Pinot Noir a key focus for Tasmanian Regional Program

Tasmania’s grapegrowers will talk water budgets next month, as the 2013-14 GWRDC Regional Program wraps up and next year’s program launches with all new projects and a special focus on Pinot Noir and disease management.

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and Wine Tasmania industry development and extension officer David Sanderson said an initially wet start to the growing season across Tasmania had seen the water budget workshop put on hold.

‘There wasn’t much impetus to come along but then the rain stopped and it got quite dry really quickly and more growers were having to look at irrigating and consider the added costs’, Mr Sanderson said.

‘The cost of water is going up and in Tasmania many growers need to budget not just for irrigation but using that water for frost protection as well, so the costs can start adding up’.

The workshop on June 23, in Launceston, will look at the issues around ensuring vines get enough water to meet sustainable productivity and quality parameters, and the options that offer growers the best “bang for their buck” in regard to water budgets.

The water budget workshop will complete the 2013-14 Regional Program for Tasmania, with the next year’s program, for 2014-15 already approved and workshop planning underway.

Mr Sanderson said one of the major focusses of the 2014-15 program would be sharing the findings and developing new resources from long-running Pinot Noir rootstock and clone trials, undertaken at Pressing Matters Vineyard in Coal River.

‘We plan to run several workshops across the regions and take a close look at the various yield, vine performance and quality indicators of the different rootstocks and clones used at Pressing Matters and other vineyards,’, he said.

‘But also, Pressing Matters’ viticulturist Paul Smart has been running these trials for several years and he’s kept the wine in separate barrels instead of blending. We plan to look at the resultant wines which will add further insight into the clonal, rootstock and site influences’.

The latest information around bud dissection, crop estimation and yield stabilisation will form another workshop, prompted after a difficult vintage this year.

‘In 2013 we had a bumper crop, our highest ever in Tasmania, but comparatively speaking 2014 hasn’t come close’, he said.

‘It’s mostly the result of poor fruit-set, and the technical committee felt it was a good time to discuss the range of options available to producers when they’re making pruning decisions, especially at times when weather conditions aren’t conducive to good fruitfulness’.

Aside from the annual Field Day, which is again being planned for October, the final workshop in the new 2014-15 Regional Program will look at managing disease risk under netting.

‘Tasmania has a longer than average vintage – and netting can go on in late January and still be on in May’, he said.

‘Should we get prolonged wet Autumns, disease pressure can rocket under netting – so we want to discuss ways of managing the risk.

‘We’ll also have some netting displays on site so growers can trial and see first-hand some of the new netting methods and products available to them’.

More details about the workshops can be found at the Wine Tasmania website.

The Tamar Valley wine region in Tasmania, which will talk water budgets next month as part of Regional Program. Photo: Tamar Valley Wine Route.
The Tamar Valley wine region in Tasmania, which will talk water budgets next month as part of Regional Program. Photo: Tamar Valley Wine Route.