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Retallack wins top rural award Outlook conference sets strong agenda

AWRI 2012 special report

WISA winner

Chairman’s Award


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November 2012: Issue 586

Contents features



Vine management


US gets more access to flash extraction


Fertilisers & nutrition


Israel: a story of renewal in an ancient land

88 Filtration


Developing countries join bulk wine expo


Winery pumps


By Jingo Wines


Bottling and labelling


Celebrating the people behind the wine


Greg Howell: yeast-based wine additives


AWRI 2012 special report


To filter or not to filter


94 Pumps − more important than you think


My view: Robin Day


Time for a new national biosecurity body


Wine, health and the Australian context


Wine shows strong growth on home front

12 14

sales & marketing

Wineries hurt by online discounting


People definitely make the business

Customer-value pricing for better returns


Label Q&A: a label that charms


New WET rules to affect blended wine


Mildura bottling facility puts its best foot


Mary Retallack – Supporting women in wine


Regional Roundup: Canberra District

forward 103

Portavin expands sparkling capacity


business & technology


Treasury takes sustainability to new heights

105 Live-streaming to connect with consumers 108 Australian wine export market snapshot


Managing risk in difficult seasons


Let it hang: fruit thinning not needed


Highlights for workshop on trunk diseases


Grapegrower in Profile: Prue Henschke

46 Tendrils − should you remove them? 50

Soil nutrients essential in summer


Ben Rose: plant tissue analysis can assist

The United Grower Sponsored by





Rural Woman of the Year winner Mary Retallack is all smiles after recognition of her pioneering work. Photo: Kellie Arbuckle

5 on the grapevine 25 grapegrowing 67 winemaking 108 export snapshot 109 looking forward 110 marketplace classifieds


In this issue November Publisher and Chief Executive Hartley Higgins Managing EDITOR Elizabeth Bouzoudis EDITOR Grahame Whyte Editorial advisory board Dr Jim Fortune, Denis Gastin, Dr Steve Goodman, Prof. Jim Hardie, Dr Terry Lee, Paul van der Lee, Bob Campbell MW, Prof Dennis Taylor and Mary Retallack Editorial Kellie Arbuckle Contributors Danielle Costley, Ben Rose, Gerri Nelligan, Greg Howell. Advertising Sales Chas Barter Circulation: Melissa Smithen

AS WE CONTEMPLATE the huge range of issues raised at the recent Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Outlook Conference, we can begin to comprehend the magnitude of our industry’s challenges. The tone of the conference was very positive and it is easy to see that change can only come from the inspiration and hard work of many people. Not just our leaders, but everyone in the industry needs to unite and work as a team to place us where we belong – at the top. Australia has many advantages and our viticulturists and winemakers are renowned for their expertise and enthusiasm for setting out to create a superior product at every vintage. For a positive role model, we need look no further than to our neighbours across the Tasman Sea. Their expertise in marketing an outstanding product is simply phenomenal. So let’s make the most of our skills and enthusiasm and forge a stronger, brighter future for our great Australian wines. As you can see in this issue, from page 20, our theme is people, with an

inspiring article about how viticultural consultant Mary Retallack has worked to expand the involvement of women in wine through her inititatives that offer ongoing support to women in the sector. We then focus on a number of people in different areas, including the legendary but refreshingly modest Peter Gago, who on page 76 reveals what he loves about his job. In the same feature, vineyard owner Natasha Nieuwhof highlights the strengths of the people around her in Tasmania, describing them as “a strong, supportive and passionate group. We come from a range of backgrounds and with varying levels of experience but we share one common goal – to grow the Tasmanian wine brand and make premium quality wines”. Now that's the sort of passion we need!

Grahame Whyte Editor Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker

Production Chris Nicholls Subscription Prices Australia: 1 year (12 issues) $77.50 (inc. GST) 2 years (24 issues) $145 (inc. GST) New Zealand, Asia & Pacific: 1 year (12 issues) $110 (AUD) 2 years (24 issues) $210 (AUD) All other countries: 1 year (12 issues) $174.50 (AUD) 2 years (24 issues) $339 (AUD) Students (Aus only): 1 year (12 issues) $66 (inc. GST) Winetitles Pty. Ltd. 630 Regency Road, Broadview, South Australia 5083 PO Box 1006, Prospect East South Australia 5082 Phone: (08) 8369 9500 Fax (08) 8369 9501

Contributors Danielle Costley has worked as a journalist throughout the Australasian region for more than 15 years. After working as a TV writer and business journalist on the east coast, Danielle was lured to the Margaret River wine region in 2000, where she began her career as a wine journalist. This month, on page 50, Danielle looks at how d’Arenberg and Cullen wineries have adopted a minimalist approach in the vineyard to ensure the vines are at their best.

Greg Howell is managing director of Vintessential Laboratories and author of the bimonthly Essential Oenology column in Grapegrower & Winemaker. This month, on page 81, Greg asks if yeast-based wine additives live up to their reputation. Greg can be contacted by email on A number of articles on related topics can be accessed on the website.

Printing by Lane Print Group, Adelaide © Contents copyright Winetitles Pty Ltd 2012.

All Rights Reserved. Print Post Approved PP535806/0019 Articles published in this issue of Grapegrower & Winemaker may also appear in full or as extracts on our website. Cover price $8.25 (inc. GST)

4 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Ben Rose is the principal advisor of Performance Viticulture and is the Grapegrower & Winemaker bimonthly viticulture columnist. Ben’s column, Vititalk. In this issue, on page 54, Ben reveals the best way to assess vineyard nutrient requirements, plus the best method of fertiliser application. He is happy to address any viticulture question you may have in this column. Contact Ben on email: ben@

November 2012 – Issue 586

on the grapevine WISA announces Supplier of the Year Award winners WINE INDUSTRY SUPPLIERS Australia (WISA) announced its 2012 Donaldson Walsh Lawyers Supplier of the Year Award winners at a gala dinner in Adelaide last month. Enartis Pacific outshone eight other finalists to win the prestigious Supplier of the Year Award, which was proudly presented by Donaldson Walsh Lawyers partner, Sandy Donaldson. “Enartis impressed the judges with Darko Obradovic is presented with the the passion and knowledge of its staff WISA Supplier of the Year Award by Sandy and its dedication to its customers. In Donaldson of Donaldson Walsh Lawyers. the space of four years the company has grown significantly into a successful and thriving business,” Donaldson said. The Banrock Station Environmental and Sustainability Award was won by Seguin Moreau Australia. The company was recognised for its global approach to implementing a carbon neutral program for the supply of oak barrels and related products to the industry. The judges said, “It is positive to see that from what is traditionally seen as an old world artisan part of the industry, a proactive and longterm outlook is being adopted by this company”. Pellenc Australia won the Tarac Technologies Innovation Award for the second time in three years, for its strong product improvements. Pellenc continues to work closely with its customers to collaboratively enhance its product offering to suit the often different conditions faced by Australian viticulturists,” the judges said. Flextank International’s success in developing and managing export markets in more than 12 countries made it a worthy recipient of the WBM Export Award, while the Chairman’s Award went to Sue Caloghiris of Bibber International for her work in providing the opportunity to share the Australian wine industry experience with more than 1000 students from around the world. “Being a past Rotary International Youth Exchange participant, I understand the value for young people to develop world views and experiences,” said WISA Chairman Matthew Moate. “It is testament to the quality of the program that Sue provides that some 30 per cent of students return for more than their initial vintage experience,” Moate said. “We were extremely impressed with the calibre of entries received for the awards this year.”

GWRDC appoints new executive director RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT CRCMining Dr Stuart Thomson has been appointed executive director of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation. GWRDC chair, the Hon Rory McEwen, announced the appointment on behalf of the GWRDC Board on 23 October. Dr Thomson will start at the GWRDC on Monday 10 December 2012. GWRDC’s general manager Kate Harvey will continue as acting executive director until this time. “Dr Thomson has extensive experience in leading strategic research and development programs in both government and commercial organisations,” McEwen said. “He, together with the GWRDC management team, will ensure that the corporation’s investments in research, development and extension address the research priorities of the Australian government and the grape and wine sector. “Dr Thomson joins the corporation at an exciting time, as the GWRDC’s new fiveyear Strategic Plan is being implemented. “He will be instrumental in fostering and further enhancing the existing relationships with our key stakeholders, the Commonwealth, Wine Grape Growers Australia and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.” Dr Thomson obtained his doctorate in Physical Chemistry from the University of New South Wales and has worked as a researcher in a number of organisations, including the Max Planck Institute in Germany. More recently, Dr Thomson has held senior management roles in government, notfor-profit and commercial organisations. November 2012 – Issue 586

what’s online Hunter Valley is voted No. 1 by foodies and wine buffs An easy drive from Sydney with 180 years of winemaking history, it’s no wonder Hunter Valley was voted top food and wine region in Australia in The Telegraph poll. Receiving almost a quarter of the vote, the Hunter Valley has numerous cellar doors offering tastings of very special wines: the Semillon dry whites are the most famous, but there’s also fine Shiraz, Chardonnay and Verdelho. Plentiful wine tours, along with vineyards with onsite restaurants, make this a pleasurable place for gastronomes to visit, while several bring-your-own restaurants encourage you open the fruits of your cellar visits, while enjoying the local organic produce, reports The Telegraph.

No wind farms in SA wine regions South Australia has revamped its policy on wind farms to discourage them in the state’s key winegrowing and tourism regions of McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley. The revised rules will also remove statements that “explicitly envisage” wind farms in valuable environmental and scenic areas including the Clare Valley, coastal areas, conservation zones, the Fleurieu Peninsula, the Flinders Ranges and the River Murray corridor, reports the Herald Sun.

Tassie vineyards buck trend Tasmania is one of the only places in Australia where investors are planting new vineyards rather than ripping them out, new figures have shown. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the total area of vines around the nation has decreased 6 per cent since 2010 to 145,000 hectares. But Tasmania’s total vineyard plantings increased 8 per cent in the period, to 1500 hectares, reports The Mercury. Australia’s wine industry portal by Winetitles Australia’s wine industry portal by


Daily Wine News is a snapshot of wine business, research and marketing content gleaned from international wine media sources, with a focus on Australian news and content. To subscribe visit Grapegrower & Winemaker



my view

The rise and rise of process at the expense of outcome Robin Day

THE RECENT PASSING of iconic industry pioneer Ron Potter is an appropriate time to reflect on the technical evolution of viticulture and winemaking in Australia. The contribution made by Ron’s best-known development, the Potter fermenter, has been well recognised for its significance, as have the personal contributions made by this likeable, down-to-earth, quintessential Aussie. It is, however, worth considering what the Potter tank represents and to point to some blueprints for the future of technical development. The Potter fermenter was a very practical piece of engineering devised in an era when technology was not strongly associated with all that goes with grapes and wine. The homegrown nature of the ‘Potter’ showed an inventiveness which is by no means the dominant aspect of Australia’s rapid development in vine and wine. By far the more dominant theme is that of adaptation of ideas, born elsewhere, modified to generate solutions to problems and applied rapidly with gusto. Many of our most successful technical developments have as their genesis the adaptive spirit which was captured in John Williamson’s famous song, True Blue, as a tribute to the utility of that great Aussie tool − the humble piece of fencing wire. Where they, as ideas, have gone to the next level and become significant or even great, two other essential elements are strongly in evidence. The first is a perceptiveness that enables the user to assess the benefit of the idea, to find solutions some distance from the original use. The second element is the existence of a strong culture focusing on outcomes, which has enabled very rapid implementation of new initiatives. Despite much navel gazing in relation to identifying and protecting the intellectual property (IP) from Australia’s research and development in grapes and wine, the conclusion has generally been that industry benefit accrues quicker and better by ensuring rapid adoption of technical developments rather than getting bogged down in the battle over the IP. This strong focus on outcome rather than process has served Australia well; it has allowed our industry rapid movement to position itself as a global technical leader. In this context, the forthcoming merger

6 Grapegrower & Winemaker

of Wine Australia with the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation demands a close watching brief from industry leaders. That the merger has been on the table for a decade or two, signals that the benefits were not clear enough to make it an obvious initiative. The justification circulated throughout the industry seemed unconvincing. Expected financial benefits were not large and comparisons with the model of a unified statutory corporation in Dairy and Meat and Livestock suggest that it is worthwhile duplicating the structure of these two industries without critically examining the differences. Additionally, the defence against the idea of diverting research and development levy funds into marketing has a slight but noticeable smell of, “Methinks he doesn’t protest too much” about it. Whenever it has been examined, the return on grape and wine R&D has been shown to be eight to 10-fold, a rate of return which would be the dream of any marketing program. That the industry-generated ‘Directions’ initiative languished on the table for want of support from major exporters signals two things: competitive brand marketing is relatively well developed in wine, and pre-competitive generic marketing initiatives are well known to be expensive, with low returns.

Major exporters see the huge spends of the French generic programs of SOPEXA and wonder at the meagre benefits accruing. Some may even be senior enough to remember the illfated (but thankfully modest) generic brandy advertising campaign of the early seventies. The recent growth of process at the expense of outcome has come under notice by some major R&D providers. Executives of CSIRO Horticulture Division began noting several years ago that the GWRDC spends more levy dollars on administration than it grants to CSIRO’s viticulture R&D programs. The expansion of marketing capability within the GWRDC has largely escaped critical comment. Levy payers have a right to know the answers to two key questions – marketing to whom and for what purpose? The board of the new statutory corporation will have a key challenge to demonstrate to industry, that process will not continue to grow at the expense of outcome. Its chair, who will have a daunting task, could feel a little like Hercules as he picked up the shovel in the Augean stables. Robin Day is the proprietor of Domain Day, the former chief winemaker/technical director of Orlando Wines and a former chair of AWRI. November 2012 – Issue 586

Time for a new national body to oversee biosecurity Wine Victoria has responded strongly to the recent decision by the South Australian Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Gail Gago, to reinstate the pre-November 2011 Plant Quarantine Standard despite the recommendations of her expert advisers. Wine Victoria board member Damien Sheehan said the South Australian decision was tantamount to going backwards in time when it comes to trade between states. “This decision has caused considerable angst in the eastern states where the agreed harmonisation of regulations still exists,” Sheehan said. “Our national vineyard resource remains at risk, as long as our industry continues to operate without a national body overseeing the biosecurity management of the grapevine. The National Phylloxera Management Protocol was devised in 2000 by the National Phylloxera Technical Reference Group (NPTRG) on behalf of the National Vine Health Steering Committee (NVHSC). Unfortunately, these committees have since been disbanded, leaving a vacuum in the national viticulture biosecurity arena,” he said. “The NPTRG comprised researchers, regulators, grapegrowers and others with expertise in the management of

phylloxera and the interpretation of scientific evidence. The National Phylloxera Management Protocols that they devised are a nationally agreed set of principles that are used to regulate the movement of phylloxera host materials around designated phylloxera zones. All of the movements have been scientifically tested, meaning that the National Protocols are based on science, not emotion. “Those people who are opposed to the idea of having harmonised host material movement conditions are naively ignoring the amount of material that is moved between states.” Sheehan said state governments can apply legislation, but can only act when they become aware of an illegal movement occurring. “To expect governments to protect individual vineyards is also naive,” he said. “The best form of viticulture biosecurity is for vineyards to implement on-farm biosecurity processes, and be responsible for every movement onto the vineyard. If there is any doubt about the product, or person entering the property, do not let them enter. “The management of phylloxera requires two things: a national approach by our industry and on-farm biosecurity

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by the individual – the days of relying on government regulators to guard state borders are over.” In order to properly regulate the movement of host material, Wine Victoria said there needs to be a complete national harmonisation of movement requirements. The Victorian Viticulture Biosecurity Committee (VVBC) − which consists of members from Wine Victoria, Murray Valley Winegrowers, Dried Fruits Australia, Australian Table Grape Growers Association, Victoria and Murray Valley Vine Improvement Association, Nursery and Garden Industry Association, and DPI, is making progress with the issue of host material movement harmonisation. “However, a national body is required so the whole viticultural industry has certainty and confidence about actions that need to occur to facilitate host material movement,” Sheehan said. “Wine Victoria believes a new national viticulture biosecurity committee needs to be established immediately so that issues like host material movement harmonisation, review of phylloxera protocols, implementation of a PEZ maintenance program and identification of new and emerging viticultural biosecurity threats can be adequately addressed.”

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November 2012 – Issue 586

Grapegrower & Winemaker


outlook 2012 conference

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THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Australia’s peak winemaking body, Paul Evans, has confirmed that wine and health issues are a top priority for the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. During his conference address last month in Melbourne, Evans said that Chris Savage from E&J Gallo – a lastminute withdrawal from the conference speakers list – was scheduled to address the international trends in alcohol regulation and the latest global research into its social benefits and harms. “Chris would have told us that these issues are important as the processes and decisions of the World Health Organisation and OECD do shape the thinking of health officials here in Australia,” Evans said. “They also act as a framework to initiate policy development with ministers and governments of the day. “In particular, if sufficient progress is not demonstrated against the recently agreed WHO global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, then renewed pressure will be placed on member countries, including Australia, to develop a framework convention to control the sale, production and use of alcohol in a similar fashion to that existing for tobacco products. “So it is important to keep an eye on these important global protocols which are using the tobacco blueprint as a roadmap for the future regulation of alcohol.” However, Evans said that in Australia, elected governments would respond to community expectations and the politics of the day. “It is also true that the drinking context in Australia is unique. It is therefore reasonable that our community values and laws around the production, marketing, sale and consumption of alcohol are different from those in other parts of the world,” he said. “We should also not forget that Australian governments are willing and more than able to set global precedents and introduce ground-breaking social policy initiatives.

“Recent examples include the worldleading restrictions on tobacco sales and promotion here, the targeted increase of RTD taxes back in 2008 and the more recent policy developments for future food labelling. “For this reason, while regulatory developments overseas need to monitored, they ultimately do not provide the full picture on what may happen here or what our local industry should be focused on. “After all, we are the only nation I can think of where the first real currency was rum. We even had a rebellion over it. More recently our beer drinking reputation has changed to embrace more diverse and unique drinking behaviours which include greater consumption by share of a larger variety of wines and spirits products. “Our legal drinking age is lower than the United States but higher than some parts of Europe. “We also have a youth binge drinking problem that may not be as bad as that currently experienced in parts of the United Kingdom, but it is certainly far worse than in many Mediterranean countries. “And, of course, our alcohol tax system is also distinctive, both in the level of taxation and in the way that the three alcohol categories are separately treated. “Alcohol misuse in Australia is an issue we need to take very seriously but it is important to note we have made in-roads in recent years,” he said. “You won’t hear this on the six o’clock news – but many of the key indicators of alcohol misuse and harm are either stable or in decline. “In my view, most of the community and media concern over alcohol related harm is generated by the ongoing problem of late night alcohol related violence in our inner suburbs. Police commissioners, emergency and health professionals and politicians continue to highlight the cost this issue presents the community in both a social and economic sense. And we see the results in the form of what feels like a relentless stream of media coverage on the issue. November 2012 – Issue 586

“What has any of this got to do with wine? “Research from the Australian Institute of Criminology clearly shows that wine is the by far the least represented alcoholic drink in statistics on what alcohol type was consumed by those arrested for disorderly conduct and assault on Friday and Saturday nights. “But while wine may not be playing a direct role in driving alcohol related violence, it is true that this issue continues to shine a very bright spotlight on alcohol use in our community and the prevailing culture in Australia around alcohol consumption and what behaviours we find acceptable when alcohol is being drunk. And this is where we find wine being dragged more and more into the debate. “In my view, the sustained concern on alcohol related violence has and will continue to broaden the parameters of the debate to include issues which are a little more closer to home for our industry – matters such as the availability of cheap wine and the link between retail price and rates of harm, and while we may think this attention is unfair, the focus on us nonetheless remains.” Evans said that this was a reality the industry needed to acknowledge and engage positively. “As the CEO of the WFA, my job is to develop, on your behalf, advice on policies and actions that are a reasonable response to this environment – that demonstrate we are a fact-based organisation, that our approach reflects a responsible industry that has deep community ties, and that we are responsive to the emerging analysis of the facts and changing community expectations. With that in mind, I do not subscribe to the view that wine’s level of responsibility to reduce alcohol related harm and to promote responsible consumption in Australia is any less than anybody else’s in the alcohol industry. “However the nature and scope of that responsibility is very, very different to beer and spirits manufacturers and to the challenges faced by the on- and offpremise retail trade. “Of course we will always look for opportunities to collaborate and partner with the rest of the alcohol industry, as much as we will look to cooperate with governments and the health lobby on issues which we share a common goal. “The most obvious example is partnering to support initiatives from organisations like DrinkWise Australia aimed at changing our long-term drinking culture to encourage moderation and to make drunkenness socially unacceptable within a generation. “In all likelihood, problem drinkers November 2012 – Issue 586

will simply shift their poor consumption habits to other categories or other substances. “And this debate is not just one for the purists. As many of you are aware, a proposal for a minimum price on alcohol is currently being reviewed by the Federal Government − so this specific issue will remain a top priority for the Federation.” Evans described the final area of responsibility for the wine sector as being to build a body of research that was relevant to the debate. “It is clear that the amount of Australian-based research on the role of wine in supporting healthy lifestyles, its role in alcohol related harm and misuse, and how we can encourage more moderate wine consumption behaviours is insufficient and has significant gaps. So how can the industry and the WFA maintain regulatory settings that are fair and reasonable and support the delivery of a more moderate Australian drinking culture? First we must embrace the research challenge and play our part in elevating the policy discussion to one that is fact based. Wine in moderation is a good thing on all fronts and we need to find a stronger voice supported by specific research on this point. “It is easy to get distracted by newspaper headlines and sensationalist tabloid reporting. It is also easy to get upset at media coverage showing appalling scenes of late night alcohol related violence as the back drop for discussion on the industry. “However, in my experience working with government as both a departmental official, ministerial adviser and lobbyist I still believe ood well researched policy ultimately wins the day. “Secondly, we must maintain our credentials as a responsible industry and ensure our voice continues to be heard and respected. With that in mind, the Federation will continue to consider initiatives such as the recent pregnancy warning label campaign in the future. “This is a responsibility that is shared between the Federation, its members and the broader industry. Ultimately, my credentials as the industry’s national representative are only as good as the actions and attitudes of those who stand behind me. Currently, we do enjoy considerable political support. In my view, no national government will make a material change to the way wine is regulated without our backing. However, that is no guarantee,” Evans said. “We need to work hard and smart at maintaining our relevance and support within the community. And we need to be both well informed and well intentioned.”

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Wine shows strong growth on home front Kellie Arbuckle

PREMIUM AUSTRALIAN WINE is punching above its weight in terms of domestic market growth, according to the latest findings by Nielsen. According to Michael Walton, executive director of consumer and business intelligence Pacific for Nielsen, Australian wines over $20 have experienced compound growth of 11 per cent in value over the past five years. During the same period of time, wines in the $10-20 bracket have experienced 5% compound growth, while wines under $10 have not grown in value. The findings paint a less bleak image of the outlook for Australian wine, with a forecast of increased consumer confidence from three year lows being reflected in better off-premise sales in the next year. “Wine has performed very well in the last five years in Australia – it has actually grown in the market place more strongly than its share of the market place,” Walton said. “For every $100 spent on alcohol sales at liquor stores in Australia, about $23 is spent on wine. But if you look at growth in the market place, for every $100 worth of growth, $30 of growth came from wine sales. “At the same time, consumers are moving up the price ladder – they’re

Where has market growth come from?




Bottled Red


Bottled White


Bottled Fortified




10 Grapegrower & Winemaker

drinking better, more bottled wines than they have before.” Walton, who conducts global research into consumer and retail behaviour, presented the research findings at the biennial Wine Industry Outlook Conference in Melbourne, last month. The two-day conference, held by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, saw several industry experts come together to provide the latest insights on global competition, marketing and consumer sentiment. During a presentation titled, ‘The change agenda for Australian wine consumers’, Walton also highlighted some positive insights of Australian wine from a global perspective. “For anyone wearing their exporters cap, all the big macro trends in the world economy actually point in our favour,” Walton said. “We have a dramatically increasing middle class – a very strong target market for wine consumption, particularly premium wine consumption. “The other big trend is the big growth in female purchasing power, particularly in places like the US market, which is good news given most wine purchasing tends to skew female.” Walton also pointed to the increase in urbanisation. He said about 150,000 people move from a rural area to the city each day. “The reason this is important is because once you have made that move, the way you behave changes – you’re more open to new ways of thinking and running your day, and you’re open to new flavours and ideas. And for many markets that Australia is targeting overseas, wine is one of those new flavours,” he said. Another positive finding highlighted by Walton was the growth of Australian family-owned wine brands in the offpremise sector. He said family wine companies had overtaken private labels in growth for the first time in five years. “This is a stunning result. While they may not rocket ahead at a great pace during difficult times, family wine companies nurse their brand equity which means the brand stands for something important – in good and bad times,” Walton said. Ending his presentation, Walton said the future looks positive for Australian

Retail wine outlook promising • Big contributor to overall retail value growth in alcohol market • Drinking less and drinking better continues through lower consumer confidence levels • Five years ago 50/50 volume split between cask and bottle, now 60/40 bottle to cask, and $86 in 100 spent on bottled up from $82 five years ago

We drink better • Two in every three dollars spent on wine over $10 a bottle • One in every six dollars spent on wine over 20 – up from one in eight dollars five years ago • Wines under 10 dollars – zero growth in five years • Wines between 10 and 20 dollars – 5 per cent compound growth in last five years • Wines over $20-11% compound growth in last five years

Family producers have reason to raise a glass • Family producers have overtaken private labels (PL) in growth for first time in five years • PL five-year trend was 17% growth, and 3% in last year • Family five-year trend was 6% growth and 5% in the last year • Family producers have nearly a third of the retail wine market – with their share of bottled market rising in the last five years by three points or an additional $200m in annual retail sales

wine, with signs pointing to greater consumer confidence and modest growth of family-owned wine companies. “While consumer confidence has dipped to its lowest level in seven years in Australia, Nielsen expect it will improve from here, particularly from the mid-year period when people who were concerned about job losses and increased living expenses arising from the Carbon Tax start to adapt,” he said. “As they adapt to change, their confidence will grow which will be good news for retail wine sales.” November 2012 – Issue 586

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outlook 2012 conference

Wineries hurt by online discounting Wineries are being urged to be careful in the way they promote wine specials in order to maintain the face of their brand amidst the rise of online discounting. Kellie Arbuckle

Veale investigated several online wine distribution operators reflective of the online opportunities consumers have to buy wine. Operators investigated included wine clubs, wine retailers (exclusive and nonexclusive), wine auctions (exclusive and non-exclusive) and wine exporters. Veale surveyed 122 wine brand representatives from a mix of large, medium and small wineries regarding their experience with each online wine distribution operator. Specifically, the brand representatives were asked to rate on a scale of one to five their experience with each operator on factors: • ease of doing business • profitability • support for brand equity • fulfilment to wine buyers • prompt payment for wine • marketing activities • market coverage • growth. Of the wine brands surveyed, about 72 per cent said they used third party online operators, while about 28% said they did not. Of those that do, about 49% use online wine retailers (bricks and clicks), about 48% use wine clubs, while 36% use online retailers (no bricks). Drawing on the survey results, Veale said it was clear that most wine brands found the ease of use to be the best thing about using online third party operators.

WINERIES USING ONLINE operators to move stock and reach new consumers risk sacrificing their brand’s equity and missing out on profits, new research suggests. Addressing delegates at the Wine Industry Outlook Conference last month, Dr Roberta Veale of the Wine 2030 Research Network said the overriding message conveyed by many online third party operators was that wine is cheap and there is little need to pay a premium price. In doing so, she said wineries were losing margins and missing out on a crucial opportunity to build relationships with consumers. “Relationships are being established between customers and retailers rather than with brands themselves,” Veale said. “Furthermore, people are enjoying the gamesmanship of the internet – they find it fun to hunt out a bargain and they enjoy the convenience of the wine arriving at their porch. “But for wineries that are dependent on these online discount channels, which often sell the wine between 30-40 per cent less, it could be a case of brand suicide.” Veale’s presentation drew on the findings of her latest research into the scope and performance of the rapidly expanding online sales channels in the Australian wine market. In undertaking the research, funded by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, Table 1. Key business indicators. Business Proposition (1 to 9)

Wine Clubs

Online only retailers

Bricks and Clicks


Wine Auctions

Variety Auctions


Ease of doing business
















Support for brand equity








Fullfillment to customers








Prompt payments








Marketing activities








Market coverage








Sales growth








Overall rating in terms of wine distribution strategy to grow business








12 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Australians love to shop online • Over 70% of Australian households have access to the internet • Over 88% of consumers surveyed reported having made a purchase, almost 40% participating in an online auction • The overall value of internet commerce in Australia has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, from about 38 billion AUD in 2003/04 to over 140 billion AUD in 2009/10 (including B2B and B2C sales) • Predictions are that total retail sales online will grow at a rate of 10-15% per year over the next three years

She said the worst thing for wineries using online distribution operators was poor profitability and concern about brand damage. There were also concerns about slow payment, the levels and types of competition, and the types of customers that use these channels. “It seems those surveyed are really using these options to reach a wider audience of customers, but primarily it’s about moving volume by sacrificing margin,” Veale said. “But there is a potential sacrifice beyond margin in this approach that may be long-lasting and difficult to reverse.” Veale said the challenge for wine brands in the future was to evolve online opportunities from less of a ‘bargain hunters’ paradise to achieving the same reach at more appropriate prices. “Brands should be looking at structures that promote specials through their own websites, rather than letting third party operators get all the glory,” she said. “If you want to offer a special deal, why not direct consumers to your website? That way you can couch your message directly to the consumer, without hurting your brand.” November 2012 – Issue 586


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outlook 2012 conference

Customer-value pricing for better returns Kellie Arbuckle

WINE BUSINESSES COULD generate 30 per cent earnings growth year on year if they were to focus on a 2% margin improvement. That’s according to Ron Wood, director of Pricing Insight, an Australian-owned advisory firm that specialises in price optimisation, strategy and management. Speaking at the Wine Industry Outlook Conference last month, Wood said wineries needed to shift their focus away from aggressive discounting and, instead, work hard to develop a considered pricing strategy. “Gross margins and overall profitability are falling across all industry sectors, including wine, because of the internet, the globalised marketplace and overseas competition – all the more reason businesses should look at pricing in their business strategy,” Wood said. Wood said value-based pricing – a model where prices are set, independent of costs, and managed according to customer value segments – was the most strategic pricing method. Using value-based pricing, the winery sets prices on customer-value drivers. “Some of the big value drivers are things like where it comes from, how it was grown, what was used in the production process and the expertise of the wine,” Wood said.

Cost + Mark Up

He said most companies used the costplus pricing method in an attempt to maximise profits. Speaking at the conference, Wood warned against this method, saying it was a dangerous approach that destroyed margin potential. “It’s called ‘cost-plus’ because it costs you more than you think,” he said. “Unfortunately, when you price this way, you can either overprice or underprice. Value-based pricing, on the other hand, opens up margin opportunity.” In using a value-based pricing method, Wood said it was important that wineries understood why the value drivers existed in the first place. “Wineries need to know what customers want and help them into a value-based experience,” he said. “Wineries need to make sure they have a price-point and experience that covers every continuum of the value curve.” Like many other food and consumer manufacturing industries, the wine sector is struggling to meet the right margin. According to Wood, there are three major factors at play causing this pressure: the method of cost-plus pricing, the rise of retailer power from Coles and Woolworths, and the rise of the boutique online seller. “Most boutique online sellers have low overheads and are privately owned.

profit deflation

Pricing – the most powerful profit lever • Focusing on a 2 per cent margin improvement will drive up 30% earnings growth, year on year, and: - is 400% more effective than attempts to shift mix - is 300% more effective than increasing the volume of sales - is 100% more effective in driving earnings growth than cost reductions.

They can turnover $2-4 million at fairly low margins using low prices to drive awareness and trial. For seasoned drinkers, online represents much better value than a retail store that has limited selection, often inflated prices and staff who have no wine knowledge,” Wood said. “What they’re (boutique online sellers) doing is creating a new form of marketing. “It’s is moving beyond commodity into experiential-based marketing, where people identify with the supplier because that brand reflects their values and lifestyles.”


Mark up

$200 $180 $160 $140 $120





Old cost & price

New cost & price

$100 $80 $60 $40 $20 $-

Cost-plus mark up pricing model.

14 Grapegrower & Winemaker

November 2012 – Issue 586

Outlook Conference responses: “It’s still a stop-start exercise – there’s room for more improvements and we probably need to lose a bit more vineyard area.” Garry Wall, CEO and chief winemaker King Valley Wines.

