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Wine News

Genetically engineered yeast can produce hop like flavours in wine

Yeast has been engineered to produce hop like flavours, it is a small step to producing similar flavoured wines.
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Are we at the beginning of the genetic engineering of wine? For the first time a yeast has been genetically engineered to produce hop like flavours found in beer. According to research Hops’s flavours are mainly terpene based. The yeast developed at UC Berkeley was edited to create more terpene flavours. In particular the Linalool and Geraniol flavour molecules. Linalool is thought of as floral, with a touch of spiciness while Geraniol is a rose like scent and often found in perfumes.

In a blind tasting with Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California, the yeast produced an un-hopped beer that tasted more hoppy than a similar beer made with normal yeast and hops.

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France has been rocked by two massive wine frauds.

Two wine frauds involving millions of bottles of wine are currently being prosecuted in Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley.
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We are used to hearing about wine fraud in China, but this week two massive wine frauds are being investigated and prosecuted in France itself.

Between 2013 and 2016 20 million litres of wine destined for Vin du France wine was labelled as Côtes-Du-Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages. Of this 1.3 million bottles was wrongly labelled Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The company and individual name has not been released, but has been reported in Decanter as bulk wine specialist Raphaël Michel.

Meanwhile in Bordeaux, prosecutors claimed that Grands Vins de Gironde (GVG) committed 'flagrant' wine fraud, illegally blending AOC wines with table wines and blending across AOCs, vintages and estates. The fraud included blending Languedoc wines with Bordeaux wines and blending wines from different vintages. The defence claims that the mislabelling of 200,000 litres of wine was due to the complex nature of their negotiant business, but prosecutors deny this.

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Conviviality plans share launch to fill debt holes

Conviviality, the company behind Bargain Booze and Wine Rack, has announced plans to raise £125m in capital from the sale of new shares.
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Conviviality, the company behind Bargin Booze and Wine Rack as well as national wine wholesalers Matthew Clark and Bibendum, has announced plans to raise £125 million in capital from the sale of new shares. The sale of the shares will cover a £30 million outstanding bill to HMRC as well as a £30 million revolving credit line.

The company claims without finding additional funding, the company is unlikely to keep trading. Conviviality’s chief executive Diana Hunter stepped down on Monday amid analyst criticisms of a lack of systems and controls at the company. Apparently a spreadsheet error meant the company's margins were not as good as thought, leading to the profits warning, on top of failing to allow for a £30 million payment to the HMRC.

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Wine Rack and Bargain Booze owner has shares suspended after not accounting for a £30m tax bill

Conviviality shares are suspended on the AIM market after it found a tax bill amounting to £30m, piling pressure on the company after a profits warning.
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Conviviality, the drinks company, has had its shares suspended on the AIM market after it found a £30m bill from the UK’s tax collector, the HMRC. The payment was not accounted for in the business’s short term funding plan.

Conviviality is one of the giants of the UK drinks industry both in retail and wholesale. Many people may know their brands on the high street including Wine Rack and Bargain Booze. The company also own two huge wholesalers in the form of Matthew Clark, Bibendum and fine wine merchant Walker & Wodehouse.

The news broke after a profits warning on the 8th March that profits would be 20% lower than expected at between £55.3 and £56.4 million. The profits warning had sent the shares tumbling to a third of their value. On Wednesday 7th March shares were worth 301.50p and after the profits warning and before they were suspended, the share price was trading at 101.20p.

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The EU trade body is pushing for more calorie information on labels

The European CEEV has announced plans to include the calorie content of wine on labels.
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The EU trade body is pushing for more calorie information on labels.
The Comite Europeen des Enterprises Vins (CEEV) has announced plans to include the calorie content of wine. The new measure will be for a 100ml serving of wine and use an E symbol to denote the energy of the drink in both kJ and kcal. Nutritional information may be given on the label and off label, such as providing QR codes for the information to be looked up online.

In a recent survey carried out by ThirtyFifty 28% of wine drinkers would like more nutritional and calorie content information. 61% of people said there was enough information already.

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Aldi joins the pack by launching a range of half bottles from Eastern European wines

Aldi has joined the Co-op and Waitrose to launch a range of 37.5cl half bottles from Eastern European producers
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Aldi has joined the Co-op and Waitrose to launch a range of 37.5cl half bottles. Aldi’s wines are based on Eastern European producers, another key trend as large retailers hunt for cheaper wines from the UK’s non-traditional suppliers.

Selling at £2.99 a bottle, the range includes a Romanian Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, alongside a Malbec from Chile.
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