South African wine industry ‘optimistic’

first_img14 January 2013Following a few very tough years, the South African wine industry is optimistic on the back of record export levels, good prospects for this year’s harvest, the penetration of new markets, and growing praise from high-profile wine critics, says Wines of South Africa CEO Su Birch.South African wine exports for 2012 reached 417-million litres, 10-million litres more than the previous record of 407-million litres achieved in 2008 and a 17% increase on volumes in 2011, Birch said on Monday.“The record levels are the result of a more favourable currency, as well as the global shortage of wines, stemming from a significant drop in the recent harvests of competitor wine-producing nations in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand,” Birch said in a statement.Third-biggest crop forecastBirch said all indications were that this year’s local crop could be the third-biggest in recorded history. “This is assuming that good weather conditions continue, there is a speedy and peaceful resolution to the farmworker strikes, and harvests come in on time.“The anticipated crop size is despite a decrease in total plantings, thanks to one of the best winter seasons in the Western Cape for many years.”The South African Wine Industry & Information Systems (Sawis) has anticipated that the 2013 wine grape crop should amount to 1 384 357 tons.Bulk vs packaged exportsBirch said that while bulk (i.e. non-packaged) exports accounted for 59% of volumes in 2012, this was in line with a growing global trend. She explained that over the past decade, bulk wine exports from the major New World wine-producing countries had risen from around 20% to over half of wine volumes traded, against the background of protracted recessionary market conditions.“The reality we face also confronts Australia, Chile, Argentina and even New Zealand.”She said while packaged wines generally offered higher returns, local producers had been forced to accept that to compete globally, they had to provide what the mainstream markets wanted.“Obviously we would prefer the accent to be on packaged wines, from a reputational perspective for Brand South Africa, in terms of job retention in the packaging industry and also to maintain sustainable profit margins for producers. We are therefore greatly encouraged by the recent growth of packaged exports to North America, Japan, China, as well as several increasingly affluent African nations, all to regions where we have been increasing our marketing investment.”Praise from high-profile criticsShe said the industry had also been buoyed by the growing confidence in South Africa as a top wine-producing country among high-profile international critics, whose opinion carried great weight in the global wine business fraternity as well as with consumers.“Over the past few weeks we have had praise from the likes of Neal Martin, who reviews for Robert E Parker’s world-famous The Wine Advocate, and who has singled out South Africa as currently the most exciting New World wine country, as well as from Stephen Tanzer of the International Wine Cellar, the UK’s Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin MW and Sarah Ahmed and Germany’s Eckhard Supp.”Labour unrest in Western CapeBirch said that while the industry regretted the current labour unrest in the Western Cape, huge strides were being made to ensure decent working conditions on all wine-producing farms.“The local Fairtrade office has confirmed that South Africa now has the highest number of Fairtrade-accredited wineries worldwide, with 65% of Fairtrade wines sold globally coming from our country.”At the same time, Birch said, there was steadily growing support for the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (Wieta), with increasing numbers of producers subscribing to its code of good conduct. This was particularly after the international market reacted positively to last year’s launch of the Wieta ethical seal, a world-first that provides a guarantee of fair labour practices.“Wieta accreditation for rigorously audited fair labour conditions has accelerated since last year and with the increase in producer and worker training sessions scheduled, prior to auditing sessions, we expect many more labels to qualify during this year,” Birch said.Some of the South Africa’s biggest producers have already earned Wieta accreditation for their labels, including Distell, Spier, Fairview and Robertson Winery.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

