Grapegrower & Winemaker, March 2022, Issue 698

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MARCH 2022


Benefits of ultrafiltration become clearer

Shattering expectations for bottle design 2022 ANNUAL THEME: SUSTAINABILITY | ISSUE THEME: VINEYARD FOCUS


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contents MARCH 2022


Featured on the cover of this issue is winemaker Nic Peterkin who is our Young Gun for March. Photo: Ryan Murphy



Winetitles insights


In this issue

8 15


82 83 86 86

What’s online


International briefs

16 FEATURE Bringing fertiliser production to home soil

Ask the AWRI

Producer Profile:

20 FEATURE Precision Viticulture down to a science

Mark Summerfield

Marketplace classifieds

24 Improving efficiencies, soil and biodiversity

Looking Back

26 Harlequin ladybirds – A developing threat for Kiwi producers



29 Humidity – don’t sweat it

34 Nero d’Avola Uncorked: There’s something about being a bold red




50 Weighing filtration options – Choosing mineral, ceramic or titanium


The Tahblik Group announces new appointment to replace retiring CEO Voyager Estate in Margaret River joins IWCA

10 The Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference to go ahead

12 2021 export figures show global challenges continue to impact Australian wine exports

14 Near miss from Margaret River bushfires

44 FEATURE Ultrafiltration the solution to eliminating bentonite?

54 Managing winery wastewater with a focus on ozone

58 A new age for sulphur dioxide testing

62 TOP DROPS: Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz 67 Young Gun Nic Peterkin

20 4

Grapegrower & Winemaker

March 2022 – Issue 698

Hans Mick Editor


elcome to March. With vintage proceeding well by most accounts, growers in a diverse range of regions have reported pleasing conditions ahead of harvest and are expecting good results accordingly. However, there is still some hail-related fruit loss expected in SA’s Riverland.


72 Proposed alcohol tax reform in the UK

76 The 18th AWITC – looking to the future through the prism of experience 77 Limestone Coast winery removes 10 million plastic bottles from oceans


78 Shattering bottle expectations

This issue has a vineyard focus with a number of related topics covered. Firstly we provide an update on measures being taken to secure local supplies of fertiliser as disruptions to global supply lines continue (page 17). We also delve into a data-driven future with the latest innovations related to precision viticulture (page 20). Writer Simon Madden-Grey digs up perspectives on cover crops to improve soil and vineyard biodiversity (page 24). In New Zealand, the spread of the introduced harlequin ladybird could bug wine producers and we find out what early measures are being taken to reduce the risks (page 26). With heavy rainfall and unusually high humidity affecting many Australian wine regions over summer, we discover what the possible impact of this could be on vintage (page 29). As alternative varieties continue be mainstreamed in Australia, we take a look at one rising star: Nero d’Avola (page 34). Heading into the winery, Sonya Logan explores the use of ultrafiltration as a way to ameliorate phenolics (page 44). Meantime, winemaker Paul Le Lacheur uncovers the pros and cons of using

ozone as a winery sanitiser (page 55). We also look at research into the potential of sulfur dioxide testing (page 58). For Behind the Top Drops, we’re introduced to the Hunter Valley’s Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz (page 62). We also meet this month’s Young Gun – Margaret River winemaker Nic Peterkin (page 67). In last month’s issue we featured positive accounts of an increasingly warm reception for Aussie premium wines in the British market. Since then, reports have surfaced about proposed changes to the UK’s alcohol tax system, dampening expectations of those producers targeting British consumers. Kym Anderson, from the University of Adelaide, and Glyn Wittwer, from Victoria University, provide their answer to the question of how much this is likely to erode exporter gains from Australia’s FTAs with the UK (page 72). With supply chain issues causing headaches across the board, we examine possible solutions to deal with dwindling and more costly glass supplies – from recycling to the rethinking of bottle design (page 78). It’s all food for thought – enjoy the read!

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77 March 2022 – Issue 698

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Compiled from data supplied by Wine Australia, our regular Winetitles Insights reports feature industry sales and production insights to keep growers and winemakers informed on the latest trends. AUSTRALIAN WINE EXPORTS - year ended December 2021



The value of Australian wine exports decreased by 10% to $2.03 billion and volume decreased by 17% to 619 million litres in the year ended December 2021. The biggest driver of the decline in Australian wine exports in the 12 months to the end of December 2021 was the reduction in exports to mainland China. Exports to mainland China declined by 97% in value to $29 million and


by 93% in volume to 6.4 million litres. The value of packaged exports decreased by 35% to $1.5 billion and volume decreased by 26% to 237 million litres. Unpackaged wine exports decreased by 11% in value to $520 million and by 11% in volume to 382 million litres. The average value of unpackaged wine was steady at $1.36 per litre FOB.

The top five markets by value in the year ended December 2021 were: • UK, down 1% to $453 million • US, down 7% to $403 million • Hong Kong, up 45% to $192 million • Singapore, up 108% to $166 million, and • Canada, down 14% to $164 million.

Compiled from data supplied by Wine Australia, our regular Winetitles Insights reports feature industry sales and Wine Australia providing insights ononAustralian Wine production insights to keep growers and winemakers informed the latest trends. March 2022 – Issue 698

Grapegrower & Winemaker


what’s ONLINE NZ wine industry welcomes new critical workers’ exemption With an unprecedented labour shortage, the Government’s new exemption scheme will help the wine industry, said NZ Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan. The new scheme revealed last month enables close contacts to keep going to work instead of isolating if they return a daily negative rapid antigen test. Source: Stuff

Chinese tariffs take a sledgehammer to Treasury Wine Estates’ earnings The imposition of restrictions on imports of Australian wine into China have crushed Penfolds producer Treasury Wine Estates’ earnings in the December half, despite the company witnessing growth in other overseas markets. The company says the EBITS (earnings before interest, tax and material items) contribution from Australian sales to Mainland China fell from $78.2 million to just $2 million this recent half. Source: Business News Australia

An experimental white Pinot Noir from Central Otago is turning heads Akitu’s flagship wine remains its conventional red A1 Pinot Noir, accompanied by the more approachable and generous A2 – but, however tiny its production may be (270 cases for the 2021 vintage), the winery’s Pinot Noir Blanc is guaranteed to turn a few heads. The colour of the wine is disarmingly pale, but in any case the intention is emphatically not to jump aboard the already overladen rosé bandwagon. Source: The Drinks Business

Daily Wine News is a snapshot of wine business, research and marketing content gleaned from local and international wine media sources, with a focus on Australian news and content.


Grapegrower & Winemaker

In this issue “The data gathered can be used in a number of ways, including the quick counting of vines, tallying missing plants and bare wire, pinpointing areas of water and nutrient stress and disease impact, mapping vigour zones for variable rate applications and improving the location and information derived from destructive sampling and in-ground sensors.” - Dan French, p.20 “I can remember tasting wines back in the late ‘80s at the [Australian] Wine Research Institute and I think everybody who tasted them came to the conclusion that it may well have made the wine's protein stable, but it basically stripped them completely.” - David Wollan, p.44 “Some media reports have claimed it would wipe out the recently won gain expected from the UKAu FTA. That seems to be based on the estimate by Wine Australia that the proposal would raise the duty on Australian still wine by 11% on average. If there were no changes in volumes consumed as of 2021, wholesalers in the UK would thereby pay an additional £80 million (about A$150 million) per year in excise duty on Australian wines. ” - Kym Anderson and Glyn Wittwer, p.72 “I would imagine in the next six to 12 months you will start to see a lot more wine in pouches, casks and cans. We need to give manufacturers the ability to use recycled content and that the government is making a concerted effort to invest in recycling. We don’t want to end up like Argentina and just be stuffed when it comes to glass supply – our clients in those regions are really struggling.” - Rowena Curlewis, p.78

March 2022 – Issue 698

news The Tahbilk Group announces new appointment to replace retiring CEO Victoria’s oldest family-owned winery Tahbilk – established in 1860 and owned and operated by the Purbrick family since 1925 – has announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer for the Tahbilk Group (TG). Ross Sudano will replace incumbent, fourth generation Purbrick, Alister, when he retires in June. Sudano comes to the TG after having held a number of CEO positions across a range of industries, identifying and implementing strategic growth opportunities. He has experience in disrupting existing markets through Little Creatures Brewing and the launch of Anaconda Adventure Stores and competing in mature markets with BP Australia, Foodland Associated Limited and The Reject Shop. Ross’ most recent role was as CEO and managing director of The Reject Shop Limited, a publicly listed national retail business. He oversaw a strategic realignment and helped in reducing the cost of doing business over his five-

year tenure, generating $24 million per annum in savings. Current fourth generation CEO and chief winemaker Alister Purbrick is a wellknown figure on the Australian wine landscape and has served on a number of industry boards and committees over the course of his career. This includes his role as the inaugural chair of Australia’s First Families of Wine, a group of multi-generational wine families established in 2009 and a former president of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, now Australian Grape & Wine Incorporated. Purbrick welcomed Sudano into the fold. “After 43 years running my family businesses, Tahbilk and the Tahbilk Group, it’s time for me to pass the baton on,” Purbrick said. “After an exhaustive recruitment process, overseen by a family and independent member panel, we welcome Ross and are certain that his extensive and proven business acumen and leadership skills

Outgoing CEO and winemaker Alister Purbrick

will build on the successes achieved over 162 years of operation. “Ross will report to our family board, ensuring that the Purbrick family vision, mission and values underpin our Group culture whilst driving a new and exciting chapter for our family business. “We wish him every success.” Sudano will be based at Tahbilk’s corporate office in Melbourne with regular time spent overseeing TG operations based in the Nagambie Lakes region of Victoria.

Voyager Estate in Margaret River joins IWCA International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) has welcomed Voyager Estate, as well as four other international wineries, as members and applicant members of the group which is committed to taking immediate action to reduce carbon emissions. Established in 1978, Voyager Estate is a family-owned vineyard and winery in WA’s Margaret River. Its vineyards are 100 per cent organically farmed, with wines transitioning to full certification by 2023.

Undurraga (Chile) and Miguel Torres Chile (Chile), which is now a silver member. Managing director of Miguel Torres Chile Jaime Valderrama said it was time for wineries across the globe to take dramatic action. “We must undertake concrete actions to reduce and mitigate the impacts produced by our processes,” Valderrama said.

Sustainability has been a priority for Voyager Estate for over 20 years, with a focus on building soil carbon, ecosystem support, land management, water efficiency and renewable energy.

“Our participation in IWCA is key for us as we will join a strict protocol to mitigate CO₂ emissions, adopt actions implemented by other wineries around the world and share information regarding new projects.”

Voyager Estate was made a member of IWCA alongside Famille Perrin (France), Champagne Lanson (France), Viña

IWCA has also launched two regionally adapted IWCA calculators for wineries in Australia and New Zealand.

March 2022 – Issue 698

These tools have been developed in collaboration with Sustridge and Yealands Estate Wines for current and potential members of IWCA to calculate their annual greenhouse gas emissions inventories and include the most material emissions sources for typical wineries and vineyards. IWCA is open to wineries who recognise that climate change is the most significant threat to the wine community and are guided by the urgency for strategic action to accelerate innovative solutions. The organisation has two membership categories, gold and silver, with requirements that include becoming net zero by 2050 at the latest and completing company audits to analyse how producers can lessen their carbon footprint.

Grapegrower & Winemaker


news The Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference to go ahead in June The 18th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference (AWITC) will be held in-person at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 26 to 29 June 2022. Organisers say the 18th AWITC will span over four days, featuring 11 core plenary sessions with 49 presentations and has a program offering a wide range of diverse and relevant subject matter. This will cover existing industry priorities plus future issues that may surface. More than 30 technical workshops covering a range of themes will be staged on Sunday 26 June, and eight business workshops will be presented on Tuesday 28 June.

The AWITC incorporates the Australian Grape & Wine Outlook Conference, which presents the latest wine business, policy, and marketing content, focusing on the future prosperity of the sector, as well as WineTech, the Australian wine industry’s most extensive and relevant trade exhibition. WineTech is an essential part of the event, delivered in partnership with WISA (Wine Industry Suppliers Australia Inc.) and Expertise Events. WineTech 2022 will feature a comprehensive range of viticultural and winemaking equipment, materials and associated services from around 140 exhibitors.

The event will be presented in a COVIDsafe manner, with all attendees required by the venue to be fully vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. Registrations opened on 1 March and early-bird pricing is available until 30 April. More information about the conference can be found at Winetitles Media, publisher of the Grapegrower & Winemaker, is a media partner of AWITC 2022. Read more on page 76.





Grapegrower & Winemaker

March 2022 – Issue 698

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news 2021 export figures show global challenges continue to impact Australian wine exports Wine Australia

Value of exports to the top 10 markets

Export report 1 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2021 Total exports

$2.03 billion

q -30% Volume

619 million litres

Average value


q -17% q -15%

Exports by price point above $10/litre

Volume of exports to the top 10 markets (9L cases)

United Kingdom

$453m q


United Kingdom


q -9%

United States

$403m q


United States


q -8%


inc. HK and Macau

$223m q-81%



q -16%










q -14%

New Zealand




New Zealand

$105m q -2%



 16%





inc. HK and Macau







South Korea


 74%



q -11%



 14%






q q q q q q q


15.8 million



of wine produced is exported $200+







-31% -52% -48% -42% -55% -28% -26%

active exporters

$137m $38m $104m $67m $157m $45m $59m

glasses of Australian wine enjoyed overseas each day

different products exported

Wine Australia’s export report for 2021. Image courtesy Wine Australia

Australian wine exports decreased significantly by 30 per cent in value to $2.03 billion and 17% in volume to 619 million litres in the year ended December 2021, according to Wine Australia’s latest Export Report. The export figures are reflective of the tough market conditions over the past 12 months as a result of deposit tariffs imposed on bottled Australian wine imported to mainland China, the continuing impact of the global freight crisis, and a counter-swing in some markets after COVID-19 related stockpiling in 2020. The biggest driver of the decline in Australian wine exports in the 12 months to the end of December 2021 was the reduction in exports to mainland China. Exports to mainland China declined by 97% in value to $29 million and by 93% in volume to 6.4 million litres, a loss of nearly $1 billion in value and 90 million litres in volume, when compared to the 2020 calendar year where shipments were free from tariffs for most of the year. Wine Australia general manager corporate affairs and regulation Rachel Triggs said the Australian wine export community was managing its way through exceptionally challenging times, as evident in the Export Report. 12

Grapegrower & Winemaker

“The 2021 calendar year represents the first full 12-month period since very high deposit tariffs on Australian wine imported to China were imposed, and the global impact of the challenging operating environment can now be observed in full,” Triggs said. “Because the export figures are compared to the prior 12-months, we’ll keep seeing significant differences in the year-todate export figures as a result of the deposit tariffs until the end of 2022. “Exports excluding mainland China increased by 7% in value to $2 billion and decreased by 6% in volume to 613 million litres. “This is the first time that exports excluding mainland China have reached $2 billion for a calendar year since 2009.” The markets with the largest increase in value of Australian wine exports were Singapore (up 108% to $166 million), Hong Kong (up 45% to $191 million), South Korea (up 74% to $47 million), Taiwan (up 65% to $31 million) and Thailand (up 31% to $28 million). Exports valued at above $10 per litre FOB increased in value by 49% when excluding mainland China, giving positive signs that demand for products which would previously have been exported to China is emerging in other

markets and highlighting the importance of the Australian grape and wine sector investing in market diversification. “The pandemic is still disrupting the on-trade, the global freight crisis is continuing to cause shipping delays and increased freight costs, and while there was export growth to many destinations, it will take time to offset the loss in trade to mainland China,” said Triggs “This is not something that will happen overnight, nor within a year. But the Australian wine sector is resilient, and there are early signs that hard work in expanding and diversifying markets is paying off.” The decrease in volume, aside from mainland China, was mostly in shipments to the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (US) and Canada, where export volumes surged in 2020 due to COVID-19 induced stockpiling and were impacted by the global freight crisis later in 2021. A total of 63 million litres was shipped in the month of December 2021, representing the largest month of exports since October 2020. However, the 619 million litres shipped in total for the 2021 calendar year represents the lowest volume shipped in a 12-month period since September 2004. Aside from the loss of shipments to mainland China, the significant drop in volume was also attributed to low wine inventory levels at the start of 2021 after three small vintages and delays in getting the large 2021 vintage onto ships due to the ongoing global freight crisis. In the 2021 calendar year, 201 million litres of 2021 vintage wine was shipped, which is about 10% less than the 2017, 2018, and 2020 vintages at the same time in their respective years, and 7% ahead of where the 2019 vintage was at this stage. “A relatively high share of the small 2020 vintage was brought forward to ship in 2020, leaving a smaller amount left to ship in 2021,” Triggs said. “The 2020 vintage was the smallest vintage since 2007 and much of it was shipped in 2020 to the UK and the March 2022 – Issue 698

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news US in response to increased demand for Australian wine during COVID19 and ahead of the Brexit transition conclusion.” The global freight crisis emerged in the second half of 2021, hampering exporters’ ability to get wine in to markets – particularly in the US and Europe. Logistics companies Hillebrand and Flinders Port Holdings reported that the combination of a fundamental shortage of container ships and a sudden and strong rebound in global demand driven by the US and China – compounded by COVID-19 related labour shortages and other factors – led to port congestion, worst ever schedule reliability and increased costs. “Exporters experienced both increased delay times and increased costs of containers over the past year,” Triggs said. “Flinders Port Holdings reported that Australia also represents only 1 % of global container throughput, so we are at the mercy of bigger international players with this increased demand for freight. “The crisis is not expected to be resolved before the end of 2022.”

Destinations In the year ended December 2021, Australian exporters shipped wine to 112 markets, compared with 114 the year before.

The top five markets by value were: • UK, down 1% to $453 million • US, down 7% to $403 million • Hong Kong, up 45% to $192 million • Singapore, up 108% to $166 million, and • Canada, down 14% to $164 million. The top five markets by volume were: • UK, down 9% to 243 million litres • US, down 8% to 125 million litres • Canada, down 16% to 47 million litres • Germany, down 1% to 34 million litres, and • New Zealand, down 7% to 31 million litres.

United Kingdom Australian wine exports to the UK decreased by 1% in value to $453 million and 9% in volume to 243 million litres (27 million 9-litre case equivalents). Average value increased by 9% to $1.87 per litre FOB, the highest level in more than ten years. An extraordinary level of shipments to the UK took place during quarter 2 through quarter 4 of 2020, when compared to 2019. Pleasingly, this level of shipments was largely upheld in 2021, which is consistent with IRI Worldwide data from the UK off-trade that shows overall wine sales in 2021 are more comparable to 2020 sales than pre-pandemic 2019 levels. As Australia is the number one source of wine in the off-trade, it is


benefitting from this. Australian wines managed to outpace the overall market in value growth, growing by 2% in value, while the total off-trade wine market declined by 3%.