“The biggest bang for your buck is engaging with the Chinese wine consumers who are here in Australia – cellar door is a tremendous opportunity.”

Campbell Thompson, managing director, Wine Australia.

“We need to co-operate ... but still keep a healthy competition.” Katherine Brown, PR manager, Brown Bros.

“The US is the buzz at the moment.”

James Gosper, general manager, market development Wine Australia.

“You’ve got such a short time to show you care – to show you can deliver. The loyalty is so fickle.”

Jeremy Oliver, wine writer and conference MC.

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outlook 2012 conference

Conference offers great chance to forge stronger relationships THE WINE INDUSTRY Outlook Conference, held last month at the Melbourne Conference Centre, brought 200 industry people from around Australia and overseas to discuss strategies for a stronger and more prosperous future for the sector. Networking between sessions was a popular activity as the smiles in these photos shows. A highlight of the two days was the presentation for the Wine Intelligence 10 for 10 Award to Ross Brown, executive director of Brown Bros. His humility in accepting the award impressed the audience immensely and the applause showed that this was a richly deserved recognition for his tireless efforts to promote quality Australian wine around the world. Congratulations Ross from all the team at Winetitles.

Treasury Wine Estates staff Mandy McMaster, Andrew Ford and Justin Hodge.

Executive director of Brown Brothers, Ross Brown is presented with a Wine Intelligence 10 for 10 Business Award by Wine Intelligence’s chief executive Lulie Halstead and one of the award judges, Stephen Strachan, director of Gaetjens Langley.

David Long, Vintners Wine Merchants and Michael East from Accolade Wines.

Wine industry focused education and training Structured Courses in 2012: • Diploma of Wine Technology • Diploma of Production Horticulture (Viticulture) • Certificate II & III in Food Processing (Wine)

Short Courses in 2012: • Digital Marketing strategies • Cellar Door Customer Service and Marketing • Small Scale Wine making • Wine Analysis & Wine Appreciation For more information visit or contact Geoff Bath on 1300 GOTAFE (1300 468233) Nicola McConnell from Dig Marketing, Trish Barry, Mastermind Consulting and Toni Carlino, De Bortoli.

16 Grapegrower & Winemaker

November 2012 – Issue 586

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New WET rules to reduce rebate on blended wines PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO the Wine Equalisation Tax Act 1999, which were introduced into Federal Parliament on September 19, 2012, will significantly reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the WET producer rebate for wine (blended wine) that is manufactured using other wine. (Although the amendments refer to ‘other wine’ being used in the manufacturing process, we will refer to that wine as original wine). Finlaysons tax and revenue partner, Michael Butler said that in broad terms, the rebate on blended wine will be reduced by the rebates claimed by producers of original wine that is used to make the blended wine. “The only exception is where the producer of blended wine is notified by the producer of original wine that they are not entitled to a rebate for the original wine,” Butler said. “A producer of original wine is not required to notify a producer of blended wine of the amount of their entitlement to the rebate. However, if they give a notice that is false or misleading, they will commit an offence. “If no notice is provided in relation to original wine, the rebate for the producer of the blended wine will be reduced as if the producer of the original wine were entitled to a rebate for the original wine used in the blend.

Example 1 – Blended wine sold at mark-up Andrew makes a wholesale sale of 100L of wine to Bob for $200. Bob uses that wine, along with 50 litres of its own wine, to manufacture 150L of wine and sells 30L to a distributor for $100. Andrew has a rebate of $58 ($200 x 29%) on the wine he supplies to Bob. At first sight, Bob’s rebate would be $29 ($100 x 29%). But under the new rules, the earlier rebate claimed by Andrew – referable to the wine sold by Bob – will reduce Bob’s rebate by $11.60 (30L /150L x $58. Bob’s rebate under the new rules will thus be $17.40 ($29 – $11.60). “It will therefore be extremely important for purchasers of wine for blending purposes to obtain a complying notice from the seller of original wine before they agree to purchase. “If the amendments are passed, they will take effect from the later of 1 December 2012 and the day on which the legislation receives Royal Assent. “However, the new rules will not apply to wine acquired for blending prior to that date – so order now!” Two examples are provided to show

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Example 2 – Blending wine from various manufacturers Andrew makes a wholesale sale of 100L of wine to Cassandra for $100. Andrew notifies Cassandra that he will claim the full $29 rebate on that wine. Bob also makes a wholesale sale of 100L of wine to Cassandra for $100. But Bob notifies Cassandra that he is not entitled to a rebate on that wine. Cassandra blends the wine and sells all 200L for $300 as a wholesale sale to a large retailer. Cassandra will not be entitled to the full rebate of $87 ($300 x 29%) on the blended wine. The rebate claimed by Andrew on the 100L of original wine used to make the blend will instead reduce the rebate claimable by Cassandra. However, as Bob notified Cassandra that he was not entitled to claim the rebate on the 100L of original wine he supplied, Cassandra can claim the rebate with respect to that wine. Cassandra will therefore be entitled to claim a $58 rebate on the blended wine ($300 x 29% - $29). how the proposed rules will work. For more information about the implications of the proposed changes on your ability to claim the producer rebate, contact Michael Butler on 08 8235 7407 or email michael.butler@finlaysons. or Mathew Brittingham on 08 8235 7458 or email mathew.



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Phylloxera outbreak simulation – an education for Barossa growers More than 50 Barossa grapegrowers, winemakers, grower liaison officers and local contractors met recently to brainstorm strategies in a simulation of a Phylloxera outbreak in the region. THE BAROSSA PHYLLOXERA outbreak simulation, held on 9 October at the Weintal Resort in Tanunda, was an initiative of the Barossa Viticulture Technical Group (BVTG) and Barossa Grape and Wine Association (BGWA). It was run by Alan Nankivell and Andrew Downs of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia (PGIBSA). BGWA viticultural development officer Nicki Robins said the simulation was a vital exercise for the Barossa, which is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading wine regions. “The Barossa’s sense of guardianship for our old vineyards is a product of the region’s close-knit circle of winemakers and grapegrowers, many families of whom have been working together for seven generations,” Robins said. In preparation for the simulation,

the PGIBSA identified a hypothetical ‘outbreak vineyard’, and then pegged out a 5km radius around that vineyard. Members of the BVTG played out different roles in the simulation. Other scenarios were played out by local harvesting and trucking contractors, grower liaison officers and winemakers. Various scenarios were discussed by the group, with feedback on the potential practices provided by staff from Biosecurity SA. The main discussion centered around whether, in the event of a Phylloxera outbreak, the whole Barossa GI should be declared a Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) or whether those declared inside and those outside the outbreak zone could operate independently. Past experiences were shared by those involved in the Yarra Valley outbreak in 2006, when emotions ran high and plans made ‘on the hop’ as an outbreak strategy had not


been formalised. “We still have a lot of work to do, but the ultimate aim is to have a plan in place that everyone has agreed upon, so that in the event of a Phylloxera outbreak, there are strategies in place to manage the risk without people’s emotions taking over,” Robins said. “One of the main outcomes of the simulation was the realisation by many growers that their farm gate practices need to be stepped up in order to ensure Phylloxera is does not become established in the Barossa. “The BGWA will engage with the Phylloxera Board in the near future to provide more education to growers on improving practices such as fencing, signage, footbath procedures, and monitoring of the prior movements of winemakers, grower liaison officers and contractors entering their vineyards.”

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Supporting women in wine Third-generation viticulturist Mary Retallack is working towards providing women in the wine industry with access to information and opportunities, after she was named Rural Woman of the Year for 2012. Kellie Arbuckle

WHEN ADELAIDE HILLS viticulturist Mary Retallack embarked on her career at the age of 21, she struggled to find access to mentors and work opportunities. Finding women in her line of work was also uncommon – a rarity she says still exists today. “In a room full of growers, there might be four women if you’re lucky,” Mary said. “Sometimes I’ll talk to a group of 30 growers and I may be the only woman in the room.” Looking back at almost two decades devoted to the wine industry, Mary says times have changed, noting a tremendous increase of women now in winemaking and wine marketing roles. But while the gender gap has made progress at closing, Mary believes there is still a long way to go, particularly in terms of providing access to support and information to women in the wine industry. While completing the Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2008, Mary got to thinking about how this could be achieved. The idea was to provide a formalised platform for women to access information about personal development initiatives and mentorship, and to give women more confidence to apply for jobs in the industry – including senior positions. Now, four years later, that very idea is bearing fruition, after Mary was named the 2012 National Rural Woman of the Year. Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig presented Mary with the award last month at an awards ceremony in Canberra. The award recognises women for their contribution to primary industries and rural communities, and includes a $10,000 bursary to be geared towards a project of the winner’s choice. “I want to develop a more formalised network for women,” Mary said. “While we have online networks that work well, like Twitter and Facebook, sometimes when you’re starting out it can be really hard to break into new networks in your local area. “I’m really keen to encourage more women into the wine industry, but to be able to do that we need to show them the range of roles on offer throughout the value chain.”

20 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Mary Retallack accepting the award for Rural Woman of the Year by Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, in Canberra, last month.

cHANGING THE WAY WOMEN NETWORK – words by Mary “I’m really keen to encourage more women into the wine industry but, to be able to do that, we need to show them our offering. They need to know what is possible and who to talk to, so they can ask questions and get a feel for what’s involved. We hope to do this by developing a range of one-page profiles. “We struggle every year to get women in the wine industry to put up their hand up for opportunities, such as Future Leaders, ARLP and the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award. If I can help ensure everyone is aware of the opportunities and encourage them to apply, then that’s a great start. “Part of it is also encouraging women to be involved in leadership positions and ensuring they have the skills to be able to apply for those positions. And if they do get a committee or board position, we need to make sure we can support them while they are there. “Importantly, we don’t want to lose women who are at the top of their game. We are losing women from the wine industry for a whole range of reasons. Sometimes women will leave and start a family, and it may be hard to integrate back due to the technical nature of their work or the lack of flexibility in the workplace. I am not convinced we are replacing women in the wine industry as quickly as we are losing them. It is important to ensure we don’t lose that wealth of experience and expertise.”

November 2012 – Issue 586

For Mary, who was among seven finalists, the money will be put towards a website where women can access information about mentors, employment opportunities and general support – the first step to achieving the formalised platform. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation managing director Craig Burns said Mary’s project has the potential to revolutionise the Australian wine industry and change the way women network. Speaking of the award win, Mary said it’s a fantastic opportunity to represent agriculture around the nation and to tell some good news about the wine industry. While focusing on information sharing for women, she said the website would also encourage contributions from men, as well as women who have left the industry but want to stay in touch. “It’s about celebrating the contribution women have made, but also acknowledging the support we get from the blokes,” she said. “We want to be really receptive to getting feedback from a whole range of people and that includes guys as well.” Having grown up on a fruit block in the Riverland, Mary has been exposed

Third-generation viticulturist Mary Retallack wants to develop a formalised network for women in the wine industry to access information and support services.

to agriculture her entire life. As a thirdgeneration viticulturist, her passion for the past two decades has been to extend her knowledge to Australian growers to help them produce the best winegrapes possible.

As the managing director of her own business, Retallack Viticulture, Mary has brought this passion to fruition, while maintaining an active interest in research, education and environmental initiatives.

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November 2012 – Issue 586

Grapegrower & Winemaker


regional round-up

Big things come in small packages Australia’s capital city is making its mark on the local and global stage with big investments and marketing strategies

Investments are sure to drive competition SHAW VINEYARD ESTATE has become the first winery in the Canberra District to snap up a Pellenc Selectiv’ Process harvester. The harvester comprises a high frequency destemmer and an onboard sorting table, and has generated interest from growers, particularly for its ability to remove more than 90 per cent of petioles from the harvest. Shaw Vineyard Estate director Graeme Shaw said the decision to acquire the machine was in line with his desire to improve the quality of his fruit and to reduce resource use.

“Only whole bunches go through the machine’s revolutionary high-frequency destemmer, which means that most fruit passes straight through without further intervention, resulting in more whole berries in the load,” Shaw said. “Leaving green matter in the vineyard reduces processing costs and time in the winery. Furthermore, the machine has twin bins rather than an arm conveyor, which further reduces resource use as chaser tractors are not following the machine up and down the rows.” While the machine represents a significant investment for the company, Shaw is confident the asset will be repaid through higher fruit quality and reduced inputs. Shaw Vineyards Estate has also

recently bought a SprayPro R250 – a double row sprayer. Purchased at the start of this year, the sprayer has allowed Shaw to cut back on time and chemical costs, and reduce spray drift. “Time savings are up to 40 per cent due to the need not to refill as much, and chemical costs have been reduced by up to 60 per cent due to the high recovery rate,” he said. Other cost saving and efficiency technologies adopted include the installation of a 10KW solar system and a 3KW wind turbine. Shaw hopes these investments will build the export competiveness of the Shaw Vineyard Estate brand, particularly at a time when the Australian dollar is so high.

Zhuhai venture expands Asian market for Canberra District wines

Shaw Vineyard Estate puts the Pellenc Selectiv’ Process harvester to work.

Asian wine drinkers will soon be experiencing more Canberra District wines, after a wine tasting and sales centre was established at the Zhuhai City Free Trade Zone, in southern China. The venture, which has received support from both the ACT government and the Zhuhai government, will form the first regional wine display in the 50,000m2 facility. The centre is the brainchild of Graeme Shaw, director of Shaw Vineyard Estate, and businessman Andrew Ng. In October they launched the Octavo label, developed specifically for the burgeoning Asian market. Eight other Canberra wineries have already expressed interest in participating in the centre.

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22 Grapegrower & Winemaker November 2012 – Issue 586

The new Zhuhai wine centre in southern China, bordering Macau, where Canberra District wines will be showcased.

Currently Canberra District winemakers export small volumes to the Chinese market, but Shaw predicts that will change when the centre opens at the end of the year. “We have selected Zhuhai because it is next door to Macau and in 2016 will be linked to Hong Kong by bridge,” he said. “Being located in the Pearl Delta, it is close to cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and we can also store wine there for transhipment to other Asian countries. “This facility will provide an unprecedented platform from which Canberra District wines can further penetrate Asia.” Shaw said over the past 12 months he had shipped four containers of wine to China, with another three currently being processed for that market. He aims to have about 60 per cent of his production exported to China by 2015. Ng said the Canberra District’s internationally recognised cool climate wines were of significant interest to Asian markets. “We have been testing wines in eight cities in China over the past eight months,” Ng said. “The elegance of the Canberra District red wines in particular is very appealing to the Asian palate.” In addition to boosting local wines in Asia, it is hoped the venture can also play a role in promoting visits to Canberra region wineries as a prime destination for Asian tourists seeking unique experiences in Australia. Graphic Language

World credit to Aussie Grüner


The first winery to pioneer Grüner Veltliner in Australia has achieved a tremendous accolade, with its 2010 Grüner Veltliner being placed seventh amongst 40 of the best Grüners from Austria and Germany. In July, Lark Hill Winery entered its 2010 Grüner Veltliner in a world-wide Grüner tasting, one of several tastings that form an initiative known as Generation Grüner. “This was an incredible result for only Lark Hill’s second vintage of Grüner and a fantastic affirmation of our choice to pioneer this variety in Australia,” said Chris Carpenter, director and winemaker at Lark Hill. November 2012 – Issue 586






Is your brand working for you? Need a new private label? Exporting wine to China, USA or EU? We have vast experience in tailoring brands to suit the target market. Let us help you to boost your profit margins with considered, effective label design. Call us at Graphic Language Design – we’d love to talk to you! First Floor, 181 Halifax Street, Adelaide 5000, South Australia T +61 8 8232 3577 F +61 8 8232 3566 E

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


regional round-up The event saw 10 wine experts from German-speaking countries come together in Vienna, Austria, to taste and rate a total of 40 Grüners. All wines were tasted blind and came from 10 countries.

New appointment The Canberra District Wine Association has appointed its first executive officer. Rachael Thompson, a long-term local resident and avid consumer of Australian wines, brings to the industry two decades of experience in corporate communications, campaign communications and journalism – skills she will put to good use to help further raise the profile and sales of Canberra District wines. Association president Allan Pankhurst said the appointment demonstrated the confidence of local grapegrowers and winemakers, despite the challenging

market conditions facing the industry as a whole. “Drinking Canberra District wine really does give you a sense of this place – its unique geography, the personalities of our winemakers and owners. That is why we have established the brand ‘Liquid Geography’ for our region,” he said. “Rachael’s appointment will help us build on this brand, through our festivals and shows, and our marketing and industry development. “Our exceptional wines had already made a name for themselves – you can expect to hear even more about the Canberra District now.”

The low flying winemaker Brian Johnston, winemaker and co-owner of McKellar Ridge Wines with his wife Janet, has a passion for winemaking and classic Jaguar cars. The two come hand in hand when he drives his 1959 Jaguar

McKellar Ridge winemaker and owner Brian Johnston combines his love of French-inspired wine and classic Jaguar cars.

XK 150 out to the winery on Sunday afternoons for cellar door duties and barrel tasting. “The Jaguar is a fast car and, on the race track, capable of quite a turn of speed – hence the reference to ‘low flying winemaker’,” Brian said. The car is also a draw card that is often admired and discussed with the visitors to the cellar door. Brian and Janet developed McKellar Ridge Wines to focus on making high quality French-style blends at their winery at Murrumbateman, in the heart of the Canberra District. The winery uses premium quality grapes from the Point of View vineyard, where the winery is located. The economic model that McKellar Ridge utilises is an unusual one in that the winery is financially independent of the vineyard. This allows Brian and Janet to not only source grapes directly from Point of View vineyard, but also from other local growers who have varieties needed for the wines made (usually two whites – Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling – and three reds – Shiraz-Viognier, Merlot Cabernet Franc and a traditional Bordeaux blend called Trio, which comprises Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. These wines and their blends have been carefully chosen after visiting and researching key wine regions of France. The winemaking methods have also been chosen reflect the small-batch winemaking characteristic of the artisan winemakers of France. “Grapes are grown to ensure only ripe and disease-free grapes go into the wines. The winemaking, following traditional French practice of hand-picking and hands-on operations, uses small batches of one to two tonnes, aiming to achieve clean, fruit-driven wines,” Brian said. The red wines are hand-plunged two to three times a day during fermentation, and are traditionally basket pressed and then transferred to high quality French oak for 12-15 months to add structure and complexity.

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24 Grapegrower & Winemaker

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November 2012 – Issue 586

grapegrowing Treasury takes sustainability to new heights From the vineyard to floodplains along the River Murray, Treasury Wine Estates is literally entering new territory in the way of environmental practice. Kellie Arbuckle

ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S largest wine companies is going beyond the call of duty of running vineyards in a sustainable fashion. Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is working to restore the environmental health of floodplain at Markaranka, a region along the River Murray where severe drought has threatened the livelihood of trees and surrounding vegetation. The 1270-hectare property, owned by TWE, is located near Waikerie, South Australia, and comprises about 180ha of vineyard area which produces about 2500 tonnes of grapes annually. Varieties grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gordo, Grenache, Sangiovese and Shiraz. The property also comprises about 80ha of River Murray floodplain, fringed by River Coobah thickets and large mature River Red Gums which provide valuable habitats for birds, mammals and reptiles. “From our perspective, this is one of the vineyards with the most diverse native vegetation in our Australian vineyard portfolio,” says Gioia Small, TWE regional sustainability manager. “It’s an interesting area that we have and, as a company, we see ourselves as long-term custodians of the land. It’s part of our assets and we want to look after it properly.” In July this year, TWE and the South Australia Murray Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board (SAMDB

NRM Board) committed to undertake an irrigation trial of black box trees on the floodplain at the Markaranka wetland complex using water-efficient drippers. The trial is the latest step in a venture by TWE and the Board to restore the health of vegetation and floodplain in the region, which is listed under a Heritage Agreement and is of high conservation value. TWE and the Board first partnered in 2006, both donating 1GL water each to be pumped from the River Murray onto the floodplain at Markaranka to simulate a flooding event. In 2009, a further replicated flooding event was undertaken, using about 2.2GL of water, from the Commonwealth Government Environmental Watering program. Small says the simulated watering events had a positive effect on the environment, noting the recovery of trees and the return of wildlife to the floodplain. “Within about two weeks of the water going out, we had swans coming back into the floodplain. There was a rapid response in terms of wildlife and, a bit later down the track, we started to see tree health improve, with new shoots coming out and some new tree growth,” Small said. “Numerous species, including rare and vulnerable species, such as the Musk Duck and the Regent Parrot were also observed along with the number of bird species.” Small says the simulated water events

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also had a considerable impact on carbon emissions. In late 2009, a carbon inventory was undertaken to determine the carbon emissions that would have entered the atmosphere had the trees been allowed to die. The inventory estimated that the equivalent of 40,000t of carbon dioxide was stored in the trees at Markaranka. “This is comparable to the greenhouse gas emissions of 8000 passenger vehicles on the road for a year,” Small said. The latest drip irrigation trial will see TWE and the Board monitor how the trees and native vegetation respond in comparison to the water simulated events involving pumping action. Small says the venture is essentially a learning experience to determine the most effective and sustainable way to protect the floodplain. “This is all quite new to everyone and we’re learning a lot along the way, and the drip irrigation trial is taking it to the next level. We’re trying to ensure as many trees survive and recognise that water may not always be available,” Small said. She says the results at Markaranka are important from a local to an international point of view. “Locally and at a catchment scale, the

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


grapegrowing “The relationships and partnerships we have established with the board have been incredibly useful in terms of delivering good environmental outcomes,” she said. “The other lesson is that we wanted to do the right thing by the environment and, by partnering with an organisation with the same focus in mind, we’ve been able to deliver the benefits we both wanted.”

TWE irrigation trial at Markaranka

The irrigation system being trialled by Treasury Wine Estates and the South Australia Murray Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board.

floodplain is an important ecological asset,” she said. “Nationally, the River Murray is considered one the most significant river systems in Australia. Internationally, Australia has signed the Ramsar convention which commits Australia to protect wetlands of international importance. “Whilst Markaranka does not fit into this category, it nevertheless contributes to the perception of wetland management in Australia.”

Small has played a major role in the sixyear venture, establishing relationships between TWE and the board. Doing their part on the ground has been TWE’s recently-retired vineyard manager Jack Caulfield, as well as a scientists and ecologists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute. Small says the biggest lesson learned throughout the venture has been the realisation that, “You can’t do stuff on your own”.

Treasury Wine Estates and the South Australian Murray Darling Basin NRM Board have started an irrigation trial of black box trees on 2-hectares of floodplain at Markaranka, using waterefficient drippers The trial is the first phase of a longterm project that aims to improve the health and promote recruitment of black box trees on the Markaranka floodplain. TWE regional sustainability manager Gioia Small says black box communities situated at higher elevation floodplain zones are at most risk of failing to sustain mature and new trees into the future, due to drought and reduced flooding frequency. “Throughout the region, black box trees are continuing to decline in health and resultantly are becoming disconnected from neighbouring


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November 2012 – Issue 586

vegetation communities,” Small said. “This project will investigate ways to improve and extend this critical habitat by focusing on the improvement of adult tree condition and promoting and protecting regeneration.” Technologies trialled through the project that are deemed the most effective in promoting re-vegetation and enhancement of declining floodplain communities will be considered for wider use across the River corridor. Steering the project are staff from Riverland West Landcare, the SAMDBNRM Board, DEWNR, CSIRO, SARDI Aquatic Sciences and TWE. The project team will later build upon existing relationships between industry landholders and government to apply this method across selected priority sites to protect, manage and enhance existing native vegetation in high conservation areas on their land. The long-term project is broken into three distinct phases: Phase 1 – experimental design and infrastructure trial; Phase 2 – improving tree health; and Phase 3 – facilitating recruitment success. The current trial fits under Phase 1. The cost of the trial is $120,000 from the SAMDB NRM Board and contribution from TWE with labour costs and maintenance.

We know

The irrigation system at Markaranka, along the River Murray.

Sustainability and consumerism While Small says the irrigation trial has nothing to do with improving vineyard performance or branding of TWE products, she admits there is an expectation from customers and consumers all over the world to apply sustainable practices. “If you look at what’s happening with our customers, a lot of them are interested in sustainability and our environmental performance,” Small said.

“It’s the ability to tell the stories like these to help us maintain our competitiveness in the marketplace. “I don’t necessarily think it’s the key driver for this (trial), but it’s an important point to know that customers are increasingly focusing on how we produce our grapes and wine, and they want to know how we’re managing our water and biodiversity.”

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14/09/12 5:07 PM Grapegrower & Winemaker 27


Letter to the editor Kym Ludvigsen

A UNITED RESPONSE to the regulation of phylloxera and other grapevine pests and diseases is critical for the survival of our national battle against a range of known, unknown  or not yet present grapevine pests and disease  across all regions of Australia.  A nationally agreed approach to vine biosecurity is critical. None of our states can have a ‘go it alone’ approach as this will increase − not decrease − risk. Increased private and uncontrolled importation of grapevine material from a number of sources, especially nongovernment sources, places our  three viticultural  industries at a greater risk that we have faced in any past phase of our industry’s development. Government resources to manage any quarantine issue are decreasing.  This is an observable trend. Self-management by the three viticultural industries is being endorsed and encouraged by all levels of government as they pull back from regulation and legislative ways to manage pest and disease issues. Cost savings by governments in all states are seeing less staff in agriculture.  That means less staff to manage any regulations and less staff to manage border issues.  Recent decisions by Victoria and New South Wales in the management of fruit fly are an example of this. South Australia has fruit fly, like the other states, and is also reducing its inputs into the management of these pests as they are likely endemic. The viticultural industry needs to have a joint and agreed set of national protocols that enable the management of phylloxera and other grapevine pests and diseases for all states. 

Without a national industry approach that includes the wine, table and dried grapes industries the risk associated with phylloxera and other pests and diseases are significantly increased. It is critical therefore for our industries to: • establish a well-financed national body to manage biosecurity issues • activate a national levy to provide the funds necessary for biosecurity research and development • ensure our industries have a nationally co-ordinated germplasm collection • ensure that each state has a biosecurity body that represents and disseminates information on biosecurity issues. The reference to old vines is a red herring. It ignores the fact that, for example, the Grampians has the largest collection of old vines in Australia at Best’s Winery at Great Western. These vines were imported and planted into the Great Western Vineyard of Best’s wines, most likely from the Busby collection. The vines at Best’s were planted in the early 1860s. Grampian Estate has vines of similar age. I would also note that there are vines at Tahbilk that were planted in 1860s and vines in Rutherglen planted at a similar time. What this does is say? Obviously vines, on own roots, can survive within phylloxera regions. Phylloxera can be controlled by the use of rootstock. If it does enter a new region a replanting programme would manage the pest. Vineyards all around the world survive well in the presence of phylloxera with little or no  effect on the quality or quantity of the grapes produced. 

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I note that some ill-informed bloggers in South Australia refer to surveys in the Yarra missing phylloxera when the region was surveyed. The Yarra wasn’t surveyed for phylloxera in the recent Western Victorian survey programme, as it wasn’t as part of the last 14 years survey programme. The assumption  of some ill-informed South Australia grower is that all regions in Victoria and NSW  have phylloxera or are at risk of getting phylloxera and that the survey work we have done since 1998 (Henty declaration) has been wasted.  I note that SA has only conducted one (1) full survey of their state by air in 2002 (?) with a few other areas having a second (2nd) similar survey in 2009 (?) In recent times our industry has recorded an increase in the breakdown of resistance of several rootstocks to nematodes in McLaren Vale and in the Riverland. We have also heard of Grapevine leaf roll virus movement by mealybug in the Barossa Valley. These are new threats to the Australian wine industry that require management by the Australian viticultural industry. The activation of a national biosecurity levy and increased and effective communications between the states are critical for the successful management of phylloxera and other biosecurity issues.  Isolation and ineffective government regulations will not control any pest or disease.  A well-informed and united national industry approach is critical for our success in managing all biosecurity issues.


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November 2012 – Issue 586

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What can be done in the vineyard to manage risk in difficult seasons? Part 1: What can viticulturists do in particularly dry and wet seasons to minimise their risk? This paper was delivered by Mary Retallack, managing director, Retallack Viticulture, at Finlaysons Wine Roadshow XX, at nine different venues around Australia between 30 July and 31 August 2012. Mary Retallack

Introduction Key challenges faced in recent vintages WINEGROWERS ARE FACED with the task of navigating their way through a range of challenges each growing season. Recent challenges include the prolonged drought conditions that prevailed throughout many Australian wine growing regions from 2006-07 to 2009-10, and in stark contrast, season 2010-11 which was one of the wettest on record across many of the central and eastern states. Although seasonal conditions were reasonably kind and fruit quality from vintage 2012 is widely regarded as being of very good to exceptional quality, yields for the most part were significantly below expectation, with the exception of the Riverland and many wine-growing regions in Western Australia. Winegrowers are now struggling to recover from the impact these seasons have had on cash flow and/or vine health. Some of the key challenges faced by winegrowers include technical and logistical challenges, responding quickly to seasonal conditions, managing contractual negotiations to ensure the smooth sale of wine grapes and juggling financial and human resources. Some of these challenges are explored further below in the context of particularly wet and dry seasonal conditions. It is important to take stock of what has occurred in the past and this provides a useful checklist for future seasons so wine growers can be on the front foot and minimise their risk. These weather extremes result in greater uncertainty and the challenge in the past has been to manage for the unknown. In recent years these extremes have become more familiar. We have access to better tools and we are now in a better position to respond with greater confidence. A vast amount has been written in the literature about how to respond to the recent difficult seasons and I will focus on some of the key learnings that have come out recent seasons.

30 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Table 1. Key challenges faced by winegrowers when managing vines in particularly dry seasons. Seasonal conditions

Key challenges

Drought conditions

• Less water is available when it is needed the most and higher temperatures are experienced. • Greater temperature extremes (frost and heat waves). • Often there is more wind resulting in higher rates of evaporation. • Greater financial outlays for the purchase of water and delivery costs are likely to be greater. • Underlying issues (salinity, nematodes, borers and trunk diseases) are often exacerbated, vine health issues become more pronounced and vineyard uniformity is often compromised. • Disruption of photosynthesis may lead to reduced carbohydrate reserves (smaller shoots and delayed ripening), and basal leaves may be lost earlier (resulting in exposed fruit). • There is a greater likelihood of smoke taint and/or fire damage at high-risk sites. • There may be confusion about how to assess damaged fruit (sunburn, dry, shriveled berries etc). • High temperatures may result in fruit quality being compromised. • Lower crop or complete crop loss may occur due to poor set, sunburn damage, or severe frost(s).

Table 2: Key challenges faced by winegrowers when managing vines in particularly wet seasons Seasonal conditions

Key challenges

Wet season

• Higher frequency and volume of rainfall (and sometimes hail). • Greater humidity and conditions are conducive to increased pest and disease activity. • Winegrowers may not be familiar with seeing, or it may be many years since they have observed Phomopsis, downy mildew or bunch rots other than Botrytis in the vineyard. • Soils may become anaerobic (without oxygen) if they remain wet for prolonged periods and vine health may decline. • Management inputs to control disease pressure (time, fuel, chemical) may be higher. • Management options may be compromised due to vineyard accessibility, poor spray coverage on large canopies, tighter bunches, the need for reduced spraying intervals, machinery limitations, withholding period (WHP) restrictions, and/or a lack of knowledge about product chemistry. • If late season disease takes hold winegrowers are more likely to ‘revenge spray’ (late season sprays are rarely effective once disease activity has a foothold). • Canopies tend to be bigger (may shade bunches in the current season and suppress fruitfulness in the following season) and weed growth may be greater (problem weeds may proliferate). • Larger crop loads can cause scheduling difficulties; reds and whites may ripen at the same time causing a processing ‘bottle neck’. Hold ups may occur if damaged fruit takes longer to process. • Fruit quality may be compromised due to pest and/or disease damage. • Fungicide resistance can occur if chemicals are not applied in accordance with label recommendations. • People panic as they can see their fruit ‘packing up’ before it has reached minimum °Baume. • There may be confusion about the best way to assess damaged fruit (i.e., powdery mildew, Botrytis and a range of bunch rots, sooty mould, uneven ripening, secondary crop etc). • Decisions need to be made quickly and there is often a lot of money at stake. • Yields may be higher if fruit can be kept ‘clean’ or lower due to pest and disease damage. • Fruit quality may be variable due to uneven, slow ripening or shading. • In some cases complete crop loss is experienced.

