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As counterfeiters of wine get more sophisticated, the industry is finally fighting back

SAINT-EMILION, France - An FBI agent recently showed Arnaud de Laforcade a file with several labels supposedly from 1947 bottles of Chateau Cheval Blanc, one of France's finest wines. To the Saint-Emilion vineyard's CFO, they were clearly fakes — too new looking, not on the right kind of paper. But customers may be more easily duped.

New Zealand looks to uncork 'lifestyle' wine niche

New Zealand winegrowers launched a $14 million research project Wednesday aimed at capitalising on growth in demand for so-called "lifestyle" wines, with low calories and less alcohol. The Lifestyle Wines initiative, jointly funded by industry and government, is the country's largest ever wine research project, reflecting the belief that it can significantly lift exports currently worth NZ$1.2 billion ($1.0 billion) annually.

Business Highlights

___ Dow average closes above 16,000 for the first time NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 for the first time Thursday as the blue-chip index races toward its best year in a decade. The Dow has been on fire lately, propelled higher by a combination of solid corporate earnings, a steadily strengthening economy and easy-money policies from the Federal Reserve.

Beaujolais Nouveau: fruity fun but uncertain future

From the heart of France to the foothills of Mount Fuji and the streets of Washington DC, wine-themed fun was the order of the day Thursday as a new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau was uncorked. As ever, the reviews were mixed for the purply-pink "primeur" wine that the vignerons of the Beaujolais country in eastern France rush to market within a few weeks of harvest, often having been fermented in only a few days. With many of them facing an uncertain future against a backdrop of declining demand, Beaujolais producers had promised a particularly fruity drop this year.

As the world fetes Beaujolais Nouveau, winegrowers try to improve the region's reputation

PARIS - The wine world's best-known party is beginning — the ritual uncorking of Beaujolais Nouveau every November. That's both a curse and a blessing for the famed French region and its lesser-known yet finer wines. Beaujolais Nouveau is easy to drink, but everything a fine wine is not: young, poor in tannins and not suited to storage. It's partially because new wines could never hope to stir the imagination the way that the great wines of Bordeaux or Champagne do that the makers of Beaujolais Nouveau resorted to what has become a hugely successful marketing campaign.

Beaujolais Nouveau: fruity fun but uncertain future

From the heart of France to the foothills of Mount Fuji, wine-themed fun was the order of the day Thursday as a new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau was uncorked. As ever, the reviews were mixed for the purply-pink "primeur" wine that the vignerons of the Beaujolais country in eastern France rush to market within a few weeks of harvest, often having been fermented in only a few days. With many of them facing an uncertain future against a backdrop of declining demand, Beaujolais producers had promised a particularly fruity drop this year.

French rail commuters get English skills back on track

"Welcome aboard, ready for the lesson?" the teacher asks three passengers sitting down to their English class in one of the carriages of the 7:43 am commuter train to Paris. It is not your usual classroom inside this train making the 45-minute trip from the city of Reims, in the heart of France's champagne country. But the French state railways company SNCF thinks it has found a good solution for time-squeezed commuters who need to brush up on the language of Shakespeare.

AFP Features and Focus Advisory

Duty editor: Nancy Shields Tel: +33 1 4041 4636 We will shortly move the following features and focus stories: + Beaujolais on the way, Burgundy on the way up + Climate compensation bedevils UN talks after Typhoon Haiyan + Flight of Iraq Christians resumes amid surge in unrest + Kabul's school of rock offers lessons for life + Style queen: Isabella Blow's wardrobe on display Lifestyle-France-win-Beaujolais,FOCUS PARIS

Beaujolais on the way, Burgundy on the way up

It's that time of year again. At one minute past midnight on Thursday, wine buffs and fun lovers all over the world will raise a class of slightly lurid purple liquid to the heavens and declare: "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive" (literally, The new Beaujolais has arrived, although the only official English slogan is It's Beaujolais Nouveau Time! for the US market).

Weight-conscious drinkers lured with low-cal wines

By Leslie Gevirtz NEW YORK (Reuters) - Winemakers are luring health-conscious, weight-watching consumers to shops with low-calorie wines that are 100 calories or less per glass. U.S. television talk show host Bethenny Frankel recently launched a line of eight wines ranging from Prosecco to a red blend under her SkinnyGirl brand. The wines are marketed as having just 100 calories for a 5-ounce (148 ml) serving and sell for $15.
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