opportunity here for Australia, particularly smaller producers, is to focus on product ingredients and how these are processed. Instead of competing with conglomerates such as Coca Cola and Suntory, who are jostling with Chinese groups such as Wahaha, Australian producers should focus on strategic-in-market partnerships. For example, Zhu Xinli, the head of Huiyuan Juice (which holds 51 percent of the juice market in China), has been eyeing investments in Australian agribusiness. He suggests that there are “1.3 billion Chinese consumers crying out for premium Australian products,” whilst also emphasising the importance of co-operation between Australian and Chinese producers on “all aspects, including technology.”

Fresh groceries

China’s $1 trillion grocery market is transitioning to suit the changing demands of China’s 600 million online customers. Consumers are demanding fresh groceries to their door. Already, Australian steak is available through online retailers such as T-mall, and fruit and vegetable producers, such as Australian nectarine farmers, are eagerly awaiting approval to sell their goods through online retailers.

Fruit and vegetable imports do not necessarily have to target high end consumers. This month, Canada’s Mucci Farms sent its first shipment of ‘cutecumbers’ (mini cucumbers) to a wholesaler in Shanghai, with the CEO saying the terrific reaction to the product is due to the fact that it’s new and interesting and has a crunchy and sweet taste with no seeds. Chinese consumers are known to try new products, particularly foreign, and with fruits and vegetables still a common snack in China, new interpretations of traditional groceries such as cucumbers will attract curious consumers.

There is also value in agricultural expertise which should not be overlooked as a key point of positioning in a country dominated by sub-par wet markets. For example, Jiang Quan of the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, has sought out Australian producers in particular to improve the production of Chinese pears. Pears are indigenous to China though there is growing awareness that Chinese growers can benefit from modern techniques and technologies.

Let's go organic

With regards to production techniques, the $500 million ‘niche’ organic industry in China is actually the fourth largest organic market in the world. Recently, the market has been growing at over 30 percent a year as concerns over pollution continue to rise. Larger foreign producers who have applied early for China’s elusive organic license include Fonterra, Anchor and Angove (wine), though Australian fruits, particularly citrus, will benefit from superior perceptions of quality and safety.

John Moore of Summerfruit Australia says that marketing to the whole of China makes no commercial or logistical sense when it comes to organic produce. Instead, he says to focus on the upper middle class in tier one cities where 48 percent of consumers look for, and are willing to pay for, imported fruits. He also notes that as it only takes 14 days for the products to reach Shanghai by sea, Australian producers have no competitors to rival their fruits for quality, sweetness and taste. Australia also benefits from its location in the Southern Hemisphere and can provide fresh counter-seasonal crops, such as apples, to northern producers.

Andrew Kuiler (Andrew@thesilkinitiative.com) is the managing director of Shanghai-based food and beverage consultancy, The Silk Initiative. 

 

The wine industry lends some advice for dealing with climate change

Wine, as we have seen once again this week, seems to be a handy way to galvanise concerns about the future ill-effects of climate change. It’s perhaps telling that the prospect of losing a favourite tipple attracts media coverage so readily, when the bigger issue is surely about securing food for the billions who rely on subsistence farming.

Those concerns aside, viticulture delivers important messages about a changing climate, for several reasons. High-quality wine is extraordinarily sensitive to the vagaries of the weather. Grape-growers and wine producers (vignerons) are observant and responsive to any impacts on their product, especially when it comes to signs that a particular grape variety or vineyard is not performing.

One example is in South Australia, where high-quality wine producers are using their expertise to adapt as the state’s climatic conditions change.

Change is in the wind

Over the past decade, my colleagues and I have studied changes in the McLaren Vale wine region, south of Adelaide. This region’s wines regularly win international awards, particularly for shiraz that dominates varietal selection. Like other farmers, vignerons here are noticing more extreme heat and humid weather in summer, and less rain, stronger storms and milder temperatures in winter.

But unlike some other crops, viticulture has an enormous range of adaptation options and the capacity to apply them – and in the McLaren Vale change is underway.

The region’s growers have banded together to organise a recycled water scheme to secure their irrigation resources. This has largely eliminated the risk of groundwater depletion, for the near future at least.

