Region in Focus: SA North

Providing practical advice and support in the vineyard is the focus of ongoing regional programs funded by Wine Australia in the SA North region.

In the Barossa, new demonstration vineyards showcasing the value of using mulch and compost were established at Krondorf, Gomersal and Eden Valley during 2015–16, adding to those set up the previous year at Ebenezer, Light Pass and Vine Vale.

‘In the demonstration vineyards last February, we saw ground temperatures 10 degrees celsius cooler with mulch under vine compared to no mulch’, said the Viticultural Development Officer for Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA), Nicki Robins.

‘Along with slightly higher crop loads, due to better soil moisture retention in vineyards that were previously very low-yielding, there is later, more gradual ripening in Barossa vineyards. This bodes well for the generally hotter, drier weather patterns that are expected to continue.’

More than 85 people attended a recent grower workshop providing information about mulch, composting and other techniques.

The project complements BGWA’s existing Creating Resilient Landscapes in the Barossa initiative, which began in 2012, and the Barossa Grounds project, which was established in 2008 to demonstrate the influences of the diverse range of Barossa topography, soil and climate on the wine styles of Barossa Shiraz.

A little to the north, the Clare Region Winegrape Growers Association recently launched a series of high-quality videos and case studies on managing Eutypa.

These feature Dr Mark Sosnowski, from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), and local growers who have tackled the disease head-on using a variety of techniques.

‘Eutypa is now being tackled on a larger scale than we’ve ever seen, with considerable numbers of growers reworking their vines to slow down or stop this yield-reducing disease’, Nicki said.