Accessing the latest research and helping local vignerons develop best-practice management techniques has been the focus of recent Regional Program activity on the Limestone Coast.
In October, the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council (LCGWC) hosted 11 University of Adelaide researchers at a special sector workshop looking at how to modulate flavour and alcohol levels in times of climate and market change.
Each presented a 10-minute ‘snapshot’ of their work on topics ranging from the berry sugar and potassium nexus to berry shrivel and cell death, optimisation of early harvest regimes, the alcohol ‘sweet spot’ and the use of RO, and the use of non-Saccharomyces yeast or winemaking supplements to modulate sensory properties of wines.
Another workshop was held in February to launch a new report and factsheet to assist growers in choosing alternative varieties suitable for local conditions. This activity was developed following a study carried out in the Padthaway and Mount Benson regions by viticultural consultant Libby Tassie.
Last month 40 grapegrowers and winemakers took part in a field walk and seminar at the Coonawarra Cabernet Rootstock trial site.
‘Suzanne McLoughlin from Vinehealth Australia presented the latest data from the trial, which started back in 2009–10, and attendees were able to get out and see the rootstocks and taste the developing fruit to determine how they perform on a commercial basis’, said LCGWC Technical Sub-Committee Chair, Kerry DeGaris.
‘Later Mark Sosnowski, from SARDI, talked about new research looking at grapevine trunk disease management in diverse climates that started in January 2017. The LCGWC has invested in this project to ensure the region continues to be at the forefront of Eutypa research and management.’
The seminar also saw the launch of a new guide to Best Management Practices for Irrigation Water Quality Issues in the Limestone Coast Region. This provides information and advice on many of the issues experienced by irrigators sourcing water from the unconfined aquifer, including iron bacteria, salinity and high levels of calcium and magnesium.
‘Iron bacteria are a real issue in the region with implications for infrastructure replacement’, Dr DeGaris said. ‘As the consultants, Innovative Water Solutions, note in their report, “the very name of the Limestone Coast region alludes to the potential for this problem to occur”.’