United States of America Australian wine exports to the US decreased by 7% in value to $403 million and 8% in volume to 125 million litres (14 million 9-litre case equivalents). Average value increased by 1% to $3.23 per litre FOB. The 2021 calendar year was a tough period for Australian wine exporters to the US. This is most evident in quarter two, where export value fell by 29% compared to the same quarter in 2020. However, quarter four started to show signs of renewed growth; export value increased by 9% compared to the same quarter in 2020. In both quarters of the second half of 2021, value exceeded that of 2019 (pre-COVID-19). Although total export value to the US declined during 2021, most of this decline was below $5 per litre with exports with an average value above $5 per litre increasing in value by 13% to $84 million. Exports with an average value of $10 per litre or more increased by 20% to $48 million, the highest value since November 2009.

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March 2022 – Issue 698

international briefs

OIV meets WHO to discuss wine, health and warning labels The Drinks Business reported that the International Organisation of Wine and Vine (OIV) has met with the World Health Organisation to “discuss the role of wine in alcohol policies”. Fearful that wine may soon be forced to carry health warnings like tobacco, which could mean a future bottle of Bordeaux could display ‘drinking causes cancer’, the OIV headed to Geneva last month to meet with WHO in an attempt to promote the role of moderate wine consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Argentine fizz is making its mark Sparkling wine accounted for around 3 per cent of Argentina’s total wine production, and around 2% of its exports in 2021, reported the Drinks Business. The vast majority is consumed domestically, but exports of fizz have seen a steep rise in the past year, both in value and volume. Total exports of Argentine sparkling last year were worth US$17.9m, according to Wines of Argentina – a rise of 48% compared to the previous year.

March 2022 – Issue 698

Burgundy wines to introduce new methods to reduce carbon footprint By the end of the first half of 2022, the Burgundy Wine Board and recycling agency Adelphe will develop a methodology aimed at identifying the levers which can help the region achieve carbon neutrality. Adelphe deputy director Sophie Wolff told Vitisphere that, “the experiment […] will extend our eco-design expertise to the carbon footprint of packaging and the entire value chain for wine and enable us to go even further in the transition of wine regions to ecology”.

Group of winegrowers seeks UNESCO recognition for ungrafted vines Decanter reported that a growing group of European vignerons has united to champion ungrafted vines and seek recognition from UNESCO. The Francs de Pied (Ungrafted Vines) group consists of vignerons who work with ungrafted vineyards planted to native varieties. UNESCO listing would help increase awareness of ungrafted vines’ historical and cultural value, and would also prevent ungrafted vineyards, some of which may date back to pre-phylloxera times, from being uprooted.

Portuguese wine exports up Exports of Portuguese wines rose 8.11 per cent last year, year-on-year, having exceeded €925 million, according to data released by ViniPortugal and reported by the Portugal News. “The year 2021 was highly positive for exports of Portuguese wines, compared to the same period in 2020”, said the entity, which brings together several associations, adding that “in 2021 there was an increase of 8.11% in value in exports compared to the same period in 2020”.

Glass bottles are the latest supply chain headache For American wineries, the current bottleneck is the bottles themselves. “Getting bottles right now is a very, very big challenge,” said Charlie Lybecker, from Cairdeas Winery in Washington. Wine Enthusiast reported that everal factors have compounded the situation. More wineries are purchasing glass bottles and in larger amounts than before, and they are buying them further in advance, too. Imported glass makes up about 25–30% of the beverage industry. At present, that glass is delayed at crowded US ports. Grapegrower & Winemaker




Bringing fertiliser production to home soil

Securing industry’s fertiliser needs amidst global supply turmoil

International supply chain issues continue to affect both imports and exports, placing pressure at points across the wine sector. Among the problems for growers, and broader agriculture, has been a shortage of fertiliser. Harrison Davies looks at ways this is being addressed.

Disruptions to the supply chain have hit almost every Australian industry. Ongoing COVID restrictions, shipping delays and exorbitant freight costs have made importing and exporting on a global scale difficult at best.

It can also be made synthetically by reacting natural gas, atmospheric nitrogen and water together at high temperatures to create ammonia and carbon dioxide cases which, when mixed, form urea.

Among the many products affected by the woes of international shipping has been fertiliser; especially urea-based fertiliser.

Synthetic urea fertiliser can be made anywhere natural gas is fracked. However, in recent times, Australian viticultural and horticultural sectors have imported roughly 90 per cent of their fertiliser from countries such as India, Morocco and China.

Urea is an organic compound that is used to release nitrogen in soil and, as the name might imply, occurs naturally in urine. 16

Grapegrower & Winemaker

Due to the current challenges posed by

international supply chain issues, access to vital fertiliser inputs sourced from overseas has been hampered, causing concern for growers. Furthermore, the cost of fertilisers has risen alongside other imported products, and some suppliers are asking for as much as $1000 a tonne for urea-based fertilisers due to supply shortages. These shortages of urea are not exclusive to Australia, with worldwide scarcity being traced back to energy shortfalls in countries that produce the compound. March 2022 – Issue 698


March 2022 – Issue 698

Grapegrower & Winemaker



This has resulted in significant quantities of urea manufacturing capacity being shut down as essential natural gas supplies have been diverted away from production and toward its use as a primary source of power and heating. Major Egypt placed which supply

urea exporting nations Russia, and China, have subsequently restrictions on urea exports have amplified the current shortage.

Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (WISA) executive officer Shirley Fraser said cost pressures would add to the challenges that both importers

and exporters are facing in terms of accessing shipping container slots at a cost-effective price.

“This will lead to a better outcome at vintage and mitigate the risks associated with rushed innovation.”

“The best way to achieve fulfilment is via close dialogue and collaboration with suppliers. The wine industry should be as transparent and communicative as possible to help suppliers respond to these complexities with accurate data on market demand,” she said.

Australian Grape & Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene said finding new ways to support producers and maintain the supply chain was of utmost importance.

“By seeking to understand the deeper flow-on effects of these complex global problems, we have an opportunity to seek out new supporting agtech and software too.

“We need to be pragmatic with the external forces impacting our sector,” he said. “Let’s understand the challenges and seek out solutions to the problems in front of us in traditional and innovative ways, rather than just ignoring what’s coming.







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March 2022 – Issue 698

“To be frank, much of this is outside the Government’s control and it is up to businesses to work together to manage the challenges of the months ahead.”

reduce the carbon emissions associated with Australia’s urea use by 60%, as well as improving the industry’s cost base,” he said.

that Project Haber can have in creating a new energy economy through the early creation of a large commercial hydrogen demand centre.

Seeking out solutions

“Australia, on average, uses 1.9mt of urea; of which 1.7mt is imported.

“Renewable power with some green hydrogen combined with Strike’s adjacent natural gas resources could see some of the world’s lowest carbon urea produced right here in WA.”

Steps are already being taken to alleviate the pressures created by fertiliser shortages, chief among these being a new urea manufacturing facility that was recently green lit for construction in Western Australia. Interest in an Australian urea plant has grown over several years but the liability of relying on international suppliers became much more apparent in mid2021. The project, known as Project Haber, is scheduled to begin construction in early 2023 near Geraldton and the plant will be capable of providing the lion’s share of urea fertiliser in Australia according to managing company Strike Energy. The company’s managing director Stuart Nicholls said that the new plant would not only supply ample product to the Australian market, but it would also reduce the carbon footprint of local industry’s use. “By displacing imports, using efficient and modern technology, and incorporating green hydrogen into the production process, urea from Project Haber 1.4 million tonne per annum facility could

“Strike’s Project Haber will add 1.4 million tonnes per annum of new, locallyproduced and competitively-priced urea to the Australian market. “Strike’s plans create a major structural shift for Australia’s agricultural sectors by providing more competitively priced urea, with lower emissions, and a more secure supply chain.” Investment in the project is supported by the WA and federal governments with the project receiving grants from both governments to go ahead. Nicholls said the support was a good sign that Australian produced urea was in demand. “The award of this Supply Chain Resilience Grant and West Australian Lead Agency Status is recognition of the importance of Strike’s pursuits at Project Haber, to not only domesticate the nitrogen fertiliser industry but also dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of Australia’s agricultural emissions,” he continued. “The investment in clean hydrogen in the [WA] Mid-West demonstrates the role

Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said the project was estimated to support 1,135 full-time jobs each year during the three-year construction phase and 300 full-time jobs per year over its 30-year life. “Strike Energy’s project has enormous potential for job creation and emissions reduction through embracing new technologies and onshore manufacturing,” Taylor said. “The facility has the potential to deliver significant emissions reduction to Australia’s urea manufacturing sector through the use of advanced ammonia and gas processing technology, as well as dedicated clean hydrogen. “It also aims to reduce the reliance of Australian farmers on international supply chains to enhance our food security, given more than 90 per cent of urea is currently imported.”

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March 2022 – Issue 698

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Precision viticulture: Down to a science Managing vines with new resources and intelligence

Precision viticulture is about managing vineyards to an almost microscopic level. Harrison Davies spoke with innovators in the field to understand where the discipline is headed in the future. Winegrapes are a pure reflection of the environment in which they were grown: soil, moisture and climatic conditions all have a significant effect on the berries a vine will produce. The fruit produced by grapevines can vary between vines separated by a matter of metres. Precision viticulture is all about honing in on the specific factors affecting vines and forming management plans for different parts of a vineyard based on the conditions the vines are growing in.

“Precision farming lets you drill down within a block, or a paddock, to really understand the variability there.” Hinze said it wasn’t his goal at Taylors to move away from tradition, but rather to find better ways to honour it. “We didn’t change a lot of our practices; what we tended to change was the timing of when you did something or how you did something”, he said. “And we gained an awful lot of knowledge very quickly.”

Detailed mapping tracks atmospheric moisture, soil and wind to provide precise information about individual sections of a block rather than generalised observations about a larger vineyard area.

Mapping tools and technologies have progressed a lot since 2005, and new companies have begun offering precision services to viticulturists to get more detailed information about their properties.

Australian grapegrowers have been leaders in precision viticulture for well over a decade and an open-mindedness amongst producers has allowed for significant progress within the industry.

Smart mapping of vineyards can create suggestions for best practice viticulture and provide data on factors such as crop counting, crop variability, plant health indicators and geo location.

An early adopter of precision viticulture was Colin Hinze, who first subscribed to the practice during his time as viticulturist with Taylors Wines in Clare Valley.

Airborne Logic’s vineyard surveying drone. Photo Rachel Lenehan

Precision in practice Mapping used for precision viticulture is created through a variety of technologies that work in unison to provide producers with detailed information about what is happening in their vineyards. Information is gathered by tools like soil sensors, which can measure mineral levels, moisture sensors, and aerial drones that can record images of vines and create data from that. Providers of this technology have reported that the information learned from their services can greatly improve yield as well as the quality of the vintage.

Mapping missing vines in a vineyard

After winning Viticulturist of the Year from the Australian Society of Viticulture & Oenology (ASVO) in 2017, he detailed his journey with the practice for Wine Australia. “In my way of thinking, precision viticulture is about bringing in a geographical dimension; it adds a location to the other information that you are collecting at the same time”, he said. “Traditionally, we look at a block and its boundaries; assuming it’s a square it’s got four sides and we judge that block on its average yield, average quality, average fertility and average vigour. 20

Grapegrower & Winemaker

March 2022 – Issue 698


Airborne Logic’s mapping technology details vine condition like canopy cover and moisture levels.

Adelaide-based Airborne Logic is one company that provides precision viticultural services to viticulturists and horticulturists



Business development manager Dan French said the company was formed as a response to producers wanting more detailed information about what they were growing.

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“[Producers] are consistently challenged by numerous factors related to climate, the environment in which crops are grown, resources and demand,” French said. “We use a variety of remote sensing tools such as drones, fixed wing aircraft and sensors to rapidly gather intelligence on crops over large distances that’s not feasible on the ground.

Airborne Logic’s vineyard surveying drone. Photo Rachel Lenehan

By separating and measuring vines and vegetation from their surrounds… we can help growers accurately locate and quantify areas of variability and lost productivity. – Dan French

multi and hyperspectral sensors, we can help growers accurately locate and quantify areas of variability and lost productivity”

“Tools we use to create detailed vineyard maps are survey grade that enable us to capture block boundaries, rows and vines and other vineyard and property assets at 2cm positional accuracy.

When collated, this data can help producers understand what parts of their vineyard have higher or lower productivity and helps them make decisions about how different parts of their property should be managed.

“By separating and measuring vines and vegetation from their surrounds, and by using specialised tools such as thermal, March 2022 – Issue 698

Maps from Airborne Logic’s drones can be used to map canopy levels, identify areas where different pruning methods may be needed or areas where moisture may be low.

“The data gathered can be used in a number of ways, including the quick

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Nigel Catt 0418 832 967 Grapegrower & Winemaker


counting of vines, tallying missing plants and bare wire, pinpointing areas of water and nutrient stress and disease impact, mapping vigour zones for variable rate applications and improving the location and information derived from destructive sampling and in-ground sensors,” French said.

“Tule Vision is an iPhone app that uses artificial intelligence to allow users to take and track midday leaf water potential readings and an average leaf water potential will be uploaded to the Tule Vision app and web dashboard. These readings indicate water stress of grapevines,” she said.

“Hyperspectral cameras are used to provide an additional layer of detail on a whole range of things outside of the visual light spectrum such as nitrogen or water stress and the subtle changes between plants at individual plant level.”

Barton said that access to the technology allowed producers to better manage their vines and “keep their fingers on the vines’ pulse” even when they were in the vineyard themselves.

The availability of AI (artificial intelligence) in vineyards is also fast becoming a major part of precision viticulture. Grapegrowers can receive continuous and detailed information about the factors effecting the growth of grapes and have a comprehensive knowledge of the conditions the vines are living in. This can also help producers protect their grapes from diseases like mildew by measuring moisture levels and allowing them to undertake preventative measures rather than reactionary ones. California-based Tule Technologies developed a smartphone app that connects to moisture sensors in vineyards. Marketing manager Kendall Barton said the technology was especially useful for producers in hot areas like Napa Valley or the Barossa.

AT A GLANCE • Precise information about individual sections of a vineyard are provided • Detailed mapping can track atmospheric moisture, soil and wind • Smart mapping data can assist factors such as crop counting, crop variability and plant health

“With unlimited access to real-time leaf water potential readings, growers can react to water stress and irrigate exactly when the vines need it and only irrigate as much as they need,” she continued.

• Information is gathered by tools like soil sensors, moisture sensors and aerial drones

“When water is scarce, it’s important to apply only what vines need only when they need it to reach production goals.

• Artificial intelligence is being used more often in precision viticulture

“This can be accomplished by closely tracking leaf water potential readings and making irrigation decisions accordingly.”

• Vineyard yield and fruit quality can potentially be improved

“There is no such thing as a uniform vineyard,” he said.

“High precision base maps that geolocate and label vines, rows and blocks are being used as base layers for automation such as driverless tractors that need to accurately navigate their way through the vineyard without incident,” French said.

Mapping vineyards and identifying parts that need attention is what makes precision viticulture effective and allows for other innovative methods to be used alongside.

“These maps can also be overlaid with soil mapping, irrigation and other records, and can be accessed through portals or mobile apps at any location for further analysis.”

Measuring stress French admitted that all vineyards are different.

Another group developing technology to improve precision viticulture is the New Zealand-based Onside.

and when, take some photos, pin where in the row it needs to be done and assign it to who needs to do it.

Onside’s technology tracks movement in vineyards through a check-in system and can map activity throughout growers’ properties and identify areas that need attention.

“Instantly, that person and the person responsible will be notified of the task that needs to be done and they have an exact location on the map of where it needs to be done.

It also helps growers protect their properties from threats like phylloxera, as it can help to identify the source of the infection and its movement throughout the vineyard.

“From an operational perspective, if you see signs of failing plant health, or a disease like powdery mildew, you can snap some pictures, pinpoint exactly on the map where the affected vines are and immediately send it directly to whoever is responsible for dealing with it.”

Onside head of growth Guy Davidson said intelligent mapping would be a useful resource for producers to not only improve their yield but prevent disease. “There are a number of advantages that mapping activity in vineyards can provide to viticulturists. One example is accuracy,” he said. “You can pin an exact location on the map of your vineyard where there is a task that needs to be done. “Say you’re driving down a row and you see some broken irrigation or a broken wire. Instead of writing this up on the tractor window, in a notepad or simply remembering to pass on to someone later, with Onside you can write a description of what needs to be done

When water is scarce, it’s important to apply only what vines need only when they need it to reach production goals. – Kendall Barton Using this technology to prevent diseases in vineyards could also help to prevent outbreaks of mildew and phylloxera long before they become severe. As technology improves, so too will the precision upon which viticulturists can manage their vines.



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Grapegrower & Winemaker




Improving efficiencies, soil and biodiversity

Understanding the best options when sowing cover crops

There are many reasons to plant cover crops and if they are to be part of vineyard management, then the first task will be determining which sowing method is best suited to the site in question. Informed decision making in the early stages of implementation will ensure the potential benefits of having a cover crop are realised, thereby justifying the allocation of financial and labour resources to this strategy, writes Simone Madden-Grey. If the motivation for planting cover crops is soil amelioration and/or carbon and nitrogen sequestration, minimising soil movement is key. Speaking at a Jackson Family Wines Rooted for Good webinar, Christina Lazcano, PhD, Assistant Professor of Soil Ecology, UC Davis California, refined the definition of carbon sequestration to make the distinction between atmospheric carbon and liquid carbon, or carbon that is contained within root exudates and consumed by microorganisms. She noted that advances in technology and science have improved data capture and assessment of the impact soil disturbance has on soil structure and the microorganisms within it. Advances in technology have also brought methods from the agricultural sector into the vineyard and this is providing options to reduce the amount soil is worked prior to sowing a cover crop.

Direct drilling A direct drilling system uses discs that cut through the soil or a sward in order to deposit the seed directly in the ground. Sowing seed this way significantly reduces the number of tractor passes undertaken and the amount the soil needs to be moved when preparing to sow a cover crop. At Felton Road, Bannockburn Central Otago, Gareth King tells me the Duncan driller they use was constructed from an agricultural drill at the request of Felton Road in 2003, because at the time there was nothing available in the market. Today, Duncan produces drills specifically for vineyards but, King points out, they have yet to build one that sits inside 2m rows.

