Wine lovers in the United States are drinking more New Zealand wines than ever, with double-digit annual percentage increases in the value of imports for the past five straight years. As demand increases, investors are also developing a taste for Kiwi wine. Recent acquisitions in the New Zealand wine market by two U.S.-based major players-Foley Family Wines and Terroir Selections-signal an increasing confidence in the wines' future.
The mainstays of the region's wine production are high-altitude, mineral-driven Malbec, and surprisingly approachable, soft-edged Tannat (a wine often with hard tannins), both showing promise as foils to Mendoza's warmer, riper styles. The third, but perhaps most important grape, is a white variety called Torrontés.
Cool conditions during flowering at the end of last year resulted in poor fruit set. Australian Vintage viticulturist Murray Leake says it's disappointing that yields are so low. "Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio on average have all been about 50 per cent down.
Residents in the Perth's south and eastern suburbs are being urged to keep an eye out for European wasps which have established a presence in the area this year. Eight of the 49 European wasp nests destroyed by the Department of Agriculture and Food this year were located around Kelmscott and Mt Nasura, Department senior technical officer Marc Widmer said.
Accolade Wines has finalized the purchase of a suite of award-winning New Zealand wine brands including Mud House and Waipara Hills, and their assets, from the Mud House Wine Group. In addition, the deal, initially announced last November, will see Accolade add the Dusky Sounds, Haymaker and Skyleaf brands to its extensive portfolio of New World wine brands.
Online-only wine retailer Rewined www.rewined.co.nz predicts that the New Zealand online wine market will account for 15% of total retail sales completed online by 2018. This is based on the rise in the industry sector in the past two years and international trends.
Vineyards that have been on the market for years are starting to sell as buyers gain confidence in the wine industry again, Marlborough real estate agents say. Bayleys Marlborough agent Tim Crawford said the company had sold 12 vineyards in the past year.
Treasury Wine Estates is under renewed pressure to sell its troubled US division after a report from Merrill Lynch analyst David Errington declared the company could deliver at least $2 billion in extra value to shareholders by breaking itself up.
TWE marched previous boss David Dearie in September over $160 million in writedowns taken against the US business. Since then non-executive director Warwick Every-Burns has been filling the role on an interim basis.