They have also worked together with governments to strengthen planning policy and protect rural land from the expansion of Adelaide’s southern suburbs. As a result, the rural land here is as secure as anywhere similarly close to a major Australian city. This is crucial because the McLaren Vale is a unique patch of land with complex geology, set between the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the moderating climatic influences of the St Vincent Gulf.

Growers have strong networks, from the formal McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association through to the Willunga farmers' market and the Friends of Willunga Basin. The region’s wine is defined by a globally recognised Geographical Indication mark, and that is being strengthened with the mapping of the region’s unique soils and wine consumers' increasing knowledge of the terroir of the McLaren Vale.

The sour taste of Australian climate policy

In effect, the whole socio-ecological system of the McLaren Vale is being made more resilient. Even before individual producers make choices about what grape varieties to use, or about techniques such as mulching, pruning, harvesting, and blending, they know they have strengthened their production system enormously by working together to secure their natural resources. Vignerons have also worked together to market their products in ways that reflect the uniqueness of their place.

Yes, growers are also looking to the warmer southern parts of Europe for varieties that might better fit their future climate, and have experimented with them on their fields and in their wineries.

Yes, they are developing new ways of farming using methods that conserve water and maximise the quality of the soils. And yes, they are spreading the risk by diversifying into other regions and industries, especially tourism.

But there is a bigger message than risks to wine quality that needs to get through to the people making decisions about our ecological futures. Wine quality is only an indicator of future risk and we are only in the early stages of a massive ecological shift that will require a different type of thinking about our environment.

While some of the most resourced, educated, informed and organised farmers in Australia are adjusting successfully in the short term, they are also looking to the future and noting that adaptation will meet new thresholds in the longer term.

Everyone needs to work to minimise the rate of climate change. We can learn from early adapters such as the vignerons of the McLaren Vale, but it is not going to be easy to adapt, because bit by bit climate change will change everything. The heatwaves that are burning the grapes of the McLaren Vale will get worse and make summers less comfortable for everyone. Dry summers will add to the bushfire risk on the periphery of our cities, just as they limit the complexity of flavours in our wines. The storms that strip leaves or cause mildew outbreaks in the McLaren Vale will also damage houses across southern Australia.

Yet at the moment, Australia is acting like a pariah state on climate change – it is up there with the worst performers on per capita greenhouse emissions and has a history of using accounting tricks to make its efforts seem more palatable.

It is not good enough to aim low on this issue, because we are going to lose things we value – not just our favourite wines, but the very security of the places where we live and grow our food. That is the real message in the bottle.

The Conversation

Douglas Bardsley is Senior Lecturer, Geography, Environment and Population at University of Adelaide.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

 

Robot screens bacteria in wine samples

A robotic liquid handling system at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) is automating the screening of large numbers of malolactic bacteria strains.

Using miniaturised wine fermentations in 96-well microplates, the Tecan EVO 150 robotic system is screening bacteria for MLF efficiency and response to wine stress factors such as alcohol and low pH.

The bacteria are sourced from the AWRI’s wine microorganism culture collection in South Australia and elsewhere.

The robot can prepare and inoculate multiple combinations of bacteria strains and stress factors in red or white test wine and then analyse malic acid in thousands of samples over the course of the fermentation.

In one batch, for example, 40 bacteria strains can be screened for MLF efficiency and response to alcohol and pH stress in red wine, with over 6000 individual L-malic acid analyses performed.

The AWRI says that this high-throughput approach provides a quantum leap in screening capabilities compared to conventional MLF testing methods and can be applied to a range of other research applications.

Additionally, the phenotypic data obtained from this research is being further analysed with genomic information, which will identify potential genetic markers for the stress tolerances of malolactic strains.

 

$25 mill needed to restore wine industry to profitability: WFA

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and the Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) have asked the government for $25 million over four years in supplementary government investment for Wine Australia’s marketing activities.

The money would be used to boost the Australian wine industry’s profile, build demand, maximize the potential of the FTAs and to restore levels of profitability throughout the supply chain.

Vic Patrick, Chair of Wine Grape Growers Australia said “If these activities are not undertaken, our competitors will quickly fill the vacuum and the modest gains made in some regions over the last 12 months will be fleeting and the recovery of inland grape prices further delayed.”

WFA Chief Executive, Paul Evans, said the industry needs to seize the potential to grow demand for Australian wine and address the on-going structural mismatch between supply and demand at profitable price points.

