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China - End of dreams?

China reduces its imports of expensive Bordeaux wines - this or similar headlines and comments appeared quite frequently in printed or online media, during the last weeks and months. They were fuelled by two current developments: Firstly, the new leadership unter general secretary and state president Xi Jinping has summoned the political and economical elite of the country to put an end to their ostentacious life style, super expensive red wine bottles included. Secondly, the economic growth of the country has substantially slowed down ...

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Italians don't drink wine ...

Not only the French, the Italians too, Europe's second biggest wine producers, drink less and less wine. Whilst the world wide consumption has been stable at about 244-245 m hl, during the last years, the Italian consumption went down by a significant 17.5 % since 2006, reaching 22.6 after 27.3 m hl, a level only slighly higher that that of Germany with its 20 m hl ...

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Tuscany 2013

No, it was no real pleasure to deal with these cork taints. I had just written, some days ago, that the "real", the "hard" cork tastes had become fewer, that cork taints showed in a more subtle way, as Tuscany proved me completely wrong. During the "Anteprima"-tastings in february I had not noted an unnormal level of corky wines, but those bottles obviously had already been "filtered" by the serving sommeliers. All the more salient were these stinking bottles among those 80+ samples which I had asked the producers to send to Hamburg, among them many of the absolute top wines of Tuscany ...

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ProWein pickings

The just finished ProWein trade fair at Düsseldorf was not only the biggest, best visited and most international of the last 20 years according to the official statement of the organisers, it was also an opportunity for good and intensive meetings and discussions. Among others we were able to agree upon three new big tastings for the next months and will give more detail about these as soon as they are definately confirmed ...

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German Riesling-Challenge 2013

It was designed to be a first attempt and it became a very succesful first attempt, our new German Riesling-Challenge dedicated to dry Rieslings of the 2011 vintage which, after a two-tier tasting finished last week, was won by the Graf von Kanitz winery in the Rheingau followed by Dr. Siemens of the Mosel and Alexander Laible from Baden. The challenge was initiated at the beginning of this year by ENO WorldWine and Effilee magazine and, in spite of the very short subscription period, gained a total of 220 wine submissions coming from 91 producers all over Germany ...

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South African dreams

It took us a long time before we were able to publish this tasting report for which we had already started tasting wines at the 2012 Cape Wine, last september. The reason behind this was in some bizarre transport logistics and a very slow customs office which blocked 130 wines for more than a month, here in Hamburg, after the same wines having already spent quite a while in the port of Cape Town before starting their journey to Europe. All's well that ends well ... and here it is: the perhaps most comprehensive tasting report on South Africa ...

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Defeat for Germany's VDP

Germany's VDP, considered by many as the association of the country's top producers, has just suffered a crushing although widely expected defeat before the European Court of Justice. The VDP had already been defeated at an inferior court after having sued the Community's Office for Harmonization which had not recognized the VDP's request to protect the word mark "GG" - an abbreviation of "Großes Gewächs", the German wannabe equivalent of the French Grand Cru ...

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German wine exports falling

More than we had expected after having published the preliminary tables issued by the Statistics Office, the German wine exports have receded last year. The figures just released by the German Wine Institute for the 12 months from December '11 to November '12 show, that the losses for the whole year might come closer to 15, instead of expected 12,9 per cent volumewise, to 7 instead of 4,6 per cent valuewise ...

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Boycott as boycott can?

It was one of those moments in which, for a second, I wouldn't trust my eyes. "Will you boycott South African wine?" I was asked by the headline of this online poll, a question which seemed at least surprising, if not irritating. This all the more so as a quick check on the date and the kind of publication revealed: No, this was no article written in the late 1970ies or 1980ies and no, this was no publication edited by some incorrigible Apartheid hardliners whom you could suspect to be interested in damaging the country which had slipped from their control some 20 years ago ...

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China's market booms for a few

China's wine trade offers, if you trust a recently published analysis of companiesandmarkets.com, a picture similar to that of the US trade. At least as far as its structure is concerned. In the USA, trade notwithstanding thousands of different labels coming apparently from about 1.000 different producers, about half the retail offer can be traced back to just three giant groups. In China, these three are Chang Yu, Great Wall and Dynasty ...

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South Africa's exports rise

South Africa's wine exports have again been on the rise during 2012. After 3.5 m hl, the year before, Cape exporters reached the bold quantity of 4.1 m hl, an increase of about 17 %. As disctinct from earlier years, Germany this time did not perform like a model student although it remains the second important market for the Africans: Instead of 0.82 m hl in 2011 imports in 2012 only reached a total of 0.78 m hl. Yet, the positive balance sheet is again slightly overshadowed: A growing part of South Africa's export volumes is no longer shipped in bottles but as bulk wine.

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Türk şarap

One wine! One only wine, even if it was a surprisingly good one. That was, up to these days my knowledge of Turkey and its enological productions. Of a country which, if you believe the official numbers of the OIV, the international wine office, owns the fourth largest vineyard surface of the world - together with China. Well, as a matter of fact this vineyard surface has, in the past, nearly exlusively produces raisins and table grape, whereas the Turkish quality viticulture is a fairly recent phenomenon ...

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Not only Sauvignon

It was one of the more complicated tastings which we have had to organize in recent years, not only because it took us several attemps to get through to the right people at Wines of New Zealand who could help us sending the appeal for samples to all the wineries, but also because receiving the samples from New Zealand apparently was too much for one of the courier services. But the effort was worth it: The Kiwis had submitted more than 40 elegant, straightforward Pinots which were able to completely demolish the image of a "Sauvignon only"-country which New Zealand still seems to enjoy in many parts of the world.

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Unrest in SA wine country

Social unrest in South Africa which started last August in the mining industry around Johannesburg, has recently reached the winelands of the Western Cape region. Already, at the beginning of this week, a speaker of the Eastern Cape regional organisation of SA's ruling ANC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, had issued a statement in which he called for boycott of South African wines and declared, whoever bought these wines supported the exploitation of the mainly black work force on the wine farms ...

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Russia: Wine press under fire

The Russian governent which some months ago had already prohibited nearly every form of advertising alcoholic beverages, wine included, has just issued even more radical restraints. With the beginning of next year any reference to particular wines or brands in the media will be prohibited, if you believe an article published by "The Moscow Times" quoted by winenews.it. Writing about wine in general will still be allowed but not writing about individual producers or labels ...

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