November 2012 – Issue 586

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grapegrowing What can winegrowers do to prepare for difficult seasons?

that are likely to give you the best return. - K now where to cut costs and where not to (don’t skimp on inputs that will have a long term impact on vine health like vine nutrition, soil health, irrigation, pest and disease control and pruning). • If issues start to arise, inform the grape purchaser early, so remedial options can be explored and questionable claims are not made after the fact. - A lways present a solution at the same time as a problem is identified. - Have a fall back position in place (chemical on site if it is in high demand, higher bud numbers at pruning if bud fruitfulness is likely to be lower, ensure water is held in reserve for heat waves). Plan for extreme weather events in the future and have strategies in place to meet these challenges and to minimise your risk

Some of the strategies that winegrowers can adopt to prepare for difficult seasons include: • Spread your risk by tailoring your management approach for different varieties, plant vineyards in different regions if this is feasible and produce fruit that will suit different wine styles. - M atch varieties that do well on particular sites and be ruthless about removing those varieties that do not prosper. • Have a well-thought-out plan in place and be on the ‘front foot’ with a number of contingency strategies to draw on if things don’t go to plan, and know when to action them. - Track your progress during the season and keep good records. - E nsure pruning levels are to set to the desired cropping level, yield estimations are updated regularly, the timing of canopy and crop manipulation is optimised, watering regimes and fruit quality parameters are matched to seasonal conditions. • Know the profitability of each block and focus your efforts on the blocks

Being ready to manage drought conditions The following checklist will help you to prepare for drought or particularly dry conditions:

viticultural advice

• Be prepared for a heightened frost risk (have frost prevention measures in place) • Safeguard your water supply. - Ensure there is adequate soil moisture available in a dry winter and the soil profile is full early in the growing season, - Pump good quality water into holding dams or down aquifers as insurance, - Reduce evaporation from dams by using polymers or physical covers, - Purchase temporary ‘top up’ water when the price is low, - Apply water to high value blocks in preference to deficit applications across all blocks, turn off water to blocks that are unviable, - Monitor water usage closely, using soil moisture monitoring equipment (including a shovel), - Keep some water set aside for peak demand during heatwave events. Ensure your irrigation system has the capacity to meet peak demand and irrigate at night if possible, and - Shandy saline water with good quality water to dilute the salts. • Leach salts from the profile following winter rainfall. • Vines on sandy soils with low organic

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November 2012 – Issue 586

Table 3. Practical considerations for wine growers in dry seasons1 Drought related issue

Key challenges

Vineyard management options

Lack of early season soil moisture (the soil profile is not full at the end of winter)

Significant reduction in vine vigour and fruit set is likely if vines are stressed at the start of the growing season.

Monitor soil moisture during winter months and in the lead up to budburst. Apply winter or an early season irrigation to ensure the soil profile is full from budburst, if required.

Less water available Less water in storage and allocations of irrigation water may be reduced

Reduced water availability may result in vine stress early in the growing season. Careful timing and use of available irrigation water is critical to vine health. Do not grow a large canopy if you do not have the water to ripen a large crop, or maintain the additional shoot area.

Develop an irrigation budget and determine if additional water needs to be purchased (if available and a cost benefit analysis warrants additional purchase). Monitor soil moisture reserves and vine growth carefully ensuring irrigation is applied at key times without encouraging excessive shoot length.

Frost Intensity of frost events may be higher due to dry soils

Frost can cause severe damage to emerging shoots and even dormant buds if the frost is cold enough. If the primary bud (or shoot) is damaged, the secondary bud may produce a shoot to take its place (often the fruitfulness is lower).

Frost mitigation strategies include retaining a moist soil profile, slashing mid and under-vine vegetation, the use of frost fans, overhead sprinklers etc. Tiny tags can also be used to monitor temperature fluctuations. You may find that buds burst from undesirable (non count) positions producing water shoots and they will need to be removed either by shoot thinning during the growing season or at pruning time.

Salinity Irrigating with saline water (or where soil salinity is high)

If saline irrigation water is applied this will add to the salts entering the soil. Depending on the level of water salinity and the build up of salts in the rootzone, this may reduce vine vigour and adversely impact on vine health and fruit quality. If replanting your vineyard and salinity is an issue consider planting onto salt resistant rootstocks.

Consider applying a leaching irrigation in winter following a rainfall event and apply regular irrigations during the growing season to push the salts beyond the rootzone. Minimise the use of fertilisers that may add to the ‘salt load’ in the root zone. Mound under-vine to provide a larger area for roots to explore (above an existing water table) and apply mulch undervine to minimise water loss.

Wind There is often more wind with greater evaporation

Leaf stomata will close frequently in windy conditions (winds of 11-14 km/hr are sufficient to cause their closure). This will reduce the level of transpiration and limit the production of photosynthates. Prolonged exposure to windy conditions may result in poor vine growth.

Install windbreaks; apply under-vine mulch to maintain soil moisture.

High temperatures

Grape berries exposed to bright sunlight on calm days can be warmed up to 15°C above the air temperature. Wind cools because it removes some of the stored heat from the surface of the berry. Recovery from heat stress is rapid (two to five days) if tissue damage is avoided.

Vines with sufficient leaf area to provide protection and a deep root system, tend to cope with heat better than weak vines with poor vigour. Apply regular irrigation applications prior to and during a heatwave (and overhead irrigation can be used to help cool the canopy) to reduce vine stress. Particle film technology (PFT) sprays can be used to provide a physical ‘sunscreen’ barrier to bunches and reduce the temperature at the bunch zone.

Modified from materials prepared for Murray Valley Wine growers’ Inc – ‘Advanced Viti: Grapevine Biology and Function Notes’

matter will dry out quickly. Mulch shallow profiles and areas of uneven vine growth (use aerial maps and vine vigour to determine a differential mulching program). Broadly spaced drippers may result in a ‘pruned’ root system and a ‘dry-wet-dry’ wetting pattern (or ‘silos’) in the soil, may cause vine stress and predispose vines to damage by root rotting fungi. Particle film technology (PFT) products such as processed and refined kaolin clay (Surround®, Screen®) or calcium carbonate crystals (Parasol®) can be used as sun protection agents to provide a physical barrier to sunburn and to help ‘cool’ canopies during heatwaves. Apply foliar nutrients to improve leaf function if leaves are senescing or ‘yellowing’ prematurely, to retain optimal leaf function, maximise photosynthetic capacity and ensure fruit ripens fully. Harvest fruit as soon as it is ripe and exhibits optimal varietal characters, to minimise the harvesting of overripe fruit that will lead to particularly high alcohol wines.

Post drought season considerations Consider the following points when managing your vineyard after a succession of dry seasons: • Apply post harvest irrigation and nitrogen if there are actively functioning leaves and feeder roots are present, to replace some of the carbohydrates used, prior to the following season. • Evaluate vine performance and health. - Remove vines that have not recovered after prolonged drought conditions due to salinity, frost events, nematodes, root diseases and trunk diseases (Eutypa, Botryosphaeria). - Remove sections of vines that have dead cordons due to trunk diseases or frost damage. A ‘cordon shredder’ can be used to remove parts of dead cordon, while retaining healthy sections and the wire if it is in good condition. November 2012 – Issue 586

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


grapegrowing -S eek out varieties that do well in drought conditions, during severe weather events and are suited to your site. • Use Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps (capture data at veraison) to identify areas of vine vigour variation in the vineyard. Focus your efforts on improving vine health and applying mulch to weak areas. • Replant missing or unthrifty vines (preferably on rootstock).

Practical considerations for wet seasons Being ready to manage wet seasons The following checklist will help you to prepare for wet seasons: • Have a robust spray program in place - C heck sprayer setup and coverage at the start of the season. If you do not have good spray coverage you are unlikely to get the upper hand, regardless of the spray interval employed or the products used. - Work closely with your chemical reseller to ensure the

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34 Grapegrower & Winemaker

products you require will be available when you need them. Identify potential supply issues early and have a plan in place to manage supply disruptions. - Stay on the ‘front foot’ and focus your efforts using a conservative and preventative spray program; if things start to unravel by Christmas this may be an indication that your early season approach was not robust enough, or seasonal conditions have been exceptionally challenging. - Don’t get into the habit of ‘revenge spraying’; if you are on the ‘back foot’ late in the season, it is often too late to overcome significant crop damage. Know when to cut your losses. Powdery mildew - Early season control is critical. If you spray early enough, with sufficient product and achieve good coverage, you will be in a strong position to maintain good powdery mildew control. - Adequate spray volume is needed for good spray coverage; match the volume to canopy size. - Use the higher sulphur rate with good coverage to give yourself the best chance of control in bigger canopies that favour the spread of powdery mildew. This may have a short-term detrimental effect on beneficial insects, but if your primary aim is to preserve your crop, then in difficult seasons this approach may be necessary. - Measure leaf/shoot expansion to help set spray windows (mark and measure individual leaves) to ensure new growth is protected. Botrytis - There is an elevated risk of bunch rots on thin-skinned varieties with compact bunches, in humid conditions, where there is poor airflow in the canopy. - Monitor regularly. Keep a close eye on the level of infection, as diseased berries can spread very quickly in a humid vineyard with wet canopy.  - Ensure you apply chemicals at label rates, otherwise you risk building up resistance in the vineyard. Target the bunch zone and aim for thorough coverage.  - Ensure you use the right product for disease control. Not all bunch rots will respond to the application of Botryticides. - Focus on keeping flowers ‘clean’ at cap fall and ensure good control prior to bunch closure, as this is your last chance to obtain good coverage inside the bunch. - If the late season Botrytis infection is inside bunches or at the back of bunches, the spraying of sporulating berries is likely to be of little benefit regardless of the chemical used. - Manage Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) to minimise the physical damage caused to berries and potential infection sites. - I f you are unsure about the % infection, have an independent assessor inspect the vineyard. - Work closely with the fruit purchaser to manage picking times. If in doubt, pick early (at a lower than target °Baume) to safeguard your position, rather than risk outright rejection (unfortunately the situation is not going to get any better if bunch rots have taken hold late in the season, only worse). It may be better to receive a small penalty rather that ‘lose the lot’. Waterlogging may occur - This may create anaerobic conditions that are detrimental to root growth and may lead to vine decline. - Vineyard access may be restricted at the key times needed to carry out essential functions such as disease control. - Ensure good soil drainage and reduce the likelihood of water pooling in wheel ruts for extended periods of time as free water often encourages disease activity. An open canopy and good airflow (along with spray

November 2012 – Issue 586

Drought related issue

Key challenges

Vineyard management options

Carbohydrate reserves Vine’s stored carbohydrate (sugars and starch) reserves are lower

Grapevines rely on stored carbohydrate reserves early in the season for root and shoot growth (until leaves are full size and can contribute to the vines’ energy requirements). Low carbohydrate reserves will impact on vine vigour; shoot length and fruit ripening processes.

Avoid significant vine stress, as this will reduce photosynthesis and carbohydrate production. Maintain the functioning leaf area post-harvest so vines can produce and store carbohydrate reserves. Apply sufficient water and fertiliser early in the season to assist vines in replenishing carbohydrate reserves early in the growing season

Poor root distribution

Vine roots are usually concentrated in the top metre of soil directly under the vine canopy. Wide dripper spacings may create ‘silos’ of alternating wet and dry areas resulting in the root area being ‘pruned’. Vine roots produce a plant hormone called abscisic acid (ABA) in response to stress. This signals the vine to ‘shut down’ until conditions improve.

Install drippers with closer emitter spacings or install additional drippers to maintain a wetted ‘strip’ undervine. This will encourage greater root exploration (mulch to retain water for longer).

Nutrient application Application of fertiliser

Vines appear to have a main peak of root growth coinciding 4 to 6 weeks after budburst. Ensure mobile fertiliser (nitrate) is applied when feeder roots are present. A second flush of root growth may occur after vintage but this is not the case every season (use a shovel to check for feeder root activity).

Consider the best way to apply fertiliser. Some nutrients are highly mobile and some are less mobile, this will affect the method of application. Some foliar nutrients need to be applied at key times (during spring and/or pre-flowering).

Short shoots Fewer functional leaves to ripen the crop

Unbalanced (over cropped) vines will result in longer-term vine health issues and poor fruit quality.

Apply irrigation to grow sufficient shoot area to ripen the crop. If the shoot length (or leaf function) is reduced then reduce the crop load accordingly.

Flowering may occur earlier than in a normal year and conditions may not be conducive to set

Frosty, dry, and/or windy conditions during flowering are not conducive for optimal fruit set. High and/or prolonged low temperatures can also reduce set.

Be ready to apply pre-flowering nutritional sprays at optimal timing (Boron, Zinc etc). Ensure vines are not moisture stressed up to and during flowering.

Vine canopy stress Ongoing stress may result in significant basal leaf loss

Basal leaf defoliation will reduce the photosynthetic capacity of the vines (if the basal leaves are still functioning). Lack of fruit protection may result in uneven ripening, lower fruit quality (sunburn, phenolics characters, berry shrivel) and lower yield.

If hot weather is forecast, start irrigating several days prior (preferably at night) to minimise vine stress. Maintain irrigation application throughout hot period (monitor how deep the irrigation is going down the profile).

Post harvest care Getting ready for the next growing season

Vines will export nutrients with the fruit produced. It is important to maintain vine health and build up the vines carbohydrate reserves prior to senescence. Vines will continue to function normally while actively functioning leaves are present.

Maintain irrigation until leaf senescence (while there are functioning leaves the vine will produce carbohydrates). Apply post harvest fertiliser if functional leaves and feeder roots are present to replace nutrients removed at harvest. Do not encourage new shoot growth at this time.

coverage) is your best friend in wet seasons. Cultural practices such as the timing, careful selection and use of foliage wires, shoot thinning (removal of non-count shoots) and shoot trimming can be used to keep the upper hand. • Drop damaged bunches prior to machine picking or selectively hand pick damaged sections. • Consider the use of new technologies when picking grapes such as Pellenc’s Selectiv’ Process linear de-stemmer, to remove petioles and other material other than grapes (MOG) in the vineyard, or Pellenc’s Selectiv’ Process Vision at the winery (sorting table) to maximise fruit quality at harvest.

Post wet season considerations Consider the following points when managing your vineyard after particularly wet seasons: • Assess what worked well and what didn’t. Put processes in place to avoid the pitfalls in the following season. • Consider ways to reduce the disease inoculum load for next season. - The application of mulch has been shown to reduce overwintering spores of Botrytis by increasing the decomposition of vine debris and ‘mummified’ berries, however these gains may be minimal (focus your efforts on ‘in season’ control). • Be prepared to manage a higher disease inoculum level at the start of the following growing season. • Consider the impact the previous season may have had on bud fruitfulness (physical damage, shading of the renewal zone, large crops) for the following season and adjust node numbers retained accordingly. • Additional hand clean up may be required during winter pruning to remove non-count shoots and potential crowding along the cordon. November 2012 – Issue 586

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Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) Seasonal Outlooks Seasonal outlooks are provided by the BoM including: • El Niño/La Niña Status • Rainfall outlook • Temperature outlook • Cyclone outlook • Climate models For more information, see

Cordon shredder Nepenthe’s cordon shredder can be used to remove diseased and dead sections of the vine cordon while regaining the wire (if the wire is in good condition). The removal of cordon due to frost or trunk disease damage can be done while leaving healthy parts of the cordon intact, ensuring vineyard uniformity. New wood can be retrained along the cordon wire without having to run new wires.

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36 Grapegrower & Winemaker

November 2012 – Issue 586

Table 4: Practical considerations for winegrowers in wet seasons Wet season related issue

Key challenges

Vineyard management options

Excess soil moisture

Soil profiles are full and soil moisture is unlimited. This can result in excessive vine vigour. Vines with continually ‘wet’ feet may be more susceptible to root rotting fungi such as Pythium, Phytophthora or Rhizoctonia.

Drain water from the vineyard if this is practical (pump water away from the vineyard if free water is present, install agri-drains if areas are consistently wet). Ensure soils are free draining (ie good soil structure and no impervious layers). Plant a cover crop (ie Chicory) that can ‘soak’ up excess water and actively compete with vines to reduce their vigour. Employ a deficit irritation regime to try and reduce vine vigour. Monitor vine health and assess the root function of vines that are showing signs of decline.

Greater rainfall and humidity

Access to the vineyard may be compromised and there may be a reduced window for fungicide application, while there is a greater need for fungal control.

Access seven-day weather forecasts (see resources section) to help plan your spray strategy. Monitor the vineyard regularly, ensure you have access to machinery which can be used to cover large areas quickly, shorten your spray window, use a preventative strategy and use eradicant sprays as required. Manipulate the canopy to facilitate airflow.

Wet season related issue

Key challenges

Vineyard management options

Cool temperatures

Cooler temperatures and higher crop loads may delay key phonological stages and slow the ripening of grapes.

Ensure canopies are open enough to provide adequate (dappled) sunlight into the canopy, assess vine balance (fruit to shoot ratio), and manipulate fruit load if vines are overcropped.

Higher vine vigour

Excess vine vigour can increase shading in the renewal zone (resulting in lower bud fruitfulness the following season) and poor fruit development. Increased shoot length and density may result in increased humidity and elevated pest and disease pressure.

Use fixed and/or movable foliage wires, and install additional foliage clips so more than one lift can be carried out during the growing season to adequately capture the foliage if required. Alter the microclimate in the bunch zone (leaf pluck, shoot thin and/or crop thin), adjust pruning level and review trellis type, review inputs (water and fertiliser), and plant competitive mid row crops.

Greater likelihood for ‘wet’ season diseases

Wet winters can result in greater risk of trunk disease (Eutypa, Botryosphaeria) and Phomopsis infection.

If restructuring is necessary, make larger pruning wounds on dry days if possible and protect large wounds as they are made.

Greater likelihood of diseases during the growing season

Effective management of downy mildew, powdery mildew (a dry weather disease favoured by mild cloudy weather), Botrytis and other bunch moulds may be difficult.

Timing, target, treatment and technique! Monitor vines regularly, check weather forecasts, check spray coverage, tighten spray interval, choose treatment options carefully, and manage the canopy to promote airflow. Keep your options open! Avoid planting highly susceptible varieties in low lying areas with poor air flow

Post harvest care Getting ready for the next growing season

A higher disease inoculum load may be present going into the following growing season; vine carbohydrate reserves may be lower due to higher vegetative growth.

Apply post harvest irrigation and nitrogen if feeder roots are present. Focus your disease control strategies early in the following season.

For more information, see contract-services/cordon-shredder

The Grapevine: from the science to the practice of growing vines for wine The recently published book ‘The Grapevine: from the science to the practice of growing vines for wine’ explores the links between the scientific principles and the practice of viticulture. This text will be of great interest to anyone involved in viticulture and winemaking as, while it focuses on theory, it also contains practical aspects of growing vines for wine, along with many case studies demonstrating the practical implications of management decisions. This is one of the most comprehensive books published on vine physiology since ‘Biology of the Grapevine’ that was published in 1992. For more information, see

Websites The following additional resources may be useful in assessing vineyard profitability and producing fruit ‘fit for purpose’. • WGGA’s VineBiz Financial ‘Ready Reckoner’, see www. • The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) publish a range of ‘Innovators Network’ resources including topical seasonal information and management options, see cfm?u=115 • The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) provide a broad range of wine grape growing and wine making information, advice and services, see Email Mary Retallack at for more information. November 2012 – Issue 586



Safe all round* Bayer CropScience Pty Ltd ABN 87 000 226 022 391–393 Tooronga Rd, Hawthorn East, Vic. 3123 Technical enquiries: 1800 804 479 Basta® is a registered trademark of Bayer. *When used as directed. BCH0394/TF_B

Grapegrower & Winemaker



Let it hang − fruit thinning not needed? Research presented at the 2012 ASEV meeting could yield controversial practical conclusions. This article was first published in US Wine Business Monthly, September 2012. Dr. Mark Greenspan

I recently attended, for my umpteenth time, the annual meeting of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, held in Portland, Oregon from June 18-22, 2012. I am a big fan of these meetings and have missed very few of them over the past two decades or so. The ASEV is a true asset to our industry and, though sometimes underappreciated, has provided support for students by administering scholarships and fellowships, as well as providing a scientific and technical vehicle for viticultural and enological research through its journal and meetings. Their annual meeting has gone through some changes in recent years, eliminating the trade show (which is fully embodied by the annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium) and focusing on technical exchange between researchers and practitioners. It was questionable whether turning the meeting into a purely technical one would command a healthy attendance. Judging by the 2012 meeting, the concept seems to be working, as sessions were well attended, often packed in, and the social events were lively. Research comes in small increments, which may frustrate some people, but having engaged in some research myself, I am happy to be patient and see what new tidbits have been deposited in our knowledge bank. But new research does not always jibe with our current dogma, and this can be frustrating to those of us who think we’ve already figured things out. The truth is, none of us has it all figured out, and we need to allow some flexibility in how we approach viticulture, or we could otherwise back ourselves into a corner.

Irrigate vines like tomatoes? For instance, I have been touting the use of soil moisture devices to: 1) identify the active root zone, 2) irrigate to the bottom of the root zone and 3) determine how long the applied irrigation is depleted by the vines. In many soils, this means irrigating deeply and waiting for two weeks or longer before applying the subsequent irrigation. Pat Bowen, a researcher from the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in British Columbia, Canada, presented some results that cause me to question #2 above.

38 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Should we be irrigating the whole root zone or just a portion of it? Bowen found that daily irrigations of small amounts of water produced different results than larger applications with three-day irrigation intervals. She and her group found that photosynthesis was higher in the frequently irrigated vines. There was no effect on biomass production, but the daily irrigated vines had higher Brix, lower pH and smaller berries than the three-day irrigation cycle vines. Yields were not uniformly reduced but tended to be lower in the daily irrigated vines during years of high yield. However, wine quality was judged to be consistently better for the daily irrigations relative to the three-day irrigation cycle. My thinking and recommendations have been to irrigate deeply (but not past the root zone in the North Coast) and allow the vines to deplete soil moisture sufficiently to induce a desired stress level before re-irrigating, again to refill to the root zone depth. Bowen’s findings suggest that this is not optimal. Nevertheless, I would think that shallow irrigations would encourage a secondary mass of shallow roots (or primary mass in arid regions), which does not seem proper to me. I spoke with Bowen later about these results, and she said that they were also surprised about the results and had thought that the bigger, less frequent irrigation would have produced the superior result. Regardless, I will need to do some experimentation to test the idea. As an aside, we will be conducting production-scale demonstrations and wine trials using deeper and shallower irrigation treatments on vineyards in the Alexander Valley. The project is funded by a SARE1 grant that was awarded to the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, and we will test this concept in our own region. We are fortunate to be able to test alternative concepts in this way.

Leaf removal − the earlier the better? Like irrigation, our ideas of leaf removal practices are evolving. I have, until recently, been a minimalist with regard to leaf pulling in the fruit zone. Actually, I have not completely changed my mind about leaf pulling and still prefer to pull leaves on only one side of the canopy in most vineyards but have less fear about providing a bit more fruit exposure as

Fruit thinning, an accepted practice with premium grapes, is now being questioned. Photo courtesy Mark Greenspan.

long as the leaf removal is done very soon after fruit set. The early exposure allows for better acclimation of fruit to light and heat, making it less sensitive to sunburn and heat damage. However, some studies presented suggest that it may be beneficial to remove leaves prior to bloom, not after set. Patty Skinkis, from Oregon State University, presented research regarding the timing of leaf removal in Pinot Noir. They applied full leaf removal in the fruit zone, fully exposing clusters on both sides of the canopy at the first signs of bloom, 50 percent bloom, fruit set, pea-size berries and at bunch close. They found that leaf pulling prior to bunch closure reduced powdery mildew and Botrytis disease incidence and severity relative to a non-leafed control, which is not a surprise. Pre-bloom (actually, done at first sign of flower separation) provided the best disease control of the treatments. It did, however, cause about a 20 percent reduction in fruit set during cool years, which is not surprising as the reduction in carbohydrates would be expected to have that effect. They found that the clusters with lower fruit set did not compensate by having larger berry size, so a yield reduction would have resulted. However, it is possible that the reduced set would reduce or eliminate the need for cluster thinning, so perhaps yield could be maintained. Another presentation along the same November 2012 – Issue 586

lines was from Mark Krasnow, who is now with the Eastern Institute of Technology in New Zealand. He and his group performed pre-bloom leaf removal treatments on several varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Merlot. These treatments were compared against a control, which was pre-bunch-close leaf removal, a standard practice in the region. In agreement with Skinkis’ work, fruit set was reduced by the early leaf removal, leading to lower berries per bunch, lower bunch weight and reduced yields. Again, these treatments reduced the incidence and severity of bunch rot in the fruit, though there were mixed results for Sauvignon Blanc. All in all, these two works, done in cool climate regions suggest that very early leaf removal could be a viable technique to reduce disease but with the cost of yield reduction. I fear that the yield reduction could be severe in exceptionally cool springs, so I see tremendous risk in doing this unless conditions are not extreme. The idea that the need for subsequent cluster thinning may be reduced could compensate for the lighter clusters, but I’m not going to rush out and recommend pre-bloom leaf removal just yet.

Let ‘em hang? No need to cluster thin at veraison? This will certainly be a controversial topic. The question about whether to fruit thin or not has rarely been asked, at least for premium winegrapes. We normally just do it. A couple of presentations delivered at the ASEV meeting suggest that the practice of veraison thinning or “green drop” may not be necessary, as the fruit apparently has the ability to catch up, if it starts ripening behind its neighbor clusters and berries. Arturo Calderon-Orellana of the University of California, Davis presented research where the concept of fruit variability was examined with respect to typical wine product value and the persistence of fruit variability at veraison up to harvest. Calderon-Orellana found that expensive fruit (up to $10,000 per ton) did not have less variability in its compositional attributes than less expensive fruit (as low as $500 to $1,000 per ton). They measured the compositional variability at several scales, such as vine-to-vine, cluster-to-cluster, etc. While not a true experiment (actually, this would be classified as a survey but a scientific one), this suggests that uniformity may not be the holy grail of wine quality. But wait, there’s more. They also looked at the effects of fruit thinning at veraison – the so-called green drop where visually lagging clusters (i.e., mostly green) are removed sometime during the latter stages of veraison. The idea is to eliminate the fruit that is behind in its development so that it is not behind at harvest. They compared a green-drop treatment to a second treatment where apical clusters only were removed, without regard to their veraison percentage. Calderon-Orellana found that, while variability in fruit composition was improved at veraison by green-drop thinning, there was not a difference in variability at harvest between green-thinned and apical-cluster-thinned treatments, suggesting that the lagging fruit “caught up” with the leading fruit. I asked if the phenolics and pyrazines were also not found to differ between the treatments, and he said no. However, they did not do any sensory evaluations of the fruit. In another study, Laurent Deluc of Oregon State University discussed research that suggested a mechanism for the synchronization of ripening in Pinot Noir. Deluc and his group looked at the ripening process from its onset through maturity at the gene transcription level. In other words, there are a large set of genes in the vine and fruit, each of which is dedicated to transcribing amino acid sequences that form proteins, both for structure and for enzymes. The enzymes are what make the plant work and, specifically, what make the ripening processes happen. Gene transcription is a very fundamental aspect of any organism’s biology, and with regard to grape ripening, there are tremendous changes in gene transcription occurring at the time of veraison. November 2012 – Issue 586

Deluc’s group painstakingly tagged individual berries during mid-veraison and followed them throughout ripening up to maturity. They found that in berries that lagged behind the others, sugar accumulation was more rapid during the first few weeks relative to the fruit that had gone through veraison at an earlier date. Even more interesting, ripening-associated genes were expressed to a greater degree in the lagging berries, and the differential expression continued on through maturation. They found 1,586 genes differentially expressed in the pulp, 1,126 in the skin and 476 in the seeds (there are about 30,000 genes in the grape genome). I found this to be the best explanation of how fruit re-synchronisation could occur in fruit, which leads me to question the need for veraison green-drop thinning. However, I am not ready to abandon this practice, as I have still yet to see conclusive results regarding the practice’s effect on fruit and wine sensory properties. I still find green drop to be a useful practice – green clusters are often a good indicator of fruit on weak shoots or other aberrations at veraison that I believe will still be a detriment to wines of the highest quality. That said, there are plenty of wines being made for modest price-points where green thinning may not be necessary. I anxiously await further work on this topic. There were many other excellent papers delivered, some of which I did not see because I was moderating an industry session on precision viticulture. Don’t count on me to give you all the information from an event like the annual ASEV meeting. The 2013 meeting will be held in Monterey, California and the 2014 meeting in Austin, Texas. Will I see you there? Dr. Mark Greenspan operates Advanced Viticulture, based in Sonoma County, California –

Take the smarter approach to crop safety Bayer CropScience Pty Ltd ABN 87 000 226 022 391-393 Tooronga Rd, Hawthorn East, Vic. 3123 Technical enquiries: 1800 804 479 Basta® is a registered trademark of Bayer. BCH0394/TF_C

Grapegrower & Winemaker



Highlights from the international workshop on grapevine trunk diseases Mark Sosnowski


Phomopsis viticola

The 8th International Workshop on Grapevine Trunk Diseases (IWGTD) was held in Valencia, Spain, in June 2012. The workshop attracted 125 delegates from 22 countries, who presented 107 papers comprising research updates on botryosphaeria dieback, eutypa dieback, Petri disease and esca amongst other diseases. The workshop covered topics of pathogen detection and characterisation, epidemiology, host-pathogen interactions, disease management and grapevine nurseries and included a field visit to observe symptoms of trunk diseases that affect Spanish vineyards (Figure 1). The workshop provided a lot of scientific information which led to much discussion between researchers who come together every two years to compare notes and build collaborative programs. Evident from the workshop was the limited amount of research outcomes in disease management from around the world, with Australian research at the forefront of practical solutions for grapegrowers. Leading research by SARDI and the University of Adelaide (UA) with investment from the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) on spray application of pruning wound protective treatments was of particular interest, especially with the delegates representing industry. This also highlights the importance of continuing research on trunk disease management in Australia. The following are a few highlights from the workshop of particular relevance to the Australian grape and wine industry:

In addition, Dr Urbez Torres also reconfirmed Phomopsis viticola as an important grapevine trunk disease pathogen, and thus the name Phomopsis dieback has been proposed to better describe the nature of the disease. In the past few decades the disease has been referred to as Phomopsis cane and leaf spot, due to the more typical association with its foliar symptoms. Further to this, preventative controls for Phomopsis cane and leaf spot may not completely control the disease according to information from studies in eastern North America. Dr Kendra Baumgartner (United States Department of Agriculture) has revealed that Phomopsis fukushii and Diaporthe eres are also responsible for wood cankers, but not leaf spots, leading to the conclusion that the disease must be managed with a more holistic approach. A study of the New Zealand grapevine nursery industry by Dr Regina BillonesBaaijens (Lincoln University) showed that some Botryosphaeriaceae species move endophytically beyond the lesions which could have implications in the nursery industry since the young, symptomless canes may be infected. In fact, two workshop sessions were devoted to trunk disease management during the nursery propagation process, highlighting the increasing world-wide concern of the contribution of nurseries to trunk diseases. It was concluded by a leading expert in the field, Dr David Gramaje (Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, Spain) that there is a requirement to develop guidelines for nurseries to produce high quality vines coupled with research to demonstrate practical propagation procedures for adoption by nursery industries which eliminate trunk disease pathogens. This opinion was reiterated by researchers from other countries, including Australia.

Botryosphaeria canker Until now the trunk disease caused by species of the Botryosphaeriaceae has been referred to as Botryosphaeria canker. Internationally renowned expert, Dr Jose Urbez Torres (currently of Agrifood, Canada), who recently published a comprehensive review of the disease following his PhD study at University of California (UC) Davis, proposed the new name of Botryosphaeria dieback to describe the wide range of symptoms of the disease. These symptoms include leaf spots, fruit rots, shoot dieback, bud necrosis, vascular discoloration of the wood and perennial cankers.

40 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Eutypa lata Genetic studies on Eutypa lata in California by Dr Renaud Travadon (UC Davis) suggest that grapevines are more at risk from inoculum coming from other grapevine and fruit crops than from riparian areas or ornamentals like willows. This reinforces current

Figure 1. Symptoms of grapevine trunk diseases affecting Spanish vineyards; a) eutypa dieback, b) botryosphaeria dieback and c) esca (images as GG_Spain A, B & C)

recommendations of ensuring all dead wood is removed from vineyards and orchards in order to reduce inoculum load. Contrary to previous results in other regions of the world, Spanish vineyards have been recorded with greater natural infection levels by trunk pathogens in spring than in winter. Jordi Luque of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Research and November 2012 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Issue 586

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There are several species of beneficial insects that are important to grape growers in terms of managing key vineyard pests, such as Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). An effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme includes monitoring populations of beneficials and pests, then implementing an action plan when thresholds are reached. LBAM damage to berries provides botrytis with an infection point and webbing in the developing bunches catches debris, further increasing the level of botrytis inoculum inside the bunch. Botrytis prone blocks should therefore have a lower LBAM threshold.

