The Year That Was

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January-February

WBM January-February

Melanie Chester appears on the cover of WBM. It’s standing room only at the Wine Industry Marketing Conference, organised by Larry Lockshin. We flog off Larry’s new book, This Little Pinot Went to Market – a Guide to Wine Marketing.

d’Arenberg unveils an artist’s impression of Chester Osborn’s Cube. Stunning. The Australia Day Tasting in London is a big success; huge pictures of Brendan Keys, Anna Pooley and Toby Bekkers adorn the walls of Lindley Hall. Andrew Calabria is in London for 12 hours – an early vintage beckons. WFA CEO Paul Evans resigns. Paul Battaglene takes over.

March-April

WBM March-April

It’s a good vintage. We crush 1.81 million tonnes – up six percent on 2015. It is 100,000 tonnes above the five-year average of 1.7 million tonnes. Dave Powell appears on the cover appears on the cover of WBM, with his son, Callum, an impressive lad. The first Powell & Son wines sell out. Dave talks about his depression. “I don’t know what all the fuss is about, depression is so common. There is a lot of it in the wine industry.” Dave smokes at the photo shoot. Cough. Tyson Stelzer gives Yering Station 2013 Yarra Valley Reserve Pinot Noir 95 points in WBM. Colin Kay and family launch a beautiful book: The First 125 Years. 

May-June

WBM May-June 

Brown Brothers buys Innocent Bystander. Vinomofo scores $25 million from Blue Sky Venture Capital to expand overseas; they end up spending a chunk of it on a new video. Brave New Wine makes us laugh with quirky marketing, soft drink bottle-style punts and quirky videos. Basket Range is all the rage and James Erskine is on the cover of WBM. Mike Bennie gives Mount Pleasant 2013 Old Paddock & Old Hill Shiraz 94 points. Barossa winemaker Kym Jenke dies suddenly. The UK leaves the EU.

July-August

WBM July-August

Malcolm Turnbull wins the Federal election. Senator Sean Edwards, who was intimately involved in tax negotiations, loses his seat. The Federal Budget includes changes to the WET rebate including having to own a winery. Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer and Senator Anne Ruston vow to consult with industry to determine final eligibility criteria. Will Downie says asset tests are bullshit with a famous Instagram post. The small guys lobby government. Chris Tyrrell is on the cover of WBM is on the cover of WBM, which is included in satchels at the Technical Conference. A talking point at the event is America’s resurgence – and the emergence of Donald Trump as a contender for President. The Yeastie Boys rock Adelaide. Iain Riggs and Sally Evans accept the Maurice O’Shea on behalf of the Len Evans Tutorial. Aaron Ridgway becomes Wine Australia’s new head of market in the Americas. Pernod Ricard closes Morris winery after 167 years. Jacob’s Creek brings out a $180 wine for retiring Bernard Hickin. Yellowglen founder Ian Home dies, aged 87. Volumetric tax chatter goes on. Andrew Margan celebrates 20 years with an Off-Dry Semillon Vermouth. Josephine Perry of Dormilona is named Young Gun of Wine. The People’s Choice is Ricky Evans of Two Tonne Tasmania.

September-October

WBM September-October

Pernod Ricard says the Morris family has bought the business. An hour later John Casella issues a media release saying he in fact is the new owner. Andrea Frost appears on the cover of WBM. She is short-listed in the Champagne Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards. It’s a cool, wet spring in SA and Victoria. Treasury Wine Estates CEO Michael Clarke announces a net profit after tax of $179.4 million. The comeback is complete. Wine Ark says Penfolds Bin 389 is Australia’s most collected wine, replacing Grange. Winemaker Neville Falkenberg passes away. Andrew Caillard gives 2012 Grange 100 points. A hail storm wreaks havoc in the Riverland and other inland regions. China becomes Australia’s biggest wine export market with sales of $474 million, up 51 percent on the previous year.

November-December

WBM November-December

Warren Randall is excited: Seppeltsfield wins Global Best of Wine Tourism at the Great Wine Capitals awards in Portugal. Peter Gago and Penfolds host a lavish dinner to launch their $185,000 crystal pourer. Relax, one of only five imperials of 2012 Grange is included in the price. Steve Pannell is the Bushing King. Brokenwood winemaker Stuart Hordern is dux of the Len Evans Tutorial. Deep Woods Estate 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon wins the Jimmy, a Chinese businessman buys Rymill, Jim Barry Wines releases Australia’s first assyrtiko and Pete Bissell’s snake photo goes viral. Wine Industry Suppliers Australia hosts the inaugural Impact Awards in front of a big audience. Winners are Eco Trellis and Byrne Vineyards, Seeley International, Blue H20 Filtration and Vinpac International, Wineworks Australia, Bottle Shop Concepts and Getaways SA. WFA chairman Tony D’Aloisio moves on; Sandy Clark replaces him. Donald Trump becomes President of the USA. Peter Fraser is on the cover is on the cover of WBM. The Women in Wine Awards honour Emma Norbiato, Prue Henschke, Jenny Semmler, Roberta De Bei, Cassandra Collins, Iain Riggs and Rebecca Barr. Accolade buys Lion’s wine portfolio of St Hallett, Stonier, Petaluma, Croser, Knappstein and Tatachilla. Turnbull backflips on the new WET rebate changes – there is no asset test. The small guys crack nice bottles. Buy Will Downie a drink. We receive our first Christmas card – from Peter Barry. WISA’s WineTech 2017 is postponed. Robert Hill-Smith loses his court case against Pernod Ricard. Max Allen resigns from The Australian after 19 years to accept another gig. d’Arry turns 90. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

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