Workshops address Tasmania’s top priorities from vineyard to profit margin

Water management, sparkling viticulture research and disease management feature as key priorities for Tasmania’s GWRDC-funded regional program for 2013–14.

Wine Tasmania Industry Development Officer David Sanderson said this year’s regional program will kick off in October, with the annual Field Day.

“This will be the fourth year we’ve held the field day, and with the support of the GWRDC we have been able to turn this event into one of the showpiece events on the Wine Tasmania calendar,” he said.

The field day’s key focus will be delivering the latest research and industry advice on ‘flowering, fruit set and yield’.

“2013 was a good year for many of Tasmania’s growers and wineries, but it doesn’t wipe away the pressures or memories of poor seasons,” David said.

“It’s important growers are prepared and informed with the best advice we can give on how to make the best of difficult seasons.”

A workshop on water management and water budgeting is also scheduled as part of the regional program.

“Wine Tasmania monitors water use in vineyards as part of its annual growers’ survey,” he said.

“Four years ago, when we started looking at this topic, only a handful of the major wineries were using formal soil water monitoring methods as part of their water management strategy.

“Now, it’s become more common in vineyards, of all sizes – but there is still a number of growers and wineries who can benefit from a better understanding of how to use water management to produce premium quality fruit.”

Other planned workshops include an update on sparkling wine viticulture research, and the identification and management of vascular disease and graft union disorders.

“Tasmania has become a leader in the field of premium production of sparkling wine – in the vineyard and winery – but there is always room for improvement,” David said.

Well-known sparkling wine researchers and advocates Andrew Pirie, Fiona Kerslake and Natalie Pryor will lead the workshop, and provide an update to the latest viticulture research.

“I attended the AWRI trunk disease workshop in Healesville, Victoria earlier this year. It was well-attended and generated a lot of interest among growers,” he said.

“We want to build on this topic, give it a Tasmania focus and identify the ways to reduce the risk of transmitting disease or poor quality stock across vineyards and regions.”

Post-harvest in Tasmania, Wine Tasmania will undertake a benchmark survey of its wine business members, looking specifically at economic performance and profitability.

Funding from the GWRDC will support the production of extension material on findings generated from the survey.

“The results of the survey will be communicated at the annual Vineyard of the Year field day, which will be held around May/June next year.”

The full program of workshops and confirmed dates will be available via the Wines Tasmania website: winetasmania.com.au and communicated through its newsletters and regional associations.

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