The night is full of caches

first_imgAnother way to learn about the best Night Caches is to ask a fellow geocacher about their favorites. They can create a list with their recommendations and share it with you. We did so ourselves and created this list of some of the most favorited Night Caches and other haunted hides.Which spooky Night Caches are on your list? Share in the comments or on social media using #hauntedhides.Ready to go to the dark side? Browse Night Caching equipment in the Geocaching Shop or at International Retailers.Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedNight Caching: It’s not just for Vampires anymoreOctober 13, 2014In “Geocaching Weekly Newsletter”Creepin’ it real: Add geocaching to your HalloweenOctober 30, 2017In “Community””We Come in Peace” GC1DA0H GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – May 16, 2011May 14, 2011In “Community” Bananaaaa Nightclub Nachtcache (GC5BW4D)center_img Shorter days and autumn weather might make you want to curl up on the couch and let caches be caches — but the shadows of the night can be the best time to seek some of the most exciting geocaches around: Night Caches.MEGAPHOBIA (GC5ENHV)Night Caches are best searched for in the dark. Not for the easily spooked, these caches come in all types — Traditional, Multi, Mystery, Wherigo caches amongst others — and often feature scary tales.Thriller! (GC5ENHQ) and Curse of the Pharaoh (GC4Q1K7)If you’re intrigued to go on a ghostly geohunt at night, make sure to come prepared with a flashlight or headlamp, some extra batteries, and maybe even a glow-in-the-dark pen.To find Night Caches, you often have to follow reflectors that guide you to the hide or glow-in-the-dark ink that can only be seen in the dark and requires a UV flashlight.Some geocache owners include ‘Night Cache’ in the cache’s title to make it clear that their cache is best found at night. Others can be identified through one or more of these attributes:Night CacheRecommended at NightFlashlight RequiredUV Light Requiredlast_img read more

Saving on Groceries and Saving your Money

first_imgBy Auyanna McBride, AFCPE-FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship InternWith the cost of groceries on the rise, many families are turning to couponing to save money on groceries.  There are several resources that offer great coupons.  Some of these include Sunday newspapers, www.coupons.com and the local store/commissary.  To save even more money, military families should try to shop at stores that double their coupons and only get items that the family uses.  A great way to start a savings program is to take the money saved on coupons and use it to open a savings account.  Most stores print the savings from coupons at the bottom of the receipt so their customers can see exactly how much they save using coupons and store specials.  This is a great incentive to use coupons even more because the more money people save, the bigger their savings account will grow.  For more information about savings strategies for military families, visit the Military Saves Web site at http://www.militarysaves.org/.This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on August 30, 2013.last_img read more

Modi announces ₹500 crore as immediate relief for flood-hit Bihar

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected districts of Bihar and announced a package of ₹500 crore as immediate relief to the state. He also declared that ₹2 lakh each would be given to the kin of those who have died in the floods, and that a Central team would soon visit the affected areas to assess the damage. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accompanied Mr. Modi during the survey.Maximum damageAfter the survey — he flew over the districts of Purnea, Kishanganj, Katihar and Araria — Mr. Modi held a meeting with Mr. Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and top state officials at the Chunapur aerodrome. He was told that the flood had caused maximum damage to the Seemanchal (border) areas and the state water resource department has suffered the maximum loss due to breach of embankments and waterways for irrigation.Mr. Modi said that the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry would take appropriate action for the repair of the damaged roads and other infrastructure. The marooned areas of Bihar as seen from the Prime Minister’s aircraft during his aerial survey on August 26, 2017. Photo: @PMOIndia   Detailed reportThe PMO statement also referred to Prime Minister’s recent talks with his Nepal counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba during which it was decided that a detailed project report would be prepared at the earliest on the Saptkoshi Dam and Sunkoshi storage-cum-diversion scheme. Both nations would also work on flood control in the border areas which will benefit the region, the statement added further.As many as 21 districts of Bihar have been inundated by the flood waters, which affected 1.67 crore people, with the death toll mounting to 418. The state government has opened hundreds of relief camps and community kitchens for the flood-hit people. Several teams of the National Disaster Response Force, SDRF and the Army have been pressed into service for relief and rescue operations.last_img read more

Google is expected to close its acquisition of Mot

first_imgGoogle is expected to close its acquisition of Motorola Mobility this week following the crossing of its last major hurdle, approval by the Chinese regulatory authorities.The Chinese authorities gave the US$12.5 billion (€9.8 billion) acquisition the green light on condition that Google continues to offer its Android operating system free of charge for the next five years.Google is known to be interested in acquiring Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio, particularly strong in the mobile devices area, which would position it better to challenge patent lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft and others.To allay fears on the part of other Android device manufacturers that the acquisition would mean Google competing directly with them in the hardware market, Google is expected to keep Motorola Mobility at arms length, operating as an independent unit. There has been speculation that Google could sell off the set-top box part of the business at a later date.last_img read more

