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Standard for grapevine propagation material a step closer

RD&A News | November 2022
11 Nov 2022
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Phase 1 of a project to deliver national certified standards for grapevine propagation material has been completed.

Grapevine propagation standards will provide assurance to growers, vineyard managers and winemakers that any new grapevine planting material has been produced in a way that demonstrates best practice in virus and grapevine trunk disease management, traceability and identity verification.

Nick Dry from Foundation Viticulture, who has been working in consultation with the wine and propagation sector on the organisational and regulatory framework for the Standard as well as an implementation model, said it was an important step forward for the Australian grape and wine sector.

“It is well recognised that the impacts of propagation and planting material related problems – including virus, trunk disease, off-types and general poor performance – are a significant cost-burden to vineyard end-users,” said Nick.

“The fact that cuttings and planting material also have minimal to zero external or physical attributes indicating that they carry pathogen, genetic or performance risks also creates ‘quality uncertainty’ for both customers and suppliers.” 

Nick said the development of robust and well-managed grapevine propagation certification programs that are built on defendable best science would provide pathogen, genetic and performance assurance to suppliers and customers.  

“The recent identification of grapevine red blotch virus has further highlighted the importance of investing in the development of certified standards as a means to protect commercial vineyard assets,” he said.

Phase 1 of the project set the over-arching quality assurance objective(s) and the organisational and regulatory framework for a standard. An implementation model was also developed, which covers development of the written standards, delivering and adopting the standards and a review phase. Phase 2a commenced in October and will address the immediate priorities for the sector.

These include the development of a source block asset register, quantifying the value proposition for certified planting material, continuing to develop detail around governance and funding as well as developing and implementing a communication strategy.  

“Research projects will also be required to underpin the Standard. For example, a scientific basis will be developed for managing virus and trunk disease in the propagation supply chain. ”

“Ultimately the end-goal is to have scientifically-validated standards in place by 2026 that will cover the whole of the propagation supply chain,” said Nick. 

“To achieve this we will continue to work in concert with propagation stakeholders including the Vine Industry Nursery Association and the State and regional vine improvement groups.” 

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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.