Australian Vignerons (AV) is concerned about reports of yield reductions in vineyards as a result of delayed scheduling of harvest by purchasing wineries.
While Vintage 18 was certainly a year where flavour development lagged behind Baume increases in many regions, 2018 has also coincided with a change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code that allows the addition of water. This regulation states:
“Water may only be added to wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine to facilitate fermentation if the water is added to dilute the high sugar grape must prior to fermentation and does not dilute the must below 13.5 degrees Baumé.”
Philip White has written an interesting piece about the potential benefits to wine quality and balance when water additions are made for achieving balance or as a consequence of heatwaves, therefore correcting problems that challenge winemaking practice.
However, AV has heard some concerns from growers who believe that during the last vintage that in some cases fruit was left to “hang” longer than should have been necessary. The cause of their concern is that with extended “hang time” the resulting desiccation can lead to substantial yield loss.
As Philip White has suggested, there are some with concerns that the new regulation relating to water addition may allow some winemakers to leave fruit hanging without them suffering a penalty of fermentation problems of extraction losses, but growers may suffer significant yield penalty.
AV is consulting with its member base to ask growers if they believe this was a problem during the recent vintage. We encourage any member with concerns to contact us and we are looking into whether we can assist.
Please send an email to email@example.com or give us a call on (08) 8133 4400.
As vintage 2018 wraps up around the country we thought we'd review what happened and how things are shaping up for winemaking this year.
By all accounts, growing conditions across most of the country have been favourable in terms of ripening, and disease pressure has been low. In other words, it’s been dry!
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the January to April period was the seventh-driest on record for southeastern Australia and total rainfall for Southern Australia was the third lowest on record for April with exceptionally warm weather exacerbating these effects.
The Wine Grape Council of South Australia said that the warm, dry weather had helped produce exceptional grapes with intense colours and flavours, across all regions.
Careful management has been the key for growers in all regions of SA. Frosts on the Limestone Coast in early November caused some yield losses however fortunately due to timing, fruit quality and evenness was not impacted. Low rainfall across the state has required careful attention from all growers about irrigation scheduling.
The state as a whole seems to have produced great quality grapes with limited disease and great ripening. It's definitely a year to invest in some South Australian wine.
2018 was one of the most compressed vintage on record in Tasmania. Yields were generally at or above average. Early indications are that the quality of all whites are genuinely outstanding with Riesling and Chardonnay being particular highlights.
The Hunter Valley kicked off the 2018 Vintage in Australia with picking starting in the first weeks of January, earlier than previous years. Like most regions in Australia, NSW had a dry growing period which has resulted in high-quality grapes. The stand out performers for the region are Chardonnay, Verdelho, Semillion and Shiraz.
Across all of Western Australia 2018 was an exceptional vintage. Sufficient rainfall during spring and early summer was followed by an extended period of sunny, yet seasonally cooler weather through February, March and April. As a result, optimum ripening conditions occurred in unison with very low disease pressures.
In Victoria, quality was excellent and tonnages about average. Rain in December caused some yield losses in parts of the state due to downy mildew. This raised some concerns about fungicide resistance and the need to advocate for alternative control measures. While vintage looked like being early, fruit ripening slowed towards the end with harvest extending out until mid to late April.
Management of Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus falls on growers and industry as more cases found in Australia
Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus (GPGV) is a virus recently detected in grapevines in Australia. The vigilance and response of growers and nurseries who submitted samples for testing revealed more positive GPGV detections on unconnected properties.
GPGV is now known to be present in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and it has been resolved that it is not technically feasible to eradicate GPGV from Australia. GPGV is no longer under official control by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and is no longer regulated at the border.
To help growers better understand GPGV, Australian Vignerons put together a fact sheet. Click the button below to download.
Anna Hooper has stepped down from her position on the board of Australian Vignerons after being appointed Acting CEO of the organisation.
Anna has twenty years of experience in the wine industry. She has worked across all aspects of wine and grape production and has a good understanding of the issues facing growers and makers of wine at grassroots level. She believes in a whole of value chain approach where all are participants engaged and rewarded for efforts and results.
Following the completion of a degree in Agricultural Science, Anna travelled and worked extensively in wineries overseas, including Georgia, France, and South Africa before settling in Limestone Coast to work as General Manager and Head Winemaker at Cape Jaffa Wines.
Anna now also holds a Masters in Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne. As a committed environmentalist, she has presented at sustainability and environment conferences for the wine industry both in Australia and overseas.
As part of her extensive board experience, Anna has served on the South East Natural Resource Management Board and theVinehealth Australia Board. She spent 7 years as president of the Mount Benson Vignerons Association. She currently sits on the South East Water Conservation and Drainage Board as well as the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Industry Council. She was admitted to the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2013 and is a recipient of the S.A. Rural Women’s’ Award in 2013.