Preparation A number of site specific considerations must be made when using direct drilling. Bart Arnst, a viticultural consultant based in Marlborough says, “you need to know 24

Grapegrower & Winemaker

what you’re drilling into. It’s also important to know how competitive and fast growing the pre-existing species will be”. Essentially, Arnst says, an understanding of how the cover crop will compete with existing cover is critical, as is the sowing season, soil moisture levels and soil temperature at the time of drilling, as well as potential

Advances in technology have also brought methods from the agricultural sector into the vineyard and this is providing options to reduce the amount soil is worked prior to sowing a cover crop. rainfall events after drilling. If needed, he advises running a mulching mower over rows prior to drilling in order to reduce competition and give the seeds the best chance at germination. In Felton Road, King agrees, saying resources need to be considered such as machinery size in relation to row width, aspect and height, the capability of the drill to cut through a heavy or a light thatch and so on. The ability to think ahead is critical says King, and understanding how the cover crop develops, including the potential water competition, moisture retention and disease pressure as well as the impact thatch thickness will have on the viability of future seed drilling are all decisions to be made before starting.

Soil type Soil type will have a role in determining sowing method and for fragile soils where erosion can be an issue, Arnst sees direct drilling as the best option. This is also the experience at Greystone Wines in North Canterbury, where Mike Saunders says the

minimal soil disturbance from depositing the seed directly into the soil helps reduce soil erosion, which is particularly good if there are slopes in the vineyard. Speaking at the OWNZ Marlborough Symposium 2021, Saunders had many tips for sowing cover crops. He recommended investing sufficient time in adequate preparation, ensuring the seed is easily available, that sufficient labour for the chosen sowing method is available and that ideal weather conditions in terms of warmth and moisture for the seed being sown are understood. He also highlighted the importance of being flexible with regard to working around the climate and to the sowing method selected. Jono Frew of Natural Performance agreed, saying that when working with a range of clients in New Zealand, he encourages them not to overthink things, not to be limited by access to kit but to be innovative. He says there are a number of different ways to get seed into the soil.

Sowing rates At the OWNZ Marlborough Symposium 2021, Arnst stressed the importance of knowing correct sowing rates as well as understanding the iceberg effect of cover crops for undervine impacts. Both Arnst and King note the requirement for a higher sowing rate when using a driller. In his experience, Arnst says, “with direct drilling I would up the rates by at least another 30 per cent over what you would normally drill after mid row cultivation,” and at Felton Road, the seeding rates are also increased to attain the required germination rates. Talking to me from his tractor cab, King is sowing a mixture of legumes and cereal as well as flowering species to encourage beneficial insect populations, with a plan to crimp those crops in autumn or next March 2022 – Issue 698

spring. Ideally he says, “we would have perennial species that provide a thatch that can be drilled through when next sowing a cover crop.” The nuances of managing each particular site come into play when selecting and sowing cover crop species, and at Felton Road decisions are guided by goals such as soil quality improvement, increased biodiversity and minimal row passes. With that in mind, simply leaving natural grasses and herbs to come away in the vineyard is not enough. King says it is a conscious decision whether or not to disturb the soil and if so, how much is necessary in order to plant species that realise those goals.

Kit In addition to the Duncan seed drillers, other brands are being used across New Zealand such as the Taege vineyard seed drill, which is used at Te Whare Ra in Marlborough. Arnst tells me that some of the newest drillers being used are from French company Novag, which offers direct drill air assisted seed delivery. The driller can do most things in one pass, says Arnst, such as differing seed depths and various seed mixes. In terms of virtual kit, Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) has

published a manual for planting cover crops and this is available to all members of the New Zealand wine industry. King describes it as an outstanding resource for the industry, crediting Bart Arnst and Nick Paulin, of Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates, as major contributors to the guide. If growers outside New Zealand wish to obtain a copy, it can be downloaded free of charge from the OWNZ website.

Broadcast In contrast to direct drilling, a broadcast system deposits the seed directly on the ground and might be suitable for sites where rows are too narrow for seed drillers, which are limited to row widths of 2m or wider. In Hawke’s Bay, Amy Farnsworth and Nick Paulin use drop seeding because drillers will not fit down the narrow rows of Smith & Sheth’s Omahu vineyard. A seed dropper is mounted onto a rotadairon to broadcast a metered amount of seed onto the soil surface. If compost is to be included, this is when it will be added and incorporated into the soil using the rotadairon which is set at a shallow depth so as not to bury the seed too deep. The manner in which cover crops are established will ultimately be guided by site specifications, resource allocation and viticultural goals whether holistic or commercial. As vineyard practices evolve, reframing learnings from other industries and finessing them for viticultural conditions will continue to help refine the task of sowing cover crops.

References How to establish a new vineyard organically. Autumn 2020, Organic Matters. Bart Arnst, Organic Winegrowers magazine.

Pre-drilling. Photo: Gareth King

After drilling. Photo: Gareth King

Close up of seed driller. Photo: Gareth King

March 2022 – Issue 698


Vineyard Floor Management: A Sustainability Nexus with a Focus on Undervine Weeding. Report number 04-2019, October 2019. Dr Charles N Merfield MRSNZ. The BHU Future Farming Centre Simone Madden-Grey is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia sharing stories about the people and places she has discovered on her travels. Her portfolio can be found at including articles on climate and sustainability in the wine industry as well as food and wine travel across gourmet destinations of Australia and her home country, New Zealand.


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Harlequin ladybirds

A developing threat for Kiwi producers

The Harlequin ladybird was first discovered in New Zealand in 2016 and the population has made its way from Auckland, where it was first found, down to Marlborough and other southern wine regions. The pest represents a big threat to winegrapes and strategies are being created for producers to fight back. Journalist Harrison Davies explores how this new threat is being managed.

Harlequin ladybird derive their names from the white patterns found on their head which resemble the faces of clowns. Originally hailing from south-east Asia, the species has been introduced to every continent across the globe and has become a notable pest in wine regions around the world. In places like Europe and America, the insect was introduced as a way to fight back against aphids as it prays on them. However, it was soon discovered that the omnivores also had a taste for grapes, and the abundant fruit found in vineyards more than satisfied their hunger. Harlequin ladybirds were discovered New Zealand in 2016 and quickly spread throughout the North Island in the ensuing years.

Professor Gary Pickering from Brock University in Canada is the leading expert on the species within vineyards and their effect on winegrapes. He said different varieties can expect to be affected in different ways.

We get a lot of reports of sightings and have been working with Plant and Food Research to undertake some monitoring in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Nelson to understand more about how and when the ladybirds are using vineyards as their habitat. – Sophie Badland

Populations of harlequins were recorded in Marlborough in the months following Cyclone Gita in 2018 and clusters of them have already been reported in Marlborough vineyards.

In his study he added multi-coloured Asian ladybeetles (MALB) to red and white grapejuice and must and had a professional wine tasting panel describe the results.

Whilst the influence of harlequins has not yet been felt by producers in New Zealand, management processes have already begun to prevent the pest from having a major impact on the local wine industry.

“White wines displayed higher intensities of bell pepper, asparagus, and peanut aroma and flavour compared with control wines, while red wines showed higher intensities of peanut, asparagus/bell pepper, and earthy/herbaceous aroma and flavour,” Pickering said.

What’s the danger? Harlequin ladybirds can affect grapes by clustering around them and eating damaged fruit, where they then get mixed with the berries and crushed into the wine. This result is what researchers describe as ‘ladybird taint.’ Ladybird taint is recognised as an unpleasant aroma and taste in wines that has been likened to burnt peanut butter. 26

Grapegrower & Winemaker

“At the same time, bitterness (more intense), sourness (more intense), and sweetness (less intense) were also affected in MALB-treated red wines, while in whites the intensity of fruit and floral descriptors was reduced compared with control wines. “These effects increased with the number of beetles added to the juice/must.” The study showed that each cluster of grapes, on average, needs to be exposed to

Harlequin ladybirds on damaged grapes. Photo: R Brewster & K Ker Closeup of a harlequin ladybird. Photo: Andy Howe

roughly 200 grams of beetles for taint to be expressed. “Ladybird taint can be detected with as little as one beetle per vine, and because they are so small it is very easy for them to sneak through,” Pickering said. “[Ladybirds] don’t damage grapes, full stop, we’ve done work to show that what they [actually] do is feed on pre damaged grapes. “So if you get swelling, or detritus or wasps, or hail or whatever that scale integrity is gone, then they can feed off the sugar. “The problem occurs once the bugs are incorporated, crushed and pressed.” Pickering added that clusters of beetles were attracted to vertical habitats, and that environments with an abundance of vertical plants and structures could encourage populations to the area. Reports of harlequin populations, particularly in Canada, has been reported in wineries adjacent to soy bean fields and properties bordered with willow trees. “They get into vineyards through proxy from adjacent habitats. They don’t congregate in vineyards because grapes are cool but because their primary food source isn’t available anymore,” he said. March 2022 – Issue 698

In many places where harlequins were introduced to fight off aphids they have ended up a more dominant species, also trimming away native ladybird populations. Once the soya beans had been harvested and the habitat for the aphids removed, the harlequins would seek shelter amongst grapevines. Once in the vines, they are harvested alongside the grapes and crushed into the wine, where they excrete ethoxy pyrazines. Pickering’s research has found ways to treat wine affected by ladybird taint and he discovered that the methods they explored have multiple applications. “One of the attractions of work in this field is that compounds that can ruin your wine from ladybugs are also compounds that are found naturally in some grape varieties,” Pickering said. “If you come up with a fix for later bad times, then that can also be applied just for routine winemaking. “There are initiatives around removing methoxy pyrazine wounds from juicing wine that are getting close to being commercialised. “There’s some specialty polymers that people are working on, remove just methoxy pyrazines from wine. That’s exciting. “Seeing that commercialised to me is important, because it’s not just the way to treat what we call the bandwagon. “It’s a way to treat wine that has been made from grapes that haven’t achieved optimal ripeness.”

A growing population Countries like New Zealand and Australia put a lot of work in to prevent pest populations from entering their ecosystems and agricultural industries. Experts are unsure of how the harlequin ladybirds first arrived in New Zealand. Biosecurity manager for New Zealand Winegrowers, Sophie Badland, said that while no damage had been reported on any winegrapes at the time of writing, extensive efforts were being made to ensure producers were protected. March 2022 – Issue 698

“The harlequin ladybird arrived in NZ in 2016 and the population distribution is still changing from year to year, based on the reports we get,” she said. “There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the insect and how it will behave in New Zealand in the future, so we will continue to keep an eye on the situation and ensure growers are prepared to take further action should it become necessary.”

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“It was also determined that containing 1 or slowing the spread was not feasible due to limited effective management 2 tools being available. “MPI stood down the investigation and has undertaken no further operational measures. We have however continued to liaise with the pip fruit and viticulture industries to provide information and support.”

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Ladybird taint can be detected with as little as one beetle per vine, and because they are so small it is very easy for them to sneak through. - Gary Pickering

“When first alerted to the presence of the harlequin ladybird in April 2016, MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) began an investigation, which determined that the pest was already well established,” he said.


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Since then a population of the ladybirds Ocloc products are products 100% carbon neutral has become established in Marlborough. Ocloc Nigel 100% carbon neutral Cattare 832 967 Ocloc products are 0418 100% carbon neutral The first step taken by New Zealand Winegrowers has been to educate producers about what to look for and to assist people in keeping populations of the pests away from vines.

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grapegrowing “New Zealand Winegrowers has been regularly putting awareness material, including identification guides, into industry communications to ensure growers are aware of the potential threat posed by the harlequin,” she said. “We’ve discussed it with growers at biosecurity workshops and asked people to report sightings to our biosecurity team, so we are aware of where the ladybirds are and the timing of their movements. “We get a lot of reports of sightings and have been working with Plant and Food Research to undertake some monitoring in Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Nelson to understand more about how and when the ladybirds are using vineyards as their habitat.” Reports of damage from the harlequins out of California and Europe in the last few years have prompted a strong response from New Zealand Winegrowers. The majority of sightings and reports have been lodged in the winter months, when the beetles congregate in sheds. However, Badland did say that a number of reports had been made of larvae being found on vines in the spring.

“To date, we have seen no issues from the harlequin ladybird through the vintage season. In Canada and the US we know they will sometimes aggregate in grape bunches prior to harvest, causing taint in wine made from affected bunches,” she continued. “However, we have not seen this behaviour from the harlequin ladybirds in New Zealand – rather, over-wintering aggregation is happening after harvest and any large clusters of ladybirds are usually found in sheds, containers and other vineyard outbuildings. “Throughout the growing season, we get reports of growers finding harlequins in the vines, but it is usually eggs, larvae or small numbers of adults and these seem to leave the vineyards well before harvest.” Pickering added that prevention was the best method of keeping the beetles away from grapevines. “Awareness of the quality of your fruit in terms of damaged fruit and if you get damaged fruit that looks like there are some there are olfactory cues that might attract the bugs,” he said.

He also said that it would be important for producers to ensure there were no beetles mixed with the harvested fruit. “If you are hand harvesting, sorting tables have been very effective. In fact, some producers have manufacturing, sorting tables specifically to remove ladybug taint from fruit,” he said. “On the other end, machine harvested fruit, some optical scanners which wineries are already using to get rid of mould and stuff that’s not grapes can also be effective at getting rid of ladybugs.”

Northern grape growing regions Native Before 2000 2000-2002 2003-2005 2006-2008 2009-2011 2012-2014

Southern grape growing regions

2015-2017 2018-2020 The expanding distribution of the harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). Countries are shaded to indicate when the beetle was approximately first identified. Adapted from Pickering et al. (2021)


Grapegrower & Winemaker

March 2022 – Issue 698

Humidity – don’t sweat it

What is the likely impact of a wetter than normal summer across Australian wine regions? The summer of 2022 brought with it beating winds, heavy rain and producers across Australia scratching their heads. Truly unusual weather patterns have meant the current vintage has played out a little different than previous years. But as journalist Harrison Davies reports, both challenges and unexpected benefits have resulted from this change to the seasonal routine.

Regions around Australia braced for a change in the weather after the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) announced in 2021 that La Niña was on its way. This meant humid and wet conditions over summer – a stark contrast from the drought and bushfire conditions that have defined the last few years for so many producers in numerous states.

“It is [at the time of writing] at or near its peak, with a return to neutral conditions likely in early autumn. Autumn is the usual time of the year in which El Niño– Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events decay and return to neutral. “La Niña increases the chance of above average rainfall across much of northern and eastern Australia during summer.”

When it arrived, the wet weather came with force, flooding areas across the country and with much higher than average humidity widely recorded.

Wine regions experienced heavier than average rainfall and higher than average humidity throughout the month of January and leading up to vintage.

BOM senior climatologist Rob Smalley explained the climatic phenomenon and how the weather patterns could affect the season.

Part of this increased moisture was due to the Southern Annual Mode (SAM) which, when positive, pushes westerly winds towards Antarctica.

“Higher than average humidity results when there is more moisture available in the air – and this may occur generally in southern Australia during the warmer months when tropical moisture is brought further south, or as a result of moist on-shore flow from the Tasman or Coral Sea being brought inland,” he said.

What this has also meant is lower temperatures in many places that normally have to weather very hot summers.

“Across parts of eastern Australia, increased rainfall has occurred during the current La Niña event.

“Since the westerly winds and high pressure are already further south below the continent, the southward movement

March 2022 – Issue 698

The cool westerly winds have brought both moisture and cooler temperatures to the regions, resulting in bigger harvests than in previous years.

only acts to decrease rain events for western Tasmania,” Smalley said. “In eastern Australia, the southward movement of the westerly winds means that more moist onshore flow from the Tasman and Coral seas is drawn inland, and thus increases rainfall for eastern Australia.

Increased humidity can potentially limit the higher temperature extremes in southern regions that would normally experience a relatively dry summer. – Rob Smalley “Increased humidity can potentially limit the higher temperature extremes in southern regions that would normally experience a relatively dry summer.”

Not rain on the parade Some wine regions have embraced the moisture and many even took it in their stride, despite the risks that increased moisture can bring. Areas like the Adelaide Hills and Hunter Valley Grapegrower & Winemaker



Above average rainfall in Australia from February to April. Image courtesy of the Bureau of Meteorology

Average rainfall in Australia from February to April. Image courtesy of the Bureau of Meteorology

are both still recovering from severe bushfires in 2019 and 2020, so for some the rain was welcomed.

Tyrrell said the region was healthier than it had been following the drought and fire events.

Sarah Carlson, executive officer of Adelaide Hills Wine Region, said the increased moisture wasn’t a major factor for producers in the region in regard to the 2022 vintage.

You look at the country that was burnt out that’s had this rain on it and it’s never looked better. – Bruce Tyrrell

“Humidity has been a feature of the 2022 season, but Adelaide Hills Wine Region has heard very little to suggest that this is causing huge issues for our growers” she said. The absence of heatwave conditions has come as a blessing for regions that are still recovering from major bushfire events in recent years, like the Adelaide Hills. Many regions have also experienced drought-like conditions for several years, so the increased rainfall was reportedly welcome. Managing director of Tyrrell’s in the Hunter, Bruce Tyrrell, said the area around the vineyards looked like it had a whole new coat of paint. “I’m pretty happy with the quality of the crops; they’re up a bit from last year, probably by 10 or 15 per cent,” he said “It hasn’t recovered fully but after all the rain over the last eight months we probably need one more good season to really come back.” The Hunter region is still recovering from several years of drought and the bushfires of 2019-20. 30

Grapegrower & Winemaker

“There’s grass and you can see the cattle eating the grass,” he said. “Where we had trees dying in the bush two-and-a-half years ago we can see them all coming back now. We have new saplings coming back every week. “You look at the country that was burnt out that’s had this rain on it and it’s never looked better.”