Mallada signatus is one of the most common green lacewings. Green lacewings are considered an important wide ranging predator in vineyards and are active from late spring to autumn. They will attack and feed on many small insects and eggs, the juveniles preying on aphids, mites, scales, mealybugs, small caterpillars and moth eggs. Trichogramma carverae are minute parasitic wasps which lay their eggs inside the eggs of LBAM. Hence what was once an LBAM egg mass gives rise to the next generation of Trichogramma wasps. Hippodamia variegata is a predatory ladybird which has recently established itself in Australia and is now common in a large variety of crops. Both the adults and juveniles are predators of aphids, thrips and moth eggs. Stethorus sp. are black, mite-eating ladybirds and less than 2mm in length. They feed on Two-spotted and European Red mites. Both the adults and juveniles are predatory. Encouraging healthy populations of these key beneficial insects will naturally form the basis of an effective IPM programme. Considering this, it is important to understand what impact, if any, your chosen insecticide will have on the populations of these beneficial insects. In Australian research, PROCLAIM was compared to a water control and shown to have no significant effect on these beneficial species. Both acute toxicity (direct spray application) on these species and fecundity (reproduction measured as number of eggs and % fertility) of the ladybird species was measured. PROCLAIM can be applied with SWITCH for an integrated approach to botrytis management. Reference: Effects of PROCLAIM (44g/kg emamectin) and other insecticides on beneficial insects and mites which inhabit grapevine crops 2005. Dr Paul Horne and Peter Cole, IPM Technologies Pty Ltd, PO Box 560, Hurstbridge, VIC 3099.

Technology (IRTA) in Spain presented results that showed greater infections by pathogens that cause botryosphaeria dieback and esca following late pruning compared with early pruning. Recommendations for pruning to avoid infection are based on 50-year-old Australian data on apricots or data from vineyards in other countries, highlighting the need for local research to provide appropriate recommendations for Australian growers. In the past, research from France showed that sucker wounds can be infected by E. lata. Recent results from South Africa presented by Dr Francois Halleen (ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij) confirmed that sucker wounds on grapevines can also be naturally infected by a range of trunk disease pathogens that cause Botryosphaeria dieback, Phomopsis dieback, esca and Petri disease. Although spring infections are considered less likely, it is important to avoid removing sucker shoots during and around periods of rainfall.

Ladybirds, ants, beetles and earwigs Also from South Africa Dr Halleen and colleagues have reported that arthropod species such as ladybirds, ants, beetles and earwigs can carry spores of trunk pathogens and they may infect pruning wounds, where they feed on bleeding sap. Further research is underway to confirm the contribution of arthropods in the spread of trunk diseases. In a presentation by Dr Patrice Rey (INRA, France), it was estimated that 11% of French vineyards are unproductive due to trunk diseases. A long-term study in France by Dr Vincent Dumot (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) showed that cane-pruned vines had less foliar symptoms of eutypa dieback but more dead plants compared with cordon-pruned vines, indicating the importance of the proximity of infection sites to the trunk. New information on grapevine trunk disease research has been acquired from the workshop and will be incorporated into Australian research programs and gaps in knowledge will be addressed in future proposals. For example, there is need for further research to determine highest risk periods of wound susceptibility to infection in Australian vineyards, the critical timing of spray application to protect pruning wounds and to continue seeking alternative treatments for simultaneous control of eutypa and botryosphaeria dieback along with elucidating the effects of environmental and production stress on disease. Collaborative links were strengthened with researchers from organisations around the world, particularly in Spain. For more details on outcomes from the workshop, a full travel report to GWRDC (GWT 1113) can be found at au and a copy of all published abstracts from the workshop can be found at The 9th IWGTD will be held in Adelaide in November 2014 hosted by SARDI and UA. It will include a focus on trunk disease management and provide an opportunity for the Australian industry to interact with and gain the latest knowledge and insights from international experts from around the world.

Acknowledgements Richard Lillingstone B.Ag.Sc. M.Oen Technical Lead - Viticulture Syngenta Crop Protection - 0407 868 697 For details, please call the Syngenta technical product advice line on 1800 067 108 or visit 42 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Travel funds for Mark Sosnowski to attend the IWGTD in Spain were generously provided by GWRDC and SARDI. For more information contact Mark Sosnowski at the South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI) on 08 8303 9489 or at

November 2012 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Issue 586

Technical Review tops 200


Sharp decline in EU production requires new measures

The 200th issue of Technical Review was published in October 2012 by The Australian Wine Research Institute. For more than 30 years, Technical Review has The pan-European agricultural published abstracts of current technical organisation Copa-Cogeca has called for papers on winemaking, grapegrowing and the creation of a market observatory to wine/health from a wide range of journals. enable producers to anticipate demand Essentially, Australian producers can more efficiently. scan the issue to see a relevant list of Copa-Cogeca chairman Thierry Coste current literature on topics vital to their said the low European wine harvest business. Any papers of interest can be shows the need for updated market easily ordered on-line from the AWRI’s data to allow producers to better adapt John Fornachon Memorial Library. The production to demand. abstracts published come from Australian After collecting and collating data and international journals, and these from all EU member states, Copa-Cogeca are selected for inclusion in Technical estimates that this year’s EU wine crop Review by staff from the AWRI. will be 10 per cent down on last year. Now published bimonthly, and Extreme weather conditions such as available electronically for Australian drought in the southernmost countries winemakers and grapegrowers from the and, conversely, cold, wet weather in AWRI website, Technical Review has other parts of Europe have led to a sharp proven to be a convenient summary of decline in production this year. important technical updates from around The EU is set to harvest just 144.4 the world – perfect for the busy reader.  million hectolitres of wine, compared Each issue also features update articles with 160.5 million last year. on the AWRI’s activities and an events With the exception of some of the calendar.  Contact the AWRI for further minor wine producing countries, and information on Portugal where the crop is expected to D P 1 5 6 0 _ G W_ 1 3 0 x 1 8 5 . p d f Pa ge 1 1 8 / 0 7 / 1 2 , 3 : 2 2 or telephone 08 8313 6600. be up 4.5% on last year, all the major

producer countries within the EU are forecasting small crops. La Journée Vinicole


Yealands to launch New Zealand’s first ‘Sauvignoir’ Marlborough producer Yealands Estate Wines has launched New Zealand’s first ‘Sauvignoir’ – a lighter, fruit-driven red wine made primarily from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Yealands Estate Wines Owner and Founder Peter Yealands says the wine has been developed to meet a growing consumer demand for innovative Sauvignon Blanc wine styles. “Whilst we are having enormous success with our Sauvignon Blanc on the international stage, we need to be mindful that consumer wine tastes continue to evolve and trying new wine styles is part of what makes wine consumption enjoyable for many. I am pleased to be leading the charge with this new and innovative wine style,” Yealands said. Interest in the 2012 Peter Yealands Sauvignoir has seen the entire volume PM from the first vintage already allocated.

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November 2012 – Issue 586

Grapegrower & Winemaker


grapegrowing grapegrower

Prue Henschke is

the viticulturist for Henschke Wines, where she oversees a 150-hectare vineyard in Eden Valley and the Adelaide Hills for Keyneton-based Henschke Cellars. Born in Adelaide, Prue went on to study botany and zoology at the University of Adelaide, before travelling to Germany with her husband, Stephen, to study winemaking and viticulture. After a stint working for Helmut Becker – a strong leader in clonal and bench-grafting research – Prue and Stephen returned to Australia, where Prue studied wine science while working at Henschke Cellars. Prue has also worked alongside some of Australia’s top viticultural luminaries, including Peter Dry and Richard Smart, at Roseworthy. She was recently awarded the SAWIA Environmental Excellence Award for Biodiversity.

What inspired you to work in viticulture and how have you got to where you are now?

What do you like to do when you’re not working in vineyards?

Studying botany was following a natural interest of mine as I love working with plants. In my time in Geisenheim, Germany, I gained knowledge in canopy management, sward management, grafting and ampelography, which led to experimenting with a large range of new varieties and the importance of clonal selection. I had a solid background in plant physiology from university so becoming a viticulturist was the next step for me.

I love playing sport, especially golf, and looking after my garden – cooking everything in season. But the best thing in the world is to go bush for a couple of hours and “botanise”. Our conservation block consists of a rocky gorge surrounded by native grasslands and native cypress forests in the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges. The range of plant species is extensive for an area so heavily grazed and has fuelled my ideas for an Australian vineyard landscape.

What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most, or get the most satisfaction from?

What keeps you awake at night?

I love to be able to innovate to improve the vineyards and the fruit composition from my broader experience of the natural sciences and viticulture. I have trials all over the vineyards, many of which have been extended into regular management such mulching and compost use.

It always amazes me how clearly you think through an idea in the peace and quiet of the night, and the logistics of how to make it work. Working with the weather always fills my head with anxiety. Pre-vintage 2011 was more a living nightmare! How do you de-stress after vintage?

Who do you think is the most influential person in the Australian wine industry today?

The most influential person for me is environmental scientist Tim Flannery, author of many books on this subject and most recently one on sustainability. What is your favourite time in the vineyard, and why?

There are two good times to be in the vineyard. One is doing the early yield estimates in spring when the weather is great, the vines are showing off their potential crop, and everything is lush and green. The other is at vintage time when I enjoy picking our trial blocks to see how the grapes are coming off and their flavours. Tell us about your most memorable winetasting experience.

It seems so long ago but the memory of tasting an amazingly rich Syrah out of a barrel in 1992 at Chateau Rayas with Jacques Reynaud is one that has stayed with me. The wine was spicy and intense with lots of savoury characters pouncing out of the important part of the glass.

44 Grapegrower & Winemaker

I just get back on to the golf course and whack that little white ball around, which is not totally stress-free, but there is always that one sweet shot that makes you feel good. What was the last big-ticket equipment purchase you made for your business? Would you recommend the equipment to colleagues?

We have just bought the latest Antonio Carraro Mach four tractor for the steep and often wet slopes at Lenswood. It is an articulated tractor with four rubber tracks which will replace a very old metal track caterpillar tractor which made a real mess of the headlands when turning in and out of the rows [a story on this was covered in Grapegrower & Winemaker, August 2012, issue]. What has been the best business decision you’ve made for your business.

The use of under-vine mulches was the best vineyard management change I have made. We started over 20 years ago to help the old dry-grown vineyards cope with the dry seasons of the ‘90s. From this we had practically three years of

The combination of research papers, growers’ feedback and industry news makes the magazine a good source of information. coverage, no herbicides or cultivation, and better balanced vines. From a research and development perspective, is there one single piece of research in the wine industry that has really influenced you, or your directions in viticulture?

Patrick Iland’s research on the role of light in building better colour and tannin maturity in red varieties changed my approach to canopy management, particularly for Shiraz. There is a distinct change in wine structure in the 1990s for our Eden Valley Shiraz wines, where we have converted from the sprawling single wire or ‘two-wire vertical trellis’ to VSP or Scott-Henry, depending on the vigour of the site. The Ark question. The world is flooding ... which two wines (white and red) would you take onto the Ark?

I would have to have an Adelaide Hills Riesling which would age beautifully until the Ark found dry land, and a Pinot Noir from the Cote de Nuits’ Grand Cru of Echezeaux in Burgundy with rich spicy cherry characters and a beautiful fleshy finish. November 2012 – Issue 586

Using Biopest to control powdery mildew in the Riverina Powdery mildew control is a major issue for ma ny grapegrowers in the Mildew warm inland regions control of Australia. The large areas planted to Chardonny are a major problem as this variety is particularly susceptible to powdery infection. To demonstrate how effectively Biopest Paraffinic Oil can control powdery mildew in these warmer areas, a demonstration block was treated at Steve Barbon’s farm at Hanwood, south of Griffith. Biopest is the only paraffinic oil registered for control of powdery mildew in grapes, as well as for control of grapevine scale and mealybugs. It has recently been certified by the Biological Farmers Association for its use in organic viticulture. Biopest is an odourless, safe and effective spray formulation which mixes readily with most chemicals used for downy mildew control and is the

ideal evolution from sulphur for powdery mildew control. Biopest was used for powdery mildew control on 1ha of Chardonnay vines grafted to Ramsay rootstock on Barbon’s farm. Biopest was applied at 1% on 9/9/11 (550 l/ha), 26/10/11 (600 l/ha), 31/10/11 (700 l/ha), 7/11/11 (800 l/ha), mancozeb was added to Biopest for downy mildew control. Biopest is registered for powdery mildew control up to bunch closure and from that time onwards sulphur sprays were used for powdery mildew control. No powdery mildew symptoms were detected in the leaves or bunches of the demonstration or control vines treated with sulphur at any growth stage after Biopest was applied. Steve was very happy with the results, particularly the efficacy of biopest when applied at low temperatures. “Sulphur doesn’t work so well early in the season when the weather is cool,” he said, “so it’s much easier to time the application of Biopest. As an added bonus I also get control of

Healthy Chardonnay bunches with no powdery mildew – treated with Biopest.

any pockets of mealy bug or scale on the farm. I will definitely be using Biopest again next year.”

Other demonstration sites SACOA are also running demonstration sites in cool and warm climate areas. More information is available by contacting Rob Hayes on 0488 355 335 or at

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Tendrils – should you remove them? In this article, previously published in NZ Winegrower, issue 75, August/September 2012, the impact of botrytis risk is examined. Tessa Nicholson

Removing rubbish from the vineyard floor after pruning is seen as an essential part of the botrytis prevention strategy. But what about the tendrils left on canes? Are they a botrytis risk? Botrytis is an opportunistic disease, with spores hanging around until conditions are right before flaring into a major epidemic. NZ Wine’s fact sheet on the disease says to control botrytis, it requires an integrated approach involving vigour control, canopy management, fungicide application and a reduction in botrytis inoculum. Achieving that reduction means growers have to ensure all material potentially carrying botrytis spores is removed during the winter months. Up until recently, that has meant removing all dead wood after pruning, clearing rachi out of canes and removing tendrils. Research has shown the inoculum does survive on rachi, petioles and canes. But there has been no research determining if tendrils are also a source for overwintering spores. Dion Mundy from Plant & Food at the Marlborough Research Centre said at a previous Grape Day, growers asked if there was any scientific reason to support the removal of tendrils – not surprising when you consider the estimated labour cost of doing just that. Removing tendrils from canes laid

“They were placed onto flagging tapes and returned to a single vineyard in each region prior to the flowering sprays going on. Half of the samples were taken prior to pre flowering and the other half were collected after the pre bunch closure had gone on,” Mundy said. The tendrils were incubated and then washed to dislodge any spores. The results were very different to those involving rachi. The highest number of spores was 6000 per centimetre, which Mundy said may sound like a lot – but actually isn’t. He said in research trials they would inoculate an item with tens of thousand more spores, than those discovered on the tendrils.

down is estimated to be between 10 and 15 cents per vine, which means the industry is paying anywhere from $2.5 million and $5 million per annum on this one task. During the research project, dozens of tendrils were removed from previously botrytis infected vines in both Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The two regions have differing levels of botrytis infection, with the spores known to be always present in the north, while in Marlborough the spores develop only in certain climatic conditions. In Marlborough’s case all the tendrils were taken from Sauvignon Blanc, whilst a range of varieties made up the Hawkes Bay research.

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November 2012 – Issue 586

Dion Mundy removing tendrils in the vineyard.

“These were quite low spore numbers and by the second sampling (at pre-bunch closure) they had been reduced greatly.” In general the average number of spores per centimetre was higher for Hawkes Bay than Marlborough, which was consistent with other research undertaken. In terms of how the spore numbers compared to the research on rachi, Mundy said the tendrils produced quite a few less spores. “And the spores we produced were incubated at optimum temperatures for seven days with high humidity. That was the maximum potential. We don’t expect you to ever experience those conditions out in the field. So in most situations, tendrils from a disease point of view could be left on. They are not really posing a big risk. And if you are spending a lot of money cutting them off and it’s affecting your profitability, I would recommend you don’t do it.” But he did have a word of warning. “If you are going to change any of

your vineyard practices, either leave a small area where you do leave them, as a control, to see if it does make a difference to your final disease or vice versa. But our findings show that there is no need to have to cut those tendrils off to reduce disease risk.” There are two key periods when Botrytis infections are likely to occur: • flowering to bunch closure, when Botrytis infects senescing flower parts (such as flower caps and aborted berries); and • veraison to harvest, when ripening berries become susceptible to infection. Botrytis infections are favoured by warm wet weather. Disease pressure tends to be higher and more frequent in northern and western areas of the North Island, with lower pressure in eastern areas. Disease pressure is generally lower in the South Island, although Botrytis outbreaks may occur following warm rainfall at the key infection periods.

It has to be remembered that not all botrytis infections are a result of spores surviving over wintering, Mundy said. They can also come in from other sources, such as a neighbour’s vineyard or other plants, given botrytis is not confined to grapes alone. There are a multitude of options open to growers to help prevent an outbreak following fruit set. These include shoot thinning, sprays, trash removal, leaf plucking, canopy exposure and even mechanical thinning. In terms of preventing any spores hanging around the vineyard over winter, the advice is to remove cane prunings, either through mulching, burning or burial so they are no longer a source in the coming year.

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Growers urged to review fungicide strategies AUSTRALIAN GRAPEGROWERS HAVE been told to consider adjusting their fungicide regime amid growing concerns that vineyards with powdery mildew may build resistance to strobilurin. Professor Wayne Wilcox, international specialist in grape pathology at Cornell University, presented advice to growers at a series of seminars in Australia from late August to early September. Organised by Crop Care and Nufarm, the seminars took place at Yarra Glen, where more than 50 growers and advisers gathered, before heading to Wangaratta, Irymple, Coonawarra, Tanunda and then Margaret River and Busselton, in Western Australia. Industry experts Dr Trevor Wicks, Dr Mark Sosnowski and Barbera Hall from SARDI also participated in the Tanunda seminar. Professor Wilcox said there were two types of fungicide resistance in grapevines. “People who have had experience with DMI resistance need to be aware that they cannot use the same strategies for strobilurin resistance,” he said. “With DMI’s, one of the control strategies is to limit the number of individuals that survive the spray by increasing rates or switching to a more powerful product in the same group. “In contrast, when a fungal colony is resistant to one strobilurin, it is immune to all rates of all strobilurins. The only way you can control it is with a different type of fungicide.” While strobilurin resistance is only starting to emerge in Australia, it has been around in the US since 2002. Professor Wilcox said resistance management strategies should be based on minimising the initial selection of resistant individuals and severely limiting the reproduction of any that do survive.

Professor Wayne Wilcox is the associate chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, Geneva, New York.

Crop Care and Nufarm recently invited Professor Wayne Wilcox to Australia as guest speaker at their series of seminars for grapegrowers. The seminars included information on powdery mildew resistance from the US perspective and also the effective control of powdery mildew in Australia. What causes fungicide resistance?

I like to refer to the development of fungicide resistance as “evolution on steroids”. That is, when we first start using a class of fungicides to control a specific disease, vineyard populations of the fungus that cause it are composed almost entirely of individuals that are sensitive to those materials. However, there are a few naturally-occurring individuals that are either (i) immune to ® such fungicides (as has proven the case with the strobilurins and metalaxyl, to name two that are important to grape producers), or IDE IC IT (ii) require a particularly strong dose for good control (as has proven M , E FUNGICIDECTICIDE the case with the DMI fungicides). AND INNSSTITUENT: 800 g/kg SULFUR ACTIVE CO After sufficient use of the particular fungicide group in question, E ID FUNGIC GROUP Y enough of these insensitive (resistant) types survive and multiply 750 DF to a point that we’re no longer able to get commercial control of the kg disease even though we’re doing everything right when using it ents: 15 nt Co T NE E FUNGICUEIDNT: 750 g/kg PMAONCISOZEBON (proper timing and rates, thorough spray coverage, etc.), and we’ve TIT ACTIVE CONS reachedOF aSALE: condition termed “practical resistance”. ® CONDITIONS bility for the phorus accepts responsi nce to note that this is a two-step process. First, the It’s important TY DIRECTIONS SAFE eyes and United Phos 010 the 2 2/ ate 1 t ri 1/ r L i uct; however si 3 UniGuard – Rich In Copper, Rainfast, l A3_ OSA Wi . DISP wed _90% o l ful if swal ze_65%A4 si STORAGE AND istent quality of the prod al Harm u cons act , m n cool a Whe n i 440m . n x er n ski ai and types ginal cont th eyesresistant of the product is beyondsurvive multiple spray applications whereas the let_MPL_Version 1_80 Store in the closed, ori skin. Avoid contact wi and Easy To Apply the use and application ity 61504_XXXXX_10L_Leaf aring the spray and not store for prolonged accepts no responsibil P companytypes the , well ventilated area. Do le or preferably opening the container, prepsensitive rol W cont s l al age or other result don’t; that is, they’re “selected”. Second, once N ght. Trip y, wear cotton over IO UT CA periods in direct sunli using the prepared spra and a washable whatsoever for any loss, dam whether used Add . l posa s DREN di 3 UniZeb – 3 year Shelf-life re CHIL er befo and wrist EDE ICI KEEP OUT OF REACH OF OR USING the use of the product selected, they multiply to a level where they cause RBID pressure rinse contain HEIC followingbeen FUNG - buttoned to the neck they’ve gloves. After use and Do not dispose of undi NS BEFORE OPENING ons or not; other than rinsings to spray tank. READ SAFETY DIRECTIO hat and elbow-length PVC ng, wash hands, in accordance with directi ki statutes, the lif recycling, replace cap I by smo e. d economically-damaging levels of disease. All of our resistance t or si g n pose on ki m 3 UniShield – BFA & NASSA Approved n s i al y dri l c i ri g, n dato chem eati ® luted before and water. those man the goods ners to recycler or desface thoroughly with soap ami- ability is limited to the replacement of ing and return clean contai ® Input For Organic Production C strategies are aimed at thwarting one of these two E cont writ cling, break, arms and use,management n i and e 0 recy ves mad not o f gl I 0 m i a t. n cl a 1 wash poi n o upon cti s bel each day’ ignated colle and is conditional 5 Litre La ty containers in After g. ent part of the puncture and bury emp nts: 20 kg re necessary, a suffici toon by remember that and to compare the utility of For more information contactcrush oryour and, whehelps lable, nated clothin steps. It Net Conte avai s i ati l n i ndfi a l exam no er f I . l prop a local authority landfi IDE goods being returned for l T AID INSECTIC w 500 mm in a disposa strategies within this context. n thirty days of sale. bury the containers belo up for this pur- FIRS occudifferent act a doctor or Poisons the company withi CREAAUCH OFTCHIOUCOILDNAZNRENOLE local UPL Representative < LEAFLET > and set If poisoning rs cont pit specifically marked iral a 131126.

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“One of the strategies we use in the US is to limit the number of strobilurin sprays to two a year,” he said. “The other is to avoid spraying strobilurin fungicides once you see more than a trace level of the disease active in the vineyard.” He explained that where there were large populations of fungus, even if only 1 per cent was resistant, it still left a large pool of survivors which could multiply out of control. Professor Wilcox said in situations where a low level of strobilurin resistance is known or suspected, growers could tankmix strobilurin fungicides with another chemical that would provide effective control of powdery mildew. “In such cases, the strobilurin will continue to provide control of the susceptible proportion of the population, while the mixing partner will control those that are insensitive,” he said. “In my experience, growers who routinely tank-mix encounter far fewer resistance problems. Resistance is common enough in our region that virtually all growers tank-mix now.”

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to 8 week CRITICAL repeat at 4 shorter planting and the iately after winter. Use Spray immed summer, autumn and or in areas with past during High volume weather, L intervals periods of wet application 2 interval during disease. soil. For in 2000 to surrounding histories of the ple foliage and d to spraying. Use 5000 L per spray pineap Thoroughly nt hand drenching is preferreup to 5000 L per ha hectare ing the first treatmefor young plants, increas 2000 L per ha In te years only. for large plants. applied in alterna fungicides. EC should be recommended ZEE-MIL 250 years use other intervening LABEL ARY TO THIS MANNER, CONTR ATION. LEGISL SE, OR IN ANY ANY PURPO UNDER APPROPRIATE USED FOR ATION NOT TO BE UNLESS AUTHORISED APPLIC AFTER ST FOR 4 WEEKS DO NOT HARVE G PERIOD: WITHHOLDIN trate S g the concen s while handlin INSTRUCTION GENERAL and mix well. Beware of solvent vapour spray tank water in the directly into the product D MIXING: Pour an open spray tank. EC is a Group near ZEE-MIL 250 and working Warning ce management resistan e Resistance cide For fungicid variability Fungi of fungicides. normal genetic These amide group may exist through repeatedly. r of the Phenyl D fungicides es are used y and possible EC is a membe other Group ion if these fungicid in efficac ZEE-MIL 250 IL 250 EC and fungi populat resulting in a reduction resistant to ZEE-M lly dominate the thus fungi fungicide. al es, eventua als can may result Group D fungicid y occurring individu resistant individu IL 250 EC and other any losses that Some naturall no liability for population. The ZEE-M Ltd accepts in any fungal will not be controlled by Phosphorus to use, United resistant fungi to detect prior yield loss. t fungi is difficult s, rivers or t fungi. nce of resistan inate stream control resistan crop is dry. DO NOT contam Since the occurreof ZEE-MIL 250 EC to until sprayed ONMENT: r treated area from the failure AND ENVIR NOT re-ente ed periods TACEANS PERIOD: DO store for prolongd chemicals FISH, CRUS RE-ENTRY area. Do not undilute LIFE, of ntilated WILD e well-ve dispose ers. N OF er in a cool, tank. Do not g, break, crush or punctur PROTECTIO the chemical or used contain ally original contain rinsings to spray in the closed, before disposal. Add collection point. If not recyclinin a disposal pit specific Store waterways with ers mm SAL: ted be burnt. e rinse contain r or designa ers below 500 t should not AND DISPO STORAGE t. Triple or preferably pressurclean containers to recycle bury the contain containers and produc is available, tree roots. Empty in direct sunligh g, replace cap and return ty landfill. If no landfill vegetation and mist. on-site. If recyclincontainers in a local authoriwaterways, desirable dust or spray of empty clear inhale e not bury Do purpos and 13 1126. set up for this eyes and skin. Centre. Phone marked and contact with s Information the use CTIONS: Avoid a doctor or Poison however since SAFETY DIRE the product; other result following occurs, contact Data Sheet. or ent quality of If poisoning Material Safety for the consist ever for any loss, damage statutes, the liability is FIRST AID: is listed in the responsibility d by whatso nal information orus accepts torily impose responsibility part of the goods MSDS: Additio : United Phosphthe company accepts nonot; other than those manda necessary, a sufficient S OF SALE or where control, CONDITIONof the product is beyond accordance with directionsclaim made in writing and, a and application product whether used in conditional upon days of sale. is and the of the goods the company within thirty the use of replacement by limited to the for proper examination d being returne




Heart Rot and by Root Rot caused spp. Phytophthora


Qld, WA only

Regional Manager – East (NSW)pose clear of waterways, desirable vegetation containers and product Rob Fuller and tree roots. Empty burnt. be not d l shou Mobile: 0447 000 586 • Email:

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® Registered Trademarks of United Phosphorous Ltd.

manage this resistance?

Remember, we want to both minimise the initial selection of resistant individuals and severely limit the reproduction of any that do survive. To accomplish the first goal, we have two major strategies. One is to limit the number of selection events – that is, limit the number of sprays. The other strategy is to avoid spraying these products once you see more than a trace level of disease, meaning don’t use them to “put out a fire”. The reasoning for


kg Net Contents: 5

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November 2012 – Issue 586

this is simple: if (for example) 1% of your population is resistant but the population is small, you’ll have only a very few resistant survivors ready to cause trouble whenever the weather conditions are favourable thereafter. In contrast, if disease is rampant, that means that the pathogen population is large, and the 1% resistant survivors will still make up a large “army” capable of causing disease immediately and multiplying out of control in no time thereafter. Use something else to put out the fire. To accomplish our second goal, we need to prevent these resistant survivors from multiplying to damaging levels using some means other than the fungicide that is no longer effective against them. This means we should utilise whatever non-chemical control methods are at our disposal and practical in combination with an effective (good material, adequate rate), unrelated fungicide. This can be done either by spraying a strobilurin solo in alternation with an unrelated material or by tank-mixing the strobilurin with something else that will provide good control of powdery mildew. Early in the life of these materials, a case can be made for both approaches, although our experience was that our first resistance problems were far less frequent on farms that had routinely tankmixed than on those that merely alternated. And once a low level of resistance has built up, I’m much more comfortable with tank mixing. Why? If you spray a strobilurin solo and don’t come back with something else for two weeks, you’ve allowed any resistant survivors a chance to complete two (nearly three) generations of potentially ‘explosive’ reproduction without anything to stop them, at least under a range of temperatures that are fairly common during mildew season. In contrast, if you’re tank-mixing with something effective, the tank-mix partner should prevent or minimise such reproduction. Resistance is common enough in our region that virtually all of our growers tank-mix now. How does resistance to strobilurin fungicides differ from the type of resistance that we have previously experienced with the DMI (triazole) fungicides in grapes?

Strobilurin resistance is an “all or nothing” phenomenon. When a fungal colony is resistant to a strobilurin, it’s immune, regardless of which particular molecule (product) or rate being used. With DMIs, on the other hand, resistance is more a “shades of grey” phenomenon, and a colony that is resistant to a particular material at a given rate might be controlled by a higher rate of that material or by a different product that is “stronger”. The important thing to realise is that DMI resistance has occurred to varying extents around the world, but its potential damage has often been minimised if not avoided altogether by increasing rates or switching to DMI products with greater “intrinsic” (inherent) activity. This is not an option with the stobilurins – once resistant isolates are present at a potentially damaging level, the only way that you can control them commercially is with a different fungicide.

November 2012 – Issue 586

Adrian Utter, E.E. Muir and Sons, Silvan, (right) was one of many advisers and growers who gathered in the Yarra Valley to talk about changes in fungicide resistance in grapes and strategies for effective control in late August. He is pictured with Matt Gratton from Crop Care (left) and guest speaker Professor Wayne Wilcox.

What is the risk now for the strobilurin fungicides to develop resistance to downy mildew in grapevines?

In most regions of Australia, the opportunity for selection and multiplication of resistant downy mildew individuals has been restricted by the limited number of infection periods that you’ve gotten over the past decade. Should weather patterns get back to anything close to “normal”, I’d think you should get a significant number of additional years out of these materials in such regions if you limited use to a maximum of two applications per year from here on out. However, where disease pressure has been intensive enough to allow practical resistance to metalaxyl to develop, I’d be a bit more concerned. In this case, there’s obviously the potential for the same thing to happen with the strobilurin, and I’d compare the number of strobilurin sprays I’d applied in periods with downy activity to the number I’d applied of metalaxyl over the years until trouble developed. That latter number should at least give an indication of when you might need to start to really keep an eye on things with the strobilurin. When is the best time to use strobilurin fungicides in grapevines, and when should they not be used?

We prefer to use our best materials right at the start of bloom and in the next spray application. That’s because this is when berries are by far the most susceptible to powdery mildew infections, they’re also highly susceptible to downy mildew, and it’s an important time to prevent the start of Botrytis infections. For the past 15 years, strobilurins and strobilurin tank-mixes have been our best or among our best materials for control of these diseases, so this is when we feel that we get the most value for money when using them. We strongly recommend against using these products once significant disease is present.

Grapegrower & Winemaker



Soil nutrients essential to nurture the vines through summer The vineyards have been composted and sprayed and the growing season is here, but how do you ensure your vines are receiving the essential nutrients to see them during the hot summer months? Both d’Arenberg and Cullen wineries have adopted a minimalist approach in the vineyard to ensure the vines are at their best during the ripening season. Danielle Costley

Soils lacking in essential nutrients can have a tremendous Vine impact on ca rbon acqu i sit ion, v i ne management development a nd nut r ient reser ves. At d’Arenberg winery, organic and biodynamic principles are maintained across all 12 of its vineyards. This philosophy involves minimal spraying, no fertilisation and no cultivation on its 200-hectares of vines, which are located in the McLaren Vale region. Many of the vines are dry grown and those that are irrigated only receive strategic drip irrigation twice a year. The first time is before flowering in winter to emulate rainfall and promote healthy canopy development and bud burst. The second irrigation takes place at the end of December to ensure irrigation is not needed during the ripening stage. d’Arenberg’s vineyard technical officer, Giulio Dimasi, says this minimal approach allows the vines to develop strong root systems that penetrate deeper

into the soil profile and spread wider, thereby giving the grapes a greater expression of the soil. “The further a vine moves away from fertilisation, the less irrigation it needs because it develops a much stronger root system, making dry growing a lot more viable for many of our vineyards,” he says. The unique characteristics of soils strongly influences nutrient uptake by the vine roots, which is why d’Arenberg conducts representative soil testing and visual assessments to determine its fertiliser and nutrition requirements. To maintain mid-row weed management, d’Arenberg has a permanent sward in its vineyards. “We encourage soil microbial activity by mulching and composting the permanent sward and where more is required, we use compost and an organic program for our pest and disease management,” Dimasi adds. In the past, annual cover crops were grown to provide nutrients and organic matter. The crops were then tilled back

Cullen Winery at Margaret River utilises biodynamic and organic principles. All Cullen images courtesy Frances Andrijich.