To get to know Anna more, you can read this interview we did with her as a board member of Australian Vignerons.
Australian Vignerons is travelling across South Australia as a part of the Wine Grape Council of South Australia’s 2018 Roadshows. The message to growers is that a national voice for Australian wine grape growers is more important than ever.
Delivering the message of national advocacy is Anna Hooper, Acting CEO of Australian Vignerons. Anna takes the reins from Andrew Weeks who recently left to pursue other interests in the wine industry. Anna has over 20 years of experience working in the wine industry. She has worked across all aspects of wine and grape production and has a practical understanding of the issues facing growers and makers of wine.
One of the key goals for Australian Vignerons at the South Australian roadshows is to make growers aware of the support and promotion provided to Australia’s wine grape growers by Australian Vignerons. Anna says, ‘Growers need to understand that their voice on biosecurity, research and other critical issues is essential. The recent national surveillance for Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus is just one example of how an industry voice ensured that post entry quarantine restrictions were not lifted prematurely’. Anna also says ‘Another one of our roles is to advocate on behalf of growers and act as an insurance policy against negative political decisions at a federal level. Without Australian Vignerons, growers don’t have a seat at the table.’
The wide scope of responsibilities of Australian Vignerons is also on display at the roadshows. Australian Vignerons is the signatory to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) for the national wine sector. This means that if there is an incursion, growers have a voice speaking on their behalf. ‘Biosecurity is always a looming threat for wine grape growers,’ Anna explains ‘having a national body who is across all biosecurity issues from state to state is vital for the industry.’ Anna will also talk about Australian Vignerons’ role in selecting the Wine Australia board, progress on the national sustainability program and the dramatic consequences of legislative changes to the draft National Alcohol Strategy.
Feedback from growers at the roadshows has been overwhelmingly positive. Anna says, ‘Our presentation at these roadshows highlights the many things Australian Vignerons does for Australian wine grape growers. It’s great to see growers becoming aware of national issues and knowing they have someone in their corner.’
Australian Vignerons is a lean operation focused wholly on helping Australian wine grape growers. The independent board of Australian Vignerons is a group of industry leaders with skills in all facets of the wine industry. Each one of these experts volunteers their time to further the Australian wine industry, with a particular focus on wine grape growers.
The Wine Grape Council of South Australia (WGCSA) Roadshows is bringing together the key industry bodies representing winegrape growers. Australian Vignerons is joined by Vinehealth Australia, WGCSA, Australian Wine Research Institute and the South Australian Wine Industry Association. Further roadshows will be held in Clare (May 10), Barossa (May 11), Adelaide Hills & Langhorne Creek (May 15) and Limestone Coast (May 17). For details, visit www.wgcsa.com.au/2018-roadshow.html
For more information about Australian Vignerons, please call Anna Hooper on 0427 685 077 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
A final determination has been made by the Geographical Indications Committee in accordance with Regulation 92 of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Regulations 1981 (AGWA Regulations) in relation to 886 foreign Geographical Indications.
A full list can be viewed here.
Subject to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (AAT Act), application may be made, by on behalf of any person whose interests are affected by the determination, to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the determination.
Unless subsection 28(4) of the AAT Act applies, application may be made in accordance with section 28 of that Act by or on behalf of that person for a statement in writing setting out the findings on material questions of fact, referring to the evidence or other material on which those findings were based and giving the reasons for the determination.
If a decision has been made under AGWA Regulation 67, AGWA Regulation 68 or AGWA Regulation 80 before the final determination:
no application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal may be made in respect of that decision; and
an appeal lies to the Federal Court in respect of that decision under Regulation 85.
For further information contact Rachel Triggs, Registrar of Geographical Indications and Other Terms at email@example.com.
The Federal Government has released its draft National Alcohol Strategy which aims to provide a national framework to prevent and minimise alcohol-related harms among individuals, families and communities.
Growers need to be aware of the implications of legislation in this area and the impact that it could have on our industry.
Australian Vignerons supports the use of targeted, evidence-based policy measures to address medical and social problems emanating from excessive alcohol consumption. However, we are concerned that despite the good intentions of the proposals in the NAS, it is not a targeted approach to solving problems.
Most of the suggestions in the NAS are population-wide measures including minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol and excise based taxation systems for wine.
While we note that the draft NAS does not reflect Australian Government policy, we are concerned at these proposals for the following reasons:
There is great potential for widespread support through a focused and collaborative approach with the many stakeholders that have so much invested in their respective industries.
Now is the time for our voices to be heard. Let's start making some noise and protect the future of our industry.
Chief Executive Officer
0403 520 242
We've rounded up the latest news from growers across the country to find out how their harvest is progressing.
Warm inland regions across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales are reporting yields close to long term average, with cool nights leading to good fruit quality. Following earlier hot spells the recent cool weather has seen ripening slow somewhat, leading to a delay in harvest for some varieties.