Different challenges Despite the neutral to warm reception to the wet weather, it still poses challenges that drier regions don’t normally have to contend with – Botrytis. Warm, wet conditions are ideal for fungal diseases like Botrytis and mildew to congregate and the AWRI strongly recommends increased vine management when conditions are wet in summer. “Sustained rainfall in the period from veraison to harvest can put vines under significant threat of disease,” the AWRI’s factsheet on late season wet weather states. “This can leave growers and vineyard managers with some difficult decisions

to make. In some cases the usual control options of spraying, slashing or trimming may not be viable or may be of limited value and some crop loss may be inevitable.” The wet weather has still been embraced by producers, as it has prevented heatwaves and encouraged greater yields. Tyrrell acknowledged the challenges brought with the rain but said that any threat to their vintage was mitigated by the winds that have hit the Hunter alongside the rains. “It was wet early in the season but the dominant feature of the weather from the beginning of November to now is that we’ve had wind every day,” he said. “We’ve had the wind and the wind dries the grapes up and dries the vines out. “We had a storm the other night but there was a really great howling [wind] and a sudden change came through behind it, and half an hour after the rain the vines were dry.” This unconcerned attitude toward the excess moisture was mirrored by Carlson in the Adelaide Hills, who said the humidity may have kept extreme heat at bay over the summer. “Interestingly, despite the uncommonly balmy conditions, we actually haven’t had any truly extreme heat spikes so far this season and certainly nothing that qualifies as a heatwave,” she said. March 2022 – Issue 698

Supplier Update

Wine industry: transitioning to a low carbon future The recent COP26 conference has once again put the spotlight firmly on the impact of climate change, and countries, organisations, and products are strongly urged to make purposeful and meaningful commitments to reduce their impact on the environment. As the world pivots to a low carbon future, the implications for the wine industry are profound. Grapes are some of the most notoriously delicate and vulnerable agricultural products on the planet, and vintners are looking at their grape varieties and farming practices to ensure a sustainable future for their industry, but they need help. At EnergyLink Services we have demonstrated experience in providing tailored advisory and assurance services across the energy and sustainability sectors, including the wine industry. We are a carbon neutral consulting firm that works with clients on their net zero journey, assisting them to achieve their carbon neutrality certification under the Federal Government’s Climate Active scheme. As an EnergyLink Services client we will not only guide you on your journey but will also highlight opportunities for innovation and revenue growth.

emissions associated with the use of grid electricity. Lastly, Scope 3 is related to emissions up and downstream of your business, such as the emissions associated with any purchases you make to operate your vineyard or winery, i.e. logistics, packaging, chemicals and so forth. At EnergyLink Services we have helped many businesses to reduce their emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. Some examples of ways to start reducing GHG emissions in a winery and/or vineyard, include:

Reduce Scope 1 by electrifying processes Electricity is a much easier fuel source to mitigate from an emissions perspective than gas and diesel, utilising well-known technology such as solar PV. Wineries and vineyards will traditionally use LPG or natural gas for heating hot water and diesel to operate irrigation pumps. These two activities can

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The effects of climate change are impacting the wine industry with shifting growing patterns and the increase in extreme weather events such as high temperatures, increased rainfall, hailstorms, fires, sporadic frost and so on. This is an evolving challenge for the industry; however, there are significant opportunities presented by the low carbon transition. Vineyards and wineries not only can achieve a carbon neutral operation but may also be able to generate revenue from participation in the carbon marketplace. One of the unique attributes of the wine sector is that customers are often engaged with the wineries that they purchase from, and that a lot of wineries market and sell directly to their customers. This direct engagement with customers encourages wineries to improve their impact on the environment and communicate those efforts to their customers. Communicating the commitments to consumers is more important than ever with growing customer sensitivity to who they purchase from and the impact that their purchasing decisions can make.

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The first step on a carbon neutrality/net zero journey is to complete a carbon accounting exercise to establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity baseline. Once you can quantify and understand your emissions, you can then start planning where your efforts are best placed to reduce your impact. To establish a baseline, you should engage with a specialist carbon consultancy, such as EnergyLink Services, who can quantify your Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

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grapegrowing encompass over a quarter of a site’s energy consumption, and if not electrified, would remain as unavoidable GHG emissions. An example of the energy intensity of different activities as a percentage of the whole operation is shown in Figure 1. Another option to replace Scope 1 emissions related to hot water heating is to recover the waste heat off the refrigeration systems. By implementing heat recovery from refrigeration plants to replace gas-fueled hot water systems, heat pumps to electrify hot water systems or installing poles and wires to electrify diesel irrigation pumps, a site can start to mitigate its Scope 1 emissions. The payback of these technologies can vary widely depending on site specifics, but an indication of these technologies and their payback is shown in Figure 2. Recently for a vineyard we developed a business case to electrify its diesel irrigation. By converting from a diesel engine to an electric motor the site moved from an energy efficiency of ~30-40% to over 94%, potentially saving the site over $26,000 in diesel costs, $1,000 in maintenance expenses, and eight tonnes of GHG emissions. This investment is expected to pay itself back within five years. This business is now exploring solar PV to integrate with the irrigation pump to further reduce their operating costs and GHG emissions.

Reduce Scope 2 by utilising a solar and battery system Although your winery may already be operating with modern energy efficient technology, a great way to further reduce your Scope 2 emissions is by installing renewable energy and energy storage technologies. We have assisted many wineries to identify and model solar PV arrays, battery storage systems, and thermal storage systems. All three of these technologies can make a significant impact on Scope 2 emissions. Our designed solar PV and battery storage systems can displace up to 50% of a winery’s grid imported electricity, reducing peak tariff electricity costs, and total Scope 2 GHG emissions by the same factor. There can also be co-benefits from a solar PV system, such as shading fermentation or bulk storage tanks.

heat from the sun was increasing the load on the glycol-cooling tank. So, we designed a solar PV system that would both shade the tanks and generate electricity for the site. The shading alone will save $2,250 a year in cooling costs, and the electricity generated from the solar PV array will save over $64,000 per annum in electricity costs. The system will reduce the site’s GHG intensity by 88 tonnes per annum. The significant impact that the solar array will have on the site’s electricity consumption is shown in Figure 1.

Reduce Scope 3 by engaging with your supply chain Organisations that are on the same journey to reduce their GHG emissions are your best partners. As more organisations and products become certified carbon neutral under Climate Active, they can reduce each other’s Scope 3 emissions. Many businesses can now supply certified carbon neutral products and services, such as transport, packaging, and wooden posts. By engaging with organisations that supply a carbon neutral product, the associated Scope 3 emissions will be treated as a zero emissions source. The organisations, products and services that have made a verified carbon neutral claim under Climate Active are easily recognisable by the Climate Active trademark. Once your business has established its emissions baseline, and then wants to make the leap to become carbon neutral certified, it might then be necessary to purchase some carbon credits to

The first step on a carbon neutrality/net zero journey is to complete a carbon accounting exercise to establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity baseline. offset your operation’s emissions. Carbon credits are generated from organisations that have invested in activities that either avoid or remove GHG emissions.

A Victorian winery we recently worked with had its fermentation tanks outside of the winery, exposed to sunlight. The radiative

While a vineyard or winery may wish to purchase credits to achieve carbon neutrality as they reduce their emissions, there is also an opportunity to generate carbon certificates from soil

Estimated End-Use Breakdown

Electrification Technology Payback Comparison

Figure 1: Energy end-use breakdown


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Figure 2: Technology paybacks

March 2022 – Issue 698

Impact of Solar PV Generation on Grid Electricity

Figure 3: Impact of solar on grid electricity consumption

regeneration projects, the electrification of a vehicle fleet, or the generation of biochar from waste biomass. As the Australian carbon market rises from $17 per Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) at the beginning of 2021 to $37 in November 2021 per ACCU, the opportunities for the industry to benefit from the carbon marketplace are increasing. The time is right for the wine industry to lead the way and take full advantage of the opportunities to achieve carbon neutrality and reduce their impact on climate change. Participation offers

March 2022 – Issue 698

huge benefits as it can reduce operating costs, increase revenue, and generate new revenue streams. The time for action is now. More information can be found online: www. or contact Mark Wallace via email: or phone: 0475 894 971

Grapegrower & Winemaker



Nero d’Avola



There’s something about being a bold red

Nero d’Avola loosely translates to ‘the dark grapes of Avola’. The variety hails from the south-eastern end of Sicily, near the village of Avola, and is one of two principal varieties from the island. In Australia, many producers have brought the variety under their wing as it thrives in the warm conditions found in many of the country’s growing regions. Harrison Davies spoke to experts and producers about this up-and-coming variety in Australia. Nero d’Avola has a short but prolific place in the Australian viticultural scene. Its homeland, however, is Sicily. Originating from the island’s southeastern coast, the variety thrives in hot, dry conditions and is often grown as bush vines, similar to Grenache, however more producers have begun trellising their vines. It was brought to Australia in 1998 by Chalmers, also responsible for bringing several other varieties down under, and allowed out of quarantine for cultivation in 2001. Since being brought to Australia, producers across the country have found quite a bit of success with the variety, and it is now grown by over 70 producers in regions from coast to coast. The variety, like others from the Mediterranean, suits the warmer Australian climate more comfortably than more traditional reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. In a report in the Wine & Viticulture Journal (Summer 2012), the AWRI’s Dr Peter Dry explored the variety’s historical roots. “The variety has been grown for centuries in Sicily and is presumed to have originated from close to the town of Avola, in the south-east of the island,” he said.


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Nero d’Avola is one of the most planted grapes in Sicily, making up for roughly 16 per cent of plantings in Sicilian vineyards.

“In recent decades, its wines have become more reputed to such an extent that the Italian Wine and Food Society have included it in its top 12 red wine varieties of Italy. “Nero d’Avola is the principal variety of the only DOCG wine of Sicily, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, for which it must be 60% of the blend with Frappato. “There may now be 19,000 hectares of Nero in Sicily.”

We envisage, and we are already seeing evidence in the Australian wine market, that Australian grape growers and wine makers will embrace more Mediterranean wine grape varieties as a strategy to adapt to climate change. – Sue Bastian The rise of Nero d’Avola has come shoulder to shoulder with the expansion of other Mediterranean varieties in the Australian wine industry, like Vermentino and Grenache. Sue Bastian, associate professor in oenology and sensory studies at the University of Adelaide, said the onset of climate change would make varietals like Nero much more appealing to Australian producers.

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grapegrowing “We envisage, and we are already seeing evidence in the Australian wine market, that Australian grapegrowers and winemakers will embrace more Mediterranean winegrape varieties as a strategy to adapt to climate change,” she said. “Some of these varieties, such as Nero d’Avola, anecdotally have a lower water requirement, and we hope to conduct vineyard performance trials and other measures to provide the science to substantiate these claims.” Bastian explained that, while Nero has a 20-year history in Australia, there is a lot of learning to be done before the industry has a strong understanding of how it responds to Australian conditions. Through her research, she has identified characteristic similarities to Grenache, also renowned as a warm weather red,

Jim Zerella and Peter Kentish tasting the Nero vintage. Image courtesy Zerella Wines

and that consumers responded similarly well to the variety in recent years. “As a wine consumer I’m a variety seeker and relish wine diversity,” Bastian said. “Along with believing we need to expose the students to as many wine styles made from different grape varieties from around the world as possible to expand their perspectives and hopefully encourage them to experiment has been a key goal. “The findings so far indicate that this variety might offer an appealing substitute wine for Grenache lovers. “A pleasing medium weighted red wine with fruit forward notes and smoother tannins, ideal for a warmer climate lunchtime red.”

In the regions Nero d’Avola has seen particular success in the warmer regions of Australia and particularly in areas like the Riverland and McLaren Vale. As more producers embrace Italian and Spanish varieties, Nero was among the first to be adopted. Roughly 75 wineries use the grapes to make wine and more grapegrowers cultivate the grapes themselves. Ricca Terra’s Nero d’Avola vines in the Riverland. Image courtesy Ricca Terra


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Zerella Wines in McLaren Vale began growing Nero d’Avola in 2012 and winemaker Jim Zerella said he was

Nero d’Avola is a variety with high natural acidity and a degree of drought tolerance so it’s a variety perfectly suited to our climate. - Jim Zerella intrigued by the possibilities posed by this variety. “I’ve had Nero d’Avola growing since 2012. Over the years, I’ve tasted a number of Sicilian examples which I found intriguing – many wines which combine power with finesse,” he said. “I grow Nero on my Home Block vineyard which is a coastal site on sandy loams.” The Nero vintage from Zerella, now in its tenth year, was grown from clippings of the original Chalmers vines in Victoria. McLaren Vale has been identified as a particularly good place to grow Nero due to its similar climatic and environmental conditions to Sicily. Zerella said the growing conditions contributed to the natural features of the grape, like its bold fruit flavours and acidity. “Nero d’Avola is a variety with high natural acidity and a degree of drought tolerance so it’s a variety perfectly suited to our climate,” Zerella said. March 2022 – Issue 698

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grapegrowing “With a coastal location, the vines enjoy the moderating sea breezes which prevail most evenings giving us bright aromatics, good natural acid retention combined with physiological ripeness. “We pride ourselves on growing high quality and so in the winery it’s all about letting the fruit shine.” Producers in the Riverland have seen particular success with the variety, where it thrives in the beating sun.

The diversity of what they are experiencing on-premise definitely translates to what they want and how they shop in store. - Nick Ryan

and more predictable and we have been seeing that consistent quality with the fruit. “They’re definitely a variety that you need to be tough with and one that you need to treat pretty hard. “If you love them too much, they’re not going to love you back.” He added that while they were quite hardy against heavy weather, they still needed care in the face of things like hail and heavy rain. “We got hit with a bit of hail in December and they seem to have bounced back,” Ratcliff said. “Around flowering they probably don’t want a lot of severe stress like hail, but they really like the heat and are vigorous vines.”

On the shelf

Ricca Terra have been growing the variety since 2008 and winemaker Ashley Ratcliff said he was interested to see the variety develop as the vines became more established throughout the country.

“We have been working on and want to gain a better understanding of what styles of wines may be produced from this variety under Australian conditions using in-depth sensory evaluation testing and examine whether consumers enjoy and accept these wines,” Bastian said.

He likened the vines to teenagers who reign themselves in as they got older. “Like kids, the vines were pretty hard to control when they were younger, with branches and limbs splaying out everywhere,” he said.

“In the longer term, studies of how to promote the best quality from these wines using vineyard and winemaking practices are in our sights to provide

“As they get older they begin to get more consistent


The Nero in the name refers to the colour of the grapes. d'Avola refers to the town and region of Avola in the south-eastern corner of Sicily. Winemaker Jim Zerella. Image courtesy Zerella Wines


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March 2022 – Issue 698


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grapegrowing detailed knowledge for the Australian wine industry so they can confidently cultivate these varieties to be successful in the wine market.”

fine wine Nick Ryan said retailers like Dan Murphy’s and BWS had witnessed the variety experience a massive growth in sales in 2021.

Consumer interest in Nero d’Avola has risen alongside other Mediterranean varieties in recent years and many producers have brought the vines into their repertoire due to their response to warm temperatures.

“People are becoming more adventurous with their drinking repertoire, and looking for a greater sense of discovery through their wine experiences,” he said.

The variety was first included at the Australian Alternative Varieties show in 2012, where there were only eight entries, and has since expanded to multiple categories each with multiple entries. In the last 10 years many retailers also have added dedicated Nero sections in store shelves, as opposed to before when they were relegated to the ‘other reds’ section alongside other alternative varietals. The amount of quality, local Nero d’Avola has pushed the variety to far greater prominence in the eyes of consumers. Endeavour Group category manager for

“Whilst the segment only makes up a very small percentage of total red wine sales, it did experience 23% growth in the Endeavour Group business in financial year 2021. “If you go back six years ago, the shop isles of a Dan Murphy’s wine store had big sections for Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, red blends, Merlot and Pinot Noir, and everything that didn’t fit in to one of those was lumped into an ‘other reds’ section. “Fast forward, and many of those ‘other reds’ now stand on their own two feet with their own dedicated section.” Ryan suggested that the growth in other Mediterranean varieties like Sangiovese,

Nero d'Avola producers in Australia New South Wales Casella Family Brands Head Wines Mino + Co Wines Mount Eyre Vineyards Sew & Sew Wines The Winery Trentham Estate Windowrie Wine Company Zappa-Dumaresq Valley Vineyard Queensland Golden Grove Estate Symphony Hill Wines The Overflow Estate 1895 South Australia Alpha Box & Dice Amadio Wines Aphelion Wine Co. Architects of Wine




Bassham Wines Beach Road Wines Bellwether Belvidere Winery Bird in Hand Chapel Hill Winery d’Arenberg DiFabio Estate Wines Dorrien Estate Five Geese Fox Creek Wines Fox Gordon Gibson Wines Hither & Yon Kangarilla Road Vineyard & Winery Kay Brothers Kirrihill Wines La Prova Wines Lake Breeze Wines Lino Ramble Lloyd Brothers Wine & Olive

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March 2022 – Issue 698

Tempranillo, Nebbiolo and Grenache signalled a changing consumer interest in alternatives to more traditional styles like Shiraz. “Multiple factors have contributed to this shift, but to generalise, it’s a move to more medium bodied wines, slightly lighter in alcohol and more food friendly,” Ryan explained. “The diversity of what they are experiencing on-premise definitely translates to what they want and how they shop in store. “The discovery element is seen by many customers engaging our in-store wine experts to ‘show me something different’ and are happy for them to fill their basket with alternative red varieties from both here and overseas.”

Ricca Terra’s Nero d’Avola vines in the Riverland. Image courtesy Ricca Terra

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Interpreting AWRI smoke panel analysis results AWRI Commercial Services has recently changed the way smoke panel analysis results are reported. Apart from the numerical results, reports now include graphs showing where the results sit compared to levels typically present in non-smoke-exposed grapes or wines. In this column, Senior Oenologist Adrian Coulter explains various aspects of the graphical results and how they should be interpreted.

Example of a graph from an AWRI Commercial Services smoke panel analysis report for the glycoside smoke marker compounds in Shiraz wine. All the marker compounds analysed in this wine are above the background levels, indicating the grapes from which the wine was made were exposed to smoke.

What is the background level data referred to in the reports?

It has been firmly established that an elevated concentration of several volatile phenols and their glycosides in grapes and wines is associated with exposure of grapes to smoke. Consequently, these compounds have been used as markers of smoke exposure. However, it has also been found that traces of these compounds can be detected in non-smoke-exposed samples. This complicates the interpretation of smoke panel analysis results. To address this, the AWRI collected data on the trace levels of smoke marker compounds in non-smoke exposed grapes of 12 varieties collected from multiple regions across Australia over four vintages. The data collected is generally described as the ‘background levels database’ and contains more than 1,000 samples to date. The grapes that 42

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were collected were fermented to wine and the levels of marker compounds in the wines were also recorded and added to the database. The resulting database therefore provides information on the marker compound ‘background levels’ naturally present in grapes that have not been exposed to smoke and the wines made from those grapes. Smoke panel analysis results can then be compared to the background levels database to determine the likelihood of smoke exposure. What are the grey bars in the smoke panel analysis graphs?

The grey bars represent the upper limits of smoke marker compounds expected in Australian grapes and wines from non-smoke-exposed vineyards of the particular variety tested. In statistical terms, the value corresponding to the top of a grey bar for a particular marker

compound is the 99th percentile of the background data for that compound. That is, 99% of the background data for the compound fall below this value for the particular variety. Why does the variety make a difference to the results interpretation?

While examination of the background data showed there was no clear variation in the levels of marker compounds according to region and vintage, differences were observed between varieties. Therefore, it is recommended that interpretation be applied on a ‘per variety’ basis. It is suspected that genetic differences between grape varieties are probably responsible for differences observed.

March 2022 – Issue 698

What if my variety isn’t one of the 12 varieties in the background levels database?

While the 12 varieties in the background levels database represent the majority of plantings in Australia, there will of course be samples tested that are varieties not in the database. In cases where the variety submitted for testing is not one in the background levels database, the results will be compared to a variety that has similar characteristics, based on genetic parentage and/or physiological attributes. For example, Verdelho and Petit Verdot would be compared to the data for Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively. This is not ideal, but the results still give an indication of the likelihood of smoke exposure. Can the risk of smoke taint be determined from the smoke panel analysis results?

