By Andrew Starke

The Foster’s Group has completed a $5 million dollar upgrade to it winemaking facilities at Coldstream Hills in Victoria’s Yarra Valley as speculation mounts on the future of its US wine business.

New data shows the beer giants wine sales in the lucrative US market plunged by 26.2 percent in August and by 25 percent in September.

Fosters said the figures were misleading as they only cover a small percentage of the US market and don’t take into account those areas where Treasury Wine Estates had exited the market.

However, many in the industry have concluded that Fosters will be forced to scale-back its US operation with the strong Australian dollar compelling its wine business to focus on the premium end of the market.

Closer to home, Fosters confirmed that it is again prepared to invest in its local wine operations after a period of consolidation during which three wineries and 36 vineyards were sold.

The James Halliday Cellar at Coldstream Hills, a state of the art fermentation cellar was opened by Coldstream Hills senior winemaker, Andrew Fleming, yesterday (Oct 12).

Treasury Wine Estates MD ANZ, David Dearie, praised Coldstream Hills founder James Halliday’s unique contribution to the winery and Australian wine industry.

“Today we witness a perfect marriage between traditional winemaking and state of the art technology,” he said.

“Our investment in the new James Halliday cellar reflects Coldstream Hills’ place as a treasured brand in our portfolio and our firm belief that it has an important role to play in the future.”

Speaking at the opening, attended by abound 120 guests, Fleming said it was a significant day for Coldstream Hills.

“The new cellar will provide us with the flexibility and capability required for super-premium fruit handling and winemaking,” he said.

The new cellar will house 16 new ten tonne open fermentation vessels, as well as six existing three tonne open fermentation vessels, which are critical for Pinot Noir winemaking at Coldstream Hills.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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