Limestone Coast explore soils, science and sensory profiles in new Regional Program

Limestone Coast’s 2014-15 Regional Program will allow its four Soil Stewards to continue their studies as well as bring a wide range of industry experts to the region to help explore the science and the sensory aspects of the local wines.

The Regional Program, funded by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority, sets out the region’s priorities in research and extension, with the Soil Stewardship program now entering its second year.

Cape Jaffa Wines winemaker Anna Hooper, Patrick of Coonawarra director/winemaker Luke Tocaciu, Penfolds Robe Vineyards manager Nick Baverstock and Henry’s Drive Vignerons proprietor Kim Longbottom were selected as the region’s four soil stewards.

The four will undertake a range of study tours and work with program facilitator, Melbourne-based advisor in environmental sustainability, Russell Fisher, to explore their own region’s soil diversity and management practices, as well as investigate the soil management practices from other regions.

Limestone Coast Grape & Wine Council Executive Officer, Ulrich Grey-Smith, said the stewards had already visited Margaret River and Perth, and next month would visit Adelaide to speak with the experts at the key research centres.

“The ultimate aim is for the stewards to use and share this accumulated knowledge and to help devise a sustainable soil management strategy for the whole region,” Mr Grey-Smith said.

The soil stewardship program also receives funding through the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council and the Australian Wine Research Institute.

A number of tasting workshops are funded in this year’s Regional Program, with the first one held on July 30, providing an in-depth tasting and discussion on Cabernet Sauvignon.

“This was the first of four Tutored Tasting Workshops, hosted through TAFE SA, which will look at and case study wines from the great marques of Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Bordeaux, Italy, US, NZ and other Australian regions,” he said.

“Because it’s through TAFE SAthe courses can offer accreditations for people currently undertaking diploma courses – so we’re also hoping they will attract not just winemakers, but interested people who work in cellar-doors, sales and marketing and growers.”

Future workshops will look at Chardonnay in September, Merlot in November, and Shiraz in 2015.

The Australian Wine Research Institute will also visit Limestone Coast later this month to host a workshop, with a special focus on berry sorting and sensory assessment.

“There’s a range of tools and techniques in regards to berry assessment available to growers, but some can be extremely expensive and technical so we’re hoping to provide growers with the latest advice and support from AWRI’s experts in this area,” he said.

A date and time are yet to be confirmed but more information will be available via the Limestone Coast Events Calendar here.

Also available via the website is the final report, titled ‘Eutypa Impacts: Groundtruth Infrared Technologies’, detailing the results and recommendations from the Limestone Grape and Wine Council’s recent project using the Greenseeker® technology to identify and quantify dieback caused by Eutypa in the region.

The project was funded through previous Regional Programs, with assessments undertaken during the 2013/14 growing season on six Cabernet Sauvignon blocks located throughout the Limestone Coast.

“The results were variable, with the final report offering Limestone Coast and other regions a better understanding around the application of the Greenseeker technology and identifying issues needing further investigation,” he said.  The report can be downloaded from here.

Members of the Soil Stewardship Program explore the Limestone Coast’s soil profiles.
Members of the Soil Stewardship Program explore the Limestone Coast’s soil profiles.