Smoke taint continues to be one of the main risks facing grape growers and winemakers in Greater Victoria and, as such, is a one of the focus areas for ongoing research and extension activities in the region.
Complementing the current collaborative smoke taint research program supported with funding by Wine Australia and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment through its Rural R&D for Profit Program (see the story in this edition of RD&E News), a statewide sector forum and four regional seminars will be held this year. All will be practical sessions.
The forum in Melbourne on 14 December 2017 will be held in partnership with the government agency responsible for conducting the state’s controlled burns program (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) with the aim of minimising the potential impact from burns scheduled to be conducted during the upcoming vintage.
Two other ongoing issues – stuck ferments and phylloxera – also will be put under the microscope.
Half-day pre-vintage workshops will be held in Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Rutherglen, Great Western and Milawa to look at problems with stuck or sluggish ferments, as well as providing updates on issues such as new water addition rules.
‘We have had reports of quite a few winemakers having ferment issues, particularly in 2016, so the aim is to promote good management practices, including the adoption of successful ferment restart procedures and improved fermentation monitoring and early intervention when problems are encountered’
- Dr Mark Krstic, Business Development Manager, AWRI.
Rootstock demonstration trials and tasting sessions planned for the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, will discuss both negative (phylloxera mitigation) and positive issues (providing for higher quality fruit).
In the Mornington Peninsula, the local association has established replicated rootstock trials on Pinot Noir, including new material developed by the CSIRO rootstock breeding program.
‘We’re looking to promote the adoption of rootstocks as well as increase the awareness and adoption of the new CSIRO-bred rootstocks in premium quality areas for phylloxera and other site abiotic stresses’, Dr Krstic said.
Victoria’s successful series of varietal symposia also will continue with a Sparkling Wine Symposium planned for Melbourne in mid-June 2018.
Organised in partnership with the University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania, key industry personnel and the AWRI, the full day symposium will combine technical information, the latest Wine Australia-funded research, producer presentations and market insights.
‘It will be a blend of viticulture, research and practical knowhow, plus an experienced wine sector panel will walk us through a set of benchmark wines.’