Media release – Review identifies grapevine germplasm collections as key research priority

The current status of the existing Australian grapevine collections and ‘best practice’ management of genetic resources by other industries have been identified in a review commissioned by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC).

Scholefield Robinson Horticultural Services undertook the independent review of grapevine germplasm collections in Australia over the last six months.

‘This independent review has made recommendations on priority collections for the future as well as recommendations on an appropriate business model to maintain and financially sustain the selected collections into the future’, said GWRDC Executive Director Dr Stuart Thomson.

The main findings of the review were:

  • There are approximately 900 different grapevine varieties in Australian collections. Some of these varieties are pre-phylloxera heritage material and probably unique to Australia
  • The current resourcing for grapevine germplasm collections – through cutting sales and government agency support – is not sustainable in the long term. Lack of industry involvement is likely to result in closure of collections to the public, less accessibility of varieties with high-health status, and more private importation.

The review suggested that two types of collections are necessary to meet the current and future needs of the grape and wine sector: a germplasm repository of all varieties and a high-health collection containing only in-demand varieties and clones.

The review recommendations have been shared with the peak industry bodies, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers Australia, for their consideration of the way ahead.

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For further information:
Jen Russell

Communications Adviser

Ph: 08 8273 0500