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November 2012 – Issue 586

into the soil. However, this was found to be negative for beneficial soil organisms and microbial that was present in the soils. “Once we stopped cultivating and fertilising, we noticed the water holding capacity of the soil improved and vine roots became more active mid-row with more micro nutrient uptake. With less water, the deep roots also began to develop,” he explains. “Now, we utilise permanent cover crops or grasses that are mown or mulched back over the soil, which returns organic matter back to the soil. When undisturbed by tillage, this allows the beneficial soil organisms and microbial to convert the organic matter to nutrients.” Fertigation is undertaken annually to condition the soil in the rootzone and provide nutrients for summer, while foliar application takes place during the growing season to correct any immediate requirements the plant might have. “There is minimal application of nutrients, ameliorants and elements in summer as the plants tend not to actively be growing through this period,” Dimasi adds. Water and grape marc (a mix of grapeskins, kernels and stalks) are d’Arenberg’s two main residues from winemaking and are now being used to create composted mulch for use in vineyards where soil conditions are challenging. The mulch provides a protective layer over the soil, which disappears within four years and provides valuable macro and micro nutrients to vines, and carbon to the soil.

Cullen goes organic/biodynamic Margaret River’s Cullen winery also

Cullen uses cow horns filled with cow manure to help the soil develop humus, attract earthworms and micro-organisms.

Nowadays, Mammone is happily ensconced in an enriched vineyard that is alive with earthworms and healthy micro-organisms. He relies on a series of preparations based in mineral, plant and animal substances, rather than potentially toxic chemicals and sprays. This strategy involves the enhancement of the soil structure through the addition of homeopathic preparations, specially prepared composts and various fish and seaweed emulsions, as well as the use of nitrogen-enhancing cover crops. Each year, as the winery has

uses organic and biodynamic principles in its 30-hectare vineyard. Here, the vineyard is treated as a living system which interacts with the environment to build a healthy living soil that helps nourish the vines. That being said, before Cullen vineyard manager, Peter Mammone, began working at Cullen four years ago he was trained to believe that any vineyard problem could be treated with chemicals. Ameliorating a vineyard through its soils could only be achieved with synthetic fertilisers. Or so he thought.

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November 2012 – Issue 586

Grapegrower & Winemaker



Biodynamic preparations being applied in the vineyard at Cullen Wines.

concentrated on soil improvement, there has been an increase in the earthworm population. Over time, soil colour has also changed from grey to rich chocolate. The soil now holds moisture better than ever before, helping the vineyard to remain green throughout the dry summer months. Mid-rows are planted with cover crops to compete with weeds and to add organic matter to the soil. An undervine weeder is used to clear beneath the vines, eliminating the need for herbicides. Mulching and composting under the vines, which includes undervine herbs once vines are established, is also undertaken prior to growing season and as the region only experiences winter rains, weeds over summer are not an issue for this biodynamic winery.

“We conduct soil and petiole tests every two years and spray the vineyard every seven to 10 days on average, even during summer,” says Mammone. “Compost is spread annually and we have found that a good organic level in the soil holds the moisture and nutrients, ensuring the essential nutrients are present when the vines require them.” One such preparation Cullen uses involves cow horns being filled with cow manure and then being buried underground over winter. This helps the soil develop humus, attracts earthworms and micro-organisms. The spray produced is then applied to the soil in the vineyard three times a year when either the moon is in opposition to Saturn or is descending.

A Flow Form machine is also used to mix the biodynamic preparations with water. This system mimics the natural process of energising the water. For the horn manure preparation, for example, small amounts of manure are stirred into large volumes of water before being applied to the vineyards. The combination of vertical and horizontal vortices created by the special stirring process is thought to increase the vitality of the preparations and improve their effectiveness on the soils and plants. Vine balance, productivity and grape composition can all be impacted if the vines aren’t receiving the essential nutrients year-round and these examples demonstrate just how important it is to focus on vine nutrition as part of your ongoing vineyard management strategy.

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November 2012 – Issue 586

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Plant tissue analysis can assist growers

Ben Rose

Can you please explain the best way to assess the nutrient requirement of my vineyard and the best method of fertiliser application?

Nutrients can be divided into two types being macro nutrients or those that are required in large amounts and trace elements (sometimes called micronutrients) where only a small amount is required. Grapevine nutrition is, broadly speaking, the requirement of the grapevine for both marconutrients and trace elements. If any one on these elements is deficient it is often called the limiting factor, and its correction may have dramatic results on the growth and development of the grapevine and the yield, ripening and quality of the crop. The macronutrients are generally accepted as being nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulphur (S), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) while the trace elements are zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and copper (Cu). Deficiencies of individual nutrients have various effects on the grapevine (refer Table 1) however a combination of deficiencies may result in differing symptoms. Unfortunately once symptoms are showing, damage has already occurred to the growth of the grapevine or development of the crop

and although correction of the deficiency may alleviate some symptoms in the current season, it may only correct others in the following season (for example fruit set or berry formation). Rather than looking at physical vine symptoms, a better method of determining nutrient deficiencies is to determine the available nutrients analytically. Prior to any nutrient applications in the vineyard it is important to know what is deficient. Both soil and plant tissue analysis have their place. Soil analysis assesses the amount of available nutrients in the soil and the balance of those nutrients. An imbalance in soil chemistry may lead to poor uptake of other nutrients which may be expressed in the grapevine, even though that nutrient appears in the soil at an adequate level. For example high pH soils often show symptoms of iron deficiency in the leaves of grapevine known as lime induced iron chlorosis, while high iron levels in the soil can “lock-up” phosphorous from the grapevine. Plant tissue analysis shows what nutrients the grapevine can actually remove from the soil in adequate amounts. The best approach to grapevine nutrition is to undertake both soil and tissue analysis so that some correlation between soil nutrient status and grapevine nutrient status can be made and appropriate corrective action taken. Fertiliser application can be achieved in a number of ways and will vary depending on the nutrient being applied, the time of the season and the climate. For example, nitrogen is very water soluble but can also be prone

to volatilisation in sunlight. A single large application of nitrogen (as, say, urea) in late winter in a high rainfall environment may lead to leaching of some of the nitrogen through the soil past the root system and only a minor benefit may be attained. Similarly in a dry environment one application of nitrogen may also not be effective as the solid form of nitrogen is turned into a gas and lost to the atmosphere. The best result may be achieved by small timely applications broadcast in a high rainfall environment, or fertigated regularly (through the irrigation system) in a drier climate. The application of animal manure based products such as compost provides a slow release of nitrogen into the soil. They contain nitrogen in many different forms which react differently in the environment, for example nitrogen contained in ammonia is released rapidly (in days) while that contained in amino acids and protein is released slowly (weeks to months). Similarly boron and zinc are not very mobile in the grapevine and symptoms generally develop in the growing tips first. Application to the soil will most likely be ineffective or at best be very slow to alleviate symptoms, while the application of both as a foliage spray may provide rapid results and is generally very cost effective minimising wastage. So a one size fits all approach to nutrient analysis and fertiliser application may not be appropriate, while a combination of both soil and tissue testing and various application techniques will ultimately save time and money, reduce wastage and result in higher quality faster ripening grapes.

Table 1. Some symptom of common deficiencies. Nutrient



Pale leaves, slow or stunted growth


Fruit set, berry size


Uneven/slow ripening


Stunted shoot growth with “zigzag” tips; Poor fruit set with hen and chickens ripening at different times


Stunted shoot growth with “zigzag” tips; Poor fruit set with hen and chickens that ripening at the same time.


Poor growth with small leaves; Poor fruit set particularly in merlot and in acid soils


Pale yellow “chlorotic” leaves


Yellowing between the leaf veins; Delayed berry development


Poor growth with small pale leaves

54 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Ben Rose is the principal advisor of Performance Viticulture ( and Manager – Rural & Agribusiness at Opteon Property ( Ben has always been involved in wine and viticulture, growing up on the family’s Rising Vineyard in the Yarra Valley outside Melbourne. He graduated with first class honours in Agricultural Science at Melbourne University and established Performance Viticulture in 1997. Ben is now also a Certified Practicing Valuer specialising in wine industry assets, specialist rural properties and agribusiness valuations. Phone 0418 836 773 or email:

November 2012 – Issue 586

Stoller beams some light onto the crop production debate Earlier this month Stoller Australia hosted a number of information sessions with plant specialist Lance Beem from the US. Fertilisers A number of successful meetings were held & nutrition in Griffith, Robinvale, Mildura and Renmark with excellent attendance. The theme of the meetings was the aim to get more expression of the genetic potential of a crop. In the case of wine grapes the aim is to optimise production while maintaining the parameters required for quality. Lance Beem is a veteran of the California horticulture and viticulture scene with many years’ experience in extension and research roles in the industry. He was also involved with the development of a number of plant growth regulators including Dormex and Retain. He now heads up the western US research and technical activities for Stoller US. At the Australian meeting, Lance talked about what drives a grapevine and how nutrients and hormones determine the mode of growth for the various components of the vine such a roots, internodes, buds, leaves and tendrils. For a number of years, Stoller has used nutrients and cofactors to manipulate how a plant grows and to restore balance in crops that might have been set off-course by stress and environmental factors. In the early part of the season, elements such as zinc and boron are particularly critical. It is the ratio of two natural plant hormones (auxin and cytokinin) that determine if the plant moves ahead in the spring. Often in the early stages of vine growth the plant is struggling to keep the auxin levels high enough for proper cell initiation and cell division. This is the fascinating bit... Common nutrient elements such as zinc and boron are critically tied to auxin production. If either element is in short supply plant growth is restricted. So in the early pre-flowering growth stages, these two elements are key. “This is just one example of how hormone ratios work”, says Lance. Another plant function that is critically effected by nutrients and hormones is the delivery of sugar to the bunches. “There is a gene that when up-regulated, accelerates sugar movement” explains Lance. It is called the Rubisco gene. “Stoller funded some research that shows that this gene is upregulated when a product called Sugar Mover is applied to plants.” “The product contains boron and other elements and cofactors and can be applied to vines at the beginning of veraison to lift baume.” While some of these concepts take some exposure and understanding to master, Stoller has done the work and is constantly updating the knowledge bank with new findings concerning plant physiology. Stoller relates the nutrients, and interactions with the hormones, that drive the plant. If you talk to the Stoller agronomy team, they can share some of the rules of thumb as they apply to grapevines. Here are some things to think about, inspired by Lance Beem’s presentation. 1. Use a component of amine nitrogen with nitrates to achieve a balance in the vine. 2. Ensure zinc and boron are in place early to allow growth and bunch development 3. Take action if the vine becomes too vegetative and avoid excessive nitrate inputs. November 2012 – Issue 586

Stoller US technical director Lance Beem visiting south east Australia.

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


grapegrowing 4. Work on strategies to move sugars to the berries earlier without upsetting acid levels 5. The roots are the most important thing to look after, maintain consistent root hair growth to keep the vine in balance. David Cavallaro (Stoller Australia technical officer) also took time to explain what chelated nutrients are and how they can work to your advantage. He also spelt out how to measure the performance of nutrient inputs to get the most out of vineyard production. Stoller Australia has been a key supplier to Australian vineyards for more than 16 years and has programs and treatments to address many issues faced by vignerons.

The following list was posted at the beginning of the Lance Beem meetings to pinpoint the purpose for treatments and to encourage audience participation and discussion. • Slow emergence • Poor spring growth • Stress and frost recovery • Nutrient deficiency • Poor Pollination • Improper bunch formation • Maintaining continuous root growth • Early dying – yield loss and cane damage • Biennial bearing • Sodium damage • Nitrogen management These are some of the areas where

Stoller’s nutrient and cofactor treatments can be used to correct issues that are faced by growers. Most of the farmers in attendance were familiar with key Stoller products such as Foli-Zyme (to help plant growth in stress conditions) and ZM2 plus iron (a chelated mix of key nutrients) The discussion continues and Stoller Australia has incorporated the current solutions into the programs and suggestions that the agronomy team brings to Australian vineyards. Information regarding Stoller offerings can be provided by the local Stoller field staff member or by calling Stoller on 1-800 Fertiliser and visiting

Chinese consider phosphorous acid wine limits Kellie Arbuckle

REMOVAL OF THE blanket ban on phosphorous acid in wine being exported to China could be considered as early as the 2013/14 season, according to Wine Grape Growers Australia committee member Simon Berry. Berry has been working with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia on a submission to Chinese officials that lays out the case for establishing maximum residue limits (MRLs) for phosphorous acid in China. As China currently has no MRLs set for phosphorous acid, the limit for use automatically defaults to zero, meaning the fungicide – which is used to control downy mildew – cannot be used by growers who grow winegrapes for exported wine. The submission, which has been translated in Chinese, also explains MRLs for phosphorous acid around the world and seeks options, such as the potential for temporary permits. Berry, who co-authored the submission

Australia’s wine industry portal by Winetitles

56 Grapegrower & Winemaker

with Tony Battaglene from the WFA, says the submission is currently in the hands of Chinese authorities. “It’s all about harmonising what levels of MRLs different countries have among themselves and the rest of the world with their trading partners,” Berry said. “The submission is currently with Chinese Departments of Agriculture and Health, and the Codex Committee on Pesticide residues. “If all goes well, we might be able to use phosphorous acid by the 2013 or 2014 growing season but it’s very much in their hands at this stage.” The submission is the latest step in a jointly funded project by WGGA and the WFA to negotiate phosphorous acid MRLs in Canada and China. While the WFA was successful in having Canada institute a series of temporary permits, negotiations in China are ongoing. Berry was among a group of Australian wine delegates, including representatives

from the WFA and Wine Australia, who travelled to China to discuss the issue with Chinese officials in July. He says the meetings generated a positive response and demonstrated the benefits of a collaborative approach. “The Chinese were very open and helpful about it. Food safety is very high on their agenda. We left on a confident note that we had been heard, that they understood what we wanted to do and they explained to us how it needed to happen,” he said. Berry said Australian growers wanted the flexibility to use phosphorous acid to reduce the impact of downy mildew in times of need, such as the wet 2011 season. He said the need to reduce barriers for MRLs of phosphorous acid in China was of growing importance, particularly with the opportunities of China as an emerging high value market.

Features include wine show calendar, vintage reports, buyers’ guide, wine industry classifieds including employment and access to Wine Industry Directory Online.

November 2012 – Issue 586


DELTA technology provides vital boost to Aussie grapegrowers GRAPEGROWERS IN SOUTH Australia’s productive Riverland a re tu r ning to the technology of Irrigation Newcastle-based company DELTAwater solutions to drastically cut maintenance and improve performance in their vital irrigation systems. Renmark-based irrigation agronomist Trevor Sluggett says some growers are so pleased with the results after installing the DELTA technology, they’ve returned for more units. Sluggett, who works with Riverlandbased firm River Rain Irrigation, says grapegrowers have recognised the potential the technology can deliver to drip irrigation systems. And he says interest in the DELTA product is increasing as growers hunt for ways to boost irrigation system efficiency, lower water use and improve yields. Sluggett says some growers plagued with clogged dripper irrigation systems due to algae and other biological activity have reported substantial maintenance savings after installing a DELTA unit. “All these systems in the lower part of the Murray River need a stringent maintenance program or the performance of these systems declines over time,” he says. “Growers pumping water from backwaters off the main river stream have been the keenest to install the technology


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58 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Riverland grape grower Dino Sigismondi, right, starts to install a DELTA SU450 SL501 onto a 450mm pipeline on the Murray River 30 kilometres down river from Loxton, SA. The pipeline irrigates a 121-hectare vineyard.

as they find their water is harder to filter and drip systems block up very quickly. “These growers have had amazing results, such that even growers pumping better quality water are showing interest.” Grapegrower Dino Sigismondi reckons it was a “very good day” when he first installed the DELTA technology on his drip irrigation system about five years ago. Since then Sigismondi, from SA’s productive Riverland, has added another five DELTA units to his vineyard operation after the technology proved resoundingly successful in banishing algae from irrigation systems. “The units keep the dripper lines very clean,” Sigismondi says. “Since installing them I haven’t had to chlorinate the drippers and I used to do that twice a year. “We’ve now got a clean irrigation system, a more efficient system, the pressure is higher and I think the vines look a lot healthier too. Since we installed the first DELTA we haven’t looked back.” Dino and wife Veronica grow grapes on about 250 hectares of land, split between Lyrup and New Residence districts on the Murray River. While they produce the bulk of their harvest under contract to big wineries, the couple also run their own boutique winery, Sigismondi Estate Wines. All irrigation supply comes from the Murray River. “Our six DELTA units are spread right across all our properties,” Dino says. “I’ve only just installed our biggest one, a 450-millimetre diameter grade-three unit (DELTA SU450 SL501) on 450mm pipe this year. There are a quite a few DELTA units around here now and more

and more growers are starting to put them in.” Grapegrower Louis Curtis believes his irrigation system is cleaner and more efficient since he installed three DELTA magnetic water conditioners to treat river water supply. Curtis, who runs second-generation Curtis Vineyards at Pike River in SA, says he turned to DELTA technology about two years ago after becoming frustrated with having to clean filter systems at his pump stations so regularly. Curtis installed three DELTA units − two 200mm grade-four units and a 300mm grade-four unit − at pump stations before the automatic flushing filters and waited to see what happened. “Over time I noticed the automatic flush filters weren’t flushing as often and that tells me the system’s running much cleaner,” he says. “I pulled the filters down a few months later and they were cleaner. It has cut maintenance of the filters at the pump station by at least 30 per cent.” The DELTA technology, a water treatment system that incorporates high density magnets, is used extensively across Australia and overseas and addresses problems including scale, iron, salinity and corrosion in irrigation, industrial, mining, domestic and garden systems. DELTAwater solutions, founded by Alex and Dianne Panov, is based in the industrial hub of Newcastle and has been helping solve water problems in agriculture, mining, industry and households for two decades. More at: November 2012 – Issue 586

The United Grower November 2012 The newsletter of Wine Grape Growers Australia

The United Grower

is produced by

for the winegrape industry Sponsored by

WGGA proudly acknowledges its associate members – Advanced Viticulture and Management, AHA Viticulture, Belvino Investments, Red Acre, Retallack Viticulture, SCE-Energy Solutions, Vine Sight, Vitibit and Woodshield.

Address: Level 1, Industry House, National Wine Centre Corner Botanic and Hackney Roads Adelaide, SA 5000 Telephone: (08) 8133 4400 Facsimile: (08) 8133 4466 Email: Website:

Research helps to explain slow adjustment The September edition of the United Grower included a table illustrating that the average grower in warm inland and coolertemperate growing districts of Australia had not met costs of production for the last three years. These calculations by WGGA were largely based on standard industry statistics. This finding begs a couple of questions: “Why would a grower stay in a business that wasn’t profitable over such a long period?” and “What can be done about it?” A study published earlier this year by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries and Resources1 goes some way to answering both questions. It offers an explanation for why and points to a government policy role in responding to the problem. In response to the despairing question “Why isn’t adjustment occurring more rapidly in the industry?” growers often say things like “It’ll get better soon”, “I’ve been through this before”, “If I can just survive, I’ll get through to better times”. Some commentators consider these responses to be emotional, irrational or at worst, ignorant. However, the VDPI study suggests that the grower responses are rational. The authors of the study examined the incentives behind winegrape growers’ decisions to stay in business or leave during periods of low returns. They concluded that there was an economic rationale for enduring operating losses over an extended period. Their work suggests that

the significant establishment costs and volatile seasonal revenues experienced in winegrape growing underpin a significant incentive to ‘wait-and-see’ before deciding to exit – despite the hardship. The wait-and-see approach is rational because abandoning a vineyard incurs the loss of all or part of the establishment investment and risks forsaking future profits that would recoup the losses, when (or if?) the up cycle comes around. The problem is that if the cycle doesn’t turn in a timely fashion (and WGGA is pessimistic about the likelihood of a significant increase in demand for grapes in the next few years), people get deeper into debt, with little prospect of recovering the losses. In economic jargon, the situation described above is a ‘market failure’. Traditionally, because people get hurt when markets do not work properly, governments attempt to set policy to improve the market. It seems like that’s what is required here and the study’s authors have some suggestions. These include promoting larger-scale production so that the overall impact of establishment costs on the business is less and consistency in farm policy between facilitating exit and sustaining continuous production so that investment decisions have more certainty. Seyoum, E and Chan, C: A real-option analysis of wine grape farming in north west Victoria, Research paper 2112.4, Victorian DPI, March 2012


Setting the benchmark for benchmarking Murray Valley Winegrowers are to be congratulated for embracing financial benchmarking for winegrape growing in their area. They have done this for a number of years, and each time have provided their growers with useful insights into the financial performance of their region. The latest set of numbers was presented at the Murray Valley Winegrowers’ ‘Future Focus’ conference in early September. Here at WGGA, we have

fielded inquiries from people try to access the data from Murray Valley because theirs is the only benchmarking that exists. The Murray Valley benchmarking data has been collected through WGGA’s financial benchmarking tool, VineBiz. The Murray Valley model of regional benchmarking is strongly advocated to other regions. Contact us if you want to know more (www.wgga. November 2012 The United Grower 1

Committee and staff news

Your WGGA executive committee's views Victor Patrick (chair) Electoral zone: South Australia (voting member) “Wine grapegrowers in coastal temperate regions should consider growing moderate crops of good quality fruit for Vintage 2013”

Justin Jarrett (deputy chair) Electoral zone: New South Wales/Queensland (voting member) “With some growth in the lower end and top end, the majority of the Australian wine industry is still doing it tough – so we need to work on our business plans.”

Bob Bellato

Kerry Smart Electoral zone: Greater Western Australia (voting member) “With the possibility of a return to low rainfall or drought in southern Australia, it’s a good time to reassess our vineyards and remove unprofitable plantings in order to utilise scarce water resources on those varieties that can be grown and sold at a profit.”

Simon Berry Electoral zone: South Australia (voting member) “Will need a market-led return to supply-demand balance. Grower optimism is high, with resistance to vine removal and buying activity increased. Season shaping up next few weeks watching frost, hail, and set.” Electoral zone: New South Wales/Riverina (voting member) “With a shortage of red wine in stock in Australia this is an opportune time for growers to sit down with their winemakers and negotiate sustainable prices for their winegrapes.”

Kym Ludvigsen Electoral zone: Greater Victoria/Tasmania (voting member) “The need for an effective national vine health/ biosecurity committee has never been more important. Not only phylloxera, but super nematodes and damaging viruses associated with mealybug in SA highlight Australia’s need for a national united and agreed approach to grapevine biosecurity.”

ANDREW WEEKS Email: Electoral Zone: Riverland (voting member)

Dennis Mills Electoral zone: Murray Valley (voting member) “Who would have predicted that Gordo would emerge as the most wanted variety in the Murray Valley – leaving Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz in its wake – its rapid rise on the back of the Moscato boom shows how difficult it is to pick the next wine trend!”

“Another season is under way, with growers in the region diligently applying early fungicide sprays. All are hoping for continued improvement in the overall industry position.”

Lawrie Stanford (executive director) (non-voting member) “Here we go again, another production season approaching. In WGGA, we expect this year to reveal firmer trends in supply-demand balance, industry representation and key development projects.”

About WGGA … Our mission WGGA exists to be an effective advocate at the national level for the interests of Australia’s winegrape growers. Our vision We want a profitable and viable national Australian winegrape industry that is respected along the value chain for its responsible production practices, quality produce, innovation and business acumen. Our key functions • Effective advocacy - to undertake government and industry advocacy in key policy areas such as biosecurity,

market access for winegrapes, harmonised standards and protocols between jurisdictions, tax, national water arrangements, the environment and industrial relations. • Biosecurity and vine health – to fulfil the wine sector’s obligations to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and to advance the sector’s national biosecurity management arrangements. • Market access for winegrapes – to develop and maintain industry standards and codes of conduct for the sale and purchase of winegrapes. Negotiate

2 The United Grower November 2012

limits to residues in wine from vineyard practices and linking better prices with desirable winegrape characteristics. • Research and development - to support research, development and extension programs which promote innovation to improve growers’ profitability and sustainability. • Raise the status of winegrape growers - to build industry relationships and the profile of winegrape growing to benefit our members and to position growers as a full equity partner within the wine sector.

WGGA Opinions

What a difference a year makes – or does it? 2012 seems to have been generally regarded as a good vintage, in contrast with 2011. However, while we read reports headed “Standout vintage eases supply pressure” and “green shoots to build on”, both of which are positive industry messages and welcomed, we should be mindful of the fact that not all the signs are favourable. On the positive side, a crush of 1.66mt – just above the five-year average of 1.63mt – should have a positive effect on the stock/sales ratio and “balance”. Sales of Australian wine were lower last year than the year before, but the rate of decline appears to be slowing down. On the negative side: imports continue to grow and sales at unsustainable prices continue. We are in a better position now than we have been in the recent past, as a result of

modest price increases and manageable vintage volumes. Winegrape purchases in 2012 were estimated at just over one million tonnes and prices on average increased by more than 10%. While this is positive news, the average price was still 36% below that reported in 2008; meanwhile costs of production continue to rise. And while red variety prices increased by 13% to average $546/t, white variety prices were disappointing at $379/t. Was this a result of a change in supply/ demand dynamics, or objective quality measurement? (Or both?) Warm Inland regions did best, with red varieties showing a 22% price increase and yields satisfactory-to-good in all regions other than the flood-damaged Riverina and other areas caught up in the monsooninspired rainfall pattern that swept down

from north-west Australia at the end of the season. The cool temperate regions did not fare as well. While the average price for red varieties increased by 17% to $1039/t, white variety prices were virtually static and low yields (in some regions 50% below average) have seriously damaged grower profitability and their ability to restructure. Imagine the worst-case scenario an aboveaverage crop of 1.8-1.9mt (which we are still capable of producing, based on current bearing areas) and a quality level like 2011. Horror! Yes, a year does make a difference but adjustment still needs to occur, and expansion - particularly from potential new entrants in the grapegrowing industry - is not yet justified. Vic Patrick, WGGA Chair

Have you been receiving the WGGA e-Alerts? WGGA e-Alerts are emails distributed by WGGA as it receives notices of events and opportunities you may wish to know about. These notices are kindly forwarded through regional associations. If you haven’t heard about them and you are interested, contact your local association or us at

Fully costed or fooling around? Recent experience in asking around for a standard ‘cost of production’ by region has been revealing. It probably won’t be a surprise to hear that the reported amount varies a great deal between different people. My perception is that this is less often about business-to-business differences in costs than it is about differences in what is included or omitted. The problem with the latter is that if there are omissions (that is, the business isn’t fully costed), it is hard to know what margin the business is making. Margin is the all-important target for a sustainable business. Wages are probably the most common omission from costs. This occurs if the vineyard owner (or a family member) works on the property but doesn’t take out a wage. A way to think about this is that if

the person not drawing a wage is doing so to cut costs and they then get sick – the business needs to pay someone else to do the work. But, if the business can’t support the owner’s wage, it can’t support a replacement and the business is not truly sustainable. Depreciation is a mysterious cost to many people. If the business buys a $50,000 machine that is expected to last 10 years then in broad terms it costs $5,000 a year. This is not a cash cost but it should be viewed as an annual cost to the business over its life. When it does have to be replaced, it needs to be kept in mind that money will need to be found to pay for the replacement. This is a good reason why a margin is important – it is the margin that will pay for replacements. If the machine is

not replaced at the end of its life – it may appear costless but it should be borne in mind that there will be ‘other’ costs, like increased repairs and maintenance or lost productivity through old technology. Similar issues can be raised in other areas of farm accounts, for example interest payments and principal payments on loans. Then there is the return on investment. Without an appropriate margin, there is no money for building the business, sending the kids to school, food, holidays and so on. When prices are low it may seem hard enough to earn revenues that cover operating costs – never mind the rest. But, if all costs are not accounted for, sustainability of the business cannot be assured. Lawrie Stanford, Executive Director

Do you have any comments? WGGA welcomes your responses and suggestions about anything you read in this newsletter (or in general about WGGA). Let us know at

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Winning ways… Winners of The History of Australian Wine WGGA would like to thank all members who signed up/registered for membership in 2012-13. Our registered-member numbers are almost double compared to 2011-12 and this give us confidence that the national voice for growers is strengthening. Members renewing by 30 September 2012 went into a draw to win one of two copies of Max Allen’s The History of Australian Wine. We are happy to announce that the winners were Liz Riley (Vitbit viticulture consultant, NSW Hunter) and Bill Hardy (Pelion East Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills). Congratulations to these two and we hope they find Max’s account of the Australian wine industry’s development throughout the 20th century of interest. While special offers closed on 30 September, we are open for membership at any time. You can visit our website at and download an application form or call (08) 8133 4400 and join over the phone.

Winner of the 2012 Australian Rural Women’s Award In the March 2012 United Grower we congratulated Mary Retallack on her win at the SA chapter of the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award. We also alerted readers to Mary’s entitlement to then compete at the national

level. Well, the news is all good. WGGA is able to congratulate Mary Retallack for winning the 2012 Australian Rural Women’s Award. The award recognises her Women in Wine website, which aims to provide a central meeting place and information hub for women to collaborate, share their ideas, mentor and support each other. Mary is the second South Australian to win the award since it started in 1994, when it was won by another Riverland woman, Deborah Thiele from Waikerie.

Winning a delegate’s spot Vinitech is sponsoring a delegation of industry professionals from Australia to

attend its VINITECH-SIFEL international trade show is being held in Bordeaux, France later this month. The VINITECH trade show is a biennial event which focuses on equipment and technology for grape growing and winemaking and showcases the latest technological innovations. Andrew Weeks, the Riverland representative on WGGA’s Executive Committee, has been invited to participate in this group as a grower representative. We look forward to Andrew’s return when he will share his experiences with us and give us a “headsup” on the latest technological advances in winegrape growing.

Guidelines for conducting negotiations Grapegrowers will very likely need to negotiate with a winemaker regarding purchases of their fruit. Negotiations may also need to occur with contractors, suppliers, employees and people in other areas of life. A common concern is that “standing up for yourself” will lead to retaliation by the winery and loss of the business. Good negotiation skills are about getting the best outcome without compromising the relationship with the other party. WGGA has prepared a set of guidelines on effective negotiations. It covers the key steps of Preparation, Negotiation and Striking a Deal – as well as tactics when negotiations get stuck, tactics when negotiations break down completely and negotiating a dispute.

Here are a few of the key tips: • Successful negotiation is 80% preparation. Write down objectives, the absolute bottom line, and strengths and weaknesses in the position to be negotiated. Do some research to support any claims (eg the current market price or comparisons with the competition). • When negotiating, the three most important things to do are listen, listen and listen. The more listening and asking questions that occurs, the better the understanding will be about the other party’s position and this will better enable effective counter positions. • Negotiate in small chunks. Acknowledge and sign-off on “mini-deals” along the way. For example: “So we’ve agreed on

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the price and tonnes for the Chardonnay – now what about Shiraz.” • When negotiating disputes, make sure the negotiation is “without prejudice”. This is a legal term for statements that cannot be used in court if the discussions break down. Any offers or discussion under these terms cannot be referred to in court. And finally……. • The best solution is always a “win-win” solution based on cooperation, because this preserves the relationship with the other party for the future. Remember that your customer should not be your enemy. The full guidelines titled Negotiation Guidelines for Grapegrowers can be found on the WGGA website at

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The grower behind the brand grower: David Zadow Brand: Oxford Landing winery: Yalumba WINERY KEY CONTACT: Ashley Ratcliff The wine and wine company What are Oxford Landing consumers looking for in the wine? Yalumba discerns that the consumers of Oxford Landing branded wines seek quality at a price and environmental responsibility in its production. Oxford Landing Estates makes demands on their growers for annual enhancement of these characteristics. Oxford Landing Estates is …. Oxford Landing Estates is a part of Yalumba and the key winery contact behind the brand is Oxford Landing Estates Viticulture and Winery Manager, Ashley Ratcliff. Ashley is quick to point out though, that there are countless other staff involved. The staff have farming backgrounds and everyone in the relationship has a healthy understanding that success in business relies on a willingness to work together during tough times. Ashley believes the relationship shared between Yalumba and the growers is special and rare.

how it is different to many others is difficult to pinpoint. Between ourselves and the company, I think we would agree that respect, history, compassion, honesty and a sense of humour are key ingredients. For Yalumba of course, having a strong relationship with us makes good business sense. What have you done in your business to respond to the winery’s requirements? In response to annual requests for quality and environmental improvements, we have invested heavily in infrastructure and it comes at a cost. Over the past ten years, we have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on converting overhead irrigation to drip, planting new and wanted grape varieties and installing a 30Kw solar farm.