The background levels dataset is only intended to be a guide for determining whether there has been smoke exposure in Australian grapes and wines, not a tool for inferring smoke taint. If the results for a sample all fall within the grey bars on the results graph, then the interpretation is that there is no evidence of smoke exposure. If there is no evidence of exposure, then it is highly unlikely smoke taint would be detected by sensory assessment. If the analysis results for a grape sample are above the grey bars on the results graph, then the interpretation would be that the grapes were exposed to smoke. However, no conclusion about any possible sensory impact the exposure might have on a resulting wine can be made. It is expected that the risk of producing a wine affected by smoke taint would increase with increasing grape marker compound levels above the grey bars, especially when the results approach or exceed the sensory threshold values reported for the compounds. However, a direct relationship between degree of elevation above the 99th percentile values (the tops of the grey bars) in grapes and sensory impact on the resultant wine has not yet been established. This is the topic of ongoing research. March 2022 – Issue 698

If it is intended to analyse wine samples for evidence of smoke exposure, then it is recommended that they not have any contact with oak. Oak maturation can result in extraction of volatile phenols (due to toasting), some of which are picked up by the smoke panel analysis. This makes it difficult to attribute elevated volatile phenol results to smoke exposure. Ideally, wine analysis should be combined with robust sensory assessments. This will give an indication of smoke exposure and the intensity of any perceived smoke taint. Can I access the background data used to plot the grey bars in the graphs?

A paper on the subject of the background levels database has recently been accepted for publication (Coulter et al. 2022) and the 99th percentile values are included in tables within the paper. The paper is open access and can be downloaded from the Wiley Online Library. When should grapes be sampled for analysis after smoke exposure?

The grapes sampled for the background levels database were obtained from fully developed grapes sampled approximately two weeks before the targeted commercial harvest date. Consequently, it is recommended that grapes be sampled approximately two weeks before harvest if smoke panel analysis results are going to be compared to the background levels database. For further information on interpretation of smoke panel analysis results, contact the AWRI helpdesk on helpdesk@awri. or 08 8313 6600.

Reference Coulter, A., Baldock, G.A., Parker, M., Hayasaka, Y., Francis, I.L., Herderich, M. 2022. The concentration of smoke marker compounds in non-smokeexposed grapes and wine in Australia. Aust. J. Grape Wine Res. In press.

AUS: 1800 127 611 E: NZ: 0800 528 749 W:

Grapegrower & Winemaker




Ultrafiltration the solution to eliminating bentonite?

Not yet, but it may have more to offer in the meantime

Research into the potential for ultrafiltration — a variation of crossflow filtration — to protein stabilise wine began in the 1980s but petered out due to unsatisfactory outcomes. Recent work in this area has reignited its prospects for application in the wine industry, not so much for protein stabilisation but for phenolic amelioration, writes Sonya Logan.

There have been various alternatives to bentonite fining proposed in recent years but none have established themselves as clear-cut replacements. Ultrafiltration, which utilises membranes that retain large molecules in the weight range of 1000 to 1,000,000 Dalton should, in theory, have a role in the removal of the unstable proteins that can cause haze but, so far, this has yet to be realised. A long-established process in water, dairy and medical applications for its ability to separate high molecular weight elements from their lower molecular weight counterparts, ultrafiltration has had limited uptake in the wine industry. This is partly because although the membranes remove unstable proteins, they also remove other desirable 44

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macromolecules. More recently, the real interest in ultrafiltration has been in the adjustment of phenolics. David Wollan, a former winemaker who has since spent much of his career on the development and application of membrane separation technologies in the wine industry, says he remembers tasting wines treated with those initial attempts at protein removal by ultrafiltration and was less than impressed with the result. “I can remember tasting wines back in the late ‘80s at the [Australian] Wine Research Institute and I think everybody who tasted them came to the conclusion that it may well have made the wines protein stable, but it basically stripped them completely,” says Wollan.

This stripping effect is partly due to the interaction of wine with the filtration membranes themselves. Membrane fouling occurs when substances interact with and accumulate on the surface or within the pores of the membranes, causing their effectiveness to deteriorate. “I think a lot of people think of these sorts of membranes as being like molecular sieves — membranes with certain sized holes that allow smaller molecules to pass through while bigger molecules don’t permeate through it. It just doesn’t really work like that,” Wollan continues. “They are much more complex in terms of what actually causes that filtration process. “There’s a number of things that cause different levels of fouling. There are March 2022 – Issue 698

AT A GLANCE • Ultrafiltration utilises membranes that retain molecules from 1000 to 1,000,000 Dalton • It’s a long-established process in water, dairy and medical applications • Phenolic adjustment has been the recent focus of the process in winemaking David Wollan

chemical interactions that occur between what’s in the solution being processed, or filtered, and the membrane composition itself. “Very typically, the proteins that are problematic for stability have a molecular weight of about 22-23,000 and they don’t pass through a membrane with a 10,0000 molecular weight cut off. So, one of the things we do know is that with anything

In short, you take out the excessive phenolics where you don’t want them, and you can use them judiciously to boost the phenolics where you do. - David Wollan that goes through these membranes you can presume is heat stable. But then a lot of smaller stuff, like phenolic material, which theoretically is small enough to go through, is partially restricted. As well as that, even some ions and heavy metals get restricted depending on how they’re bound with other components.” Wollan says one of the reasons why the ultrafiltration of wine is so complex is that much of the characterisation of the membranes has been done with dairy and water applications in mind. “The big market for membranes is water treatment and dairy. And that’s where the manufacturers have concentrated their March 2022 – Issue 698

• Membrane performance on wine is wide open to research • Besides filtering phenolics and colour it can protein stabilise wines • Efforts are underway to refine ultrafiltration to automate the process. efforts,” Wollan states, explaining that the molecular weight cut-off of membranes are characterised using bigger proteins applicable to those industries which are then extrapolated using algorithms to determine what that means for smaller molecular weight components. Even the performance of membranes with similar molecular weight cut-offs can vary between manufacturers, he says. “One manufacturer’s membrane with a 5000 molecular weight cut off doesn’t necessarily correspond to another manufacturer’s 5000. And how this relates to what we know happens in wine is not at all clear. In dairy and water applications, your typical pH is neutral or even slightly alkaline. Wine is acidic, the membrane surfaces behave differently at low pH compared to higher pH.” Wollan says this has meant the wine industry has had to determine the performance of membranes on wines by simply testing them out. “This area is wide open for research. And it’s wide open for ongoing development and understanding and characterisation

Grapegrower & Winemaker


winemaking in the context of wine. That’s what [VAF Memstar] have been doing for some years, and we’re getting better at understanding all this stuff,” he says.

We’ve been really pleased with the results and we’ll be continuing to use it moving forward. Being a vegan winery, it really does help us as we’re not adding something to the wine. – Sam Wigan

Wollan says it’s better to think of ultrafiltration membranes in terms of the types of molecules they separate, rather than in absolute terms of molecular weight. “Basically, we’re talking about removing bigger polymeric molecules. Things like polyphenols, tannins, colours, some polysaccharides, some of those larger sugars, and molecules like protein.” Wollan says the first time he saw ultrafiltration used successfully was in Californian wineries in the late 1990s

where he witnessed big processing plants that utilised tubular membranes that caused less fouling. “They were huge machines with huge pumps on them; they were very big and very clunky, but they certainly did the job in terms of phenolic work. I saw Pinot Noir sparkling wine pressings treated to recover more useful sparkling wine base. They ended up with this highly concentrated, rich material that contained highly condensed forms of phenolics. Some of that stuff ended up going back into ferments and actually had very beneficial results.” Wollan says in the 1990s he introduced this idea to wineries in Bulgaria that would purchase the retentate from ultrafiltered Californian Cabernets to boost some of their commercial red blends. Despite seeing the potential in ultrafiltration for the Australian wine industry at the time, Wollan says he could not convince a winery to purchase such a unit and give it a go. “I could see the real value of this but I needed a winery to commit to using the service to allow us to justify bringing one into the country or building one ourselves. I remember going through the economics of using the process on machine harvested Pinot Gris with one local wine company. With machine harvested Pinot Gris and the potential pickup in colour, you could remove that colour [with ultrafiltration] and achieve greater economies than hand picking the fruit which was the standard at the time. It seemed to make sense, but I just couldn’t get anybody to buy in.” Fast forward to the last five or six years, VAF Memstar has since revisited the process using spiral-wound rather than tubular membranes. “I was a bit sceptical that this could work, because I thought we’d get fouling but it turned out to be quite manageable. So, we started doing trials, and we had a few customers who could see the benefit of it. Once they trialled it, they really liked what they saw. It’s quite a feasible process now. It could be used on pressings, for instance. When you make a Pinot Gris, for example, it’s often got a degree of colour that’s not acceptable and that limits the opportunity to use the pressings as much as a winery might

Yalumba winemaker Sam Wigan


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March 2022 – Issue 698

March 2022 – Issue 698

Grapegrower & Winemaker


winemaking like. Ultrafiltration is an opportunity to filter out the excessive colour. You might even be tempted to handle all your wine using ultrafiltration and not separate pressings at all knowing that you can always treat the whole lot later and remove the phenolics. “The reality with this process is that you end up with a filtrate that is lower in phenolics, lighter in colour and is certainly protein stable. That material could be 80-90%, even 95%, of the original volume. The remaining portion, the retentate, is highly concentrated. One of the things that really blew me away with ultrafiltration when I first saw it 20 years ago was that when you add some of this highly concentrated material to another wine, it can act like a co-factor. In the case of a white wine concentrate, it’s a little bit like adding Viognier to a red wine. The phenolics that are in that material have a tendency to stabilise the colour and improve the mouthfeel of some of those wines. That concentrated component can be used as a tannin adjunct instead of adding a wood-derived exogenous tannin; you’re adding a totally grape-derived tannin instead.

Removing or boosting phenolics “In short, you take out the excessive phenolics where you don’t want them, and you can use them judiciously to boost the phenolics where you do.”

One wine company that has come to realise the benefits of ultrafiltration in the last couple of years is Yalumba, whose entire wine production has been vegan-friendly since the 2012 vintage. “We first came across ultrafiltration following the bulk purchase of wine we needed for our Oxford Landing winery,” tells Yalumba winemaker Sam Wigan. “The colour was less than ideal and being a vegan winery, we don’t use any animal fining products. “We had a chat to the guys at VAF Memstar and they had a membrane that could help to alleviate issues with colour and phenolics and we gave it a go and were pretty impressed. “We’ve done two vintages now where we’ve used it on wines,” Wigan continues. “We’ve been really pleased with the results and we’ll be continuing to use it moving forward. Being a vegan winery, it really does help us as we’re not adding something to the wine. And the added bonus is that we don’t need to protein stabilise the wines; the process does that as well. “We’re getting pretty good recovery rates — around 93-94%. So, there’s a small waste stream but we just blend that away into a lower grade product. We find that after using the process you’ve still got all the lovely aromatics and flavour, minus the phenolics and colour that can be associated with the pressings fraction.”

While Wigan admits the waste stream might be smaller if animal fining products or a heavy application of carbon were used instead of ultrafiltration, “the aromatics and the texture and the flavour that you retain definitely outweighs that”. “As we’ve had a couple of lighter cropped vintages and some varieties have been in short supply, we also saw the opportunity with ultrafiltration to recover the pressings fraction from whites and rosés — varieties like Riesling and Pinot Grigio that are in high demand. With Pinot Gris, in particular, we take quite a light free run cut — around 500 litres a tonne. Being able to capture the pressings and treat them with UF and being able to utilise them into the free run product has been advantageous for us. “Whether by using other means of vegan fining agents you’d actually keep the same quality level and be happy to put that back into your free run, I highly doubt it,” he adds. Wigan says ultrafiltration has proven advantageous on Riesling, Pinot Grigio and even Pinot Noir sparkling bases. But he advises application to other products is unlikely, at least for now. “We’re pretty happy with a lot of the processing of our wines where we’re not chasing volumes and need to recover all pressings back into the free run portion. Where we see the benefit is where we’re falling short with certain varieties and we need to recover everything we can.

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Protein Stabilisation

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T: +61 (0)8 8562 1139 March 2022 – Issue 698

We think the financial outlay is definitely beneficial. I don’t know if we would bring it across all of our products because we just don’t need the volume of pressings going back into every product. And there is a financial cost to it. So, that needs to be taken into consideration when you’re looking at these technologies. For us, at the moment, using it for that phenolic and colour adjustment and getting the added benefit of heat stabilisation is where we’re seeing the application for us at this time.”

Wollan explains that recent studies carried out at Yalumba over the past couple of years by University of Adelaide PhD student Eva Sui with support from Wine Australia and VAF Memstar have been investigating the effects of ultrafiltration on wine composition and its potential for recovering valuable extracts. An incidental aspect of this research attempted to demonstrate that ultrafiltration could be a complete replacement for bentonite, but had failed to do so.

David Wollan says his company has been working on refinements to the ultrafiltration process to automate the process.

“My hypothesis was that if you could concentrate all of the proteins from a wine into a very small portion, then you could heat up that portion and add protease enzymes to remove the proteins and then return that portion to the original wine,” Wollan reveals. “The only problem was we found that the activities of the protease enzymes were significantly reduced by the presence of alcohol.

“We’re working on the design of equipment that will be ultimately using a combination of these membranes more or less in series to try to get the best result,” he explains. “There’s been modelling done that shows the process is much more commercially viable and reliable using different forms of instrumentation. For instance, I’ve been using some spectrophotometers to monitor phenolic content in the different fractions that we’re doing. And I think we’ve got that to a stage where we should be able to put that sort of thing onto a machine and use it as a standard measure. This would enable us to set some specs and go to wineries and say, ‘Your wine has got an absorbance of 5, 6, 7 and we can take that down to four’. So, we’re looking to achieve that sort of level of reproducibility and measurability. “What we’re trying to do is optimise the processes; get the best possible throughput and get the longest membrane life with regard to avoiding fouling to achieve a very viable process. And we’re just about ready to start building a dedicated machine. “Until that becomes available, our existing membrane processes that utilise reverse osmosis and nanofiltration can be adapted. That works, but it’s much more batch oriented [and] it still requires an operator to monitor and carry out the processing. I’m now looking to make this a continuous and very much more controllable process. “Eventually, we hope there will be a fleet of these things that we can take around to wineries and do this work. Or some wineries may, in fact, choose to do have one and it themselves.” March 2022 – Issue 698


“Our original aim of achieving a comprehensive answer to removing bentonite completely hasn’t proven successful — further work may give us more progress — but in the process of doing this, we’ve come to better understand the whole process of phenolic amelioration and developed a greater appreciation for the two streams that is generated: the filtered stream, which is what most winemakers are interested in, and the concentrated stream, which they should be interested in. “Right now, ultrafiltration is most useful in the area of phenolic amelioration, particularly those wines that a winemaker says might be a little too phenolic or a little bit harsh. The other benefit is the byproduct which is rich in phenolics. You can take the heavily concentrated phenolics in material, which also contains polysaccharides and other mouthfeel components, and use it as an additive to bump up the overall flavour, colour and mouthfeel of other products, such as red wine ferments. The colour of that red wine will be more stable, its mouthfeel will be richer. It also has potential to add flavour, colour and mouthfeel to low and zero alcohol wines that are becoming more and more popular. I think that material will also be appealing for its ability to improve effective yields. And that has an economic attraction,” Wollan says.

Grapegrower & Winemaker



Weighing filtration options Filtration

Choosing mineral, ceramic or titanium

Winemaker and writer Paul Le Lacheur explores what’s on offer to winemakers when it comes to filtration tools and technology.

Regrettably, there is no single class or type of filtration technology which meets all challenges in all wine environments and which suits all purposes. Rather, it is a matter of selecting which option best matches your detailed checklist of oenological parameters. Is your juice/ wine high in solids? Do you have a ‘need for speed’? Or are you merely processing the wine for re-filtration at another/later point in production? Let’s review the different types of filtration in order to make a short list. Here are the different types of filtration: • Diatomaceous earth • Pad • Membrane • Crossflow • Ceramic membrane crossflow • Titanium membranes Now let’s take a closer look. Diatomaceous earth (DE) filtration is principally used to filter coarse gelatinous or deformable materials. It’s a near pure sedimentary deposit consisting almost entirely of silica, mined as the fossilised remains of diatoms (single-celled aquatic algae). Ideal for filtration early on in the evolution toward a ‘finished wine’. Due to the irregular packing of these diatoms, an exceedingly complex matrix is created with a very high porosity index. This allows the filter media to both remove very small particles and to extend the flow rate of the wine being filtered. These gelatinous or deformable materials include yeast, bacterial cells and many colloids. Pores within and between the cell walls of DE are so small they trap

bacteria, clay particles, some viruses and other suspended solids from liquids. DE can be used alone or as the second step in the filtration process. Screens or pre-filters can be employed first to eliminate larger particles before reaching the DE filter. For brilliant clarity it is recommended by many producers to use filter aids – suitable for both rough and polish filtrations. Mineral filter aids like diatomite and perlite seem to be preferred for removal of gross solid material (proteins, yeasts). This filtration can be differentially poresized down to the nanometre or even molecular levels. Crossflow filtration (CFF) uses internal pressure to achieve the desired result in terms of clarity (i.e. inside to outside pressure generation). Wine is pumped into the membrane element at a very high linear speed. Water, dissolved compounds and solvent pass through the membrane layer, forming a clear and transparent filtrate called permeate, while insoluble suspended material, bacteria, oil or macromolecular compounds are rejected by the membrane layer. This concentrated liquid is called retentate or concentrate. Retentate flows out from the other end of the channel, circulating inside the element. Again, we see a common theme arising.

down to tiny numbers of 1- 10 nm for nanofiltration. The advantages of ceramics are manyfold and include resistance to strong acids and alkali, excellent oxidation stability, high solvent stability, good thermal stability (up to 500°C), long work life and easy regeneration and stable performance. In a 2021 study of various filtration options, co-author Karyn Wilkinson claimed the new ceramic technology, ‘will almost render centrifugation of wines in-progress a method of the past’. Titanium membranes have recently established an enviable reputation for fine filtration results. Advanced Materials Solutions (AMS) is a company located at Lonsdale, in South Australia.