“Until this happens we are likely to see poor levels of average profitability continue for both grape growers and winemakers, Evans said.

“Specifically, we need the resources and promotional activities to restore sustained global consumer interest in Australian wine and to capitalize on the macro-economic shifts that have moved recently in our favour. Adequate funding for the global marketing of our wines is critical if we are to compete with heavily subsidized Old World producers and lower cost New World producers.”

The push follows the release of the 2015 Vintage Report, which shows a 2015 Vintage crush of 1.67 million tonne with some modest and patchy strengthening in average winegrape prices and exports.

Evans said the 2015 Vintage Report reveals a winegrape crush marginally lower than the seven-year average and slightly down on last year’s 1.70 million tonne estimate and 2013’s high of 1.83 million tonnes.

“We see a 5 per cent increase in average wine grape prices over the past year, albeit off a low base. We must also remember that this is an industry average and many producers in the warm inland regions in particular continue to experience enormous challenges. Our analysis shows that 92 per cent of production in warm inland areas is unprofitable,” Evans said.

“The macro-economic climate has shifted in our favour in regards to more favourable exchange rates, the signing of important Free Trade Agreements in the Asian marketplace and improved consumer sentiment in our traditional markets,” he said.

“But we must remain pro-active. While these developments will help, they will not be enough to restore lost margin and share across the industry over the longer term unless we work with government to make the most of the opportunity.

Snapshot of 2015 Vintage Report figures:

  • Red crush – 835, 523 tonnes
  • White crush – 834,041 tonnes
  • Top 3 red varieties: Shiraz (391,649; Cabernet Sauvignon 209,588; Merlot 107,280)
  • Top 3 white varieties: Chardonnay 376,339; Sauvignon Blanc 89,125; Semillon 66,572

Crush by state/region:

  • South Australia: 716,592 (47 per cent)
  • Murray Darling-Swan Hill: 381,732 (25 per cent)
  • NSW (excl Murray Darling-Swan Hill): 332,092 (22 per cent)
  • Victoria (excl Murray Darling-Swan Hill): 60,258 (4 per cent)
  • WA: 30069 (2 per cent)
  • Tasmania: 7,197
  • Queensland: 610
  • ACT: 21

 

Jacob’s Creek expands Double Barrel range

Wine brand, Jacob's Creek is adding a third variant to its Double Barrel range.

The new Double Barrel Shiraz Cabernet 2012 is crafted from fruit from the Limestone Coast of South Australia, an area which encompasses Coonawarra and Padthaway.

The Shiraz Cabernet is matured in traditional oak casks before being finished in aged whisky barrels, marking the Double Barrel range's point of difference.

"Blending Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon seamlessly is part of the very DNA of Jacob's Creek winemaking. Together they create a gorgeous blend which delivers flavour and body right across the palate, from beginning to end," said Jacob's Creek chief winemaker, Bernard Hickin.

"The finishing time in whisky barrels perfectly integrates this Shiraz Cabernet blend and adds the signature depth and smoothness of our unique Double Barrel process, perfectly complimenting the existing range."

Other Double Barrel products include a Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 and a Barossa Shiraz 2013.

 

Australian wine exports rise in value and volume in 2014–15

In the 12 months to 30 June 2015, the value of Australian wine exports rose 5 per cent to A$1.89 billion according to the Wine Export Approval Report June 2015 released today by Wine Australia.

This is the first time the value of wine exports has increased on a financial year basis since 2006–07.

Wine Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said growth in value was driven by the strength of Australian exports in the Asian market.

“The value of wine exports to Northeast Asia was up 29 per cent and Southeast Asia was up 18 per cent. We ship more than half of our exports above A$7.50/litre to Asia and the average value of those exports is A$18.49/litre compared to A$12.29/litre in Europe and A$11.54/litre in North America,” Clark said.

“This is the third consecutive financial year we’ve seen value growth in the above $7.50/litre price point, now worth A$529 million. It accounts for 28 per cent of total value share but only 5 per cent of volume.”

In the last 12 months, the average value of exports above A$7.50/litre went up 8 per cent to a record A$15.40/litre.

Exports of Australia’s highest-priced wines (above A$50/litre), which account for only 0.2 per cent of total exports, grew for the fifth consecutive year, up 62 per cent to a record A$123 million.