The grower Tell us about yourself, David I run a family grape growing business in the Riverland, SA and we are third-generation Oxford Landing Estate growers. Our history with the brand started back in 1963. I am lucky to have two sets of twins and hope they too, will continue the relationship between Oxford Landing Estates and the Zadow family.

Times have been tough in recent years, how does the relationship endure? Recent demand for Riverland grapes has seen an influx of wineries attempting to buy grapes in the region and it has become a challenge for companies who have underestimated the value of a relationship. Yalumba (Oxford Landing Estates) has stood by us in the years of oversupply and that now means their grape supply from us in 2013 is guaranteed. Such a relationship allows both the winery and the grower to plan for the future.

How are the arrangements with the wine company negotiated? Our arrangements are based on a handshake agreement between our family and the winery. A grape supply agreement is not central to the arrangements we make. While the company demands continuous improvement, it works because our trust has never been betrayed. Why do you think the relationship works? Identifying what makes the relationship work and

Alert: changes to the WET rebate The Australian Tax Office has advised that the Tax Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 5) Bill 2012 was introduced into parliament on 19 September 2012. If passed, the bill will result in amendments to the wine equalisation tax (WET) wine producer rebate scheme. The amendments will ensure a wine producer

is not entitled to the WET producer rebate for any wine on which a WET producer rebate has already been claimed. If a wine producer acquires wine from a third party and uses it in further manufacture, the amount of producer rebate to which they are entitled must be reduced by an amount equal to the rebate claimed by the earlier producer.


The changes are not yet law but the measure is intended to take effect from 1 December 2012 or at the date of royal assent - whichever is later. This notice is to forewarn any producer with an interest in the rebate scheme. A good starting point for more information is content/00321960.htm


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Wine Industry Award 2010 – Fair Work Australia Review Fair Work Australia (FWA) is in the process of conducting an interim review of modern awards as it is legally required to do under the Fair Work Act 2009. The awards they review will be determined by responses to a call for applications for change by interested parties. These applications were made in March 2012. After receiving submissions from industry, an application for changes to the Wine Industry Award 2010 was made by the wine industry through the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA). Among other things, the application sought changes to penalty rates, a revised classification structure through to providing for the ability to annualise salaries. A copy of the

application can be viewed on the SAWIA Noticeboard at http://www.winesa.asn. au/members/advice-information/employeeindustrial-relations . Success in applications for change is decided in part by the evidence the industry presents to support their application and part by the argument that may be presented by parties opposing the application or by the FWA. Consultation and evidence collection is going on within the Australia wine industry in preparation for the Wine Industry Award 2010 application which will be heard in April/May 2013. The consultation is being coordinated by SAWIA and other state and national wine industry bodies. FWA is hearing a variety of applications

across a number of modern awards. Of particular note is the application by a union to change public holiday provisions in various awards, including in the Wine Industry Award 2010. Grape growing employers who utilise and rely upon the Wine Industry Award 2010 are invited to get involved by providing your views and ‘support’ or evidence for these,or, if you have alternative views (to the application) then we would also ask you to let us know. To do so, please contact the author at SAWIA via phone (08) 8222 921 or email as soon as possible. Sarah Hills, Business Services Manager, SAWIA (October 2012)

Study points to financial planning as a contributor to farm viability Recent research commissioned by the (federal) Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry1 points to a key role for farm financial planning for viability. The market research looked into the attitude and behaviours of rural producers. Across eleven rural industries (cereal, beef, dairy, sugar cane etc), producers were categorised according to their financial comfort/difficulty and their propensity to stay/leave farming. The categories tended to sort themselves into age groups and the broad findings for each group is indicated in the table below. It is fascinating to observe from this work that farmers in the younger age profiles were of two types. First, those that

considered financial resources to be a good thing in theory, but that they didn’t have time for it and second, those who actively used financial resources. Among these groups there was a strong correlation between the use of financial resources and not having problems with debt or relying on off-farm income. This suggests that making a commitment to business and financial planning may be the key to remaining profitable. The work points to a difference between younger and older producers. The older age groups tend not to use financial planning resources and perhaps counterintuitively, given the earlier conclusion, did not have debt and did not rely on off-farm

income to get by. Conceivably, the lack of debt and reliance on off-farm income can be explained by the fact that these producers have had time to clear debt in the past or given that they include producers ‘preparing to leave’, some in this age segment are in a holding pattern until this occurs. Nevertheless, it does say that the next generation of farmers is more businesssavvy. 1 Kaliber – Market research with a difference, 2000, “Benchmark & tracking the attitudes & behaviours of rural producers” (Longitudinal research conducted on the behalf of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Australia.

Kaliber market research into producer attitudes*

Average age of category

Attitude to financial resources


Off-farm income

Kaliber descriptor of category


Most likely to have a farm plan Most likely to seek and pay for advice Financial planning is important Seeks marketing information for production planning

Not a problem

Not reliant on

Business person


Would like to but no time

Problem (somewhat) Crucial


The resources need to be simplified/ Problem No time


Questioning involvement (‘would leave if I could’)


Not likely to pay for advice Financial planning is not seen as vital Not likely to seek marketing information

Not a problem

Not vital

Preparing to leave


Tends not to have a farm plan Least likely to seek and/or pay for advice

Not a problem

Not indicated


*WGGA interpretation of findings 6 The United Grower November 2012

Committed/Doing it tough

Fact Box

Supply and Demand Balance? One of the positives in the industry at the moment is that wine inventory is decreasing (see the bars in the associated graph). This has to be good – but how good? Does it mean the industry is in balance? This fact box attempts to gauge this. It is not a rigorous analysis the question is too complex and the available data inadequate but some broad conclusions are possible. ‘Balance’ is when wine inventory is exactly what is needed to support a year’s sales (holding more inventory than is needed for a year’s sales in means oversupply and less means undersupply). Traditionally in the industry, 1.5 to 1.6 years of inventory is needed to support one year of sales (based on a number of factors such as when the wine is made, time for it to mature and so on).That is a stock-tosales ratio (SSR) of between 1.5 and 1.6 is

considered to represent balance. The blue line in the graph shows the actual SSR over the past 20 years. It can be seen that for the past two years, the ratio has dipped below the lower comfort level of 1.5 – indicating undersupply. Can this be so? Instinctively, very few people would think so. The answer to the apparent contradiction lies in the unprofitable sales that are occurring at the moment. Businesses don’t hold inventory against such sales – the objective is just to get rid of stock because it is in excess. Businesses only hold stock to support profitable sales. The stock-to sales ratio should therefore be stock-to-profitable-sales not stock-to-all-sales . The stock-to-profitable-sales, or balance in profitable sales, is illustrated by the black line.

Viewed this way, the industry been in balance or close to it since 2006-07 – but is still generally oversupplied. The concerning thing is that the 1.53 million tonne harvest in 2011 took the ratio away from the comfort zone. Moreover, the subsequent 2012 harvest was bigger, at 1.66 million tonnes and sales have been lower (therefore not as much stock is needed). In addition, ABARES is projecting higher harvests in the next two years after 2012. Therefore, while inventory has been decreasing over the past two years, signs are that it may increase again in the next few years, taking the industry away from balance. Moreover, if reduced sales continue there will be a compounding effect on the stock-to-sales ratio by lifting if higher.




1.8 1,500



Closing stocks (MLs)

SSR – Stocks-to-sales ratio (closing stocks over past year’s sales)








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winemaking US north coast gets access to flash extraction New flash détente system units expected to be ready for this harvest in Sonoma County, California. This is an edited version of an article first published on on September 20, 2012. Andrew Adams

RUDY ZUIDEMA WAS excited at the prospect of receiving some special shipping containers back in September, and the winemaker planned to have the new Italian winemaking equipment in these containers ‘up and flashing’ by the beginning of October. Zuidema, who owns and operates Flash Wine Technologies at Kunde Family Estate winery in Kenwood, California, is offering one of two new options for North Coast vintners looking to employ flash extraction. Tyson Rippey, general manager of the Vintners Group, confirmed that the company has installed a unit at Carneros Vintners, located near Sonoma, California. Both companies purchased their machines from Della Toffola, an Italian manufacturer, which refers to the process as ‘Thermoflash’. A French company, Pera, installed the first flash détente system at the Monterey Wine Co. in time for the 2009 harvest.

How it works Both systems take red wine must and run it through a high heat chamber, then into a vacuum where the grapes are cooled so quickly they explode. The ‘flash’ releases steam that contains pyrazines and other flavor compounds, which can be separated from the must. The process instantly extracts color and tannin from

November 2012 – Issue 586

the skins before fermentation. A winemaking consultant for several wineries, Zuidema said he wants to provide an option for smaller wineries to experiment with the technology − or enable larger wineries to make “very bright, fruit-forward lots that they can sprinkle throughout the cellar”. The machines are not cheap. Zuidema said he and an investor spent $750,000 on their machine, and Rippey said the total investment at Carneros Vintners is a “seven-figure” amount not expected to top $2 million.

More demand in the United States US winemakers appear to be opening up to the technology. In August, Roots Run Deep Winery in Napa Valley announced the release of its Hypothesis Cabernet Sauvignon and touted the fact the wine had been barrel fermented after running the grapes through flash détente. The challenging harvests of 2010 and 2011 may have helped winemakers see the potential benefits of flash extraction. Zuidema is leasing space at Kunde while running the flash system. He said he’s merely a custom crush client with extra equipment and has no formal partnership with Kunde. He plans to process 1000 tons of fruit this vintage and has about 800 tons already booked.

He said he’s offering flash services for a minimum of 10 tons, as his machine can process 10 tons per hour. The price depends on the size of the job. Small, 10-ton jobs will cost $3.15 per gallon, while larger jobs of around 100 tons could be up to a dollar cheaper. Kunde winery will provide crushing and pressing services. Clients can opt to crush and destem, flash and then press to barrel, for a red wine barrel ferment that winemakers can manage like white juice.

What to flash Zuidema said that with this season’s ideal weather, this vintage would offer winemakers a chance to see what flash détente can do with good fruit. “We’re working with high-end stuff,” he said. Zuidema added that flash also is great for grapes from virus-compromised vines that just can’t cross the finish line – or for that lot of grapes from the shady part of the vineyard. It also enables a larger winery to purchase C+ fruit and then spend just a little more to maximise the fruit’s potential.

What’s the price? Carneros Vintners requires a minimum of 15 tons per client but that could change to 10. Rippey said the price at the lower end of the scale was $400 per ton.

Grapegrower & Winemaker



A story of renewal in an ancient land

A Rishon Le Zion-based wine industry writer reveals the fascinating story behind one of Israel’s major wineries.

The brandy barrel cellar at Carmel’s Zichron Ya’acov Winery.

Adam Montefiore

Carmel Winery is the historic winery of Israel. Its story matches that of both Israel and the country’s wine industry as a whole. Carmel is not only Israel’s oldest brand but also was Israel’s first exporter. It is an historic place. No less than three future prime ministers of Israel worked at Carmel in their early years, including David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. Carmel has produced wine in three different centuries, under the auspices of the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and the State of Israel. For over 120 years, Carmel has been

the national winery of Israel, producing wines in every style and at every price point.

Historical background The winery was founded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, a banker from Paris, an art collector and owner of the famous Bordeaux winery, Château Lafite. He founded both Carmel and the modern Israeli wine industry. He sent cuttings from Lafite, viticulturists from France and a winemaker from Bordeaux. Today, Carmel Winery owns the

large wineries at Zichron Ya’acov and Rishon Le Zion, and two small wineries: Kayoumi Winery in the north and Yatir Winery in the south. Between them, they produce 15 million bottles a year. These range from the Carmel Limited Edition, regarded as one of Israel’s very finest wines, to Carmel Selected, Israel’s largest selling brand. The head office is at Rishon Le Zion, but the center of the winery operations is at Zichron Ya’acov. Zichron Ya’acov Wine Cellars is the largest winery in Israel. It is the heart of the most traditional wine-growing region

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winemaking in Israel. Zichron Ya’acov is a charming town which still has an atmosphere of pre- state Israel. It is situated south of Haifa on the southern slopes of Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. There is a large concentration of vineyards in the surrounding valleys. The winery was built in 1892. Baron Rothschild had to build deep underground cellars to ensure a constant cool temperature in the hot climate of the Levant. Zichron Ya’acov Wine Cellars alone cost him 5 million francs – which was more than the 4 million francs it cost to purchase Château Lafite. The winery itself represents the

history of Israeli wine with its authentic cellars and refurbished cement tanks. However it also represents the cutting edge of new technology. A new sophisticated facility for handcrafted, upper level wines was opened in 2003 and a micro winery was set up for experimental winemaking. The main winery underwent a series of significant refurbishments throughout the 2000s, cumulating in the large investments to renovate the winery into the three distinct sections: popular premium, super premium and ultra-premium. Seeing the virtually new winery today, within its 120-year-old setting, is to understand the recent quality revolution in Israeli wine. In addition to Zichron, Carmel also owns two small state-of-the art wineries

Carmel Winery’s Yatir Forest flagship wine.

Alma vineyard in the Upper Galilee.

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close to key vineyards. Kayoumi Winery at Ramat Dalton in the Upper Galilee, was opened in 2004. It is a technologically advanced custom crush center for the fruit from Carmel’s Galilee vineyards, which works in coordination with Zichron Ya’acov. Yatir Winery, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carmel, was built in 2000. It is situated at Tel Arad in the north eastern Negev. Yatir is an independent brand in its own right, which has proved to be one of Israel’s finest boutique wineries.

The vineyards Carmel has 1400 hectares (3458 acres) of vineyards that cover the land of Israel from the Upper Galilee in the north to the Negev in the south. Carmel is therefore able to cherry pick from vineyards of every wine region and every terroir. Historically Carmel has always had many vineyards in the coastal regions of Israel including around Mt. Carmel and in the central Judean Plain and Foothills. Carmel was also the pioneer of the Negev, planting the Ramat Arad vineyard in 1988. Today, Carmel is particularly well represented in the Upper Galilee, where it is the main vineyard owner. Many of Carmel’s finest wines come from their Upper Galilee vineyards, which were planted from the late 1990s onwards. The most well-known vineyard is called Kayoumi, which lies at 750 meters altitude in the foothills of Mount Meron in the Upper Galilee. The higher part of the vineyard is a mixture of basalt stone and limestone; the lower part is terra rossa. This vineyard has produced some of Carmel’s award winning single vineyard wines. Carmel also has a number of old bush vine vineyards, particularly Carignan in the Zichron Ya’acov − Mount Carmel

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winemaking region, and Petite Sirah, in the Judean Hills. By lowering yields, and using old vine vineyards, Carmel has succeeded in reviving these traditional varieties, which are now producing quality wines of real character.

The winemaker The chief winemaker of Carmel Winery is Lior Lacser. He is a graduate of CFPPA in Beaune in Burgundy. He has experience in both Burgundy and Bordeaux, having worked at Domaine Comte Armand, Pommard and Château le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol. He was fortunate to work with Michel Rolland, arguably the most famous and certainly the most influential winemaking consultant in the world today. He followed this with experience in Australia by working for Harman’s Ridge Estate in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. He joined Carmel in 2003 Lacser says, “My objective is to make fruit-led, elegant wines, where the effect of oak ageing is not too dominant.” Dr. Gil Nir is Carmel’s chief viticulturist and a leader in his field. He has been at the forefront of research on vines and vineyards and an advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture and Israel Wine and

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Kayoumi Vineyard in shadow of Mount Meron in the Upper Galilee.

Grapes Board. Carmel’s vineyards are directly managed by the winery and all vineyard activities are strictly controlled by the winemakers. Carmel produces wines under four labels: Carmel Single Vineyard, Appellation, Private Collection and Selected. They also have two prestige blends – Carmel Limited Edition, a Bordeaux style blend, and Carmel

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Mediterranean, a blend inspired by Mediterranean blends. The international recognition recently received by Carmel from international critics and awards received by major tasting competitions indicate that Carmel is today making some of the finest Israeli wines, which is capturing the world’s attention to the potential of Israel as a quality wineproducing country.

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Developing countries join ranks of participants at 2012 World Bulk Wine Exhibition The fourth World Bulk Wine Exhibition will be held in Amsterdam on 19-20 November and organisers are confident that this year’s event will continue to follow its upward trajectory. Exhibitor numbers are up, partly bolstered by the arrival of new producer countries. This article first appeared online on La Journée Vinicole, edition No. 321, 28 September 2012. EXHIBITORS INCLUDE THE United States and Austria, both of which will broaden the ever-increasing range of producer countries present at the show that already features Argentina, Australia, Chile, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa and Uruguay. That such a comprehensive range of producer countries should take part in the show is evidence of the pivotal role played by bulk wine sales worldwide. Such behemoths as Cofco from China, as well as firms such as Giertz Vinimport AB from Sweden and Natures Bounty Wines & Allied Products from India, have confirmed that they will be attending this year’s event. In India, where wine drinking is still nascent, imports grow significantly year on year. According to Comtrade data, imports of bulk wines into India rose from 9013 hectolitres in 2009 to 40,820 hl in 2010. The local wine industry is increasingly gearing itself to imports of bulk wines and India boasts a number of large glass firms, ensuring the supply of bottles to the wine trade. We spoke to Arinder Singh Wadhwa, CEO and executive director of Natures Bounty Wines & Allied Products and a visitor to WBWE, about the current state of play for bulk wines in India.

Tell us about Natures Bounty Wines & Allied Product We import wines and spirits from various countries across the world. We have distribution networks, our own sales staff and sell wines across all of India. We sell to restaurants, clubs and other outlets and our products our distributed across all major markets in India. We tied up with an Indian wine making company, Nirvana Biosys, earlier this year and therefore have a winery which imports bulk wines from Sicily though also France. Our domestic wines are sold under the brands Luca, Mitra, She and Zoya but our portfolio also includes imported wines under brands such as Blue Nun, Calatrasi, Causarina Creek, Kaya and Olcaviana. November 2012 – Issue 586

Are you planning to expand imports of bulk wines? Yes we are. We believe bulk wines will be beneficial for our business. We need bulk wines for our own winery. If the wines are at the right price from the right source, we’ll see what happens. We already import bottled wines from Spain, France, Germany, Australia and Chile.

Where do you buy most of your bulk wines? Most of them come from Sicily, but we do have other supplier countries such as France. We are always looking for alternative sources.

What is the trend for bulk wines in India currently? Bulk wines are increasing at the moment. Some Indian wineries are buying bulk wines and blending them with their own brands. Others are importing the wines to sell them as they are. There is definitely a great future for bulk wines in India which is why buyers come to Amsterdam to the WBWE in search of bulk wines. We will be looking for around 60 per cent red wine and 40 per cent white wine. Price is an essential factor. If the price is too high then you price yourself out of the market, it’s as simple as that.

The importance of wines varieties in the bulk wine market The WBWE is more than just a trade event showcasing bulk wines. It is also

designed as a meeting point where the industry can sound out new trends and glean vital information on forces driving the market. The organisers have chosen therefore to focus on the importance of varietal wines in the bulk wine market and speakers will come from a variety of backgrounds to share their experience. The International Organisation for Wine & Vine (OIV) will kick off proceedings with a presentation on ‘Recent changes to the global wine market, with particular emphasis on bulk wines’. The presentation will be followed by papers from Natalia Posadas-Dickson, wine buyer for British firm Waverley TBS, who will speak about ‘The importance of grape varieties in British imports of bulk wines’, and Italo Pitis, managing director of Coop de France Languedoc-Roussillon, who will focus on ‘The role of different grape varieties in making bulk wines in Languedoc-Roussillon’. On an even more technical level, Patrick Shea, sales director for VITOPSmurfit Kappa, will talk about ‘Oxygen control in making and bottling wines’ while Rafael del Rey, managing director of the Spanish Wine Market Observatory, will present an overview of the bulk wine market in 2012. At the end of the conference, wine making equipment manufacturer PERA will sponsor a tasting of ‘Leading grape varieties used for making bulk wines worldwide’.

Table 1. Indian imports of bulk wines in 2010. Source

Value ($US)































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Grapegrower & Winemaker



By Jingo – it’s good


Kellie Arbuckle

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SHE’S FLUENT IN three languages, is a loyal friend during the pruning season and has a thing for fetching sticks and placing them neatly at your toes. Meet Jessie – a 10-year-old kelpie who responds well to Japanese, English and German, and is the wine dog to John Gilbert, winemaker for By Jingo. “She’s my partner in crime,” says Gilbert. “She keeps me warm and occupied at night, and is my companion when I’m pruning. She’ll always bring me a stick.” Nestled in the cool slopes of Mount Barker, south in the Adelaide Hills, lies a 2-hectare vineyard where Gilbert grows winegrapes, with a focus on alterative varieties and blends including a Zinfandel (12%) Montepulciano (82%) blend. He even has a Chardonnay which he dubs the ‘Mendoza Chardonnay’, named after the clone. It’s a big change for someone whose previous career involved door-to-door sales of cable TV in rural South Australia. But since getting his label up and running in August last year, Gilbert has attracted a lot of positive attention for his enthusiasm in making eclectic wines that are often hard to come by. “By Jingo wines are produced with an aim to retain varietal definition, whilst capturing structure, complexity, balance and adding to their great ageing potential,” says Gilbert, who also grows Nero d’Avola, Negro Amaro and, most recently, Grillo. While the By Jingo label has only been around for a year, Gilbert has been in the industry since the early ‘90s. After deciding he’d had enough of door-knocking, Gilbert undertook some vineyard work in Langhorne Creek, before studying wine marketing at Roseworthy. In 2001, he travelled to Sicily and Alto Adige to experience vintage. And if you’re wondering about the name, By Jingo can be traced back to Gilbert’s great grandfather, who would often say, “By Jingo! What a wine.”

For further information, please contact Kauri NZ Tel: 0800 KAURIWINE NZ Fax: 04 910 7415 Email:

AUS Tel: 1800 127 611 AUS Fax: 1800 127 609 Website: By Jingo winemaker John Gilbert with his partner in crime, Jessie.

74 Grapegrower & Winemaker

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Celebrating the people behind the wine Peter Gago What are the top three highlights or achievements for you over the past year?

Peter Gago - Penfolds chief winemaker.

Over the last eight months the following events are of great significance, if only because of their global importance and impact: • Düsseldorf, Germany, ProWein, March 2012 – The Winemaker’s Winemaker Award. This holds great intrinsic meaning, a peer group award from winemakers across the globe – convened by The Institute of Masters of Wine and The Drinks Business magazine. Naturally not only thrilling personally, but terrific recognition for all at Penfolds and, indeed, Australia. • Moscow, Russia, June 2012 – the unveiling of the Penfolds Ampoule. A World First.  A time capsule.  A vinous work of art encapsulating the 2004 Penfolds Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon – a singlevineyard wine sourced from the world’s oldest continuously producing Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, in the Barossa Valley. Only 12 units created, one retained in the Penfolds Museum, the balance all now sold across many continents ($168,000 each).  A wonderful global endorsement for Australian fine wine. Everyone wins!

• Manhattan, US, September 2012 – a lunchtime break from the Penfolds New York Recorking Clinic at The Plaza resulted in a 14-minute live interview on all matters Australian wine, in the studios of FOX Business News, broadcast across the US. This clinic, and one day later in Houston Texas, followed a five-week Australian program across capital cities. Twenty-one years of Recorking Clinics and over 110,000 bottles certified globally! What do you love most about your job?

Without messing around rhetorically, what I love most about my job is that I love my job. Making wine, drinking wine, talking about wine … it’s fun, rewarding and it makes a difference. I’m not out to recruit or convert, and I certainly don’t want to sound evangelical or shallowly profound. However, I often reflect on how lucky it is to be in a job that incorporates most of the lifestyle positives that only hobbies afford. My position interfaces with every facet of the industry – from the vineyard to the winery to the all-important end-user –the ‘drinker’.  Inescapable paperwork (sorry, emails) and meetings aside, I really can’t think of any meaningful negatives!

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The most challenging part of my job is the ongoing uncertainty in supply and demand. I wouldn’t call it oversupply, as that is not entirely correct as the reason for the imbalance isn’t as simple as the word ‘oversupply’ implies. This uncertainty is causing extra stress and pressure for all people involved in the supply chain. I would like to see open honest communication where all parts of the industry work together to reach our common goals. has expanded my network of industry contacts and given me a greater understanding of the wider Australian wine industry. Other highlights are happening every day, when various projects are completed and topical issues are resolved. It is always a highlight to be able to assist growers with the varied requests. November 2012 – Issue 586

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Dr Matthew Gilliham What do you love most about your job?

The freedom to research whatever interests me – in theory – is a big draw card. In practice this is constrained by what we can get funding to do, so it is lucky that my interests in grapevine nutrition and stress tolerance are currently compatible with the needs of industry. Having said that, it is a real motivating force to make advances that have or will eventually have a practical relevance. The other great thing about being at the University of Adelaide is the people – in particular, working with a team of talented and motivated researchers, and

with the current crop of students in our viticulture and oenology courses. It is amazing how many of our advances start by bouncing ideas off colleagues in the corridor or at morning tea, or by preparing and giving student lectures or practicals. What’s the most challenging part of your job?

A lack of time is definitely the biggest problem. There are many unanswered questions in grapevine physiology research. Therefore, constraining research focus can be a challenge. I find research can often take us in new and exciting directions if we let it, so making the call on what to follow up and what to leave on the shelf for another day can be a tough call.


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Dr Matthew Gilliham – senior research scientist and recipient of the Viticulture and Oenology 2012 Science and Innovation Award.

November 2012 – Issue 586

Natasha Nieuwhof What do you love most about your job?

Apart from the amazing wines we produce it would have to be the people. The people that make up the Tasmanian wine industry are a strong, supportive and passionate group. We come from a range of backgrounds and with varying levels of experience but we share one common goal – to grow the Tasmanian wine brand and make premium quality wines. What are the top three highlights or achievements for you over the past year?

• B  eing awarded a Churchill Fellowship and travelling to the US and Canada this year to observe collaborative marketing activities amongst vineyards and how this impacts wine tourism. This was a life changing experience for me and has fuelled my desire to further work with our regional and state marketing groups to provide more collaborative marketing opportunities for our producers. The trip also highlighted to me how well the Tasmanian industry is already working together. • Being able to play a role in bringing the International Cool Climate Wine HCad-130x185-2011.pdf 1 8/11/11 Symposium to Tasmania for 2012. The

Natasha Nieuwhof – vineyard owner of Goaty Hill Wines, in Tasmania, and recipient of the Churchill

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November 2012 – Issue 586

Grapegrower & Winemaker


wine people ICCWS was another highlight for the year, putting the spotlight on Tasmania wine and the Tasmanian wine community. A great range of keynote speakers and different workshops certainly showed how well the Tasmanian wine industry is positioned. • The release of our first sparkling for Goaty Hill. Goaty Hill has 20 hectares under-vine at our vineyard in Kayena, West Tamar, and 50 per cent of this fruit is sold for sparkling. With Tasmanian’s strong reputations for producing high quality cool climate sparkling, it is with great excitement that the first Goaty Hill sparkling is to be released this month.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Getting Australian consumers to rediscover what’s in their own backyard. We have 65 regions across the country with as much viticultural diversity as Europe. I want people to understand that there is a world of top quality wine contained in this one ancient land. It’s also challenging to re-shape the global view of Australian wine. We have had a significant evolution over the last five years and I feel that Australia is producing its highest quality and most exciting wines ever, which journalists and sommeliers globally are starting to spruik. But we are, in general, still bundled together as a homogenised, one-size-fits-all wine country. We’re working hard in all our markets to continue to tell the story of Australian wine and to talk up our evolution to sommeliers, restaurants, wine commentators, wine educators, the trade and consumers around the world. The other challenging thing is to get people to stop drinking that gear from across the ditch. Trevor Chappell’s underarm delivery was 31 years ago. Surely we’ve paid penance for it by now?

Aaron Brasher What do you love most about your job?

I love working with the people in the wine industry. The passion, decency and camaraderie are things that really unite the industry and they keep me engaged. It’s an agricultural business and there’s an openness and willingness to work together for the greater good. I love the sense of place and connection to the land that Australian wine has.

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November 2012 – Issue 586

essential oenology

Yeast based wine additives Are the many claims made about these products justified?

Greg Howell

Introduction THERE ARE A number of products made from Inactive Dry Yeast (IDY) that are used in various ways in modern winemaking. Many claims are made about their properties and benefits, however not all these claims have been scientifically proven leading to some confusion amongst winemakers. This article looks at the proven benefits of these winemaking products.

How yeast based nutrients help produce better ferments Stuck ferments still occur in many wineries. The causes are complex, however yeast nutrition is one of the most important and widespread reasons. Until recently, diammonium phosphate (DAP) was the only yeast nutrient available. These days it has become a well established practise in many wineries to use what are commonly referred to as ‘complex yeast nutrients’. There are a number of such complex nutrients on the market from a variety of large and small suppliers – some

manufacture the raw materials while others simply blend them. Having a large library of yeast strains and their own research departments favours the bigger companies, giving them more choice of the most appropriate strains for this product development. But is this use of such products necessary or even useful? A recent scientific review revisited the causes of slow and stuck ferments and considered the benefits of using commercial IDY products (1). To quote from that study: “Saccharomyces yeast can use ammonium ion and amino acids for nitrogen sources. Low levels of yeast assimilable nitrogenous compounds... have been related to lower fermentation rates and longer fermentation kinetics, both considered the main causes of stuck or sluggish ferments. In addition, ethanol and ... medium chain fatty acids can contribute to these phenomena.” From the same review: “ ... increasing the sterol content of yeast promoted a more active fermentation by increasing the membrane permeability and allowing a higher interchange of substances between cell and the medium. Moreover ... sterols could act as a survival factor, increasing the reserves that yeast could use during the decline phase.” That is, to be effective in assisting fermentation, commercial products should contain nitrogen supplements and sterols.

Commercial yeast nutrient products may include a soluble fraction that contains amino acids and some also contain added DAP as a source of ammonium ion. It is obvious that these nitrogen components could be of use in a nutrient deficient must and so claims of helping fermentation kinetics would appear justified. Again it would appear that using yeast strains that have high sterol levels is also an advantage. One product the author is familiar with, Maxaferm, is an example of a product that is formulated from inactivated yeast, yeast extracts, DAP and thiamine. The Saccharomyces strain chosen from the DSM library has maximal levels of the important ergosterols and zymosterols.

How yeast hulls assist with stuck ferments Another yeast based additive that is used to assist with stuck ferments is yeast hulls. Can we be sure that there is a valid benefit in their usage? Again from the review: “ ... yeast walls (hulls) have a great ability to adsorb a broad range of chemical compounds ... (and) may be used to remove some compounds that could inhibit alcoholic fermentation, such as short chain fatty acids (C6 to C11)”. Yeast hulls have been shown to also enhance fermentations by releasing survival factors such as fatty sterols and long chain unsaturated fatty acids. This type of product is therefore recommended to enhance the fermentation process as well as to help restart a sluggish ferment.

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essential oenology Studies on a commercial yeast hull product (DSM Extraferm) have also demonstrated that by choosing a suitable Saccharomyces strain, no yeast odour effects are transmitted to the wine, even at high dosage rates (2). Other components in wine have been demonstrated to have been removed by yeast hulls. These include the mycotoxin Ochratoxin A (1), and some pesticide residues. More research is needed, however, to be able to fully understand the scope of the use and benefits of these preparations.

How wine can be tartrate stabilised by mannoproteins One very interesting component of IDY is mannoprotein. Some fractions of mannoprotein have been used now for several years to provide tartrate stability without the need for cold stabilisation. Using a component of Saccharomyces such as mannoprotein that is soluble and added just prior to bottling is a great advancement on the cold stabilisation technique which requires high energy use and has the undesired potential to alter the aroma of the wine. In our laboratories we have been testing the stability of white wines using

DSM Claristar mannoprotein for more than three years. These wines that are still tartrate stable after this time and show signs of some mouthfeel enhancing improvements.

What is Inactive Dry Yeast? As mentioned the above types of commercial products are produced from a range of yeast based ingredients, particularly fractions of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. How are these fractions obtained?

