Queensland responding to projected climate change

The Queensland Wine Industry Association (QWIA) will run a three-stage, AGWA-funded project later this year to assess the potential for alternative wine varieties and management practices to help the local industry prepare for the impact of climate change.

This will include setting up a display vineyard in partnership with the Queensland College of Wine Tourism at Stanthorpe.

‘Our aim is both to assess individual varieties and to encourage and assist growers to consider the issue and plan for their futures’, said QWIA Acting President Jim Barnes. ‘We think this is a very important step for the industry in south-east Queensland’.

The first stage will be to bring together into a single document all relevant published information from sources such as the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, AWRI, universities, wine sector bodies and government departments.

This will look at such issues as:

  • the most likely temperature increases and rainfall decline for south-east Queensland by 2030 and 2050
  • the impact of temperature rises and rainfall decline on the growth of currently used varieties and rootstocks
  • alternative viticulture practices that will enable wine growing to adapt to the changing conditions
  • potential alternative varieties and rootstocks that may best meet the changed environmental conditions for 2030 and 2050
  • the particular management requirements of specific alternative varieties; and
  • the pros and cons of existing alternative varieties grown in some Queensland vineyards.

‘This extension publication will be a comprehensive piece of work that we hope will provide the basis for informed decisions to be made across the industry, as well as for future research to evaluate potential varieties and rootstocks under field conditions’, Mr Barnes said

‘The information will be made available to growers through the QWIA website as well as at seminars, workshops and property demonstrations’.

The second stage will see the display vineyard established as a site for field days and future collaborative research. It will include varieties identified in the extension document, as well as virus-free clonal material provided by the Riverland Vine Improvement Association and varieties developed by CSIRO.

The College already has a small demonstration vineyard of alternative varieties, which it runs in partnership with the neighbouring Stanthorpe State High School. Students will assist with the QWIA project.

The third stage will comprise a field day for growers to see the growth characteristic of the existing varieties in the display vineyard or in established vineyards and to discuss the difficulties and successes associated with these varieties.

RD&E April newsletter article Benefits and costs of alternative viticulture