Clark said that the figures reflected the on-going opportunities for Australian wine in the premium price points and Wine Australia would assist winemakers, regions and exporters to capitalise on these opportunities through its recently released five-year Strategic Plan.

“Our two strategic priorities are increasing the demand and price paid for Australian wine, and increasing our competitiveness. We’ll be expanding our program of activities in the critical US market including the introduction of a formal Market Entry Program and we’ll continue to develop the export markets in Europe, China and Asia Pacific through activities that focus on Australia’s finest wines.”

The average value of total exports also increased by 0.3 per cent to A$2.61 per litre (driven by a 4 per cent increase in the average value of bottled exports to A$4.91/litre) while volume increased by 4 per cent to 724 million litres, the highest level since 2010–11.

In contrast, the average value of bulk exports continued to fall, down 7 per cent to A$0.95/litre. This was driven by a 25 per cent increase in bulk exports below A$1/litre and a decline of 21 per cent in bulk exports above A$1/litre.

Over the last 12 months, Australian wine was exported to 122 destinations by 1,405 exporters with the majority (904 exporters) recording volume growth, a turnaround from the previous year when the majority of exporters recorded declines. The number of Australian wine products exported hit a record high of 17,731, up 8.4 per cent.

Australia’s top five export countries by value were:

  • US – down 7.9 per cent to A$415 million
  • UK – down 1.5 per cent to A$369 million
  • China – up 32.1 per cent to A$280 million
  • Canada – down 0.7 per cent to A$182 million
  • Hong Kong – up 28.4 per cent to A$112 million

Key figures released in the report by market are as follows:

Asia

Exports to Asia grew 26 per cent to a record A$600 million. China saw the strongest growth rising 32 per cent in value to a record A$280 million and is our number one destination for wine exports above A$7.50/litre (8 million litres, the same as the US and Canada combined).

Exports to Hong Kong hit a record for value in 2014–15, up 28 per cent to A$112 million, driven by exports above A$10/litre that accounted for almost a third of all exports to the market. With zero tax on wine in Hong Kong, it’s proven to be one of the strongest markets for premium Australian wine. The average value of exports to Hong Kong also rose 23 per cent to A$14.12 per litre.

Exports to Japan were up 10 per cent in value to A$44 million. The strongest growth was in bulk wine exports that grew five-fold in volume, which can be partly attributed to the removal of tariffs on bulk wine.

Other Asian markets experiencing growth include Malaysia (up 26 per cent to a record A$42 million), Thailand (up 16 per cent to A$16 million), South Korea (up 28 per cent to A$10 million) and the Philippines (up 19 per cent to a record A$6.1 million).

Taiwan is another growing market for Australian wine. Exports rose 47 per cent to A$15 million in 2014–15 while average value rose 20 per cent to A$8.33/litre. Wine Australia will host a Barossa Old Vine Heritage master class in Taipei on 23 July in partnership with Austrade, the first event Wine Australia has held in Taiwan.

UK and Europe

Europe accounts for a third of Australian wine exports by value and more than half by volume. The UK’s emergence as a wine packaging hub sees increasing shipments of bulk wine (which is lower priced due to lack of packaging) distributed around the UK and Europe. While exports to the region are on the rise (up 5 per cent to 374 million litres), value declined 1 per cent to A$584 million.

The UK remains Australia’s biggest export market by volume remaining steady at 251 million litres however value declined 2 per cent to A$369 million. The drop in value can be attributed to the 10 per cent decline in the average value of bulk wine exports to A$0.99/litre. There was a small rise at the higher end with the average value of bottled exports up 1 per cent to A$4.11/litre, the highest since 2006–07.

Exports to Germany increased in value by 6 per cent to A$50 million and in volume by 15 per cent to 39 million litres. This growth was offset however by a decline in average value, with the average value of bulk wine exports falling 10 per cent to A$0.84/litre and bottled exports falling 15 per cent to A$3.58/litre.

United States

Total Australian wine exports fell 8 per cent in value to A$415 million as a result of declines in bottled exports across all price points. Bulk wine exports however grew 4 per cent to A$53 million.

Of the 50 states in the US, the five that consume the most wine also account for two thirds of Australia’s wine exports to the US – California, New York, Florida, Texas and New Jersey – valued at A$251 million.