The ability to ‘dial up’ different pore sizes allows for extreme precision in selecting which particles are filtered. The CFF membrane is made up of highly stable oxides. These oxides yield excellent chemical stability, high reliability, good economy and are considered a good ‘green’ technology for modern applications. Differential pore sizes can be either: a) highest for microfiltration; b) use medium sized pores for ultrafiltration, or c) very small for nanofiltration. Ceramics are used in crossflow filtration, with pore sizes ranging from 50-1200 nanometres (nm) for micro filtration, to 10-50 nm for ultrafiltration, and even


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March 2022 – Issue 698

The company specialises in titanium membranes which produce, according to managing director Gilbert Erskine, “overwhelming” results. “The robust titanium membranes in trials were strong enough to run 24 hours a day for a week. Polymeric (plastics) or ceramic filters could spend up to 30% of their time in cleaning modes,” Erskine explained. He said the ‘Vita-Flow system’ in which they specialise can easily be hot water cleaned in minutes and is capable of extracting, “up to 80% solids compared to around 10% for more traditional ceramic or plastic membrane filters”. Erskine went on to say that this difference would result in at least a 7% increase in the product ‘you can then put in a bottle’. Some of the larger titanium filters which are installed in Australian wineries are running at a filtration rate of 35,00040,000 litres per hour. “Titanium can be made much, much thinner now, without affecting strength,” Erskine added.

“This is a result of technology which gives us a potential capillary size which is much smaller than that of stainless steel. Another benefit of titanium is that it objectively lessens ‘bruising’ and also

The ability to ‘dial up’ different pore sizes allows for extreme precision in selecting which particles are filtered. ‘taint risk’ for wine which can be the result of a rigorous cleaning system using water at up to 90°C. Titanium has a micron rating for its membranes which is ‘adjustable’. For example, 0.1 microns to filter out E coli or bacteria, 0.2 microns for white wine and 0.4-0.45 for reds or slightly larger sized pores for fortified wines. “As the micron size goes up, i.e. as you go up in pore size, you’re weakening the support structure, but titanium can withstand it,” Erskine added.

“There are people claiming to make titanium membranes, but there is nowhere else in the world we know of producing small pore titanium membranes in commercial quantities,” Erskine said. Although the titanium membrane technology is well suited to the wine industry, it is nonetheless transferrable to many other industries. Examples of these other sectors include the meat industry where it is utilised to separate oil and water to a nanometric degree. Even the oil and gas sector has adopted the technology with the membranes used at large oil and gas wellheads to clean mono-ethylene glycol. In summary, it appears clear that as you read down the list of filtration types, options are available for you to achieve marked increases in the sophistication of compounds filtered out, way down to the nanometric or even the molecular level.

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March 2022 – Issue 698

Grapegrower & Winemaker


winemaking Selected Filtration Services in Australia and New Zealand 3M Australia

Fruitfed Supplies


1300 345 837 (opt 3)

+64 3 578 3019

(08) 8326 8521


GEA Westfalia Separator Australia

Sartorius Stedim Australia

1300 768 976

(03) 8877 9999

Freecall: 1800 645 076 (Aust only), (03) 8762 1828


Goyen Controls

Separator Technology Solutions

(02) 8318 7824, (02) 9791 1350

Freecall: 1800 805 372

0437 804 712

BHF Technologies (Blue H2O Filtration)


(03) 9564 7029

(03) 9555 5500, (03) 9551 4118

Stainless Engineering & Maintenance (SEAM)

Cadalpe Srl

Hewy’s Filtration Services

+39 0 438 441 570, +39 0 438 441 577

0488 439 937

Chemical Plant & Engineering

Laffort Australia

(03) 9309 4822 or (03) 9309 0069

(08) 8360 2200

Cross Flow Co

McLaren Vintners

0403 845 924

(08) 8383 2000

Della Toffola Pacific (DT Pacific)


(03) 9487 1140

+64 6 306 5040

Dixon Asia Pacific

Pall Australia

+64 6 879 7799, 1800 209 370 (freecall Australia only)

(08) 8202 6000, (08) 8202 6099

(03) 9584 8100

Vinpac International

E.E. Muir & Sons

Parker Hannifin (Australia)

(08) 8561 0600

(03) 9931 2200, 0407 047 024

(02) 9842 5150

Vitis & Winemakers


Progressive Group Australia

(03) 9487 1160

(03) 9487 1150

(03) 9872 6811, (03) 9872 6822


Filchem Australia

PTI Pacific Pty Ltd

Freecall: 1800 331 125 (Aust only), (03) 9525 5506

(03) 9452 6906

1300 882 850, (03) 9462 4777, (03) 9462 1666

(08) 8564 3344, 0403 134 750

Tanium (03) 9555 5500, (03) 9551 4118

VAF Memstar (08) 8562 1139, (08) 8562 1139

Vendart Filtration (02) 9139 2850

Viniquip International

Fineweld Stainless Steel (03) 9775 0339





Looking for industry suppliers? Filtration services listings brought to you by the Wine Industry Directory Search online here: 52

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March 2022 – Issue 698

Protect your investment. Texture. Bouquet. Tannins. Making wine is a complex process in which every step counts. Let 3M Purification solutions help you bring out the best of the vine, year after year. We understand the hard work that goes into making quality wine, and our range of filtration products can help you deliver consistent, high quality output. 3M’s technical expertise in pre and final membrane filtration, gas control and particle control filters means we’re with you every step of the way.

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©3M 2022. All rights reserved. March 2022 – Issue 698

3M is a trademark of 3M Company.


Grapegrower & Winemaker



Managing winery wastewater with a focus on ozone Paul Le Lacheur explores both the benefits and shortfalls of using ozone as a winery sanitiser. The story so far: ozone (O3) has been used as a sanitiser for winery surfaces, equipment and rinsing water for much longer than is widely understood. In fact, O3 usage dates back more than a century. It has a half-life of several hours at low concentration in dry air – but in water. In addition, O3 has a halflife somewhere between ‘instantaneous’ and ‘several hours’, depending on factors including temperature, pressure and pH. However, recent adoption of ozone to treat wastewater has not shown great efficiency and therefore its uptake for that purpose has become limited in scope. Whilst used recently at The Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills as a sterilant, winemaker Turon White recently told me he now prefers ‘not to use it to clean and decontaminate effluent’. O3 was effective as a surface cleaner and sterilant, but does not necessarily form part of an efficient wider wastewater management plan at the winery. Echoing this approach O3 usage, Mark Gishen, part of the environmental committee at the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) is also of the opinion that O3, despite its effectiveness on the winery floor as a sterilant, is less efficient when treating

contaminated wastewater due to its high reactivity. He cited a short half-life and instability as the reasons for this inefficiency, saying there would be ‘very little active O3 left after sanitation’. Gishen went on to explain that industry has answered its own question: “The industry now feels that O3 isn’t an effective part of a wastewater management plan. That’s the catch – it’s not financially viable,” he added. Notwithstanding these limitations, O3 continues to be accepted by winery managers. Ozyzone International is an example of a profitable Australianowned and operated manufacturer of ozone generators. Founded in 2008, the company is located on the Central Coast of New South Wales and also operates in New Zealand, serving food producers as well as our wine industry. The company specialises in producing generators which use UV wavelength light to change oxygen into ozone.

Advantages of ozone To balance the arguments against its use in treating effluent, O3 also confers some safety advantages. Due to on-site generation, there were no safety problems

Your next team member could be just

with ‘shipping and handling’. Ozone also elevates the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration of the treated effluent. This eliminates the need for re-aeration of the water stream by raising the DO level in the receival stream post-treatment. Importantly, there is strong evidence from the US industry that O3 is useful ‘in lowering chemical inputs’, according to the American Vineyard Association. This is principally because O3 is much more effective than chlorine in destroying viruses and has a short contact time of approximately 10-30 minutes. It decomposes rapidly so as to leave no harmful residues. Advice provided to members by that association showed ‘O3 resulted in no microbial regrowth except for those protected by the particulates in the wastewater stream’. Ozone (O3) is a highly unstable molecule made up of three oxygen atoms, generated by the intersection of solar ultra violet radiation (common sunlight) and oxygen in our atmosphere. To some, it smells like a very diluted solution of chlorine. (later we’ll see why the olfactory identification of O3 is an important health factor). In wineries, O3 is mainly used for barrel washing, tank sanitising and surface and equipment sanitation. Typically, a 2.5


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March 2022 – Issue 698


Surface & Groundwater source Media Filtration & Chemical/UV Disinfection

Potable Water Treatment Plants

Validated Membrane Filtration

ary n rti Te ratio t Fil

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Lagoon based treatme nt


pH correction Wastewater

1800 420 145 March 2022 – Issue 698

Waterform will have a permanent office in the BAROSSA VALLEY region from April 2022. Staffed with field technicians.

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parts per million (ppm) concentration of ozonated water is used for two minutes to sanitise healthy barrels after an initial hot water wash to clean and remove solids. If the barrels are severely contaminated, a treatment of approximately five minutes may be required. O3 helps in preventing organic build up which reduces the longevity of these precious and expensive vessels. O3 is also efficacious when used on winery floors as it controls the number of unwanted microbes and the resultant cross contamination risks. In stainless steel tanks, O3 is now used (in preference to chlorine) as the nonchlorinated sanitiser of choice. It is particularly effective as an inexpensive follow-on rinse solution. Many wineries rinse all stainless steel tanks with ozonated water immediately pre-filling. When tanks stand empty for a week or more, their microbial load is often made much higher. Cleaning in place (CIP) is another O3 application. When cleaning and sanitising pump systems, pipes, hoses and filters, pressurised H2O and chemicals like chlorine or iodaphore solutions can require multiple rinses, with consequent increases in labour and energy costs. As an alternative to merely using cold water as a rinse, the use of O3 as a 56

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cleaner and sanitiser is as old as the hills. This is simply using hot water first, then ozonated water, to remove solids and residue such as tartrates.

O3 uses much less water and consumes little to no heating energy. Yet another O3 efficiency is its use as a central part of any wastewater management plan. O3 uses much less water and consumes little to no heating energy. Chemical alternatives may use up to 10 litres of H2O for every one litre of wine produced. O3 has been shown to save time, incurs lower energy costs and has much less serious environmental impact. One of the important benefits of using O3 is its high reactivity in a water solution. This efficiency means it can oxidise material between 10-1,000 times faster than most other chemical oxidants used in water treatments. As a result of a short half-life, O3 cannot be stored. It must be generated on-site and used almost immediately. The most widely used method of generating O3 is corona discharge of electricity. Any corona discharge system can be used to split oxygen molecules (O2) into atoms

which react with other oxygen molecules to form O3. On the flip side of this reactivity is ozone’s potential to quickly break down, merely ending up as neutral H2O. Sources I contacted within the wine industry have recently expressed grave doubt that O3 is efficacious when used primarily to treat contaminated wastewater. Atmospheric O3 is quite toxic in high concentrations. Therefore, staff need protection from exposure to it, but once dissolved in water, O3 is quite safe. Cellar staff need to be capable of smelling the presence of O3 in the atmosphere they are breathing. When exposed for longer than, say, 15 minutes, best practice dictates they remove themselves to lower O3 concentration. areas. After use, the O3 and H2O solution merely reverts to oxygen within a few hours at most. It is obviously neutral in terms of its pH so it does not affect the pH balance of water, unlike more traditional cleaning and sterilising caustic and acid compounds. Another big advantage of O3 is that it eliminates the need for chlorine or bromine. This saves costs, uses less water and eliminates the strong potential for the generation of TCA or TBA. Most O3 generating equipment operates at water March 2022 – Issue 698

pressures ranging from 10-150 psi. O3 output is usually around 3-11 parts per million (ppm) and sometimes even higher. These generators can be either fixed or mobile and have diverse applications such as sterilising barrels, tanks, floors, presses and bottling lines. O3 destroys on contact all known bacteria, viruses, enzymes, microbial membranes, moulds, spores, yeast, mildew, microscopic fungi and biofilms on winery surfaces.

wineries can cut their hot water usage in half. Furthermore, ozone will not harm stainless steel, most plastics or fitting and sealant materials like viton, silicone, teflon, kinar and EDPM.

Recently, one test of ozonated water treatments in Canada indeed showed that Brettanomyces organisms are killed at the log-4 level, i.e. specifically Brettanomyces bruxellensis and Escheria coli microbes.


Another negative impact of O3 is that it will attack and destroy any natural rubber compounds – for example, gaskets, fittings, pump seals and hoses made of rubber-based elastomers. (O3 also attacks fibreglass resins). The same applies to unlined fibreglass tanks. This means all winery equipment must be ozone-ready before using the sanitiser.

Balancing these advantages, we need to realise that O3 is not without its drawbacks. Despite what some overzealous advocates have historically proclaimed, it simply isn’t the panacea or single-solution to At the earth’s surface the usual every problem in the winery. O3 is not a concentration of ozone is almost cleaner, it’s a sanitiser. It doesn’t attack unnoticeable in the range of around tartrates, minerals, scale or corrosion. 0.01-0.05 parts per million (ppm). Air In fact, it has been shown to be no more pollution or smog produces O3, not effective than cold water in cleaning the the other way around. “Spare the air” lees, dirt and solids from tank surfaces, days are called in the US when ground floors, barrels, lines or anything else. concentrations are predicted to exceed According to Joe Mendez from US-based 0.08 ppm. Piper Environmental Group, “Regardless As a result of its high reactivity, O3 of what anybody tries to sell, ozone is immediately oxidises any organic a poor cleaner. Clean first with a good compound it contacts. Another benefit quality power washer, then use ozone of O3 is that its efficacy is increased after you’ve cleaned”. Again, ozone is by its reactivity: microorganisms cannot not a steriliser, just a sanitiser. It works build up a tolerance to it as they can fill welltanks, in controlling microbial populations But it But it can can automatically automatically fill tanks, with chlorine. A short half-life and by dramatically reducing their numbers. rack tanks, fill barrels, empty barrels, rackmake tanks, barrels, empty barrels, instability O3 fill highly regarded Sterility is a much more difficult state prepare blends, fillO3tankers, feed prepare tankers, feed and is only truly demanded as a final, no-rinseblends, sanitiser.fill also to attain filters, carry out pump overs, reacts filters, when dissolved water whereovers, in a fill hospital or surgical environment. carry in out pump fill containers... its pHflex neutrality prevents corrosion. Sterility is achieved by complete flex containers... When reacting with dissolved iron and destruction of absolutely all microbes. In manganese, it precipitates those ions for the lab, microbial kill rates are expressed easy removal. In comparison with hot in log numbers (e.g. any 1-log reduction water and steam, O3 is dramatically less kills 10% of microbes, leaving 90% alive; whereas a 4-log reduction kills 99.99% expensive to produce and safer to use. For Telephone Telephone 03 03 9455 9455 3339 3339 Fax Fax 03 03 9459 9459 5232 5232 of the microbes, leaving 0.01% alive). example, by switching to O3 sanitation, Email: Web: Email: Web:

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‘Off-gassing’ is a lesser problem and occurs when ozonated water escapes into the breathable atmosphere due to the pressure differential between the ozone generator and winery air. Happily, few serious cases of harm due to offgassing and consequent O3 exposure have occurred in Australia. Overseas OHS&W policies mandate levels set for human exposure to O3 and are set at 0.1 ppm for an eight hour period and 0.3 ppm for a 15 minute period. On balance, it seems clear that O3 has become the leading non-chlorinated sanitiser solution for winery applications. It’s safe, chemically effective. inexpensive and leaves little to no residual chemical concentration after use. In contrast, the jury is still very much ‘out’ when deliberating on its benefits for use as a contaminated water treatment, mainly due to reactivity and chemical instability.

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The Cellar-Mate can’t can’t Cellar-Mate can’t TheThe Cellar-Mate can’t make the coffee... coffee... make coffee... make thethe coffee... But automatically tanks, But it it can can it fill tanks, But can automatically fill tanks, But it can automatically fill tanks, But it can automatically fill tanks, rack tanks, fill barrels, empty barrels, rack tanks, tanks, empty barrels, rack tanks, fill barrels, empty barrels, rack fill empty barrels, rack tanks, fill barrels, barrels, empty barrels, prepare blends, fill feed prepare tankers, feed prepare blends, fill tankers, feed prepare blends, fill tankers, feed prepare blends, fill tankers, feed filters, carry out pump overs, fill filters, overs, fill filters, carry out pump overs, fill filters, carry out pump overs, fill filters, carry out pump overs, fill flex flex containers... containers... flex containers... flex flex containers... containers...

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March 2022 – Issue 698

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A new age for sulfur dioxide testing C.Gamble¹, V.Hughes², A. Seabrook³ Introduction Sulfur dioxide (SO₂) is a naturally occurring compound produced by yeast as a by-product of alcoholic fermentation. It is commonly added at various stages in the winemaking process primarily for its antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. There are restrictions limiting the amount that can be added in most wine producing countries. The maximum allowable level of total SO₂ in wine in Australia is 250 ppm for any wine under 35 g/L of sugar and 300 ppm for all other wines (Australian and New Zealand Food Standards; 4.5.1). Importantly, consumer preferences are leaning towards minimal intervention or low SO₂ wines if not preservative free, whilst demanding a quality product. As a consequence, producers are carefully monitoring and controlling how much SO₂ is added more than ever. Understanding SO₂ in wine is critical to ensuring microbial stability and oxidative control. SO₂ can be found in both free and bound form. The sum of these two values makes up the total SO₂ value. In its free form, SO₂ has both an antimicrobial and anti-oxidative effect (Jackowetz, J.N. and de Orduña, R.M. 2012; Carreté et al. 2002). The bound SO₂ contributes to the total SO₂ level, but is not available for anti-microbial and anti-oxidative control. The amount of free SO₂ is dependent on the pH. The lower the pH the more available free SO₂, and similarly the higher the pH the smaller the amount of free SO₂ available. Many other compounds are able to bind to SO₂ affecting the levels of free SO₂ (Ribereau-Gayon et al. 2006). Further to this, recent studies have demonstrated the now increased SO₂ tolerance that B. bruxellensis presents in modern winemaking (Barata et al. 2008; Curtin et al. 2012; Agnolucci et al. 2014). The aspiration method is commonly utilised and an accepted OIV method (OIV-MA-AS323-04A1l; OIV-MAAS323-04A2). This involves acidification of the sample to liberate molecular SO₂, which is then titrated against sodium hydroxide. In the case of bound SO₂, the sample is heated to break the SO₂ bonds. This is labour intensive, subject 58

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to operator variation and often the bottle neck in many wine laboratories at certain times of year. Spectrophotometric based SO₂ methods present an important progression in SO₂ testing as they are rapid, reliable, economical and can be automated using discrete analyzers (DA) (Gilchrist et al. 1999). Recent attempts to offer a spectrophotometric alternative to the aspiration method for free SO₂ analysis have been based around formaldehyde/ pararosaniline chemistry and therefore pose occupational health and safety concerns for many winery laboratories (Grant, 1947). The Vintessential SO₂ test kits are a fast, safe and easy way to determine the amount of sulfur dioxide in wine samples, without the need for the laborious setup associated with traditional methods. This method can be used for both white and red wines and does not contain Formaldehyde based solutions.

