Region in focus – SA Central

RD&E News | August 2019
09 Aug 2019
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Targeted solutions to vineyard issues, new tech innovations and vineyard biodiversity are the focus of SA Central’s comprehensive Regional Program this financial year.

Now in its third year, ‘focus vineyards’ will again be a key program for Wine Australia’s Regional Program in SA Central.

Driven by McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism, the project showcases how a single grape variety in a single growing region fares in contrasting sub-areas under organic, conventional, low-input conventional and biodynamic management.

Lian Jaensch, the Executive Officer for Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine, said the focus vineyard grower sessions had been a huge success.

‘The sessions are not only practical, visual and hands-on, but they also allow growers to get together to talk about key issues they are facing in the region – and collaborate on potential solutions.’ 

She said the collaboration brought valuable knowledge sharing to a wide cross-section of growers and allowed them to share and discuss what they were seeing through CropWatch.

This year, up to three seasonal in-field sessions will be held in the McLaren Vale region on various topics.

Grower visits will be scheduled at key times throughout the season to discuss topics that have been highlighted through their CropWatch seasonal monitoring service.

Image: supplied
The 2018-19 focus vineyard event at McLaren Vale.

Other events planned for this financial year include:

Practical Viticulture Expo

This expo – to be held at a venue in the Adelaide Hills in late October – offers a chance for growers to focus on viticulture innovations and practices with a seminar program, demonstration program, and supplier expo. ‘The expo will highlight new technologies, methods and product innovations in light of growing interest in vineyard re-structuring. It will also allow growers to see first-hand what others are practising or trialling on their property, hear from invited experts, and watch machinery and supplies demonstrations’, Lian said.

Vineyard biodiversity

This project will leverage the successful Wine Grape Council of South Australia (WGCSA’s) EcoVineyards project grant and look at expanding its reach to more growers in SA Central. The EcoVineyard project is a combined effort from the WGCSA and Mary Retallack from Retallack Viticulture. The EcoVineyard concept incorporates native insectary plants to create biodiverse ecosystems in and around vineyards. These plants support populations of insect predators, which contribute towards biocontrol of vineyard pests and may ultimately lead to reduced input costs and the use of chemicals. The project is supported by the Department of Agriculture, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

Resourcing growers for the future

This activity will develop case studies of practical uses of vineyard imagery and field technologies being used by growers in the region.

Inter-region learnings

Want to take part in Barossa Valley’s annual demonstration vineyard presentation and field day later this year? SA Central will host a day tour for interested growers and winemakers. The event is expected to be held in September.

Pruning for vine balance and health

For the second year running, SA Central hosted Simonit and Sirch in McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills on 18 and 19 July. Simonit and Sirch have a loyal (and growing) following and not surprisingly, both sessions were booked out. Growers who took part were shown the ‘soft pruning’ method, which considers vine architecture and unrestricted flow of water and nutrients when making pruning cut decisions.

Taking tech to regions

A partnership between SA Central and Clare Valley – was held in McLaren Vale on 25 July with a focus on sustainable practice in vineyards. The program moved to the Clare Valley the following day.


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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.