Canada

Australian exports to Canada declined 1 per cent in value to A$182 million while volumes increased by 1 per cent to 60 million litres. With a relatively small domestic wine industry, Canada relies heavily on imported wines and Australia was a major source of bulk wine with the below A$2.50/litre segment experiencing the strongest growth, up 5 per cent in value to A$25 million.

Growth in the A$5.00–$7.49/litre segment (up 4 per cent to A$51 million) contributed to the average value of bottle exports rising 1 per cent to A$5.26/litre, the highest it’s been since 2009–10.

 

Vinnovation Award finalists

Challenging and changing conditions have forced South Australian farmers to be smart and economical with their land – stretching all the way back to the stump-jump plough.

Peter Hackworth, Executive Officer of the Wine Grape Council of South Australia, says today's farmers are no different – and they deserve to be recognised – so he has established the Vinnovation Award.

"I thought there must still be people out there being inventive, but it's hard for farmers to put their hand up – they're quite modest people," Hackworth says.

The awards will be held on July 17 at Adelaide Oval. The four finalists have designed innovative ideas, practices and equipment that will be presented to over 200 wine grape growers.

"The criteria we assess them by is their ability to make an impact, to actually save money and make money, the cost of adopting the practice, and the ability of it to be applied across the state."

The finalists include systems of delaying ripening across different areas of a vineyard, better sprayers for preventing Eutypa outbreaks, rapid processing of GPS yield data, and a grape bin with inbuilt scales.

"Most of them aren't interested in commercialising the ideas – they're just interested in growing grapes – but they're happy to share them.

"Were looking at getting engineering plans made for the spray unit and the trailer, for example, and make them available so people can make them themselves or have them made.

"It's classic farming – not wanting to get further away from what they like doing."

Above: Kim Anderson

Maturity delaying techniques for sloping vineyards

Kim Anderson, from the Adelaide Hills, has developed a suite of techniques to ensure more even ripening of his fruit across his sloping property.

Fruit at the top of the block ripens significantly faster (a difference of 1.5 – 2 Baume) than at the bottom, causing management problems come harvest time.

In general, fruit is ripening a month earlier than it was 30 years ago thanks to a warmer climate – the ability to delay and get more even crops is of increasing interest to growers.

Anderson has applied three trial methods. By using herbicide on the undervine grass in the lower block, and keeping it intact on the higher ground until budburst, the soil at the top of the block is kept cooler. At harvest the different between fruit ripeness was only 0.1 Baume.

Another technique was trimming the vines just above the highest fruiting nodes early in the season – this delays ripening by about a month and complements the other techniques well.

Finally, Anderson pruned certain vines very late in the season to delay their development and measured them against a control group. The results were a success.

Anderson's techniques allow greater uniformity to vine growth stages across a sloping block. There are also advantages to fruit ripening in cooler months, enhancing flavour development and maximising the value of fruit.

Above: Phil Longbottom

Bin Trailer with built in scales

Bill and Phil Longbottom from Padthaway, South Australia, are independent grape growers who supply to a number of processors

Their bins were previously loaded in the vineyard before being driven to and offloaded at a weighing pad. This resulted in under or overloaded grape bins and a higher risk of accident – for example a forklift tipping when handling an overweight bin. There are also price penalties for over-delivering on contracts or overloading trucks.

The solution was to build a dual-axle trailer with suspension and built in scales, that displays a digital readout to the harvester operator. All construction was undertaken on their farm at an estimated cost of $6000.

Benefits of their innovation include being able to offload bins straight on to delivery trucks to save double-handling the grapes, better scheduling for trucks, better yield estimation during picking, reduced noise thanks to suspension, and it removes the problem of variation in volume weight between varieties.

They've paid for their device in one season by selling the fruit that is excess to processing contracts to other wineries instead.

Above: Hans Loder

Rapid GPS yield mapping and analysis

Hans Loder works in mining, but he has an ongoing association with Coonawarra's Katnook Estate.

Katnook uses GPS yield monitors on its harvesters to accurately track yield across vineyards. The data collected was typically sent for processing in to yield maps that took several months to be processed and delivered, much too late to be of use in harvesting decisions.

Loder developed a script to process the data within 24 hours of the harvester moving through the block. It bypasses expensive mapping software to display data natively in Google Earth.

Pixels are colour coded according to yield for quick analysis. The data is also displayed in much higher resolutions than before – with data points down to 150mm – allowing investigation of individual vines and selective harvesting of high value fuit.