As most winemakers know, allowing a ferment to become too hot can cause the yeast to die and the ferment to stop. This is the basis of the industrial process to produce IDY from active yeast. That is, IDY for use in wine is simply Saccharaomyces cerevisiae that has been inactivated by high temperature, that is, by thermal inactivation.

Types of IDY preparations To help winemakers understand the use


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Rowe Scientific

of IDY components it is worth considering what yeast based wine additive products are available. There are many types of IDY preparations; however they can be grouped into the following four categories (1): 1. Inactive yeast Whole yeast inactivated by thermal means as mentioned above. 2. Yeast hulls Also known as yeast cell walls, yeast walls or yeast ghosts. Yeast hulls are the cell walls remaining once the cytoplasmic cell interiors have been extracted from the inactivated whole yeast cell. 3. Yeast extracts The cytoplasmic degradation material left over from the extraction of inactivated whole yeast cell to produce yeast hulls. 4. Yeast autolysates To recap Wine Science 101, yeast autolysis (also known as self-digestion) is the process of the destruction of the yeast cell by the action of its own enzymes. Yeast autolysates are the material left over from this autolysis process, which in practise involves thermal inactivation of the cells and then an incubation process.


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Conclusion The use of Inactivated Dry Yeast (IDY) is widespread in the wine industry, particularly in formulated yeast nutrient products. Many claims have been made as to the benefits of these products. Some scientific research that demonstrates some of the benefits of these products has been discussed, however more research work needs to be done to see if the many claims made are indeed valid. There is sure to be many more applications of these components of yeast that will be developed in the future. An understanding of the derivation of the IDY components and the benefits of the resulting products is an important aspect of a winemaker’s knowledge base.

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References 1. “Scientific evidences beyond the application of inactive dry yeast preparations in winemaking” Pozo-Bayon M. A. et al, Food Research International, 42, 2009, 745-761

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2. Wine ingredient news, 05/2009, DSM Food Specialties, Delft, Netherlands

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Greg Howell is Managing Director of Vintessential Laboratories, operating ISO 17025 accredited consulting wine laboratories in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. He can be contacted by email on Vintessential Laboratories’ website has a number of articles on related topics.

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


2012 Report

Dan Johnson, Managing Director

Industry restructuring The Australian wine sector continues to experience restructuring. From the vineyard to the boardroom, our sector has responded to challenging economic and trading conditions with commitment and determination. At every level, and in every corner of our industry, we have had to take stock and find new ways to create sustainability and profitability. Together, we have restructured our operations and institutions to capture and create value. This year has seen evidence of resilience, persistence and innovation throughout the Australian wine sector. We have responded proactively to on-going challenges from the vineyard to the boardroom: few wineries, vineyards or allied industries have been spared the impact of challenging economic and trading conditions. Vineyards have been grubbed up to respond to economic and environmental pressures; wineries are working together to negotiate better deals on packaging; industry bodies are rationalising their activities, changing service delivery models. Wine Australia and the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation are actively exploring a merger to create efficiencies – their aim is to ensure that a higher proportion of levies can be allocated to on-the-ground initiatives, delivering more value back to industry. Restructuring has become this year’s prevailing theme. The AWRI has played its part in this restructuring process, continually seeking to maximise the impact of each and every dollar invested in research, development and extension activities. Levy investments in the AWRI have been essentially static for the past four years, not rising in line with inflation. As a result, the AWRI has yielded an efficiency dividend each year – delivering the same level of service, support and research despite rising costs. This has meant considerable restructuring at the AWRI, with cost-cutting and improved efficiency throughout the organisation, from the staffing of senior management positions to daily operations. There is a sustained, on-going commitment to improved resource allocation, across the organisation. Innovation and responsiveness are embedded in the AWRI’s culture: the same drivers that find new ways to support growers through outbreaks of Botrytis and solve winemakers’ ‘Brett’ problems have left the AWRI wellequipped to adapt quickly and reliably when the sector is under pressure – putting the needs of grape and wine producers first.

Accountability in Action: The AWRI reviewed Accountability is also central to the AWRI culture. It drives the AWRI’s research programmes, which are defined by industry priorities. It drives daily operations, where resources are focused on delivering value to the Australian grape and wine sector. It also drives relationships with stakeholders: the AWRI strives to deliver maximum returns on investment, from its technical support services to its research into yeast genomics.

When the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) announced its plans for a review of outcomes from its seven-year funding agreement with the AWRI, the AWRI recognised an opportunity to investigate the value it brings to industry. The funding agreement, which expires on 30 June 2013, represents the GWRDC’s largest single investment, at around 40% of the GWRDC’s available funds on an annual basis. It is essential that the AWRI is able to articulate the return on this investment – both quantitatively and qualitatively – to grape and wine levy payers. It is also essential that the assessment methods used stand up to rigorous external scrutiny. The focus of the review was return on investment: how much value has the AWRI delivered to grape and wine producers over the past seven years? The review also focused on capability and impact. It asked: do the AWRI researchers demonstrate scientific and technical excellence? Is there evidence of impact, relevance and quality? Does industry use the AWRI capability – in the form of research, expertise and technical advice – to make or save money? How effective have governance and financial arrangements been under the current investment agreement framework? The review had an impact on every member of the AWRI team, requiring all staff to work together – to tight deadlines and during a busy vintage period – to evaluate the return on investment to industry of the AWRI’s activities over the past six years. By applying the same rigour that the AWRI brings to grape and wine research, development, extension and commercialisation, comprehensive data – in quantitative and qualitative formats – were generated to assess the returns to industry of the AWRI’s activities. The AWRI pursued a multi-level, multi-methodology approach. The CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) Impact Tool was used to assess the Inputs, Activities, Outputs, Usages and Impacts of the AWRI’s 15 streams of activity outlined in its seven-year Research, Development and Extension Plan 2006-2103. Completing this comprehensive and lengthy assessment in a short timeframe was an achievement in itself, revealing new information about the economic value and importance of the AWRI outputs to Australia’s grape and wine producers. The CRC Impact Benefit-Cost Analysis tool suggested a benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) in the order of 15:1. This compares very favourably with other institutions and research programs: a survey of economic assessments reports over the past decade suggests that BCRs of 8:1 are the ‘norm’.

2012 Report This is an outstanding result, demonstrating the AWRI’s commitment to value delivery in tough economic times. An independent economic assessment was commissioned to evaluate the impact of AWRI’s work in resolving and preventing selected taints and faults. This analysis revealed a substantial return of ~$264 million on an investment of ~$8.6 million across four project areas: • Brettanomyces management and avoidance. • Halophenol taint mitigation and avoidance. • Smoke taint mitigation and avoidance.

This would not have been achieved without the ongoing support and co-operation of the GWRDC Board and management and I would like to record my thanks to them as we look forward to developing a new Investment Agreement. While the results outlined above are positive, there remains no room for complacency. The AWRI will continue to listen carefully to stakeholder feedback and address opportunities identified in the review report. This feedback will be integrated into the AWRI’s forward planning and service delivery to industry.

• General help-desk services. The AWRI’s submission to the GWRDC review also provided details of its research outcomes, publications and collaborations; the value of its technical support and extension activities; and evidence of alignment of its research programmes with industry priorities. Highlights from the AWRI’s extension and technical support activities since July 2006 included: • Responding to more than 30,000 information requests including technical problem solving. More than 7,000 problem samples have been investigated and confidential, expert advice provided to the companies concerned. • Delivering 2,066 presentations, workshops, seminars, lectures and other extension activities to industry and academia. Its activities are global in reach but focused on the value delivery to Australian grape and wine producers, providing advice and support in crises ranging from outbreaks of downy mildew to the devastating bushfires of Black Saturday in Victoria in 2009. • Authoring 286 peer-reviewed and 240 industry publications on a range of technical topics, many of which are highly influential and referenced by third parties. The AWRI’s submission to the review panel also included input from stakeholders. The submission dossier included 117 responses from external sources including: levy payers; suppliers of services and products (e.g. bottling companies, agrochemical suppliers and companies supplying yeast, tannin or closure products); industry associations; scientific bodies; state and Australian government; and media. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. In particular, stakeholders referred to the AWRI’s: success in supporting their fight against ‘Brett’ and other spoilage organisms and taints; development of novel yeast strains; discovery of key aroma and flavour impact compounds; problem-solving capability; objective, confidential technical support services and dispute mediation on technical matters; extension platforms including AWRI Roadshows and Technical Review; agrochemical ‘dog’ booklet; analytical service capability; Advanced Wine Assessment Courses; role played in conducting Australian Wine Industry Technical Conferences; depth of capability in a single institution; regional nodes; and overall flexibility, responsiveness and adaptability. The letters are a testament to the AWRI’s efforts – in the past, present and future – to engage with industry and its stakeholders. There is evidence, therefore, that the GWRDC-AWRI Investment Agreement framework has been highly effective in striking a balance between accountability; strategic direction (both long and medium-term); financial and scientific oversight; and operational flexibility. It has delivered outcomes that have reached every corner of the grape and wine sector.

Highlights over the past six years In addition to the extension services provided by the AWRI to industry on a daily basis, the review process identified research highlights from the past six years. Those highlights include: • Insights into drivers of consumer preference in Australia and in key international markets such as China. • New yeast strains developed and commercialised, giving winemakers more control over wine composition, creating style to achieve business objectives. • World-first break-throughs in the genome sequencing and comparison of wine yeast, bacteria and wine spoilage microorganisms. • Identification of the black pepper impact compound, rotundone, and improved winemaker control over impact compounds such as those responsible for fruity and/or minty characters. • Improved management practices for ‘Brett’, a spoilage yeast whose influence is not preferred by the majority of consumers. • Improved understanding of factors that influence fermentation performance, leading to risk minimisation strategies and savings due to fewer stuck or attenuated ferments. • Practical applications of spectroscopy that inform consumer’s choices, allow non-destructive monitoring of wine properties ‘in bottle’, and assist in rapid analysis of key juice and wine compositional parameters such as Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen (YAN). • New, rapid tools to measure key wine compositional trends that affect consumer preferences, such as tannins and pigments, leading to cost savings in analytical testing and improving turnaround times and decision-making. • Improved oxygen management during bottling and storage through an ability to assess total package oxygen (TPO) and new closure trials for red wine and sparkling wine. • Evaluation and commercial-scale trials of novel alternatives to bentonite, potentially leading to cost savings. • Tools for improving economic and environmental sustainability by reducing electricity costs in the winery and understanding the carbon footprint across the value chain.

2012 Report Highlights for 2011 / 2012 This year, the AWRI continued to build on its record of achievement, ensuring that restructuring – both internal and external – did not affect its commitment to the delivery of outcomes for the benefit of Australian grape and wine producers. The AWRI continued to work with collaborators in industry and research institutions to conduct a portfolio of programs which offer opportunities to add value to products and/or save money in production. While full details of the year’s highlights are available in the AWRI Annual Report, a copy of which will be provided to all levy payers, they include the following: • Further progress has been made in the ‘omics disciplines of genomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics and systems biology. With a critical mass of specialist staff and expertise in this emerging and internationally significant area, the AWRI has the potential to become a ‘hub’ for this area of research, giving Australian grape and wine producers a ‘head start’ in an increasingly challenging and competitive global market. The AWRI’s announcement of the genome sequence of the spoilage yeast ‘Brett’ provided further evidence of the potential of ‘omics disciplines in guiding future management strategies for all organisms involved in the grape and wine value chain. • The AWRI has contributed to raising the profile of Australian wine and Australian grape and wine science internationally this year, striking collaborations with key international universities and research centres that deliver benefits for Australian producers. For the first time, the AWRI has become involved in three European Union Framework Program projects, accessing a wealth of world-class expertise for the benefit of Australia’s wine sector as a whole. The INNOVINE project will evaluate innovative vineyard management strategies and genetic diversity for sustainable viticulture. The STABIWINE project will investigate the use of biopolymers for sustainable stabilisation of quality wines. The FOODSNIFFER project will enable the AWRI to further its expertise and advisory work on agrochemicals detection tools. In each case, the AWRI will have access to the results quickly and be able to inform Australian grape and wine producers. • The AWRI also started a new collaboration with the University of British Columbia and Bioplatforms Australia to study genetic variation among Chardonnay clones. Through a combination of whole genome sequencing and clonal winemaking trials the project will identify genetic determinants that shape wine-relevant traits. This will enable the development of diagnostic tools for authenticating Chardonnay clones and will enhance our understanding of Chardonnay clone performance in an Australian context. • An additional regional node of the AWRI was launched in Victoria, the result of a four-way agreement between the Victorian Government, Victorian grape and wine producers, the GWRDC and the AWRI, providing support from government, industry and research bodies. Extension is the focus of the Victorian node, ensuring that producers are kept informed of key developments, of direct relevance.

• Important outcomes were generated at the new Victorian node and the other AWRI nodes. In partnership with Wine Tasmania and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, the Tasmanian node hosted the International Cool Climate Symposium with a focus on Pinot Noir and sparkling wine production. The Griffith node made significant progress in the development of a break-through fermentation simulator in partnership with Riverina producers. • To support the Australian wine sector following the introduction of the Carbon Tax, the AWRI secured two Australian Government grants to investigate the impact of vineyard management systems on nitrous oxide emission levels and evaluate a potential new market for grape marc: preliminary evidence suggests that cows might emit less methane when fed a diet that includes grape marc supplements and research is now underway to assess different varieties of grape marc and determine its potential value to growers. • Opportunities for reducing water use and enhancing water reuse have been generated based on case studies of how in-winery practices influence wastewater quantities and quality. Initiatives to improve wine movements within wineries, cleaning chemical reuse, and cross-flow lees filtration have been provided. • Case studies analysing the practicalities and savings associated with different refrigeration improvement opportunities were performed, including the use of warmer brine temperatures and the increased use of off-peak electricity, and recommendations were provided to industry. • Research into smoke taint compounds revealed how non-volatile, flavourless compounds can be broken down during tasting to have a sensory impact. When bound to sugar molecules, smoke taint compounds do not smell smoky; however, the same smoke taint compounds give a smoky flavour when cleaved from the sugar molecules in the taster’s mouth. This research has been extended to evaluate desirable flavours in wines and how it relates to both intensity and persistence of fruity flavour when wines are tasted.

2012 Report

• White wine phenolics: AWRI research has shown different phenolic composition can display different textures when tasted in the same wine background/environment (alcohol, pH, TA etc.). Alcohol concentration positively enhanced four major taste/textural attributes (astringency, viscosity, bitterness and hotness) in white wine, and phenolics and alcohol contributed in an additive way (that is, they combine their effects) to these attributes. Caftaric acid was shown to reduce the burning hotness from alcohol and grape reaction product was shown to increase oiliness. ‘Astringency’ ratings in white wines were found to be strongly negatively correlated with pH (i.e. lower pH gives higher astringency). This is one of several findings of significance which contradict the widely held assumption that phenolics are the main cause of astringency in white wines. ‘Viscosity’ ratings in white wines were found to be strongly positively correlated with pH (i.e. lower pH gives lower viscosity). This new discovery emphasises further the importance of pH in wine composition on the perception of mouth-feel in white wines. ‘Bitterness’ was generally shown to be positively associated with phenolics. However, the two major phenolics in Australian white wines (GRP and caftaric acid) don’t contribute to bitterness. This means some other phenolic or phenolic class in white wine does contribute to bitterness, the identity of which remains to be established. • Physicochemical and sensory analysis on wines produced during pilot-scale trials of combined heat and protease treatment of juice were completed. Sensory testing conducted on Sauvignon Blanc wines showed that wines produced with the enzyme Proctase were not different from those stabilised with conventional bentonite fining. Analysis confirmed that those proteins responsible for forming heatunstable hazes (chitinases) were fully removed using the combined heat and protease treatment. The combination of protease and heat treatment may prove to be a viable alternative to bentonite fining in coming vintages.

A productive start Restructuring was also reflected in a change of leadership at the AWRI: Dr Dan Johnson took over the position of Managing Director, following the departure of Professor Sakkie Pretorius, who had held the position and led the AWRI successfully since 2005. Before he took up the position on 1 December 2011, Dr Johnson had spent five years as the AWRI’s General Manager – Business Development, where he was responsible for strategy, operations management, and commercial affairs. He took part in the Australian wine industry Future Leader’s program, and was instrumental in driving various initiatives in the Australian grape and wine research and development community. One example is the leveraging of levy-payer funds invested in the AWRI to attract substantial revenue from a diverse range of funding agencies and corporate partners, ensuring a better ‘deal’ for grape and wine producers. Dr Johnson was also actively involved in the formation of the Wine Innovation Cluster on the Waite Precinct; in the activities of the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference; and in the AWRI’s efforts to expand its expertise and capability into the scientific disciplines of metabolomics and bioinformatics. Under Dr Johnson’s leadership, the AWRI remains committed to working in partnership with grape and wine producers to secure a competitive advantage: an advantage built on technical innovation, proactive support and extension programmes; and the delivery of solutions that address industry priorities directly. Throughout the wine-producing world, Australia has a reputation for innovation and forward-thinking. The AWRI is committed to innovation that counts, that delivers a dollar value for the benefit of Australia’s grape and wine sector as a whole.

• Collaborative projects were undertaken with other industry peak bodies to eliminate barriers to trade for Australian wine, including work towards Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for phosphorous acid, and work towards approvals for additives such as ascorbic acid, malic acid and tartaric acid (and their salts), in key markets such as China and Canada. • Consumer preference projects related consumer experiences with closures. In one study, the AWRI determined that consumer liking scores were related to the degree of fruit freshness and oxidative flavor as a result of differing closure performance. This result came from a study which looked at a Barossa Shiraz wine bottled under seven different closures and determined consumer response after the wine had been in bottle for 18 months. The AWRI continues to be surprised at the strong response of consumers to fairly small differences in wine flavour. • All of the above highlights sit alongside the AWRI’s ongoing extension and adoption activities. In 2011/2012 the AWRI received more than 4,000 requests for information and technical support, conducted around 200 help-desk investigations on topics such as laccase, hydrocarbon taints and paint contaminations, musty taints, reductive issues, transport issues and copper related instabilities, provided on-line information through more than 337,000 page views on the recently upgraded AWRI website and a new webinar initiative, and staged 22 days of regional seminars and workshops.

Acknowledgements The Australian Wine Research Institute, a member of the Wine Innovation Cluster in Adelaide, is supported by Australian grapegrowers and winemakers through their investment body, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC), with matching funds from the Australian government. The contribution of collaborators, in Australia and from overseas, is gratefully acknowledged.


To filter – or not to filter WINE FILTRATION HAS become an art form across all Australian wine-producing areas, and the last few decades have seen a switch to state of the art technology from an artisan mentality. Here’s a great example an old boss told me: Filtration “Ask five winemakers the colour of the sky and you will get six answers. Ask them how or why they filter wine and you will get similar results.” Filtration is one of those aspects of wine production that is often practised and yet rarely talked about. The winemakers who filter always get plenty of traffic at the wine tradeshows, but it’s hard to imagine a winery boasting about its brand new filtration plant in its wine club newsletter. People who expect their water, coffee, emails and even their cigarettes to be filtered somehow get nervous when it’s their wine getting the treatment. Was there something really nasty in that wine they had to take out? Or, even worse, was there something really delicious in there that was taken out during the process? Most likely, a winemaker was taking measured, sensible steps to put sound wine in the bottle and avoid unwanted microbial adventures later on. Here, Blair Hanel interviews three very experienced winemakers/managers from premium winemaking areas to try and gain a better understanding for readers: Warren Fennell – cellar manager at Rymills Coonawarra Nick Badrice – winemaker at Cellarmasters Barossa Valley Bruce Dukes – senior winemaker/director at Naturaliste Vintners Margaret River

Please give us some background on your winemaking and/or winery production history? What filtration equipment you have been exposed to over the years?

Fennell: I work as a cellar manager and have worked my way up from the bottom starting 20 years ago. I have worked in a few Australian regions, both the large corporates and the small family companies. In this time I have used all forms of filtration. Badrice: I’ve been involved in the Australian wine industry for 22 years and have worked in several roles in this time including cellar hand, cellar manager/supervisor, assistant winemaker and winemaker. I have also completed several overseas vintages. During my time in the industry I’ve been exposed to several types of filtration equipment which include the following: • Diatomaceous earth filtration • Rotary drum vacuum filtration (RDV) • Pad sheet filtration (plate and frame) • Pad cartridge filtration • Crossflow filtration Dukes: Naturaliste Vintners was a green-field project ready for the 2004 vintage. It was designed with cleaner production methods in mind, including crossflow filtration from inception. I have been involved with everything from unfiltered wines to sterile filtered wines. During your career in the wine industry what have been the most important developments in wine filtration and why?

Fennell: Definitely membrane filtration. I have been using a Bucher Vaslin FX3 crossflow filter for the last two-and-a-half years. I think it’s fair to say the consumer has changed the way they want wine presented. It doesn’t seem that many years ago I was filtering wine using diatomaceous earth. Turbidity wasn’t a word spoken about a great deal. Badrice: The single biggest and most important development in wine filtration would be the introduction of crossflow filtration. It has given producers the capacity to filter all styles of wine (sweet, red, white and sparkling) in both large and small quantities. The membrane technology means there is no filtration medium so any issues associated with safety and disposal are eliminated. Crossflow filtration technology gives clarification with minimal product loss while preserving the integrity and quality of the product. Other benefits include cost savings through filtration efficiency and a reduction in labour. Dukes: Increased understanding of the pros and cons of different choices of filtration techniques have improved, as has the understanding of the role of dissolved gases and the wine matrix.

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November 2012 – Issue 586

winemaking It often appears that the individual wine’s composition has a great impact on how it will respond to filtration rather than the type of filter. Crossflow is now one of the more accepted approaches, which appears to be gaining in popularity for some wine styles. What forms of filtration are you currently using in the winery? Can you briefly describe the machines and the outcomes you are trying to deliver with each?

Fennell: Crossflow and RDV. In the future we hope to upgrade to a juice attachment for the crossflow filter that will enable both forms of filtration and will therefore decommission our RDV. Badrice: There has been a major shift in filtration process at Dorrien Winemaking in recent times. The company now has two crossflow filtration units which has allowed us to pretty much eliminate the need to use diatomaceous earth as a filtration medium. Dukes: Naturaliste Vintners currently use a Cadalpe 0.5um crossflow filter on all wines. The outcome objective is to be able to present the wine in the bottle in the best possible condition. This involves keeping the wine in its best form during the entire winemaking process, remembering that filtration is one of many important stages

in winemaking. We now have eight years of crossflow experience and are delighted with the results. Are any of your wines left unfiltered? If so, why?

Fennell: No, all are filtered. Badrice: Several of our super premium small production red table wines receive no filtration. The approach with these wines is minimal handling at all stages of the production process. We are able to achieve good wine clarification across the 16-18 month barrel maturation period and filtration is rarely needed. Dukes: No, I love my wines, hence all are filtered. I have seen the heartbreak of what a single (bad) yeast cell can do to an otherwise beautiful wine. I believe that if the appropriate consideration is applied to the entire winemaking process, then filtration can hold on to or improve wine quality, particularly in the long term. With regards to wine export, have you seen many changes to standards and specifications that affect the way you have to filter? If so, how have you achieved these demands?

Fennell: Not really an issue as all wines are crossflow filtered before despatch for bottling at Rymill Coonawarra.

Badrice: Wine export is a very small part of our business and it hasn’t impacted the way we filter our wines. Dukes: Exporting of our client’s wines has corresponded to an increased awareness of stability, and the decreased lack of control producers have over their own wines in the entire supply chain. As such, our clients are seeking biologically stable wines. Have you suffered any wine quality repercussions while using any form of filter media over the years?

Fennell: I don’t really like answering winemaking questions personally, but the general feedback from winemakers is that the traditional diatomaceous earth pressure leaf filter does knock the wine around, especially when you need to pass more than once. Using the crossflow filter is a lot gentler on the wine and with better finished result i.e., less than 1ntu in one pass. Badrice: During my time as a winemaker I’ve seen the effects of over-filtering wines caused by passing product through a filtration system multiple times while trying to achieve a desired clarity outcome. Over-filtered wines rarely recover. Dukes: No. Our crossflow experiences have been good (however it did take us a while to understand how to optimise our

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machine with regard to managing dissolved gases and minimising oxygen pick up). What are the hardest wines to filter in your region and why?

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Fennell: Since using a crossflow filter, difficult wine is not hard to filter anymore; it’s more of a time issue and using the right programs. Operators really need to understand filterability and flow rates, and they need to adjust accordingly. I still remember the arguments between cellar versus winemakers when using a diatomaecous earth filter, as some vintages/varieties could prove difficult. Especially if fining agents weren’t added. Badrice: The most difficult wines to filter are the early release current vintage commercial red wines that have high initial turbidity levels, and sweet wines that have high levels of residual sugar. Dukes: Young reds which are typically bottled before the following vintage are the hardest to filter. We don’t exactly know why, beyond the explanation of ‘protective colloids’.

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What new ideas and developments would you like to see from suppliers/manufacturers to improve current filtration regimes?

Fennell: The only thing I would like to see regarding the crossflow I am using at present, is to be able to link it up remotely via a smartphone or something similar. Badrice: Ongoing support, open communication and sharing of information between the manufacturer, supplier and producer are critical for there to be continual improvement in wine filtration regimes. Dukes: The ability to have trial (crossflow) machines or to see them in action would be great, so you can determine the workability of the machine, including its oxygen pickups. One of the main concepts for suppliers would be to have stable and skilled

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November 2012 – Issue 586

service people. The advent of the DNA probes specific to some microbes seems an exciting option to explore to determine whether you need to filter. With the introduction of crossflow filtration, how has this changed the working philosophy of the cellar with regards to planning? Do you operate on a 24-hour basis? If so, what fail-safe procedures are in place?

Fennell: We try and work 24/7 to maximise our asset return due to the fact we also perform contract filtration work. We always use a non-return valve to our delivery tank,and utilise the best quality fittings and hoses. Badrice: At present we don’t operate on a 24-hour basis but we have the ability to if required. Crossflow filtration gives us a high degree of flexibility through its automated process functions. It allows us the capacity to filter wines from a high NTU to < 1 NTU in one pass while preserving the quality of the product: one operator, one set-up and one pass filtration. Dukes: Our Cadalpe crossflow unit purposely has a manual control system. This has corresponded to easy maintenance over the last eight years. The one breakdown corresponded to a

loose wire being connected back to its terminal. Our fail-safe system is to only run our filter when we have a dedicated and experienced operator. The crossflow has enabled a significantly greater degree of predictability in planning cellar operations than was possible when using diatomaecous earth, pads or membranes. Do you think winemakers are embracing the newer filtration technologies? Or should this be addressed with more education on a wider scale, i.e., regional filtration seminars?

Fennell: The only winemakers I hear giving negative comments are the ones who haven’t experimented in this process as yet. As time goes on it will become the only way of filtering ... or has it already? Badrice: I believe suppliers of wine filtration technology have been proactive in educating the industry about their products and working closely with their customers to ensure the best outcomes. While the cost of new filtration technology can sometimes make it prohibitive for the smaller producer to use, the larger wine companies are definitely embracing it. Why wouldn’t they, with increased cost savings, better filtration efficiencies and improved wine quality? Dukes: The increased adoption of crossflow

filtration seems to indicate winemakers are adopting newer technologies, however it seems to have been a relatively slow adoption. My initial research on crossflow, or tangential filtration, over a decade ago showed apparently conflicting data. It was only when I separated information from the 0.2-1um systems from some molecular weight cut-off membranes that the potential of the micron-sized membranes in winemaking became apparent. Information is always a powerful tool, hence regional filtration seminars are likely to be of value if they can be presented by a credible third party.

Summary Every winemaker will filter their wine in a different way. Like a lot of winemaking practises, the decision whether and to what extent one should filter should be determined by the goals at the end of the process. There is no single correct answer on what medium to use, so winemakers will have to decide for themselves what is right for their product. Wine filtration technology has certainly evolved over the past two decades and, with all the research and development technology being conducted worldwide, we can expect to see even greater changes in the future.


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November 2012 – Issue 586

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Grapegrower & Winemaker



Winery pumps need consideration Pumps are like toothbrushes – you use them constantly but don’t generally think that much about them. But they’re an integral part of day-to-day winery operations, being used right throughout the winemaking process from crushing to final bottling, so having the right equipment is important. Gerri Nelligan

Introduction SO WHAT MAKES a good winery pump – and what’s right for your operation? To get a Pumps handle on it, we spoke with two winemakers about the pumps they use now, what they’ve used in the past and what it’s taught them to look for when choosing pumping equipment.

Stephen Dew Winemaker at Kaesler Wines in the Barossa for the past 10 years, Stephen Dew did his first vintage in 1989 as a cellar hand with Lindemans Wines at Karadoc. He’s still as involved in the manual side of things, as Kaesler is a very hands-on winery. As Dew describes it: “We like to make sure everyone can do everything, and have an open mind about it”.

Franco D’Anna Viticulturalist and winemaker at Hoddles Creek Estate in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, Franco D’Anna worked in the family liquor store while completing degrees in commerce and viticulture. A traineeship

at Coldstream Hills then bridged the final knowledge gap and saw him take up the winemaking reigns at Hoddles Creek Estate, also owned and run by the D’Anna family. Tell us a little about your winery operations, in terms of scale and production.

Dew: Kaesler Wines crushes approximately 500 tonnes annually, predominantly our own, along with a very small amount of contract processing. That’s generally crush and ferment, and leaves us after a couple of days. The Kaesler brand is 95% reds, with a small amount of whites. D’Anna: Hoddles Creek Estate crushes approximately 250-270 tonnes annually, with fruit sourced mainly from our own vineyards at Hoddles Creek. Fruit processed is 95 per cent for our own label, and we also make contract wines for a couple of wineries who share Hoddles’ passion when it comes to fruit quality. What equipment do you use currently?

Dew: Predominantly open throat Monos, and we also use variable speed Monos – closed – just for day-to-day usage. We also use Liverani flexible impeller

Winemaker at Kaesler Wines, Stephen Dew.


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Supplying specialist pumping equipment to the wine industry for over 15 years 94 Grapegrower & Winemaker November 2012 – Issue 586

“Don’t just choose the prettiest looking pump or the one with the fanciest gadgets – choose the best, based on the application it’s going to be used for.”

pumps, mainly at vintage time during pump-overs and things like that. D’Anna: We currently use Enoveneta must pumps and some rubber impeller pumps. We had a small Mono style pump that was expensive to run and eventually we out-grew it over the years. Why that equipment? What’s good about it – and what is lacking, if anything?

Dew: On the good side, they’re easy to clean and most of the cellar hands can pull them apart to be able to clean them properly. They have the flexibility of being able to go forward as well as reverse, and they’re generally very gentle on the wine as well. The capacity of the pump you choose is the most important thing in terms of how gentle they’re going to be on the wine. I find with pumps in general that anything that’s lacking is generally lacking in the person operating them, rather than the pump itself. If the person forgets to look after the pump or watch what they’re doing in the application they’re using it for, that’s where the downfall is. Generally it’s not the pump’s fault, but the operator’s. I don’t think there’s anything complicated about using a pump and doing a transfer. It’s forgetting and

Stephen Dew not paying attention to the job where problems arise – and talking is what gets most people into trouble. They see it as a routine job and get blasé about it. It can happen when you’re transferring from a very large vessel too, and you go off to do something else in the meantime – but again, that’s about the person and time management. D’Anna: Pumps are never perfect. We have a wide range of pumps we use for different operations, but to be honest I don’t love pumping wine around. Sometimes there is merit if we want to give juice/wine more oxygen during fermentation but when we have the

Winery pump checklist • Easy to operate • Easy to clean • Easy to maintain • Durable • Available and affordable replacement parts • Flexible usage • Non-impacting on wine • Equipment suitable to the operation.

choice, we use gravity over pumping, as it is a lot more gentle. What have you used in the past, if different, and why did you change?

Dew: I’ve generally used the same. There are a lot of new pumps on the market but they just have more pistons and things – which is more to go wrong. I like to keep winemaking as simple as possible, and that goes for operations as well. Having more complicated machinery just gives a cellarhand more to play with, and that’s where they’ll get into trouble. D’Anna: We have only replaced pumps once we feel we don’t have confidence in

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


winemaking What would be on your ultimate wish list in winery pump equipment?

Dew: I’m pretty happy with what I’m using now. I’m open to trying things – and do use centrifugal pumps as well for day-to-day transfers – but with the Mono pump we can pump out of barrels downstairs to tanks outside, and can fill from tanks to barrels as well. There’s greater flexibility in the variable speed you can have. What we’ve got does what we need to do and, while there’s great machinery out there now that looks fantastic, is it really going to work any better? I doubt it. D’Anna: Possibly a peristaltic pump would be high on the wish list. So what’s important when it comes to winery pumps/pumping equipment?