Method overview The amount of sulfite present in wine is measured by monitoring the reaction with a colour changing compound (chromogen) under acidic (for FSO₂) or basic (for TSO₂) conditions (Figure 1). The reduction of the chromogen leads to formation of a strongly absorbing compound which can be measured at 340 nm using a DA or benchtop spectrophotometer. The measurement of the activated chromogen is stoichiometrically proportional to the amount of sulfite present. A control is recommended (i.e. cask wine verified by A/O) with each run. Sodium metabisulfite is used to prepare

Figure 1. Colourless chromogen reacting with either free or total SO2 to form a compound that is able to be detected at 340nm on either an automatic analyser or a benchtop spectrophotometer.

fresh standards over a range of SO₂ concentrations. A calibration curve is then constructed using a discrete analyser as per the parameters outlined in the kit insert. Samples are analysed directly using a ‘true sample blank’ method which essentially prepares two reactions per sample. One of these reactions has the chromogen added, the other a ‘replacement’ or ‘blank’ reagent. After a short incubation period, the difference in absorbance between these two samples is then used to calculate the concentration of SO₂ as compared to the calibration curve. This method takes into account any colour in a sample that is not associated with the reduced chromogen, and it is this approach that allows high accuracy for both white and red wine samples. Figure 2 represents an overview of the results collected by Vintessential on different discrete analysers (DA’s) as part of the kit validation and shows excellent correlation with traditional methods across a range of samples and DA’s. Validation of the kits was performed on a range of commercially available analysers including Thermo Scientific Arena, Thermo Scientific Gallery, the Chemwell 2910 and the Winery Pro. There is a linear correlation between the DA kits and traditional aspiration as shown in Figure 2 (A-D) for free SO₂ and Figure 2 (A-D) for total SO₂. With a large sample set of white wine, red wine, beer and cider, Vintessential were able to demonstrate that the kits are a fast, reproducible alternative to traditional aspiration (Table 1 on p.60). The statistics provided in Table 1 show that the kits perform exceptionally well, with repeatability and reproducibility well within the industry accepted standards. Specific method optimisation for each instrument resulted in R₂ values of between 0.92 and 0.97 for free SO₂ 1. Vintessential Laboratories, Technical Manager Australia 2. Winechek Laboratories, Laboratory Manager 3. Winechek laboratories, Winechek communications March 2022 – Issue 698

Bottling Solutions Quality, Innovation & Efficiency. Figure 2. A-D. Correlation between aspiration and Vintessential SO2 DA kits for free SO2 and total SO2 levels (A) Chemwell 2910, (B) Winery Pro, (C) Thermo Scientific Arena, (D) Thermo Scientific Gallery.

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analysis. The larger linear range associated with total SO₂ analysis enabled method optimisation to achieve R₂ values of 0.99 for all analysers. The average difference between the kits and A/O for both free and total SO₂ was between 0 mg/L and 2 mg/L. These results have now been validated in both the Vintessential and Winechek laboratories and show that this method is a fast and accurate way to analyse large volumes of samples and subsequently improve productivity and efficiency. Automated analysis allows high-throughput SO₂ monitoring to enable the continued maintenance of free SO₂ March 2022 – Issue 698

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winemaking Table 1. Validation data for free SO2 and total SO2 levels (A) Chemwell 2910, (B )Winery Pro, (C) Thermo Scientific Arena, (D) Thermo Scientific Gallery.





FSO2 n = 102

TSO2 n = 100

FSO2 n = 111

TSO2 n = 102

FSO2 n = 99

TSO2 n = 101

FSO2 n = 98

TSO2 n = 109









Correlation (R2)









Repeatability SD (mg/L)














Ave difference between test kit & A/O (mg/L)

Reproducibility SD (mg/L)

levels to ensure they are at adequate levels to avoid microbial spoilage or oxidative issues. Fast and accurate determination of total SO₂ levels ensures that wines are in line with consumer expectations and Government restrictions. Kits for use with Spectrophotometers are also available.

Concluding notes Validation work carried out by Vintessential Laboratories as well as Winechek Laboratories has demonstrated both free and total SO₂ measurements using automated spectrophotometric analysis is an excellent alternative to the aspiration method. This approach also offers a safe alternative to other automated methods based on formadehyde/pararosaniline chemistry but retains the advantages of being fast and accurate.

viability, culturability, and volatile phenol production of Dekkera bruxellensis in wine . Ann .Microbiol. 64,653–659. doi:10.1007/s13213-013-0698-6 Barata, A., Caldeira, J., Botelheiro, R., Pagliara, D., MalfeitoFerreira, M., and Loureiro, V. (2008). Survival patterns of Dekkera bruxellensis in wines and inhibitory effect of sulphur dioxide. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 121, 201–207. doi:10.1016/j. ijfoodmicro.2007.11.020 Curtin,C.,Kennedy,E.,and Henschke,P.A.(2012).Genotypedependent sulphite tolerance of Australian Dekkera (Brettanomyces) bruxellensis wine isolates. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 55,56–61.doi:10.1111/j.1472-765X.2012.03257.x

Although it requires trained technicians and a higher level of initial capital than the aspiration method which is accepted as industry standard, automated SO₂ analysis enables large laboratories to run many samples with minimal labour input. Installing a discrete analyser has the added advantage of enabling the laboratory to run other analyses such as glucose/ fructose, acetic acid, malic acid and lactic acid. This SO₂ analysis has been validated on multiple discrete analysers, however it will need to be validated specifically for each instrument and winery set up.

References Gilchrist A, Nobbs J. Colorimetry, theory. Encyclopedia of spectroscopy and spectrometry. 1999 Jan 1:337-43. Grant WM. Colorimetric determination of sulfur dioxide. Analytical Chemistry. 1947 May 1;19(5):345-6. Ribéreau-Gayon P, Dubourdieu D, Doneche B, Lonvaud A. The use of sulfur dioxide in must and wine treatment. Handbook of Enology. The Microbiology of Wine and Vinifications. 2006:193-7. Jackowetz, J.N. and de Orduña, R.M., 2012. Metabolism of SO2 binding compounds by Oenococcus oeni during and after malolactic fermentation in white wine. International journal of food microbiology, 155(3), pp.153-157. R. Carreté, M.T. Vidal, A. Bordons, M. Constanti. Inhibitory effect of sulfur dioxide and other stress compounds in wine on the ATPase activity of Oenococcus oeni FEMS Microbiology Letters, 211 (2002), pp. 155-159 Agnolucci, M., Cristani, C., Maggini, S., Rea, F., Cossu, A., Tirelli, A., et al. (2014). Impact of sulphur dioxide on the 60

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March 2022 – Issue 698


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March 2022 – Issue 698

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Behind the Top Drops

Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz

Originally gazetted to be a cemetery for the Parish of Pokolbin in the 1800s, Brokenwood’s Graveyard vineyard is today the sole source of fruit for the Hunter Valley-based winery’s flagship, The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz. First made in 1983 by Iain Riggs, who stepped down from his roles as managing director and chief winemaker at Brokenwood in mid-2020, the wine is now in the hands of the winery’s senior winemaker Stuart Hordern. Stuart spoke with Sonya Logan about the wine which has been included in every Langton’s Classification of fine Australian wine since the inaugural classification in 1990. First of all, briefly tell us the Brokenwood story:

Established in 1970, Brokenwood Wines was founded by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors — Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday — who paid a then record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block in the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges. The original block was destined to be a cricket ground for the local community but was instead planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The first vintage was picked in 1973 and while none of the original partners claimed to know anything about viticulture, the wine received praise and attracted a loyal following from the first vintage. In 1975, a new winery was built to accommodate the growing production. Visitors helped themselves to a taste of the very limited and eagerly sought after boutique wine made by the weekend winemakers from a table standing in the shade of the first floor balcony. Many of Australia’s most prominent wine identities have ‘done their time’ in the vineyards and winery at Brokenwood over its 51 years. The winery started out utilising its estate-owned vineyards to make wine. At what point did the winery begin to look beyond its own plantings and even beyond the Hunter for its fruit sources?

Brokenwood sourced fruit from outside the Hunter Valley for the first time in 1978 — Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra, which was blended with Hunter fruit to make a premium red, creating the style that has been synonymous with Brokenwood for the last 40 years. 62

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A view across Brokenwood’s Graveyard Vineyard in the Hunter Valley.

March 2022 – Issue 698

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Brokenwood’s senior winemaker Stuart Hordern.

The all-important fruit that goes into Brokenwood’s Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz.

From which regions does Brokenwood source fruit today?

Brokenwood’s largest region of fruit supply is the Hunter Valley. On top of this, we source fruit from Orange (New South Wales), Beechworth (Victoria), McLaren Vale (South Australia) and even as far as Margaret River in Western Australia.

in the Hunter Valley. The climate is sub-tropical with a summer-dominant rainfall. There are 26 acres (10ha) undervine on a gentle, east-facing slope, varying in age from the original old vine plantings from 1968 to the most recent plantings in 2009. It is planted entirely to Shiraz, with the last Chardonnay and Cabernet being removed 2005.

Tell us about the acquisition of the Graveyard Vineyard:

Onto the wine itself — when was the first one made and when was it released?

Six new partners joined in 1978, allowing the purchase of the next-door Graveyard Vineyard. The site was gazetted to be a cemetery for the Parish of Pokolbin in the mid-1800s but it was never used as such and instead was planted with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon by Hungerford Hill in 1968.

The first Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz was made in 1983 by Iain Riggs, who

The heavy clay soil resulted in vintages of low yields but with extraordinary concentration of flavour in the berries, providing a distinctive wine style that is still evident in the Brokenwood red wines. The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is Brokenwood’s flagship wine, which is still sourced exclusively from this one vineyard. Describe the Graveyard vineyard:

The Graveyard Vineyard is just south of the winery on McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin, 64

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Winemaking trends ebb and flow and for a wine to retain and build on its relevance over a 40-year period, style should evolve slowly with time. had just moved up to the Hunter from South Australia after being announced the 1982 Bushing King in McLaren Vale. What prompted that initial release?

A combination of a great vintage, a focus on single vineyard wines and a desire to produce a wine that spoke clearly of site rather than the traditional blended house style. March 2022 – Issue 698

Do the same vines in the Graveyard Vineyard usually provide the fruit for the wine or can that change from year to year based on the vintage?

The four old vine blocks planted in 1968 — Pa’s Middle, End and 7 Acre – make up the backbone of the wine. There have been barrels of the younger blocks of Duck’s and Kat’s Blocks that have made the grade but this has been a rare occurrence. The younger vine parcels from the Graveyard Vineyard form the basis of our Brokenwood Hunter Valley Shiraz, or as we like to refer to it as ‘Graveyard’s little brother’. Tell us about the blocks that make up the backbone of the wine:

The 26 acres undervine in the Graveyard Vineyard are planted on very heavy red clay soil. The old vine blocks which make up the heart of Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz are planted on top of the ridge of a gentle east-facing slope. The original vines were planted in 1968 and were taken from cuttings from one of the original Mt Pleasant vineyards. Additional plantings were made though

March 2022 – Issue 698

the mid ‘90s to PT23 and 1654 rootstocks which never made the grade in terms of quality. All subsequent planting during the 2000s were selection massale cuttings taken from the original old vines. The Graveyard Vineyard is entirely cane pruned and hand harvested. Fruit thinning is required in heavier years but generally a green thin is sufficient. It is traditionally farmed using a combination of cultivation and inter-row cover crops, depending on the season. Over the past 20 years we have had a real focus on improving the soil health of the vineyard through the use of cover crops and undervine mulching and moving away from the out-dated model of recreational tillage. What is the average yield off the blocks used to make the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz?

The average yield from the old vine material is 1.5t/ac (3.7t/ha). Describe the current winemaking process that brings the wine to fruition?

Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is handpicked, stored overnight in our blast chiller and processed in the cool

of the following morning. It is 100% destemmed before undergoing a three to four day cold soak. We inoculate the must and aim to keep the ferment between 24-26°C until the tail end of the ferment. The wine is pressed off at dryness and run to French oak puncheons for malolactic fermentation. The wine is racked off lees at the completion of malo and sulfured. The wine matures in barrel for 12-15 months. The wine is not fined but crossflow filtered pre bottling. The wine is released 12 months later on the last Saturday in May at our legendary Graveyard Lunch, held in the winery barrel shed. Have the winemaking inputs changed over the years?

Absolutely! Early releases of Graveyard were matured almost exclusively in American oak barriques and hogsheads. Today Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz is matured in one-year-old French oak puncheons. We no longer use added tannins or fine the wine in preparation for bottling. All of these changes have been made with the desire to showcase the fruit from the vineyard rather than winemaking tools. Today we have almost

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winemaking come full circle to the original Graveyard vintages, mid weight, pure fruit with fine, long tannin length coming to the fore. Has the wine style evolved over the years?

Winemaking trends ebb and flow and for a wine to retain and build on its relevance over a 40-year period, style should evolve slowly with time. At its heart Graveyard Shiraz has always been a classic Hunter Valley Shiraz, mid weight, consistently 13-13.5% alcohol showing pure fruit with fine, long tannins complimented by acidity. This is what is so intriguing about single vineyard wines — winemaking and style can evolve but the vintage and the vineyard shine through above these. Biggest challenge in making the wine?

The vagaries of red wine making in the Hunter Valley never fails to keeps one on their toes. Have there been years that it hasn’t been made?

1992, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2020. Ageing recommendations?

Graveyard Shiraz is released with the intention of it being able to cellar for 20 years plus in ideal cellaring conditions. What’s the recommended retail price of the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz?

Current release is $350 per bottle. On average production is around 500 dozen. Most notable accolades?

It’s been included in every Langton’s Classification since the first release in 1991. It’s one of only 22 wines classified as Exceptional by Langton’s Classification. And the 2018 vintage was named Wine of the Year in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Any other notable acknowledgements?

Iain Riggs hung up his boots from day-to-day operations at the winery in 2020 following 38 years of continual stewardship of the Graveyard Vineyard. Best vintages?

1986, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2006, 2009, 2014, 2018.


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Providing you with essential industry information in Print and Online Summer 2022 · Volume 37 Number 1


• Oxygen – friend and foe • Hidden micro-oxygenation in the winery • Tackling climate change – is the industry ‘all in this together’? • Are grapes ripening faster? • Tasting: Vermentino

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Nic Peterkin

Bringing together Luck, Art and Science

Margaret River is renowned as a place where people like to try something new, and winemaker Nic Peterkin from L.A.S. (Luck, Art & Science) Vino is taking that pioneering spirit under his wing. Highlighting his approach of minimal intervention, he spoke with Harrison Davies about what inspired his winemaking and what’s in store for him down the track.

Nic Peterkin heads up Margaret River’s L.A.S. Vino. Photo: Ryan Murphy


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March 2022 – Issue 698

Minimal intervention. Sustainability. Organic growing. All things that sound more and more like marketing jargon. For winemaker Nic Peterkin, they sit at the core of his vision. His label, L.A.S. Vino, has seen somewhat of a meteoric rise since launching in the mid-2010s and has heralded change across the industry and across the Margaret River region. Peterkin grew up amongst a family of winemakers and growers and was exposed to all areas of winemaking from a young age. Despite his passion for winemaking being clear now, it wasn’t always destiny for Peterkin.

We agreed that great wines have a balance of both science and art and, of course, luck. The luck of the vintage, the weather and the fermentations. L.A.S. Vino was born.” – Nic Peterkin “I grew up with wine on both sides of the family. Cullen on my mother’s side and Pierro on my father’s side,” he said. “I spent hot summers in the vineyard weeding and water shooting; spent wet, cold winters pruning and vintages cleaning the drains and floors. “If anything, growing up in a small family winery extinguished any passion I could have had for vineyards or winemaking, but working vintages was an easy and accessible way to make money to travel, which I love.” The travel itch was enough to get him in the game and the family instinct lead him toward a Masters in Oenology at Adelaide University. He reflected gleefully on his time at university and explained how it allowed him the chance to rediscover wine for himself. “Prior to Adelaide, wine was a part of my life; in Adelaide, wine was my life – t was a match that started a fire,” Peterkin said. “In Adelaide, every breathing moment was wine.” March 2022 – Issue 698

Nic was exposed to all areas of wine production from an early age having grown up in a family of winemakers and grapegrowers cheers to that!

Wine wasn’t just the family business anymore, now it was his. It allowed him to combine the analytical, scientific parts of his mind with the creative and gave him a unique lifestyle that he had been seeking. “I realised the wine world combined a lot of my favourite things and provided a lifestyle I enjoyed living,” he said. “The diversity of the job and the people involved in the industry are great.”

What’s in a name? Peterkin’s meticulous approach to winemaking is encapsulated in the name of his label: Luck, Art and Science. The name came from his tenure on vineyards in Mexico in 2012 when one gumptious winemaker proclaimed Australian wines too formulaic. “I was doing a vintage in Mexico in 2012 and, over a few mezcals, the Mexican winemaker at Casa Madero was expressing how he thought the Australian wine industry had a tendency to produce recipe based industrial driven wines based too much on science with not enough in art,” Peterkin explained. “After tasting a few faulty wines in the regional parts of Mexico, which could have been easy fixes if a little science was applied I told him that a lot of the wines there had a little too much art and not enough science. “We agreed that great wines have a balance of both science and art and, of course, luck. The luck of the vintage, the weather and the fermentations. L.A.S. Vino was born.” The early days of the label were built

L.A.S. Vino focusses on single vineyard, single variety wines made with sustainable growing and winemaking methods. Photo: Ryan Murphy.

I don’t know how all of this plays into my philosophy of winemaking but living in a great place with great people certainly makes the work more enjoyable.” – Nic Peterkin upon hard work and an un-flappable drive to succeed. Peterkin explained the initial struggles to find buyers and distributors for his wine and how he became the face for L.A.S. in Perth in the early days. “In the early days in Perth I would fill up the boot of the car with wine and just drive around cold calling bottle shops and restaurants,” he said. “The aim each day was to empty the car of wine so I didn’t have to carry it back into the house. It grew from there. Grapegrower & Winemaker



Nic sources his grapes from specific sustainable vineyards cheers to that!

Winemaker Nic Peterkin. Photo: Ryan Murphy.


Grapegrower & Winemaker

March 2022 – Issue 698

“We picked up a distributor in the UK, then Japan and then Singapore before we had sold any wine in Australia, which is a little unconventional. “But showing that the wine could work overseas helped a lot when we began tasting them in Australia. Combining art and science has become the cornerstone of L.A.S. Vino and has also guided the winemaking. Peterkin sources his grapes from specific, sustainable vineyards with specific interest and he processes the grapes with methods that are often innovative and experimental. He said that exploring these unique methods would bring out different characteristics of wines that people might otherwise be used to. He said how he would focus on the pure characteristics of the varietals he worked with and would explore the beauty and awe of discovery, whether that be through site, method or flavour. “The ethos is to find unique and interesting sites, with the hope that leads to something interesting and unique in the bottle,” he said. “Whether it be bush vine Grenache grown on granite rock at elevation in the Ferguson Valley or dry grown biodynamic Chenin Blanc in Yallingup. He said how he would just know when a vineyard was special by being amongst it, describing the feeling as “hard to express”.