Katnook reduced its data processing costs by 75 per cent, using the new yield maps to its advantage in pruning, nutrition and weed management.

Above: Ben Blows

Recirculating cordon sprayer

Ben Blows is an independent grape grower from Macclesfield. Cool and wet climate grapevines, like Blows' vineyard, are often affected by Eutypa, a fungus which infects pruning wounds and shortens the life of vines significantly.

Blows designed and constructed a recirculating sprayer to reduce the spread of Eutypa. His cordon sprayer uses four nozzles on each side, targeted to hit pruning wounds while allowing spraying at up to seven kilometres per hour.

The sprayer was put together with components from other machinery and vineyard waste, including a mount from a leaf blower, pump from an older sprayer, and 44 gallon drums. The cost of the device was estimated at $6000.

Sprays are applied within 48 hours of completing pruning. The sprayer uses a reduced volume of chemicals, which directly results in savings and allows him to use a smaller tank, limited soil compaction in his high rainfall vineyard.

Long term, Ben expects that the greater protection from Eutypa will significantly improve the commercial life of his vines.

 

Cellar doors hold selling power for wine brands and regions

New research has shown that a visit to a winery's cellar door has a lasting effect on consumer behaviour, influencing their buying habits for months afterwards.

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute tracked behaviour of more than 3,300 visitors to 79 cellar doors across Australia over a six-month period. The results reveal the power of the cellar door in promoting a winery or region's brand.

During the six-month period after a cellar door visit, the buyer group (54% of visitors) bought an average of 9.1 bottles of the winery's wine, and the likelihood of making future purchase is 47% on average.

Most importantly, 16% of cellar door visitors who had never bought the brand before began buying it after a visit – this gain can be directly attributed to the cellar door visit and experience.

Reasons for not buying wine include already having a stock at home (25%), preference for other wine brands or styles (20%), and non-availability of the wines at their usual retail outlet (15%).

After a cellar door visit, most wines are bought from large liquor chain stores (33%), but visitors also revisit cellar doors and buy wine (23%). The cellar door channel (including mail order and wine clubs) made up 31% of wine purchases.

Members of wine clubs buy 2.5 times more wine than non-members – about 15% of visitors to a cellar door were members of its wine club.

By the time six months had passed, 47% of visitors had consumed all the wine they bought at the cellar door. 68% consumed it at home.

A cellar door visit also changes patterns of wine consumption in consumers, encouraging consumption of higher quality and more expensive wines. Consumers were more likely to consume wine from the visited region, and their general consumption rose significantly.

The power of word-of-mouth is also increased by a positive visit to a cellar door. 83% of consumers who visited a cellar door recommended a visit to friends, family or work colleagues within three months of visiting, an average of 3.4 times.

Lead researcher Professor Johan Bruwer from the University of South Australia's Ehrenberg-Bass Institute said that the research shows a cellar door visit has a much wider impact beyond simply counter sales on the day.

“The question is how powerful is the effect of awareness, tasting, and overall experience at a cellar door in influencing future purchase behaviour of that brand. This project provides a measure of that impact across a significant period of time after that visit,” Professor Bruwer says.

“The cellar door does something quite special, it can give the brand a good story if those who visit and taste the wine have had a good, authentic, and memorable experience. People who visit a cellar door also become more educated about the wine region and this increases the consumption of wines of that origin.”

 

Coopers keeps on hopping as an Australian brewing icon

According to Glenn Cooper, Coopers Brewing chairman and great, great, great grandson of founder Thomas Cooper, it’s the secondary fermentation they use that makes the company’s iconic brew so popular.

“We are one of the few brewing companies in the world that use secondary fermentation – there are a few brewers in Belgium that use it but in Australia, we are certainly the only traditional beer brewer that use this secondary fermentation process.”

“Its one of the many things that makes Coopers beer so great.”

As Australia’s largest and only family-owned brewery – starting way back in 1862 – the South Australian-based company sold almost 70 million litres of beer in the 2013 financial year.

Launching its limited edition 2015 Extra Strong Vintage Ale, Coopers is also finding that despite Australia’s crowded beer market, its Pale Ale and Sparkling Ales are as popular as ever – thanks to both the evolving palette of Australian beer drinkers and its own research and development.

