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YouTube offers a modern twist to an age-old problem

RD&E News | September 2019
13 Sep 2019
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In a unique initiative, Barossa grapegrowers are turning to YouTube to share their learnings on eutypa with other growers.

The six-part video series is a project of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA) through the SA North Regional Program, and features growers talking about increases in yield, quality and profitability by reworking eutypa affected vines.

For viticulturist Adrian Hoffmann, dealing with eutypa has been a classic case of finding an opportunity behind the problem.

After spending 10 years fine-tuning a eutypa reworking method, the proprietor of Dimchurch Vineyards believes that taking a rigorous approach to eutypa has been key to reinvigorating his vineyard to deliver yield and quality.

With yields as low as 3.5t/ha in the mid-2000s, Dimchurch Vineyards now rework 4 to 5 hectares every year to maintain yields of between 5.5 and 6.5t/ ha.

‘Through reworking, the yields all of a sudden bumped themselves back up to around that 5.5, 6.5t/ ha level and now what we’re actually seeing is the yields maintaining that level.’

– Adrian Hoffman

‘We’ve seen yields in excess of 7t/ha off these blocks and the quality has been far superior to what we were receiving even when it was only 3.5 to 4.5t/ha.’

You can watch Ebenezer grower Adrian Hoffmann’s YouTube video below.

Nicki Robins, Viticultural Development Officer for the Barossa Grape and Wine Association, said the video series – supported by written case studies – was timely given that the Barossa’s wine grape growing season had started.

‘Growers have the opportunity to leave watershoots for reworking eutypa-affected vines next year’, she said.

The eutypa YouTube initiative was launched in June at the BGWA Preventing and Managing Eutypa workshop, lunch and tradeshow, held in conjunction with the 2019 Barossa Pruning Expo at Primary Industries and Regions South Australia’s (PIRSA) viticulture research station in Nuriootpa.

More than 160 growers and viticulturalists attended the event, which included presentations by the South Australian Research and Development Institute’s (SARDI) Dr Mark Sosnowski (eutypa research update), Chris Rogers Viticulture (eutypa reworking decision-making tool), Bruce Henderson (eutypa incidence in cane vs. spur pruning), Amanda Mader (bud fruitfulness for  vintage 2020), Dr Michael McCarthy (looking back on 45 years in viticulture), and Nicki Robins talking about BGWA’s video series.

Thirty people competed in the 2019 SA Pruning Championships in conjunction with this event, with Barossa’s Steve Schiller the overall winner.

Vine health workshop

More than 120 Barossa growers and technical viticulturists turned out to attend a ‘vine health’ workshop held at Barossa grower Steve Schiller’s property after the 2019 vintage – and another 50 attended a Clare Valley workshop on the same topic.

The workshop program included vintage 2019 results of the eight demonstration vineyards being run by Barossa Grape & Wine (BGWA) and Clare Wine & Grape (CWGA) regional associations.

The workshops also presented ‘vine health 101’ by Chris Rogers Viticulture; a grower case study on increased profitability over 4 years through improved vine nutrition by Farmer Johns agronomist Adam Pietsch, and best practice set-up of a fertigation system by Greg Hocking of Ardal Water Solutions.

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.