Reports of yields for the temperate and coastal regions in SA and Victoria vary, with some saying that they are slightly lower than the long-term average, but quality is very good. Grape maturity seems to be progressing well in these regions.
Western Australia has reported excellent quality fruit due to cool and dry periods in the build up to harvest. The white varieties being harvested at the moment look exceptional. The predicted warmer weather over the next few weeks comes at the perfect time to finish ripening of red varieties.
Tasmania is reporting strong yields with good fruit set, and while there were some earlier concerns about the heat around Australia Day, the vines and fruit still look good. The generally dry conditions has meant a good progress in ripening and very low disease pressure during harvest.
Jonathan Lord is a proud member of our board of volunteer independent directors. He brings a wealth of knowledge about the wine industry to the board and has worked in roles right across the wine industry. Read on and discover why Jonathan believes it is so important for growers to have representation at a national level.
What is your past experience in the wine grape industry?
My first job during university was at a Vintage Cellars. When I started I only knew the difference between red and white wine and not much else. My favourite wine was a Padthaway Cabernet Merlot...it’s safe to say that most customers walked out with a bottle of that, even if they were looking for a sparkling wine!
Once I started to learn about wine, something inside of me clicked and a passion for the industry was ignited. I was fortunate enough to join Rosemount Estate as one of my first ever jobs outside of university and from there it has grown.
I have worked in various roles across the industry, from finance to strategy, planning and product development. I’ve also worked vintages in Marlborough and Sonoma to gain hands on experience.
I am currently the CEO for Winemaking Tasmania. I lead a great team of people who craft 250 different wine and ciders on behalf of clients. Our goal is to be Tasmania’s best producer of premium alcoholic beverages with a specific focus on wine and cider. I’m very fortunate that what I do for a living is what I would do for free everyday!
Why is it so important for wine grape growers to have representation at a national level?
Grape growers are the largest part of the wine industry. By circumstance, wine grape growers are the start of the supply chain and as a result there is a tendency from large corporations to take advantage of this position. It is important for growers to have their voice heard and ensure that their livelihood is not taken advantage of.
Australian Vignerons is there for growers to seek advice, gain support and amplify the voice of many growers into one clear message.
The Australian Vignerons board is a skill based board of independent directors. What specific skills do you have that you think will help Australian wine grape growers?
I am a generalist. Over the past 20 years I have seen all aspects of the wine industry and I bring a well-rounded set of skills. As CEO of a wine making business I understand both sides of the equation. I know how much effort it takes for growers to get their grapes to the winery, the costs involved and the importance of a good year. I also understand the perspective of a winery and the logistics involved. I believe this holistic view gives me a great perspective to help Australian wine grape growers.
What challenges do you see on the horizon for Australian wine grape growers? How will Australian Vignerons help?
I see the challenges for wine grape growers to be consistent across all regions. While there might be different values and demand for grapes in every region, there’s always large players exercising onerous conditions or not operating on a fair playing field.
Mutually beneficial relationships are vital to sustaining the Australian wine industry. Australian Vignerons helps level the playing field. Growers can lean on us for advice or engage us to lobby on their behalf. Advocacy on behalf of growers is a positive aspect of a healthy wine industry.
What’s the most rewarding part of being involved in Australian Vignerons?
Everyone on the board of Australian Vignerons is a volunteer and we all devote significant time and energy to the role. For me, just being involved is a rewarding experience. The board is a passionate group of people who care about wine grape growers and the wider wine industry. I enjoy being a part of that and working together to achieve better outcomes for growers.
What variety of wine are you enjoying at the moment?
Tasmanian chardonnay is my choice at the moment. We have some fantastic growers down here that are producing amazing grapes. I enjoy the variety and diversity of the wines from the different regions of Tassie.
Additional recent pest detections
Impact in vineyards and wineries
BMSB is one of many nuisance stink bugs and is easily confused with other stink bugs, some of which are present in Australia. The appearance of BMSB changes through its lifecycle. Adult BMSBs are characterised by a 12-17mm mottle brown coloured, shield-shaped body (see photos below).
BMSB egg mass (left) (photo: David Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org), nymph (middle) (photo: Gary Bernon, Bugwood.org) and an adult BMSB (right) (photo: Mohammed El Damir, Bugwood.org)
A collection of nymph and adult BMSBs on a leaf (left) and feeding damage on fruit caused
by BMSB (right) (photos: Gary Bernon, Bugwood.org).
Biosecurity awareness and reporting
Vineyards / wineries
For further information about wine industry biosecurity arrangements, please contact Andrew Weeks, CEO Australian Vignerons on 0403 520 242.
For technical information about brown marmorated stink bug, please contact the AWRI helpdesk on 08 8313 6600.