Tractors become virtual classroom for growers

RD&A News | October 2020
09 Oct 2020
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Growers in the SA North Regional Program cluster have taken to their offices – and, on occasion, their tractors – to continue best practice viticulture education.

‘When Coronavirus restrictions hit in late March, we had to do a quick pivot on our Wine Australia Regional Program activities and put a halt to planned grower workshops’, explained Nicki Robins, Viticultural Development Officer for Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA).

To address the gap, the regions promptly put into train the production of six videos and two webinars so that Barossa and Clare Valley growers could continue best practice viticulture education.

‘The feedback from growers was really positive. They appreciated the fact that they could continue their activities from the comfort of their home or tractor’, Nicki said.

Viticulturist Chris Rogers at one of Barossa Grape & Wine Association’s ‘demonstration vineyard’ trial sites. Photo courtesy of BGWA.

In 2019–20 Barossa and Clare also continued to run ‘demonstration vineyards’, co-funded by the Regional Program. As well as written reports, the regions created videos focused on vintage 2020 results from the demo vineyards. These included Barossa viticulturist Chris Rogers who presented the following.

Key outcomes from the 2019–20 season in Barossa

Key outcomes from the 2019–20 season in Clare Valley

Strategies of successful vineyards in 2019–20, and tips to prepare for the 2020–21 growing season

Another BWGA video featured Barossa Viticulturists of the Year, Daniel and Fiona Habermann, talking about their strategies over a 12-month period for setting up a successful vintage:

‘As pruning season approached, BGWA organised its first-ever webinar, featuring Dr Mark Sosnowski from the South Australian Research and Development Institute talking about eutypa management, and tips for reworking eutypa-affected grapevines.

Nicki said around 70 growers from Barossa and Clare tuned into the webinar – plus some from as far as Mornington Peninsula.

An ‘irrigation management’ workshop planned for June 2020 was also re-worked into videos, including:

Barossa grower Will Holmes on strategies for water budgeting, soil moisture monitoring, and irrigation application in dry growing seasons

SARDI principal research scientist, viticulture, Dr Paul Petrie on the Winter Drought Project at the Nuriootpa Research Station

A second webinar was held in July, featuring agronomist Adam Pietsch on soil moisture monitoring; viticulturist Chris Rogers on water management/budgeting/irrigation for 2020–21, and irrigation specialist Greg Hocking on key points for irrigation maintenance.

The videos were released via the Barossa Grape & Wine Association and Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association electronic newsletters, and are also located on: www.barossawine.com/barossa-wine-live-videos/

Recordings of the webinars can be obtained from nicki@barossa.com.


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