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Tasmanian producers on the front foot with regional activities

RD&A News | September 2021
17 Sep 2021
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Dr Jenny Sinclair from Cape Bernier not only grows and makes wine on the Tasman Peninsula, but is a well-respected researcher in ecology and environmental accounting. 

Dr Sinclair was a featured speaker at the Wine Australia Regional Program-supported 13th Wine Tasmania Field Day, held late last year, which was themed around Viable Viticulture – How will you ensure longevity?. Participants took part in a number of sessions around biodiversity, regenerative agriculture, biosecurity and sustainability.

Dr Sinclair spoke about carbon accounting, carbon footprints and pathways to achieving carbon neutrality for small scale vineyards.

Dr Ryan Wilkinson from Biosecurity Tasmania led a discussion on how Government, agriculture and the community are working together for stronger biosecurity in Tasmania; and Craig Elliott from Wine Australia gave a presentation on ‘What’s over the horizon? – discussing Xylella fastidiosa, Fall Armyworm and the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Craig talked about why these and other pests and diseases should be front of mind for all vineyard managers and staff and what needs to be happening now before they appear in your area.

Paul Smart of Wine Tasmania launched a new 12-month project to better secure Tasmania’s biosecurity future through a range of activities including improved signage, education and a survey of vineyards to hunt for Phylloxera.

“None was found!” said Paul.  

In other activities for the Regional Program in Tasmania, the 3rd Wine Tasmania Winemaker Symposium was also held late last year, with some great topics.

Dr Tracey Siebert, a research scientist with the AWRI who specialises in yeast-derived flavour compounds and sulfur-containing compounds, is investigating the aroma compounds responsible for ‘apricot’ or ‘stone fruit’ attributes in white wine. She shared details from the ‘identification and origin of volatile compounds responsible for important wine sensory attributes’ report. Her presentation: Did someone light a match? was an interesting insight into struck match and other sulfur compounds in Chardonnay.

Ray Chen, who completed a Masters in Enology and Wine Chemistry at Cornell University, USA, shared a range of tips, tricks and tools to help with the difficulties of malolactic fermentation in Chardonnay.

Finally, wine writer and television host Tyson Stelzer chaired a tasting on regional Chardonnays, benchmarking examples from Tasmania, Australia and the rest of the world.

With predominantly small and micro wine businesses across the island – many of which only sell their wines in Tasmania, Wine Tasmania has been developing its educative sustainability framework VinØ for some years.

As the project has evolved, producers have indicated that one aspect of sustainability continues to give them grief: developing management plans for their business such as in soil management, waste management and biodiversity.

To provide practical help to wine producers having trouble developing their individual plans, Wine Tasmania last year held a Planning for Sustainability workshop.

Ben Peitsch, viticulturist for Brown Family Wine Group, spoke about his experience in developing and implementing such plans for both VinØ and Sustainable Winegrowing Australia. Participants were also given ‘homework’ before they arrived and were given practical assistance during the workshop to develop their own plans.

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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.