“The philosophy behind the 2015 Extra Strong Ale, as with previous vintages, was to ensure it was brewed with rich and intense flavours,” Coopers’ Managing Director and Chief Brewer Dr. Tim Cooper said.

“Five hop varieties have been carefully combined to become the feature of this year’s Vintage Ale.

With a bitterness rating of 60 International Bitterness Units (IBU), the company said that the 2015 Extra Strong Vintage Ale “will stand up well as the beer matures, augmenting its cellaring potential.”

This is in conjunction with the strain of yeast they are using, which the company said, stems back from 1910, and is, as the company press release noted, “reliably designed to produce delicious esters and fruity flavours during an extended fermentation.”

However one term that the company does not like to use is ‘craft brewer’, a term that does not sit well with the company’s scions.

“We are still very much a traditional beer brewing company,” said Glenn Cooper.

Joel Shean, Coopers Trade Marketing Co-ordinator noted a survey from a few years ago whereby beer drinkers were asked to classify a range of beer brands.

While some of the brands were thought of as standard beers and others as craft beers, “no-one knew exactly where to put Coopers.”

Now with its Vintage Ale in its 15th year and with over 150 years of brewing history under its belt, Coopers Brewing is finding that tradition is a great way to move its iconic Australian beer into the future.

 

Coopers releases its 15th vintage

Coopers Brewery has released its fifteenth vintage, the limited edition 2015 Extra Strong Vintage Ale.

“The philosophy behind the 2015 Extra Strong Ale, as with previous vintages, was to ensure it was brewed with rich and intense flavours,” Coopers’ Managing Director and Chief Brewer Dr Tim Cooper said.

“Five hop varieties have been carefully combined to become the feature of this year’s Vintage Ale.

“Melba hop is the driving variety. Developed by the master hop breeder of Ellerslie Hop Estate in Victoria, Melba provides stone fruit and citrus undertones.

“Ella and Vic Secret bring out passionfruit, peach and spicy aromas, while Styrian Goldings and Cascade provide additional balance and depth of flavour while enhancing the spicy, floral and fruity undertones.”

Cooper said this year’s Vintage had a noticeable increase in bitterness, which fused and enriched the other hop flavours to leave a smooth and lingering after-taste.

“The higher bitterness also assists in the longevity of the brew,” he said.

The alcohol content remains at 7.5% alcohol by volume, retaining Vintage Ale’s title as the strongest beer brewed by Coopers and one of the stronger beers produced in the world.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director Cam Pearce said this year’s Vintage would suit most hearty winter meals of lamb, pork or beef, but would make the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast.

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale was first released in 1998, with further vintages in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, and every year since 2006. The Ale can be consumed immediately while flavours are fresh, or stored in cool conditions for tastings after six to 12 months of maturation.

 

Champagne region earns World Heritage status

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has decided to include the Champagne Slopes, Houses and Cellars on its world heritage list, in the Living Cultural Landscapes category.

The 21 representatives of the State Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention unanimously voted in favour of the inclusion, recognised the Slops’, Houses’ and Cellars’ ‘Exceptional Universal Value’.

“Inclusion on the list is a form of recognition but also an undertaking to the world’s nations, so we must ensure that we are worthy of it. We are duty-bound to preserve and maintain this landscape, know-how and heritage so that we can pass them on unspoilt to future generations,” said Pierre Cheval, president of the Association Paysages du Champagne, which has spent eight years putting together and managing the area’s application.

Champagne's submission put emphasis on the unique industrial heritage that, from the 19th century onwards, helped to establish Champagne wine as a worldwide symbol of quality.

The application encompassed the three sites listed below, chosen to present a representative selection of vineyard sites and Champagne production practices:

  • The vineyard area between Cumières and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ – one of the most ancient vineyards in the Champagne area.
  • The buildings of the Champagne Houses on Saint-Nicaise hill in Reims and along the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay
  • The network of cellars and ‘crayères’ (Gallo-Roman chalk pits) that lie under these three sites – the best examples of their kind in Champagne.

 

Brewers capitalise on the growing popularity of craft beers

According to IBISWorld, Australian beer manufacturers have struggled over the past five years due to a sharp decline in beer consumption coupled with increasingly discerning consumers preferring quality craft and premium beers over traditional brands.

