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Winter vine health top of mind for SA Central growers

RD&A News | October 2021
15 Oct 2021
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Wine Australia’s Regional Program partners strive hard to develop and host events and activities that not only help growers and the wider wine sector, but also engage and inspire them.

For the SA Central Regional Program, it was a Eutypa reworking session as part of a May Focus Vineyards activity and a Winter Vine Health Workshop, held at Swell Brewery in McLaren Vale, also in May, that really got growers talking.

“The workshop attracted so much interest that the venue and capacity were changed to try and meet demand – and there was still a waiting list to attend!” said Lian Jaensch, Executive Officer, Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Incorporated.

“It really highlighted the increased interest around soil management for vineyards”.

Originally, SA Central hoped to attract 30 growers to the event, however within 12 hours of tickets being released, 70 tickets were snapped up.

Eventually, 75 growers attended the workshop to learn the latest knowledge on best practice winter vineyard management.

Dick Richardson and Arnd Enneking led the workshop, providing insights into soil biology and how implementing a biological approach to vineyard management can improve production.

“Local viticulturists Ben Lacey, Richard Leask, Ben Pridham and Duncan Kennedy also contributed to the event, as they all have experience with regenerative and biological vineyard management and were able to provide a local perspective,” said Lian.

Lian said feedback from growers after the events was encouraging.

Eighty percent of workshop attendees indicated they had, or were planning to implement changes in practices or strategies as a result of the winter grower events.

“The majority of attendees at the Focus Vineyard event also expressed increased confidence to manage vine trunk disease during vineyard rework, pruning or rejuvenation,” Lian said.

Lian said as the Eutypa reworking speaker had already covered aspects of physical vine management, the Winter Vine Health Workshop focused on a range of other vineyard management practices influencing vine health, including:

  • Balancing soil nutrition
  • Building humus year on year 
  • Increasing soil carbon
  • Improving soil water holding capacity
  • Reducing soil compaction
  • Increasing biodiversity 
  • Enhancing ecosystem services.

In 2021–22, SA Central will continue their Focus Vineyards field sessions in each of their regions (Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills). The program will also include activities around soil management and optimising water use.

“We also staged a sell-out Practical Viticulture Expo 2021 – held on 21 and 22 September – and have some yield estimation workshops in the pipeline”.

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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.