Sign Up

Co-designing the future direction of grapevine breeding and germplasm

RD&A News | December 2022
16 Dec 2022
Previous  | Next   News

How can the Australian wine sector develop new grapevine clones and varieties that are environmentally and economically sustainable, are adopted by growers and winemakers…and are also embraced by consumers?

That’s the question a joint project by Wine Australia and CSIRO, with The Growth Drivers, is aiming to discover.

Developing new varieties or new clones of existing grapevine varieties that are resilient to a changing climate and pest and disease pressures, while maintaining quality and productivity, is essential to the long-term sustainability of the Australian grape and wine sector. 

Currently, breeding solutions are supplied to the sector through rootstock and germplasm supply, which in future will be managed through the National Germplasm Collection. However, the adoption of new varieties and rootstocks by growers has historically been low.

The joint Wine Australia and CSIRO project seeks to better understand the needs of grapegrowers and winemakers – and validate key future challenges – to improve the uptake.

According to Cayetana Martinez from The Growth Drivers, who is helping to direct the co-design stage of the project, thorough consultation with growers and winemakers will occur first, “so that sector views can guide the solutions and investment made by Wine Australia and CSIRO.”

“The project aims to deeply understand the challenges and opportunities that germplasm supply, clonal selection and grapevine breeding presents to growers and winemakers in their own words,” she said.

One key challenge faced by the sector is that the changing environmental conditions for viticulture will require different clones and varieties that can adapt to warmer and drier conditions, along with emerging/growing disease threats.

Market requirements are also rapidly changing – particularly in regards to end consumer demands, regulations and increased international competition.

Ultimately, new investment by Wine Australia and CSIRO, guided by this project’s findings, aims to develop breakthrough traits in new clones and varieties which create value for the whole Australian wine sector.

The goal is for these new clones and varieties to have highly marketable traits in both taste and sustainability, that will lead to international demand for wines made from them, and allow Australian wine to continue to be competitive with other wines and alcohol options in the market.

The co-design aspect of the project began in November 2022 and will run until the end of May 2023.

“We are currently in the process of engaging with domestic and international stakeholders, booking one-on one-interviews. We hope to have most of the domestic interviews completed by the end of January,” Cayetana said.

“We are also running a survey, available to anyone, which only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, and responses will really help shape the rest of the project.”

Interested in taking part in the grapevine breeding and germplasm supply survey? You can access it here.

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

Levy payers/exporters
Non-levy payers/exporters
Find out more

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