Hot air, Virginia is for lovers, Penfolds and politics

Winds of change

An article in The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mitchell Taylor, managing director of Taylors Wines, on wine taxation. Apparently Australia is “still the highest taxed wind-producing country in the world.  For us to go into the global economy and compete, we really do need government to support us.”

Always a lot of hot air in and around the industry. It just depends which orifice it’s emerging from.

Governor loved up

Terry McAuliffe, Governor of the US state of Virginia, has announced that the state’s wine sales have increased 34 per cent since 2010, contributing US$2 million ($2.6 million) in wine tax revenue to state coffers.

He also announced the addition of an 8th oyster region at Tangier/Middle Bay, adding:

“When you think about it, Virginia is for lovers – I’ve just announced we have eight varieties of oysters now. So you come to Virginia, you eat our oysters, you drink our wine, and you figure out the next step.”

Virginia has about 285 wineries and sold 6.6 million bottles of wine across the state in the fiscal 2016, which ended June 30. That’s a 6 per cent increase in sales on the previous year.

Feather in the cap

Constellation Brands is changing the packaging for California’s Robert Mondavi Private Selection. Nothing wrong with that, and in itself of little interest. The good part is that two wines – sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio – are going under screwcap. This could help get American consumers used to the cap, which would benefit Australia.

Penfolds mightier than the sword

Inadvertently, Penfolds Grange is the wine that seems to get involved in political conflict. The first victim was former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell, who claimed he had a memory failure when giving evidence to the Independent Commission against Corruption. He failed to remember he had been given a bottle of Penfolds Grange 1959 by Australian Water Holdings executive Nick Di Girolamo.

Grange is also involved in the Senator Sam Dastyari fiasco. His memory failure was forgetting to declare that the two bottles of wine he was gifted by a Chinese donor to the Liberal Party, the Yuhu Group, were bottles of Penfolds Grange. He does recall donating them to charity.

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