Vivendi has pulled out of its planned acquisition

first_imgVivendi has pulled out of its planned acquisition of an 89% stake in Mediaset Premium and submitted an alternative proposal to take a 20% in the pay TV outfit after the emergence of what it described as “significant differences” in its analysis of Mediaset Premium’s results.Vivendi said that its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine wrote to Mediaset’s management on June 21 to inform the Italian broadcaster’s management of its concerns. The media giant said that it submitted its alternative plan to Mediaset yesterday.Mediaset acknowledged that it had received a communication from Vivendi with the alternative proposal, which it said changed the value of the agreement and of Mediaset’s capital.Vivendi said it would go ahead with the exchange of 3.5% of its capital with Mediaset, but that it would only purchase 20% of Mediaset Premium instead of the agreed 80%. It said it would purchase a further 15% of the pay TV unit’s capital in three years through a convertible bond issue.Mediaset made it clear in its statement that Vivendi’s proposal was a surprise and that it was not agreed. It said it was contrary to the commitments made by Vivendi in its April 8 agreement with Mediaset. It said it would pursue its rights by all means available.The Italian company’s board will meet later this week to disucss its interim results and is expected to address the matter.Vivendi for its part said that it still had a “desire to build a major strategic alliance with Mediaset and Mediaset Premium”.A Vivendi spokesman told DTVE that differences had emerged as a result of due diligence performed by Vivendi after its April agreement. She said that Vivendi remained committed to finding an agreement and to its strategy to build media assets in Italy and southern Europe.Continued losses at Mediaset Premium helped push its parent company into the red in the first quarter, posting a loss of €18 million as against a profit of €0.6 million for the same period last year.Mediaset shares fell sharply on the news.last_img read more

French service provider Altice FranceSFR has unve

first_imgFrench service provider Altice France/SFR has unveiled its latest set-top box, the AFR Box 8, designed by the group’s in-house R&D unit, Altice Labs.The box, which is being launched in France, will in fact be rolled out across Altice Europe’s other markets subsequently.The launch of the box follows the much higher-profile unveiling of rival service provider Free’s Freebox Delta at the turn of the year. Altice’s launch was a more muted affair, with a promise of a device that would set a new standard and whose key point of differentiation is integration of the latest version of WiFi, WiFi 6 – a first for the French market.The box also includes Altice’s in-house voice assistant, branded OK SFR, enabling users to use voice commands to switch on and off the TV, search for content, surf channels and start programmes among other things.Customers will also be able to use the device to control connected home devices including lights and security cameras as part of the SFR Home proposition in the near future.SFR will also onboard Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant technology in the near future.The SFR Box 8 also includes 4K HDR functionality with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound.The box brings to SFR subscribers a new user interface that the service provider describes as offering simpler and more fluid navigation and an immersive and personalised experience, with recommendation based on individual usage patterns.The UX is also available via the new SFR TV app available for iOS and Android devices, enabling remote recording and multiscreen viewing.SFR says that the introduction of WiFi 6, which enables in-home connectivity at a theoretical 3.6 times the speed of earlier versions and provides more complete coverage thanks to its intelligent capability, to be boosted by the launch of additional repeaters by the operator in the future.SFR will make the box available to its FTTH subscribers from August 20, with FTTB customers able to use it from October 8.“With the experience offered by the SFR Box 8, we are going to offer a new standard in the market to our customers: connected devices, smart home, cinema-quality image and sound. The only box in the market equipped with the latest generation of WiFi, WiFi 6, and integrating all the new functionalities that users have been waiting for like voice assistant, the SFR Box 8 and its multiscreen interface will bring a unique experience to heart of the home,” said Grégory Rabuel, executive director for consumer and enterprise at SFR.last_img read more