Integrated pest management in the vineyard – or IPM - was a buzzword in the late 1990s and early 2000s but has received little attention since then.
However, it’s back on the agenda for the Regional Program in Greater Victoria.
‘IPM is crucial to ensure pest management programs are planned in a way that protects the beneficial insect populations in vineyards – while maintaining control of problematic pest populations’, said Dr Mark Krstic, Business Development Manager for the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI).
The AWRI partnered with the Environmental Protection Authority to deliver 5 regional workshops for Wine Australia’s Regional Program across Victoria in October and November 2018. More than 132 grapegrowers took part in the workshops, held in Rutherglen, Avoca, Geelong, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula.
In other initiatives for the Greater Victoria region, a rootstock symposium was held in the Yarra Valley in July. The event included speakers from across Australia and presentations from regional producers to discuss the merits and performance of planting on rootstock material, and managing biosecurity risks.
‘Yarra Valley producers are committed to replanting many hectares of vineyards to phylloxera-resistant rootstocks in the future and are keen to ensure that the Yarra is at the forefront of this technology, in terms of premium wine production’, Dr Krstic said.
A rootstock workshop is also planned for the Mornington Peninsula in late May next year to discuss the preliminary outcomes of the rootstock trials established there in 2013.
Smoke taint continues to be a risk facing grapegrowers and winemakers in Greater Victoria and, as such, is one of the focus areas for ongoing research and extension activities in the region.
The annual Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning/Forest Fire Management Victoria and Wine Victoria planned burn forum was held on 31 October in Melbourne. The meeting focused on reviewing the previous fire and grapegrowing season to better understand key areas in terms of timing planned burn events with grape production and harvesting activities.
Dr Krstic said the meeting resolved to update and roll out the regional planned burn communication and engagement plans for 2019 and to work together more closely on the planning and conduct of ‘high risk – critical asset management burns’ in key wine regions in 2019.
A Victorian Pinot Noir Workshop was held in Hepburn Springs on 21–22 November, and included a participant survey on Pinot Noir production practices; introduction to ShowRunner software; and wine assessment activities.
More than 55 people attended a soft pruning workshop held at Yering Station in the Yarra Valley in late June. Marco Tessari from Simonet and Sirch presented a classroom theory session and then hosted an in-the-vineyard practical pruning session for participating growers.
The session taught growers principles about sap flow in vines and ‘cones of desiccation’ – and a way to prune which will help vines survive for longer and improve protection against trunk diseases such as Eutypa.