The Wine Australia Strategic Plan 2020–2025 identifies goals related to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity in and around vineyards as a priority adoption topic for the Australian wine sector.
Biodiversity in an agricultural landscape provides significant benefits to a grower and the community in general through a range of obvious and imperceptible actions, commonly known as ecosystem services. In a vineyard context, these ecosystem services could include the predatory insects that feed on grapevine pests, or the improvement in soil health provided by groundcovers (cover crops) grown undervine or between the rows.
The planting of vineyard groundcovers and other species to enhance functional biodiversity has been haphazard. There may be a number of possible reasons for this, including:
- lack of awareness of what species to plant to suit the local environment and vineyard operation
- practical awareness of the net benefit to the business operation as well as the pitfalls and costs
- individual and/or regional predispositions towards the use, or not, of groundcovers and native plants near vineyards
- evidence and/or myths around impacts on grape production, yield and water use and the perceived effects of groundcover on those values
- access to and supply of seed and plants
- available land use, and
- the fragmented support available.
We are seeking proposals to develop and implement a national adoption program to achieve the desired practice change outcomes specified in Wine Australia’s Strategic Plan 2020–25, specifically:
- the land area dedicated to enhancing functional biodiversity has increased by 10 per cent, and
- the use of vineyard cover crops and soil remediation practices has increased by 10 per cent.
Information on the background, project scope and proposal submission is contained in the Request for Proposal document here. A consortia approach is strongly encouraged.
Queries and submissions should be made to Alex Sas at firstname.lastname@example.org by the due date of 15 October 2021.