The purpose of this report is to summarise the outcomes of a Wine Australia travel grant. Additional funding support was provided by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.
The main activities that were supported by this grant were participation in two international conferences and one national conference. At these meetings, data were presented that describe the genetic mapping and functional characterisation of genes involved in sodium exclusion in grapevine rootstocks. These data have been generated from a collaborative project between CSIRO Agriculture and the University of Adelaide. The participation in these meetings allowed for useful discussions and novel experimental ideas to be gained, which will assist the future development of this project and publication of our data. Highlights from the meetings are discussed, and any additional formats that were used to disseminate research findings are also mentioned.
The results of a five-year field experiment in the South Australian Riverland indicated that under non-restricted irrigation allocations there were no water use savings or improvements in rootzone salinity with the use of subsurface irrigation; either using conventional subsurface drip line or when the subsurface drip line was enclosed in a porous fabric strip designed to improve the lateral movement of water. Only under severely reduced irrigation volume was there some yield advantage with the two types of subsurface irrigation. There was deposition of fine colloidal clay within the fabric covering which may have influenced the long-term performance of this irrigation system with the water source used in this experiment and this warrants further investigation.
The principal aim of this travel was to attend the 10thGPB and present a poster entitled “Does vine age influence vine performance and grape quality?” in the poster session Topic 2: Yield, berry ripening, grape and wine quality.
Further to the above aim while travelling to Europe the opportunity was taken to broaden my knowledge and understanding of viticulture practices and production systems in different environments via a self-funded brief study tour including:
Technical visits in Italy in the Langhe region of Piemonte, specifically in and around the world famous areas of Barolo and Barbaresco. Meeting with scientists, researchers and wine producers.
Technical visits to the Emporda region in North East Spain to observe vineyard practices and production in a hot dry climate, especially to observe ‘old’ vines over 100 years in age.
Viticultural production systems in California and Australia share many similarities. Sustainability in its broadest sense is a core focus in both production environments, and lessons learned are regularly traded between the countries. Dr Glenn McGourty, an extension specialist with the University of California (Davis), has broad-ranging viticultural expertise as a winegrape grower and researcher. His recent visit to Australia, funded by industry through Wine Australia, acted as a catalyst for several regional groups to access his expertise in conjunction with workshops and field days. Over his three week visit, about 280 industry personnel and students heard Glenn speak on topics such as Organic and Regenerative Viticulture and Frost Mitigation. Feedback from attendees was very positive, and the potential for changes in management practice, as a result of the forums is strong. Strong bilateral research links have also been forged, with the intention of ongoing information exchange between investigators undertaking similar programs in the two countries.
Simonit and Sirch is an Italian company that has developed a method of soft pruning, based on the methods developed in France by Guyot and Poussard. They focus on training vineyard staff to prune according to their method. Their work has been widely recognised and they are now working with major vineyards across Italy and France, and broadly across Europe, South Africa and in the U.S.A.
The project was designed as a pilot to introduce soft pruning techniques to selected vineyards and to create broader awareness across four of Australia’s cool climate wine producing regions.
Everard Edwards presented a paper entitled “Multi-seasonal effects of warming and elevated CO2 on the physiology, growth and production of mature, field grown, Shiraz grapevines” at the ClimWine 2016 conference in Bordeaux, France. He also presented a poster, “Multi-seasonal effects of warming and elevated CO2 on grape and wine composition of mature, field grown Shiraz grapevines”.
Attending the conference provided an excellent opportunity for the author to develop a broad understanding of the latest thinking in Europe on how the wine industry is dealing with climate change as the meeting had a wide range of speakers from economists, through viticultural and oenological researchers to industry representatives. There was significant interest in the Wine Australia-funded work presented, due to its unique capacity to combine both climate warming and elevated CO2 impacts in a single experimental system. In addition, the author's presence in Europe was utilised to make additional visits to existing research collaborators at INRA Bordeaux and potential future collaborators at SupAgro Montpellier, France and the Hochschule Geisenheim University, Germany.
A report on the symposium will be provided to the Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker for future publication.
The objective of this project was to identify potential targets for the manipulation of organic acid profiles in grapes, with a long-term goal of minimising the impact of climate change on grape must acidity. Transgenic grapevines were developed to better understand how acidity is regulated within berries and leaves. New metabolic models were generated from field- and chamber-based temperature experiments and from cultivars with inherently different acid profiles. These demonstrated correlative links between organic acid and amino acid metabolism. Therefore altering nitrogen supply may provide a relatively straightforward means for manipulating berry acid levels, warranting further investigation.
Chardonnay on Ramsey rootstock was studied for its long-term responses in physiology and productivity to prolonged sustained deficit irrigation (SDI) and recovery for various periods in a warm climate at Yalumba’s Oxford Landing Estate near Qualco, South Australia.
Latest work lead by Dr Fuentes with collaborations with colleagues in Australia and Chile was presented at the VIII International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops (Lleida-Spain).
Specifically, one oral presentation and two posters were delivered:
• Low cost infrared scanner for estimating grapevine water status (oral)
• Almond crop coefficients calculation including day and night-time tree water uptake and transpiration (poster)
• Orchard water status variability assessed using proximal and aerial infrared thermography(poster)