* On taste, and tested blind amongst 20000 students of the London Wine Academy, 80% preferred the less expensive Australian Chardonnay compared to a French one, which was four times more expensive.
* Hello Kitty demi-sec Rosé Champagne, made by Champagne M. Hostomme under licence from the Japanese owners of the brand name, will be launched globally. The brand is not just popular amongst children but also amongst celebrities such as Beyonce and Paris Hilton. The bubbly is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay.
* Tesco says that wines need to become more exciting and less intimidating to consumers, it being far easier to buy a bottle of cider. Wine drinkers are drinking less wine, the UK supermarket group says.
* California, Oregon and Washington state will promote their wines jointly in London on 17 March next year, similarly to the inaugural ‘The Beautiful South‘ joint tasting of South African, Argentinian, and Chilean wines in London in September.
* SAA is increasing the frequency of a number of its flights within Africa, and cutting two routes. Increased frequencies are to Windhoek, Kinshasa, Dar es Salaam, Ndola, and Lusaka, while the Kigali and Bujumbura flights will cease.
* A new law passed bans anyone other than the official weather service from publicly issuing any warning relating to ‘severe weather‘. Fines for issuing such a false or misleading warning can be fined R5 million or be jailed for 5 years, reports The Times.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage