Pruning workshops and new trials with Shiraz and Pinot Noir will be the focus of the Regional Program in Greater NSW/ACT over the coming months.
Wine Australia and NSW Wine Industry Association are funding the workshops at Tyrrell’s Wines in the Hunter Valley on 13 June 2018 and at Swinging Bridge Wines in Orange two days later.
Delivered by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), they will be conducted by Marco Tessari, a viticulturist from European consultants Simonit&Sirch, aka the Pruning Guys.
NSW DPI viticultural development officer, Darren Fahey, said Simonit&Sirch is renowned for pruning, training and restoring some of the most valuable and historic vineyards across the globe.
‘Marco will share his knowledge and experience, demonstrating modern cutting techniques, which avoid the serious consequences of pruning wounds’, he said.
‘These pruning techniques work against the deterioration of the vineyards to improve vine health and increase the lifespan of a vineyard based on four fundamental principles applicable to all vine training systems.’
Mr Fahey said the workshops would benefit people with little or extensive experience in pruning vines.
‘It’s a must-do, hands-on workshop for pruning contractors, grapegrowers, viticulturists, consultants and winemakers who want to stay a cut above the rest by doing it right from the start.’
Wine Australia is funding the production of experimental Pinot Noir and Shiraz wines at National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) in Wagga Wagga. The trials are evaluating the use of anti-transpirants to manipulate ripening, given harvest compression over the past few vintages.
The work began last year with a study on Pinot Noir to see if ripening could be shifted using an organically derived polymer. The initial results were promising, with sugar levels being reduced on the anti-transpirant-treated berries in comparison to untreated control while anthocyanins remained unaffected at one of the two trial sites.
NSW DPI has extended the work this year to include seven new Shiraz sites across the Hunter Valley , Hilltops , Orange , Canberra and Riverina regions and to continue the Pinot Noir sites for a second year in Tumbarumba and Hilltops.
Mr Fahey said harvest had just finished across all trial sites, with anti-transpirant treatments significantly increasing berry weights across seven of the nine sites and bunch weight at six of the nine sites.
Grape and wine quality analysis is currently being undertaken with all the results due soon.
NSW DPI is also focusing on powdery mildew, with trial sites established in Hunter and Cowra last vintage to evaluate the timing interval of chemical and organic spray programs.
The programs were developed to ensure compliance with label requirements while avoiding fungicide resistance through the rotation of different chemistry. Each program was applied every 7 or 14 days and disease pressure was monitored to determine the effectiveness of each treatment.
‘The 2017 vintage started with a full soil moisture profile, high humidity and overcast skies, which are all perfect conditions for powdery mildew, but this vintage has been the complete opposite, with very little rainfall, low humidity, strong winds and clear skies, resulting in very little disease pressure’, Mr Fahey said.
‘No powdery mildew was detected at either site across all treatments throughout the season.’