As a result, major Australian brewers Lion Pty Limited and SABMiller Beverage Investments Pty Limited are realigning their business strategies to capitalise on craft beer production.

Lion Pty Limited – a fully owned subsidiary of the Japanese Kirin Brewery Company Limited – has shifted with consumer preferences. Lion controls the largest share of the broader beer manufacturing industry, at 43.1 per cent of revenue. Lion maintains a brand portfolio that includes both traditional brews, such as Tooheys and XXXX, and a range of international premium beers like Kirin and Beck’s. Lion has focused heavily on brewery acquisitions to complement its production and distribution contracts with overseas brands. In 2012, the company acquired WA craft brewer Little World Beverages, which produces the Little Creatures and White Rabbit beer brands. Lion subsequently invested $60 million dollars into a new Little Creatures brewery in Geelong to service the east coast market and in early 2015 relocated its White Rabbit brewery from Healesville to the Geelong site to better cope with increasing demand for craft beer. As a result of these initiatives, Lion’s beer manufacturing revenue is expected to grow by a compound annual rate of 3.0 per cent over the five years through 2014-15, to $2.1 billion, with much of this growth driven by the booming craft beer market.

SABMiller trades as Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) in Australia following its purchase of CUB in 2011 for $12.3 billion. Since the purchase, IBISWorld says CUB has struggled to adapt to changing consumer dynamics. The company has been slow to get on to the craft beer bandwagon, instead focusing on its key beer brands, which include Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught and Crown Lager. It also produces and distributes a variety of international premium beers such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Grolsch. In 2012, CUB lost the distribution rights for Corona and Stella Artois to rival Lion, as well as the rights to international brands Guinness and Asahi. Compounding this has been the continued decline in popularity of Victoria Bitter, which in 2012 was eclipsed by Lion’s XXXX Gold as Australia’s highest selling beer. Increased competition – particularly from Lion – has seen CUB’s market share fall by almost 10 per cent to 40.1 per cent of industry revenue. CUB has, however, worked to expand its presence in the growing craft beer market through its subsidiary Matilda Bay Brewing Company, which produces a variety of craft brands including Fat Yak and Beez Neez. CUB has been slow to adapt its business model, focusing too heavily on its traditional brands. As a result, it has struggled to capitalise on the craft beer boom, losing market share.

While IBISWorld expects beer consumption to continue trending downwards, with traditional brands  losing market share to craft and premium brands, Lion has worked quickly to make major inroads into the more lucrative and developing craft and premium beer market leaving CUB with some catching up to do. Given the direction that the market is heading, IBISWorld expects these two brewing behemoths to continue pursuing distribution deals and acquisitions of smaller brewers.

 

Entries open for Royal Melbourne Wine Awards

Entries are open for this year’s Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, which will include a new trophy for the Best Vermouth.

Alongside the new Vermouth category, an additional Victorian Wines of Provenance Trophy will be awarded.

The Victorian Wines of Provenance Trophy, which was introduced in 2014, recognises Victorian producers who show consistency, quality and excellence over three vintages of the same wine, over a minimum of 10 years.

RMWA Chairman of Judges, Tom Carson, said the introduction of the second Victorian Wines of Provenance award was based on feedback from last year’s judging panel and industry leaders.

“James Halliday, who chaired the panel, commented on the outstanding quality of the entries and along with the judging panel was torn at the final stage to have to choose between two impressive set of wines, one red and one white,” Mr Carson said.

“It was obvious that in the future, the award should be for both red and white wine.”

Up to 25 major trophies will be awarded this year, including the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red Wine, The Douglas Seabrook Single Vineyard Trophy, The Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz, The Bill Chambers Trophy for Best Fortified and The Kym Ludvigsen Trophy for Viticultural Excellence.

The judging of the 2015 RMWA will take place from October 5 – 9 at Melbourne Showgrounds by a judging panel made up of industry experts including leading local wine-makers, media and sommeliers.

Conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the RMWA are continually growing and developing new categories and classes.

The RMWA gives producers the opportunity to benchmark their wines against industry standards; seek advice from an independent panel of experts; and to promote and market award winning products using the RMWA’s seal of approval.

Winners will be announced at a presentation on Thursday 15 October, followed by the opportunity for exhibitors to participate in the RMWA Exhibitor Tasting on Friday 16 October.

For more information, click here.