- Discovering the Joys of New Zealand Wine

Special Edition Newsletter

Once a year, the KiwiWineries Newsletter goes beyond New Zealand to look at wine news from around the world. This year's special edition features the latest news from our team of correspondents: bad news for tax procrastinators from the IRS, Montgomery County, Maryland's latest wine initiative, and technology developments from the Australian wine industry. We also have an advertisement from our newest commercial sponsor.

Montgomery County, Maryland Commissions It Own Wine Brand

A year ago, we reported on the wine super-store opened by Montgomery County, Maryland. Today, County Executive Doug Duncan announced the county's latest initiative to vertically integrate its wine business. Once again using its leverage as the only county in the nation with a monopoly on wine distribution, Montgomery County has approached mega-producer Constellation Wines to custom blend a wine to be sold under the county's proprietary label. Said Duncan, "We want to provide the citizens of our county the type of high quality wine they want and deserve while enhancing the county's revenue position."
Product Development Director Mel O'Lactic, recently promoted from his super-store management position, said that Constellation's recent acquisition of the Robert Mondavi Corporation made them a natural partner for this endeavor. "Looking at Mondavi's success in the joint venture with Baron Rothschild to produce Opus One, we realized the opportunity at hand." He further explained that they solicited Constellation to blend wines from two of its distinguished brands, Mondavi and Manischewitz, to produce a unique wine for the citizens of Montgomery County. "Our taste experts are confident that the Cabernet-Concord blend will appeal to this market and will challenge the super-Tuscans in the high-end range." The flavor profile will feature jammy fruit with a solid core of sweet tannins.
Assistant Labeling Specialists, Vito LaBrusca and Vinnie Ferra, explained that, internally, the wine is referred to as Monda-schewitz. "However, we are designing the market label with the designation Private Reserve - Montgomery County or PRMC." County officials seemed oblivious that, to local wino drinkers, PRMC already stands for People's Republic of Montgomery County.

Technology Report:

Aussies Rule the Waves

The Australian wine industry has been faced with the challenge of transporting its huge export sales overseas at a time when shipping costs are soaring. The ever-resourceful Aussies studied several alternatives before borrowing a solution from the fishing industry. A large commercial fishing vessel processes its catch at sea and by the time it reaches port, the product is fresh and ready for the consumer.
Using this approach, the Australian Wine Export Coalition (AWEC) commissioned a fleet of specialized tanker ships. Various compartments on the ships function as fermentation and storage tanks.
In this process, grapes in major wine-growing regions, like Barossa Valley, are crushed at a centralized facility and the juice is pumped via pipeline to a terminal at the nearest port. Within hours, on-loading is completed and the ship departs. Enroute to its destination, the juice is fermented on board and stored. After a leisurely cruise, the wine is ready for consumption when the ship reaches port and its cargo is off-loaded to a bottling plant. During off-loading, red wines are pumped through a series of wooden baffles to simulate barrel-aging.
AWEC spokesman, Malcolm Wallaby, touts that savings are achieved throughout the process by not transporting the bulky glass bottles and boxes. "For quality, the wines arrive with the freshness and intensity of a Beaujolais Nouveau." he proudly added.
Mr. Wallaby went on to explain that projects are underway to further streamline the distribution process. For high density destinations like New York City, there is a proposal to skip bottling altogether and use conduit to pipe the wine direct to a house-wine tap in each restaurant in the city.

The arrival of this week's supply of Yellow Tail chardonnay.

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It's not your mother's white wine.

IRS Assessing Late-Filing Penalties

Taxpayers waiting until the last minute to file their 1040 Income Tax returns were shocked to learn that the Internal Revenue Service has already begun to assess late-filing penalties on those returns it is now receiving. Troubled by what appears to be yet another administration foul-up, we sent our Senior Government Correspondent, Weida Peoples, inside the beltway to discover and expose the facts.
After a brief but nonetheless intense and unrelenting investigation, KiwiWineries has uncovered the truth. Two days ago IRS computer programmers received their latest issue of Wine Spectator. While reading it at their desks {presumably on break}, they noticed on the cover that it was dated May 15, 2005. Realizing that any tax returns now being received were therefore already a month late, they immediately re-programmed the computers to assess the five percent per month late-filing penalty.
So far, one taxpayer has appealed the penalty and been rejected. In summarily rejecting the protest, the IRS Appeals Officer, who coincidentally is a former wine salesman, issued a tersely-worded report which repeatedly used the phrase "the Wine Spectator scored it as May 15."

And that's the way it is on April 1, 2005.

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