Tasmanian Regional Program considers how to achieve minimal intervention with minimal issues

RD&A News | August 2020
07 Aug 2020
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With growing interest in a minimal intervention approach to winemaking, the Tasmanian Regional Program’s ‘Don’t EF it up – enzymes and filtration’ Wine Symposium – held late last year –  garnered good interest among Tassie growers and winemakers.

‘Winemakers are increasingly interested in minimal filtration and additives – without compromising the quality of wine, so the workshop really got people thinking and talking’, said Paul Smart, Technical and Extension Officer for Wine Tasmania.

AWRI Senior Research Scientist Dr Keren Bindon presented a workshop on ‘Enzymes, do they work? Extraction vs clarification’, which provided growers and winemakers with valuable information on how pectinase enzymes work, and why commercial products are different from the natural enzymes in the grape or yeast.

Dr Simon Schmidt’s presentation ‘Why filter? – and managing risk when you don't’ covered the theory of microbial stability, how filtering increases microbial stability, and how to manage these risks if you choose not to filter. Other presentations included Adrian Coulter’s ‘Calcium Tartrate in/stability, what the...??’ and Dr Fiona Kerslake and Dr Samantha Sawyer from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture with ‘Is it the age or the autolysis?’

The perspective of a wine producer was provided by Adam Wadewitz of Shaw and Smith and Tolpuddle Vineyard with ‘Why I don't filter: Musings from the Hills’.

Presentation topics were explored and emphasised through several benchmark tastings on the topics of ‘Tasmanian Riesling and Soil, Black Vertosols, Jurassic Dolerite, Podosols, Permian Mudstones: What does our soil taste like?’, the AWRI Maceration Enzyme Trial and Tasmanian wine producer trials and discussions.

Wine Tasmania’s annual Field Day, with the theme ‘Yield from the Soil’, was also held late last year.

The Field Day focused on how vineyard management practices can influence yield, and how these interact with the soil and soil health.

Presentations included a New Zealand perspective on ‘How climate and soils determine grapevine yields’ (Dr Mike Trought); ‘How structured soils influence yield’ (Andrew Clarke); ‘Biodiversity and its importance’ (Dr Mary Retallack); ‘How trunk disease is an important part of viticulture’ (Dr Mark Sosnowski); ‘The importance of biosecurity’ (Dr Ryan Wilkinson) and a case study from a wine producer (Matt Dunbabin, Bangor Vineyard).

‘With a bit of “show and tell”, the final presentation of the day generated a lot of interest, with Dr Cathy Byrne sharing insights into European Wasp behaviour, complete with an excavated giant wasp nest!’, said Paul. [Ed. See this Facebook video from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery of the giant wasp nest]

The Field Day also included a major presentation on the final results from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture’s three-year project into ‘Improving the productivity of Tasmanian vineyards’, which focused on stabilising yields in line with quality.

Another event supported by the Wine Australia Regional Program in Tasmania was a last-minute ‘Managing Bushfire Risk’ workshop, in response to the devastating 2019 bushfires in the south-west of Tasmania.

The workshop featured many speakers, including Professor Ian Porter presenting a wrap up of research from the bushfires; Greg Howell of Vintessential Laboratories presenting information on the testing of grapes/ferments/wine and relationships to wine faults; Dr Julie Culbert of AWRI presenting mitigation options in the winery; Dr David Bowman of the University of Tasmania Fire Centre outlining the changing fire landscape in Tasmania, and what the future holds. The final session focused on mental health, led by OzHelp Tasmania, outlining how, when and where to ask for help.


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