Viticulturist and winemaker at Hoddles Creek Estate, Franco D’Anna.

them anymore, or we have too many issues over a short amount of time. What’s your best purchase in terms of winery pumps over the past five years?

Dew: The Liverani flexible impellor pump, used for must transfers and pump-overs at vintage time. Once again, it’s easy to pull apart if you need to and easy to clean – just four bolts, so the downtime is very small and you can do it by yourself. There’s also the flexibility of both forward and reverse, and simplicity of operation. D’Anna: We upgraded our variable speed rubber impeller pump with a pump that was more flexible, and had a more durable remote. We haven’t had any problems since.

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96 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Dew: Keeping them hygienically clean – including when they’re not in use. Making sure you drain all the water out of them, and cleaning before and after use. Also instruction for your operators is important, so they understand exactly how they work and how to use them. That said, in France they try not to use pumps and do everything by gravity. So it’s important to remember that the less you do mechanically, and the less you move it, the more gentle it’s going to be on the wine. D’Anna: We look for pumps that are simple to use and perform the job without too much load on the pump. It also has to be gentle and needs to be cleaned with ease. Another main consideration is how easy replacement parts are and the cost of those parts. Before we buy, we’ll ask other wineries and see what their views are on the pumps we are looking to purchase. What should people look for when buying  new equipment for their particular operation?

Dew: Choose the pump that’s going to perform the job they need done. Don’t just choose the prettiest looking or the one with the fanciest gadgets – choose the best based on the application it’s going to be used for. It’s mainly down to the choice of the size of pump you need for your winery and application. If you’re transferring 1000L you don’t need a pump that will do 10,000L/hr: it’ll be more harmful to the wine as it’ll go faster, which can cause oxidisation. When a pump isn’t gentle on wine, as a general rule it’s the incorrect pump being used for the application, and the speed of it. D’Anna: A pump that does not create foaming, does not impart odours, has variable speed, can prime easily and can run dry. Wineries also should be looking to the future, so buying a pump that can perform with greater volumes in the future. We made the mistake initially of buying a pump for our requirements at the time, not for the future. Consequently we outgrew that pump in a few years.

November 2012 – Issue 586


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sales & marketing People definitely make the business “In the wine business: people make the business!” I have a firm opinion on that. What do I mean by that statement exactly? Well, you’ll hear some companies say: “People are our greatest asset.” In the wine business, I think that our vineyards and our brands are probably our greatest asset. However, it is the people involved in the wine business that complete the picture, and bring those assets to life. The people make the business. There are two very good and related reasons for my belief in this statement. Firstly, winemaking is an extremely capital intensive and vertically integrated industry; in fact, one of the last large-scale, vertically integrated (grape to glass) industries operating in the world today. It’s a complex business model that requires well-trained people communicating efficiently and effectively to ensure the business model operates correctly. The second reason is that wine is a personal thing to consumers and the trade alike. A company that meets the market in a way that feels genuinely personal to its resellers and consumers is well on the track to sustainable success. Why are these reasons related? Because the inspiration for the personal authenticity in a company’s market and trade communications should have its source in the quality of the business’s assets, and in the vision for the return on that investment. It’s one of the particularities that makes the wine business beautifully, and times frustratingly, different to any other field of endeavour. There’s no denying that the past 10 years have been a tough time to sell wine, and that some of the last decade’s high-profile mergers have lost large amounts of shareholder value. However, during the same period we have seen some new wine companies appear and they have been very successful. We’ve also witnessed some wine companies that have rejuvenated themselves. How did they do it? Without exception these successful

businesses have both their internal and external communications working for them in a personal and authentic manner. The communication starts with the people at the top. I’ve already noted that winemaking is highly capital intensive. If you allow for the total investment in vineyards, wineries, oak barrels, packaging equipment, warehouses, working capital and debtors, it can require investing up to $2.25 to realise $1 of final sales of bottled wine. Investment of this scale is breathtaking and requires a longterm commitment from the ownership of the business. A clear vision from the ownership on how the return on investment will be achieved is a common trait in the successful businesses in the wine industry. These owners and their managers actually communicate the company’s investment commitment, and the return on investment model to their employees. The people need to understand it to make it work. This should be a mutually beneficial discussion. People often join the wine industry because it is beautiful in its grapeto-glass integration. It is very different to other industries they may have worked in. Don’t be afraid to use this point of difference to ask for commitment from your people. Of course the commitment needs to be at a level that is appropriate to their place in the business. The right type of employee will respect you for bringing them into the picture. They will appreciate the opportunity to commit. Make it work for you. When the business does communicate its investment and business model, the discussion will by necessity include marketing strategies. Wine is a personal thing to consumers. Their choice of wine clearly says something about them. The business’s market strategies need to ensure that its expensive and valuable assets are meeting the market correctly. Once again you can see that it is the people that make the business. They join up the dots.

“It is the people that make the business… they join up the dots.” Jeffrey Wilkinson, executive officer, WCA

As an independent and not-for-profit organisation of wine professionals, Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA) also joins up the dots. We provide a forum for ideas and debate and opportunities for members to engage, connect, learn and inspire. We deliver first-class events, including lectures, presentations, webinars, and networking and awards programs. Our members are kept informed of key issues. Through the website’s exclusive resource centre, WCA members can find: reports and statistics, media bites, webinar presentations, products and reports, partner offers, jobs board post, industry mud map and member register. And through the WCA blog they can share ideas with likeminded wine people. See the website for details on how to join WCA today: Jeffrey Wilkinson, executive officer, WCA

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98 Grapegrower & Winemaker

November 2012 – Issue 586

label design


A label that charms SINCE 1997, SAUNDERS Design Group (SDG) has grown from a small regional graphic design firm into a specialist print, web development, multimedia and advertising agency in Mildura, Victoria. During this time, SDG has worked passionately to develop a professional image for a variety of local, national and international businesses, as well as many regional festivals and events. SDG’s approach to delivering high level design outcomes and advertising solutions led SDG to be recognised and published by leading industry publication, Oz Graphics, as one of the top design firms in Australia in April of 2009 and again in their December 2012 release. The following answers are supplied by SDG director, Andrew Sherer in relation to the wine label design for Chalmers Wines.

What inspired you to work in design, and what aspect of label design do you enjoy the most, or derive the most satisfaction from?

Have you seen many changes in label designs over the past decade and what labelling trends do you see emerging into the future?

My personal inspiration to work in design is directly entwined with the satisfaction I draw from working on a wine label. These projects are often the grand finale to 12 months of intense labour and love by the winemaker to produce something unique and memorable. To be entrusted to play a role in representing these achievements visually by an individual or company is a truly humbling and personally rewarding experience.

The most significant changes I have seen in label design over the past decade have been the ability to expand the format to engage directly with the consumer from the shelf. QR Code and smartphone technologies are literally enabling products to jump off the shelf and shout, “Pick me, pick me!” The existence of DNA-authenticated labels is also another indicator of just how seriously the consumer wants to believe in the honesty of a label’s story.

What was the inspiration or key-branding message behind this particular wine label?

The hidden red charm pointing upwards is a symbol of Chalmers’ positive, forward thinking and innovative approach to its winemaking. Dedicated to sustainable viticulture and passionate environmentalists, the swirling icon subtly suggests new growth. Its long, smooth, adventurous and flowing shape is reflective of their exciting range of varietal wines and their personal family journey in pioneering Australian winemaking. The icon, itself, is comprised of a treble clef and the hand drawn signature of the companies managing director Kim Chalmers, who is also a talented and creative composer and musician. In your opinion, what are the most important labelling concepts to impact on wine sales and marketing success?

The balance of what’s on the bottle and what’s in the bottle will always be in favour of what’s in the bottle. A good wine label will sell the first bottle. A good wine will sell the second, onwards. As designers our critical role is to communicate the story of how it came to be that good wine. Providing the consumer with an honest bridge between the two elements, allowing them to understand and appreciate the winemakers’ values, and eventually embrace them as an ongoing part of their own lives.

November 2012 – Issue 586

To what extent do countries respond differently to labels and/or wine marketing images?

This segmentation of the market I believe is no longer as great an issue as it once was. The ramifications of using or not using a certain colour within a certain culture are diminishing. The internet has broken down these historical design stereotypes and, when combined with the military precision of online retail, the power is slowly being handed back to the consumer to drive what their local stockists distribute. How can label designers overcome the challenge of helping a wine bottle stand out as the market becomes increasingly congested?

Congestion is caused by a lot of the same, whereas no true winemaker’s story is the same. Each individual vintage to them is like raising another child – it may become similar to many others in certain ways, but the subtle differences will always produce something uniquely loveable year after year. As designers our most important role in combating congestion is to take the time to listen and clearly visualise a label’s unique brand truth. We are all drawn to listen to or feel a part of a great true story. Fortunately, for us, the Chalmers family have both great wines and an even greater true story.

Grapegrower & Winemaker


sales & marketing

Mildura bottling facility puts its best foot forward WITH A THREE-week lead-time from receipt of Bottling, order to expedite delivery needs – plus the facilities labelling & to bottle any size from packaging 187ml through to 1.5 litre – Best Bottlers is well placed to fulfil the bottling requirements of the Australian wine industry. Managing director Ken Henderson said the bottling lines are HACCP, ISO14001, Organic, Kosher, WQA and BRC (British Retail Consortium) certified. “This means we are able to satisfy the needs of any customer, both in Australia and from overseas,” Henderson said. “Our whole operation is subject to regular audits from these prestigious quality control bodies, ensuring Best Bottlers continually meet their stringent criteria. “We aim to keep our business relevant to our customers needs in an ever-changing environment. As our customers adapt to changes in their requirements, we change the way we do business to match. “An example of this is a few of our customers wished to venture into cider, so we installed a cidery to enable them to do so.”

Sparkling bottling With state of the art equipment, Best Bottlers can provide tank ferment (Charmat) and carbonation facilities for all sparkling wine requirements.

Best Bottlers offers a modern production facility within easy reach of major capitals.

PLC controlled ferment vessels of 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 40,000 litres capacities can accommodate varying run sizes. “The utilisation of a MAGA carbonation unit ensures a fine bubble of CO² is used during carbonation, giving a fine bead and mousse to your wine,” Henderson said. “With the capacity to run 200ml, 375ml, 500ml and 750ml bottles, the line

can accommodate cork, plastic stopper, crown, seal, screw cap, Zavent and SPK (Zork) closures,” he said. “Single strap or 4-post Muselet can be applied and we use both UV and standard mark orientation on the hooder/ pleater and five station wet glue/selfadhesive labeller. “We always have sparkling wine clean skins on the floor if you require a sparkling in a hurry.”

Use the full range of our services or just one specific component Our Services With the ability to offer flexibility in all contracts, Best Bottlers can cater to every and any aspect of your wine packaging requirements. Beginning with the storage of bulk wine, our services include Keg filling

Secure, insulated warehouse

Coordinating container loading and sea frieght

Stelvin closure

Self-adhesive label applicators

Modern fully equipped chemical & micro laboratory

Quality assurance

Cold stabalisation & filtration

Sparkling wine (Charmat and carbonated)

Technical analysis

Cider production & packaging

Full product recall identification procedures

Flexible bottling lines

Provision to bottle 187mL to 1.5L sizes

Organising specific bottling components

Domestic, insulated warehouse

Export documentation and coordination

Best Bottlers P/L PO Box 4088, Mildura VIC 3500 P: (03) 5018 7100 • F: (03) 5018 7132 • • 100 Grapegrower & Winemaker

November 2012 – Issue 586







3 HONOURABLE MENTIONS . . . OUR WINE LABELS say a lot about us!

40 George Street Leichhardt NSW 2040 P: 02 9550 0999

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sales & marketing

An efficient bottling line is ready to meet all customer needs.

Logistics, warehouse and delivery Best Bottlers boasts over 11,000 square meters of secure, on-site finished goods warehousing. This warehousing is temperature controlled, ensuring all product is stored at its best. The company’s logistics contacts can readily source any amount of secure offsite storage if required. “Our experienced distribution team can readily satisfy part or all of your logistic requirements with a proven method of order capture, order picking and despatch. We currently despatch stock worldwide, from single units to full containers,” Henderson said. “An ongoing focus of reducing customer’s costs is employed and loads are consolidated wherever possible and these cost savings passed on. Our team prides itself on accurate and timely despatches, offering the ability of next day despatching.” Best Bottlers is situated in Mildura, in the growing freight

The high-tech laboratory at Best Bottlers.

hub of Sunraysia and offers overnight service to Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. “We offer the complete export service from container packing to documentation and can configure containers in any way required. We also offer slip sheeting, export pallet or loose filling of containers and work to a 4-week shipping lead-time from receipt of order.”

Specialised services • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

102 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Keg filling 5L party kegs Cider production Quality assurance Domestic distribution Secure, insulated warehouse Self-adhesive label applicators Export documentation and coordination Coordinating container loading and sea freight Provision to bottle 187ml, 200ml, 375ml, 500ml, 750mL & 1.5L sizes Modern fully equipped chemical & micro laboratory Full product recall identification procedures Organising specific bottling components Cold stabilisation & filtration Flexible bottling lines Technical analysis Wine carbonation Tank ferments Stelvin closure

November 2012 – Issue 586

Portavin expands sparkling capacity Kellie Arbuckle

A YEAR AFTER Portavin took over McWilliam’s bottling facility in Chullora, NSW, the wine packaging provider is undergoing a $500,000 revamp of its sparkling wine bottling line. About a 30-minute drive west of Sydney, Portavin’s Chullora site will this month be home to a MBF Fillmatic 1440.40 HP Tronic filler – a modern automatic isobaric machine designed for bottling still, carbonated and sparkling wines. Unlike traditional fillers which require sparkling products to be bottled cold to help retain the gas, the Tronic filler can fill sparkling products at room temperature. Portavin NSW general manager Eddie Price said the new bottling line will reap benefits to Portavin customers and staff. “The new machine represents the latest in sparkling wine filling technology,” Price said. “It’s what’s called ambient temperature filling technology and it has advantages in

terms of throughput and cost savings while maintaining the quality of the product. “Ours is not the first technology of this kind in Australia but it does represent the latest model of this sort of technology with all the tweaks and advances.”

“This is in addition to our existing capacity to produce and bottle tank fermented sparkling styles.” Portavin added McWilliam’s Sydneybased cellar and bottling facilities to its portfolio in October last year under an agreement, designed to give Portavin a location in the Sydney market while simplifying the business model at McWilliams. Up until the takeover, Portavin did

not have any sparkling wine capacity in its group, other than a 50-year-old Seitz counter pressure filler – which will be replaced by the new Tronic filler. Price estimates the new filler will increase throughput of bottles per hour by about 40 per cent. “The advantage for us is better technology, better control over the product and better results for our customers,” he said. “In combination with our existing Matrix carbonation equipment, this machine will provide us with the capability to conduct in-line carbonation and bottling from levels of 1g/L up to 10g/L dissolved carbon dioxide. “This is in addition to our existing capacity to produce and bottle tank fermented sparkling styles.” In addition to bottling and packaging, Portavin’s Chullora facility provides dry goods supply and coordination as well as wine technical and oenological services.

Winemakers bottling for winemakers With ten winemakers working across six sites – now including Sydney – we are close to market and transport hubs, saving time, money and the environment. Portavin - caring for your wine from tank to shelf.

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


sales & marketing

Tactics produce a win for savvy sailors carrying Tohu MORE THAN 100 hardy sailors braved the elements in the Cook Strait last month to deliver the 2012 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc vintage to New Zealand’s capital. The westerly wind was gusting up to 29 knots on the start line outside the Tory Channel entrance. The air was tense and the yachts were eager to start. With many over the line too early, they returned and all crossed the start line without disqualification. The wind decreased to a near stationary two knots halfway across the strait before building up again, allowing the winning yacht, ‘Nefertiti’, to take out line honours and the handicap of this year’s race in five hours 34 minutes. Skippered by Mike Vining, Nefertiti carried Tohu Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Second on Handicap was Slingshot, skippered by Clive Ballett, carrying Lake Chalice. ‘Real Deal’ was third on handicap, carrying Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc. Committee chairperson Juliet Abbott reported that the fleet divided into two as

104 Grapegrower & Winemaker

New Zealand’s finest white wends its way to Wellington – by sea.

tacticians decided to direct their yachts to sail either a northerly or southerly passage across the Strait. “The breeze died down and waters were glassy, wind indicators were reading zero off Island Bay. Research of the tides paid off for some, however the race finish cutoff time was 1630. Unfortunately five yachts were unable to reach the finish line in time, scoring a did not finish.”

Each of the 17 yachts carried on board a bottle of 2012 Sauvignon Blanc in a padlocked wooden wine box. Kate Cameron, from Wine Marlborough said: “This event has huge potential and there are many opportunities for its development in Wellington. With all the focus on yachting next year with the America’s Cup, this is a great opportunity to take the event to the next level”.

November 2012 – Issue 586

business & technology Live-streaming events can turn your brand website into a virtual cellar door Dr. Roberta Veale

MANY MODERN WINE consumers are culturally competent and technologically savvy, independently forming and supporting virtual communities/blog sites and net-based special interest groups. Emerging and strongly supported forms of e-based consumer networking strategies has been found to reach, engage, educate and influence buyers adverse to the traditional forms of mass media advertising and promotion. Recent research indicates that upwards of a third of internet users visit websites with user-generated content when making purchase decisions across a wide range of products and services, including wine. Research also confirms that many consumers today are responding less and less to conventional media channels, while upwards of 80 per cent of internet users have been found to trust advice received from friends (and total strangers) through blogging, chat sights, social media and other peer-to-peer community networks.This is achieved via information exchange and co-creation with fellow brand enthusiasts, particularly where they feel a sense of involvement with the brand and/or even just a product category. Yet, knowledge of how wine brands can reap benefits from internet-based consumer interactions is extremely limited, representing a significant gap in our understanding of how to tap into the sales opportunities they represent. Currently most brand or category community-oriented events and discussions take place in the cloistered and closed world of consumer-owned sites (virtual or face-to-face) where direct brand involvement has been purposely excluded due to members’ skepticism of direct brand involvement or ownership. Even as consumer lead groups and networks appear to be flourishing, there has been little ground gained by many brands attempting to foster support for their website-based interactive communications strategies. While free-access social networking channels such as Facebook and Twitter are easy to use and can suggest strong engagement is taking place due to generated Likes and numbers of Followers – the actual commercial value of this November 2012 – Issue 586

type of support is questionable and their ability to satisfy the needs of consumers for wine knowledge, interesting experiences and synchronised social interaction is doubtful. A recent survey of wine attendees at a wine festival in South Australia revealed the majority of respondents interviewed indicated that they viewed them primarily as a good means to stay in contact with friends and family (rather than brands) and, importantly, they considered the information shared by others is not always considered particularly credible. Moreover, while a Facebook page, for example, is a great way to post current affairs, notify people about upcoming promotions or activities and provide consumers with a way to post information they wish to share with the world – wine brands have no control over any of the competitive advertisements and the plethora of other messages that are also viewed whenever anyone visits their page. Nor is there any sense of occasion to any visit or a chance to actively engage and interact with winemakers or other persons of interest to wine consumers. Hence, while these networking tools can, and do, support a robust e-based customer engagement strategy, they alone certainly do not constitute one. There are a number of critically important commercial benefits to be gained by engaging with customers and fostering attachment. These include attitudinal and purchasing loyalty, a greater willingness to pay a premium price and, importantly, positive word of mouth (WOM). In fact, consumers feeling a sense of attachment or closeness to a brand can be devoted advocates of that brand both on and offline. Given that anything being said about any brand or product on the internet (positive or negative, true or false) can be circulated worldwide in a matter of minutes, these consumers can be invaluable defenders of a brand’s reputation. The use of a strategy such as ‘live streaming’ events hosted by winemakers themselves via brand websites provides an ideal easy, innovative and lowcost virtual vehicle for implementing powerful consumer engagement strategies

“It’s the opportunity to engage, co-create and share information about a product they enjoy in an interesting environment that is the key to sowing the seeds of your own virtual brand community.”

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Grapegrower & Winemaker


business & technology to reach consumers for the first time, and importantly, a way to re-engage or engage more closely with existing customers at all levels of current buying loyalty. All the consumer needs is access to some wine and the internet. In fact, the wine is even optional – it’s the opportunity to engage and share information in an interesting environment that is the key to bringing them on board and sow the seeds of your own virtual brand community. Research conducted over the past three years funded by the GWRDC, the University of Adelaide Business School and the University of Adelaide Wine2030 Research Network is nearing completion. This current study responded to this urgent need to gain greater understanding of how to develop and nurture brand-owner oriented communities from a consumercentric perspective by extensively testing the potential effectiveness of using ‘livestreaming’ events hosted by owners of brands and winemakers to reach and engage wine consumers. These events were designed to satisfy the emotional, informational and socially based product-related needs of consumers and provide brand stakeholders with critical feedback from their own current and potential customers. And they work. The research involved the establishment of three test virtual wine communities supported by the Adelaide Hills Wine Region (the first pilot study – this community is no longer active), the Barossa Wine and Grape Association ( and Mt Surmon Wines ( During this time more than 60 livestreaming events have been held, covered a wide range of activities and subjects that go beyond wine appreciation, importantly, highlighting what makes a particular wine or region special. These have involved showcasing wine dogs, food matching, biodynamic winemaking practices and riddling demonstrations. For the Barossa HQ and the Mt Surmon Wine Lounge events, to satisfy the need to gather empirical data in addition to the extensive qualitative data recorded via the chat responses, a tasting panel of consumers was recruited. Research investigating the benefits sought from brand communities confirms that information exchange and product knowledge (cognitive satisfaction) is a major reason why people belong to various brand-oriented groups. These live-streaming events offer these consumers the ultimate opportunity to learn about wine in a low-risk environment. Even a physical visit to the cellar door does not guarantee a meeting

106 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Figure 1. Tasting panel in the University of Adelaide signed into an event in computer lab.

with the winemaker and a chance to ask them questions. During our events, consumers can have active conversations with each other and the winemakers, while remaining anonymous if they wish, by signing into the community under an ‘avatar’ name. The other driver of membership is the enjoyment derived from social interaction and emotional reassurance related to product choices. People who may not be so confident in their wine knowledge will seek to

learn from others and/or have their own opinions confirmed. Qualitative and quantitative data derived from the streaming events we’ve been conducting confirms that most of our consumer respondents are engaged and having a great time. The format of the communities is simple. A calendar of events provides members (membership is free – you need only go to the websites and register) with a schedule of what will be happening and when. For those who wish to taste the wine

Figure 2. Burt and Jeni Surmon in their Wine Lounge kitchen.

Figure 3. St Hallett event in Barossa HQ hosted by Stuart Blackwell and James March.

November 2012 – Issue 586

being showcased, buying information is also provided, in addition to bottle shots and tasting notes. As a result of member feedback we made two specific enhancements to the Barossa HQ community site. Firstly, we added a Twitter feed, and a ‘cheers’ button option in the shape of a little wine glass to each comment made. Much like the Like button on Facebook that many people are familiar with, it is possible for members participating in an event to ‘cheer’ a comment made during the discussion. Presenters discuss the wines and anything else they wish about their brand or region and participants type questions and comments into the window on each website. Presenters are watching the event and can respond to each participant. Initial analysis shows very promising results. Critically, consumers are having fun and see them as interesting and a good way to learn about wine. Some example comments include: • “I liked the website with the links to Figure 4. Participants at home with friends taking part in an event. the tasting notes. The streaming went very smoothly.” • “Great concept. Been to similar events with craft beer makers and distillers at a specific site, but the cyberspace aspect added something more.” • “Really great way to learn about local products and be able to ask questions and interact with other people with similar interests.” • “A great idea and a great way to showcase some excellent wines. I had fun and I’d be more than happy to do it again!” • “Streaming was poor due to locality but found the whole experience enjoyable informative and really enjoyed the wine and conversation. I will definitely participate again!” With Wine File... • “Yes I loved it! My first online tasting and am looking • Winery records are easy to create and maintain forward to more! Interacting with both winemaker and • Winery records are completely auditable other tasters was great vibe! Congrats on organisation and all else. Cheers!” • Additives can be tracked to the material batch level We have also enjoyed tremendous support from participating • Augments HACCP/Standard Operating Procedures brands, with feedback from the winemakers and other • Your NZ WSMP record keeping needs are met presenters indicating that, while sometimes daunted by the prospect of engaging with customers ‘remotely’, they found • You will be using software that is widely used in Australia, the experience good fun, too. Importantly, this type of event New Zealand and the USA can be staged easily and cost effectively. All that is needed These are just some of the reasons is a webcam, external microphone, high speed internet (an why Wine File is the winemaker’s issue in some areas right now), live media encoder software (for example, Adobe Live Media Encoder) and a streaming choice for winery record keeping. provider (we use Netromedia at a cost of $ US148 per month) and some ideas. Obviously, there is a wealth of qualitative and quantitative NOW MOBILE data that will be analysed over the coming weeks and months and a full report to the GWRDC will be submitted in December 2013.

Winemakers, record keeping need not be a chore

Dr Roberta Veale, The Business School, Marketing, Faculty of the Professions, The University of Adelaide:

November 2012 – Issue 586 Tel: +61 2 9807 6077

Grapegrower & Winemaker


Australian Wine Export Market Snapshot The Australian Wine Export Market Snapshot is prepared by Wine Australia and provides the latest key statistics on exports of Australian wine. Updated monthly, the snapshot looks at the movement in total volume and value

for the past 12 months and then drills down into more detail such as the top five destinations by value growth, movements in container type, colour, winestyle, and price point, and the top five varietal and regional label claims on bottles.

The main purpose of the report is to provide some high-level trends for the Australian wine category. For more information please visit www., email to info@ or ring 08 8228 2010.

Highlights â&#x20AC;&#x201C; year ended September 2012 Key statistics Total



Volume ML



Value $AM (fob)



Destinations (by value growth)


Growth ($Am)

China, Pr



Hong Kong






Germany, Federal Republic







% point change

Glass bottle

Container type (by volume)









Alternative packaging1




% point change


Still wine by colour (by volume)







% point change -1.2

Wine style (by volume) Red still wine


White still wine












Price points (by volume)


% point change

$A2.49/L and under 2



$A2.50/L to A$4.99/L



$A5.00/L to A$7.49/L



$A7.50/L to A$9.99/L



$A10.00/L and over



Top five varietal label claims on bottles (by volume)



Shiraz and Shiraz blends



Chardonnay and Chardonnay blends




Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon blends



Merlot and Merlot blends



Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc blends



Top five regional label claims on bottles (by volume)



South Eastern Australia



South Australia



Prepared: October 2012, updated monthly 1 Alternative packaging includes flagon, tetra, PET and other packaging types 2 The growth in this segment is due to growth bulk shipments as more Australian wine is being packaged overseas for a combination of reasons, including economic, environmental and scale rationale together with meeting the requirements of some customers. The change in share represents percentage point change in share between the current twelve month period compared to the preceding 12 month period. Based on data compiled from the AWBC Wine Export Approval System. Average Value ($AUD) calculated on FOB value. Free on Board (FOB) value includes production and other costs up until placement on international carrier but excludes international insurance and transport costs. Data is based on wine shipped from Australia to the country of destination - in some instances, wine is then transshipped to other countries for consumption.




McLaren Vale



Barossa Valley



108 Grapegrower & Winemaker

Disclaimer: While Wine Australia makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and currency of information within this report, we accept no responsibility for information, which may later prove to be misrepresented or inaccurate, or reliance placed on that information by readers. Provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 apply to the contents of this publication, all other right reserved. For further copyright authorisation please see the website

November 2012 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Issue 586

looking forward 2012 Australia & New Zealand

looking back

November 15-16 Crush 2012 - The grape and wine science symposium. Waite Campus, University of Adelaide, SA. 16 Variety Annual Wine Auction Luncheon. National Wine Centre, Adelaide, SA. 17-18 Brown Brothers 26th Wine & Food Festival. Milawa Vineyard, Milawa, VIC. 17-18 Budburst - Macedon Ranges Wine and Food Festival. At various venues around the Macedon Ranges Wine Region, VIC. 17 (JD) Eltham Wine Show 2012. Eltham Community Centre, VIC. 17-18 La Dolce Vita. Various cellar doors, King Valley, VIC. 17-18 Pizzini Wines Gnocchi Fiesta. Pizzini Wines, King Valley, VIC. 17-18 Pyrenees Petanque Club Avoca Triples Tournament. High Street, Avoca, VIC. 17 Taminick Cellars Generations IV Long Lunch. Booth's Taminick Cellars, Taminick, VIC. 17-22 (JD) Wrest Point Royal Hobart Wine Show. RAST Hobart Showground, Glenorchy, TAS. 18 Langhorne Creek Vignerons' Race Day. Strathalbyn Racecourse, SA. 18 Malmsbury Village Wine & Food Fayre. Town Hall & Gardens, Mollison Street, Malmsbury, VIC. 18 Toast Martinborough Wine, Food & Music Festival. Martinborough, NZ. AWRI Workshops 19 McLaren Vale, SA. 22 Clare, SA. 23 Barossa Valley, SA. courses-seminars-workshops/events 19 (JD) Daylesford Wine Show. Daylesford, VIC. November 2012 – Issue 586

21-22 ASVO 'Sustainability and Efficiency in the Winery' Seminar. Adelaide, SA. 22-29 Le Concours des Vins du Victoria. Melbourne, VIC.

We step back in time to see what was happening through the pages of Grapegrower and Winemaker this month 10, 20 and 30 years ago. November 1982

22-25 Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Margaret River, WA.

The chairman of the Australian Wine and

22 Wine Tasmania/Roberts Technical Field Day. Milton Vineyard, Cranbrook, TAS.

urgently protect itself against moves

25 The Age Spring Harvest Picnic at Werribee Park. Werribee Park, VIC. 28-29 (JD) 2012 Margaret River Wine Show. Margaret River Education Campus, Margaret River, WA. 29-30 AWRI Sparkling Wines of the World Tastings. Adelaide, SA. au/industry_support/courses-seminarsworkshops/events

Brandy Corporation Robert Hesketh warned that the wine industry must to introduce harsh regulatory controls on liquor marketing. He said these moves were directed initially at television advertising and would attempt to use the ban on cigarette commercials as a precedent. But if that step was successful, it would be only the first in what could become a far-reaching strategy of restrictions. “Our problem is that even though the anti-alcohol campaign is pitched mainly at beer and the types of spirits more commonly consumed in pub situations, wine could fall victim to the shotgun approach of would-be reformers,” Hesketh said.

30 November-1 December Taste of the Tamar. Launceston, TAS.

December 1 Burnbrae's Black Tie BBQ. Burnbrae Winery, Mudgee, NSW. www. 1 Pyrenees Christmas Racing Shindig. Avoca Racecourse, Pyrenees Region, VIC. 14 Summer Table Lunch. Peter Lehmann Wines, Barossa Valley, SA. www.

International November 15-18 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo. Toronto, Canada. 19-20 World Bulk Wine Exhibition. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. www. JD = judging date For a comprehensive list of events, visit

November 1992 Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has committed his government to the rapid development of the wine industry in Victoria, predicting that wine would be “one of the brightest lights in industry for decades to come”. Officially opening the Wine Industry Technology Conference, he said that apart from the export income, regional employment and industrial diversity, wine tourism would be a major future drawcard for Victoria. Kennett announced the foundation of a Victorian Wine Board to help promote regional wine tourism, cellar door sales and to assist in generating exports.

November 2002 According to a recent article in Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser, South Australian brewery, Coopers, is considering taking on its own wine label. The article stated that Coopers’ executive chairman, Glenn Cooper, had admitted the company was “passively eyeing potential wine opportunitites”. Grapegrower & Winemaker


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November 2012 – Issue 586

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Cashed-up Investor Seeks Australian Wine Company Our client seeks to invest in or purchase outright an Australian Wine Company that has potential for national and export sales growth. As a guide for interested parties the following characteristics are preferable. The winery business should have; 1. An annual sales turnover in the range $5m – $20m. 2. Have a successful and highly regarded brand or brands. 3. The potential for further growth both in National and Export markets particularly in the retail $15 -$20 price brackets. 4. Be in a position to over deliver at all price points of the wine market 5. Have adequate and up to date infrastructure both in wine making production facilities and administrative management and control systems. 6. A modern bottling, packaging and warehousing facility would be beneficial and or have reasonably close access to a contract bottling operation. 7. Have access to quality vineyards both company owned and reliable grower relationships. 8. Have well trained, qualified employees in all areas of the business. All inquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. Please reply to: By email: OR by phone: Remy Morello 0411 222 730

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