Photo: Ryan Murphy.

“We only make a small amount of wine, so we want each parcel to be a beautiful reflection of the site it’s grown,” Peterkin continued. “I wanted to make wines that spoke to my generation and also create unique and interesting wines from methods or grapes that at the time weren’t being focused on [such as] Chenin Blanc or Touriga Nacional.”

Something about the future Margaret River has been hit with a bit of every type of weather over the last year and, despite the three seasons in a day conditions, Peterkin was confident about the 2022 vintage. “Besides the wettest winter on record, the largest fire Margaret River has ever seen, hail during flowering and a [recent] heatwave, things are looking surprisingly good,” he said. Photo: Ryan Murphy.

“Margaret River is beautiful, and a great place to live.

March 2022 – Issue 698

“Ocean breezes cool the land in the afternoon, moderating the temperature and providing fresh pure unpolluted air to the vines. “I don’t know how all of this plays into my philosophy of winemaking but living in a great place with great people certainly makes the work more enjoyable.” Peterkin said his main goal was to perfect his craft and continue to explore parts of wine that hadn’t been considered before. He said that growing a winery didn’t necessarily have to mean expanding but improving quality and learning more about the process. “As winemakers you always get asked if you are going to grow, or are going to expand,” he said. “Getting bigger isn’t the aim for L.A.S. Vino, just getting better at what we do, making delicious and interesting wines. “Being small gives us an ability to focus in the winery; an ability to create and apply the craft.” Grapegrower & Winemaker


business & technology


Proposed alcohol tax reform in the UK

How much will it erode wine exporter gains from FTAs with the UK? Kym Anderson and Glyn Wittwer

The Australian wine industry warmly welcomed the Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia (UK-Au FTA) when it was signed in late 2021, as it will allow Australian wine to be imported into the UK tariff-free as soon as the Agreement is ratified by both governments (hopefully later this year). This comes after a year in which punitive tariffs were imposed by China on Australian wine imports, causing those imports to shrink by 97 percent or A$1 billion in 2021. With that huge loss of the China market, the UK became Australia’s top-ranked market for our wine exports in 2021 in value ($453 million) and volume (243 million litres, see Wine Australia 2022). It was therefore with some dismay that the industry learnt of a proposal to reform the UK’s excise duty on alcohol. The proposal – currently open for consultations and expected to take effect from February 2023 – would switch the tax base from product volume to volume of alcohol. It would involve a fall in the tax on sparkling wine (by about onefifth), but still wines with more than 11.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) would become dearer (HM Treasury 2021). Specifically, all wines with an ABV between 8.5% and 22% would be taxed at £25.88 per litre of pure alcohol. That would raise the duty on a wine

Kym Anderson Wine Economics Research Centre, University of Adelaide, Adelaide and Arndt-Cordon Department of Economics, Australian National University, Canberra Glyn Wittwer Centre of Policy Studies, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia 72

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March 2022 – Issue 698

with 14.5% ABV, for example, by £0.77 per litre (from £2.98 to £3.75 or 26%). Since virtually all wine imported from Australia is at least 11.5% ABV, and on average has a higher ABV than that of almost any other supplier of wine to the UK, Australian Grape and Wine (AGW 2022) believes Australian producers would be hit especially hard by such a change in excise duty. Some media reports have claimed it would wipe out the recently won gain expected from the UK-Au FTA. That seems to be based on the estimate by Wine Australia that the proposal would raise the duty on Australian still wine by 11% on average. If there were no changes in volumes consumed as of 2021, wholesalers in the UK would thereby pay an additional £80 million (about A$150 million) per year in excise duty on Australian wines. But it is wrong to assume that extra tax payment would be borne entirely by Australian vignerons. As with all wholesale taxes, the burden is shared along a value chain that includes also importers, wholesalers, retailers, pubs, bars, restaurants and final consumers. Insofar as final consumers are asked to bear some of that burden by paying more, either in the bottle shop (offpremise) or in a restaurant or bar (on-premise), they will adjust downwards the volume they consume. For example, if the UK consumer price of Australian still wine were to rise as much as 10%, and if the price elasticity of demand for that wine is -0.6 (the upper end of the range of available estimates), that would reduce the quantity consumed in the UK by 6%. If Australia’s share of that was proportional, our exports would fall by (6% of 243 ML =) 15 ML. The average export price also would fall a bit (depending on how the loss is shared along the value chain and how that trade’s share of bulk to bottled wine alters), but that would still lead us to expect the loss to be only around A$30 million – before we take into account the diversion of some Australian exports to other countries and interactions with other suppliers to the UK market. A more careful calculus, including for comparing with the positive impact of the UK-Au FTA on Australia’s wine industry, requires a global model of alcoholic beverage markets. This is because each March 2022 – Issue 698

of these two policy changes affects all suppliers to the UK, not just Australians. It does so through trade diversion in the case of an FTA: Australians gain along with UK consumers, other suppliers lose. In the case of a rise in wine excise duty, all suppliers lose along with UK consumers (and others along the value chain), while HM Treasury would gain tax revenue. In this article we draw on such a model, and find that the proposed reform to UK excise duties is likely to reduce Australian wine exports disproportionately, but by considerably less than the gain to Australian wine exporters that is projected to come from the UK-Au FTA.

Modelling UK beverage markets in an interconnected world The UK is currently the world’s largest importer of wine, as well as a major market for beer and spirits. Its policies that affect consumption of any of those three beverages therefore have spillover effects on UK markets for the other two beverages, as well as on the rest of the world’s alcohol markets. To analyse changes to UK policies empirically therefore requires a global model of national beverage markets connected through international trade, in which the interactions between each nation’s producers and consumers of these three beverages, and among various types of wine, are explicitly recognized. Wittwer and Anderson (2020) recently

generated such a model, the GLOBALBEV model. It identifies three red still wine qualities, three white still wine qualities, and sparkling wine, in addition to having a beer sector and a spirits sector in each country. We use that model here to address three questions: 1.

What is the likely impact of the proposed reform of the UK’s alcohol excise duty regime on Australia’s wine exports?

2. How does that impact compare with the gain to Australian wine exporters from the recently agreed UK-Au FTA (and the expected UK-NZ FTA)? 3.

How do these impacts on Australia’s wine exporters compare with those for New Zealand?

Results The answers to those three questions according to our model simulation results, in millions of Australian dollars per year, are summarised in Tables 1 and 2 (see p.74). (Those results ignore the proposed small changes to the beer excise rates and a small reduction in the spirits excise rate.) From row 1 of Table 1, our results suggest revenue from Australian wine exports would fall if the UK’s proposed wine excise duty changes were implemented, and by much more than the fall in exports from the rest of the world. But row 2 of that table suggests that loss of A$8 million would be small compared with the direct gain Grapegrower & Winemaker


business & technology Table 1: Estimated impacts on Australian wine exports to the UK and rest of world (ROW) of proposed UK alcohol excise duty reform and UK bilateral FTAs (A$ million per year)




Due to proposed UK excise duty change




Due to UK-Au FTA




Due to UK-Au FTA plus UK-NZ FTA




Net effect of excise changes and 2 FTAs







Due to proposed UK excise duty change




Due to UK-Au FTA




Due to UK-Au FTA plus UK-NZ FTA




Net effect of excise changes and 2 FTAs




Source: Authors’ model simulation results.

Table 2: Estimated impacts on New Zealand’s wine exports to the UK and rest of world (ROW) of proposed UK alcohol excise duty reform and UK bilateral FTAs (A$ million per year)

Source: Authors’ model simulation results.

Table 3: Estimated impacts on UK wine imports from ANZ and the rest of the world of proposed UK alcohol excise duty reform and UK bilateral FTAs (A$ million per year)

From AUS

From NZ

From ROW


Due to proposed UK excise change





Due to UK-Au plus UK-NZ FTAs





Due to Δ excise and 2 FTAs





Source: Authors’ model simulation results.

of A$55 million from the UK-Au FTA that will allow Australian wine tarifffree entry into the UK. Those two effects are illustrated in Figure 1. Even if/when a UK-NZ FTA is ratified with the same tariff-free access to the UK wine market, Australian exports are still projected to be up by almost A$50 million. So the direct effect of those 3 policy changes would be an annual boost of A$41 million in Australian wine exports to the UK. However, to get the net effect, one needs to look also at the reduction in Australian exports to non-UK markets due to the FTA, which is projected to be A$25 million.¹ So our answer to the first question is that the proposed excise duty reform would offset only about one-third of the net benefit from the UK-Au FTA – even if New Zealand is able to sign a similar FTA with the UK (see the final column of Table 1). 74

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Table 2 provides comparable projections for the impact of these 3 possible policy changes on New Zealand’s wine exports. The UK’s wine imports from New Zealand in 2020 were almost as valuable as Australia’s (£270 million, compared with £290 million of Australian wine), but they are mostly whites with lower alcohol content than Australia’s wine on average. Hence the estimated loss to NZ from the proposed excise duty reform is less than half that for Australia. New Zealand will lose more from the UK-Au FTA, but, if it is able to secure tarifffree access to the UK market through its own bilateral FTA, its direct gain will be very similar to Australia’s (A$44 million compared with Australia’s A$50 million). Like Australia, though, New Zealand would have to reduce sales to other markets in order to divert product to the UK, especially as it currently has much less surplus stock than Australia.

Turing this around, how are UK’s wine imports likely to be affected by these proposed changes to its excise duty and import tariff policies? These are shown in Table 3. Australia and New Zealand each accounted for around 9% of the value of UK wine imports in 2020, but Australia would account for twice that share (18%) of the world’s loss of wine exports to the UK if its proposed excise duty reform were to be implemented (row 1 of Table 3). On the other hand, both Australia and New Zealand would gain handsomely from their respective ¹ In our modelling we assume no change in stocks. However, in the current surplus situation because of the punitive tariffs on China’s wine imports from Australia, the reduction in Australian exports to non-UK markets may be closer to zero in the first year or so as surplus stocks are drawn down. March 2022 – Issue 698

Figure 1: Impacts on Australian wine exports to the UK and rest of world (ROW) of proposed UK alcohol excise duty reform and UKAu FTA (A$ million per year)

Source: Authors’ model simulation results (see first 2 rows of Table 1).

FTAs. If/when both FTAs are ratified, their combined imports by the UK would be boosted by an estimated A$94 million per year. However, that would be at the expense of the rest of the world’s wine exporters, to the tune of A$98 million. So world wine exports to the UK would shrink slightly (by A$4 million) as a consequence of the two bilateral FTAs (row 2 of Table 3). That is, rather than these agreements expanding world trade, their trade-diverting effects completely offset their trade-creating effects. Drilling down, bulk wine imports from ANZ are projected to expand at the expense of bottled wine imports from the rest of the world, such that UK consumption of locally bottled ANZ wines expands in response to a slight fall in their local prices both absolutely and relative to prices of wines imported from the rest of the world.

Conclusion AGW (2022) is thus vindicated in its belief that the UK’s excise reform proposal would be more harmful to Australia’s wine industry than to that of other wine exporters (including New Zealand), because Australian wines have higher ABVs than those of most other countries. According to the above simulation results, however, that damage would be relatively small, both in absolute terms and compared with the gain projected to

flow from the UK-Au FTA – even if New Zealand manages to reach a similarly favourable FTA with the UK. Moreover, the annual damage to Australian exports from the excise reform would diminish over time as Australian producers responded by exporting lower ABV wines to the UK. The reason the trade impact of the excise change is small compared with the potential boost to HM Treasury’s tax revenue is because the burden of the tax is spread along the entire value chain and thus shared with the UK’s wine importers, wholesalers, retailers, pubs, restaurants, bars and final consumers. To ease the relatively heavy burden of the excise proposal on Australian exports, AGW (2022) has requested that the proposed very broad bracket (from 8.5% to 22% ABV) for taxing wine at a uniform rate per litre of pure alcohol be split into two brackets at 15% ABV, with the requested lower ABV range attracting a lower excise rate than for the upper range. That would ensure Australia is not an outlier in terms of that reform’s adverse impact on its exports. AGW (2022) also has some constructive suggestions for making the proposed excise reform more workable from a practical viewpoint, perhaps the most important of which is to base the excise to be paid on increments of 1% ABV rather than 0.5%.

WINE PAYMENTS IN 3 DAYS March 2022 – Issue 698

References AGW (2022), “Submission Responding to ‘The New Alcohol Duty System’ Consultation Paper”, Adelaide: Australian Grape and Wine, January. HM Treasury (2021), The New Alcohol Duty System: Consultation, London: HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs, October. Wine Australia (2022), Export Report December 2021, Adelaide: Wine Australia, 3 February. Wittwer, G. and K. Anderson (2020), “A Model of Global Beverage Markets”, Journal of Wine Economics 15(3): 330-54, August. Corresponding author: Professor Kym Anderson, Executive Director, Wine Economics Research Centre School of Economics and Public Policy University of Adelaide Adelaide SA 5005, Australia Phone +61 (0)414 254 121 Acknowledgement: The authors are grateful for financial support from Wine Australia, under Research Project UA1803-3-1, and from the University of Adelaide’s Faculty of the Professions and School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

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business & technology

The 18th AWITC – looking to the future through the prism of experience

The 18th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference (AWITC) will take place in COVID-safe mode from 26 to 29 June 2022 in Adelaide, with early bird registrations open from early March. Since its inception in Mildura in 1970, the AWITC has grown and evolved with the Australian wine industry, and it continues to be the premier event in the Australian wine industry calendar. Bringing together the technical, marketing, business and trade knowhow of the Australian grape and wine community, the AWITC also gleans the most inspiring and relevant global insights from other food and beverage categories for the benefit of Australian wine producers. Incorporating the business and market-related content of the Australian Grape & Wine Outlook Conference and featuring the industry’s most extensive and relevant trade show, WineTech, the AWITC is an unmissable, one-stop-shop event. The plenary program will this year take a holistic approach, geared to the overall prospects of the industry. Keynote speakers will address topics such as the unpredictable supply chain environment, reducing carbon emissions, the demand for no/low-alcohol beverages and more, with producer perspectives and specific examples keeping it focussed and relevant. The AWITC program will also continue to provide inspiration for producers to prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change, to diversify 76

Grapegrower & Winemaker

and be part of the solution rather than the problem. The conference session themes are, as always, based around the key current and emerging challenges and opportunities for the industry, including sustainability, supply and demand, consumer trends and social factors, technological developments and the latest research outcomes in both wine and vine. The concept of ‘licence to operate’ will be explored in Session 2, with aspects including responsible consumption of alcohol, the industry’s contribution and response to climate change and the moral and economic legitimacy of wine as a product. Consistent with this, Session 4 will examine what’s already happening and what’s still needed in the roadmap for a truly sustainable industry, a topic that should provoke plenty of discussion at the networking function to follow. Day two will bring a shift in focus to future innovations, with the newest sensory, winemaking and vineyard management techniques and technologies showcased. This will include a look at new grape varieties and genetic technologies and will provide practical examples and options for producers who want to improve their winery and vineyard performance and profitability. The final day of the conference will feature a session on strategies for moving towards net zero carbon and better managing water resources.

In addition to these wide-ranging plenary presentations, a full program of workshops will be presented on Sunday, 26 June. These provide an opportunity for smaller groups to explore topics in greater detail. This year’s workshop program includes an extensive variety of technical and business themes including engineering and packaging, health/regulatory issues and sensory and consumer insights. Delegates are advised to register early to secure places in their preferred workshops. Alongside the plenary and workshop programs, the conference will again include a student forum with a rapidfire three-minute, one-slide format. And as always, higher degree students and researchers will have the opportunity to present their latest findings in two ‘Fresh Science’ sessions, with topics chosen from the poster abstracts submitted. The social program will provide numerous opportunities to catch up with colleagues, and the ever-popular Yeastie Boys will be back. The AWITC program committee has developed a program that offers diverse and relevant subject matter, covering existing industry priorities plus issues that might be on the horizon. Every AWITC provides opportunities to learn, network and debate - leaving our industry stronger for the interaction and discussion. March 2022 – Issue 698

Limestone Coast winery removes 10 million plastic bottles from oceans Limestone Coast based winery The Hidden Sea has reached a milestone by removing 10 million plastic bottles from oceans since the brand first embarked on its mission in July 2020. The brand’s mission is simple: for every bottle of wine sold, they work to remove and recycle 10 single-use plastic bottles from oceans and waterways with Danish company, ReSea Project. This environmental milestone brings them closer to their ultimate goal to remove one billion plastic bottles from the ocean by 2030. After launching into the UK and US markets in the last 12 months, the brand has gained a groundswell of momentum and support. “Thanks to our incredibly supportive customers, partners and ambassadors in Australia and around the world, we’re able to make a quantifiable and tangible difference in helping to clean up the world’s oceans - which was always our number one mission,” co-founder Justin Moran said. “To have removed 10 million plastic bottles in the space of 18 months has

superseded all of our expectations and demonstrates that consumers, when given the opportunity, will make socially and environmentally conscious choices if they place them at the heart of a movement.

“But our job is far from done – to achieve our goal of removing one billion plastic bottles from the ocean by 2030, more support is vital. “We’ll be investing heavily to sound the alarm, expand our ambassador base, secure additional retailers and drive more consumers to choose The Hidden Sea.” Co-founder Richie Vandenberg said the milestone is a wonderful example of how businesses can affect change when they put the planet at the centre of their focus. “It’s so important for businesses to take a stand for something, be accountable for

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“By working towards a common goal, businesses and consumers can achieve incredible things. “The fact is, the world’s oceans are critical to the health of our planet, and plastic of any kind does not belong there. “The time to act is now, and if we all band together, we can work to reverse the devastation caused by single-use plastic before it’s too late.”


Lab Assistant

Here is lab assistant Kobe from Tamburlaine Organic Wines at Cudal in the Central West of NSW. We’re told Kobe is always learning something new, whether in the lab or out in the cellar. His daily tasks include collecting samples and climbing to the top of the tanks to take DO readings. Kobe does tend to sneak off from the lunch room for some food and banter with the Tamburlaine crew.


Each month we’ll share another of our favourite entrants in the Winejobs Top Dog competition.




March 2022 – Issue 698

their actions, and be transparent with consumers,” he said

Monthly staff favourite from the Top Dogs Competition 2021

Adding to your Visit

Richie Vandenberg and Justin Moran

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sales & marketing

Bottle Design

Shattering bottle expectations Supply issues and inflated glass costs lead to design rethink

The Australian wine market is cutthroat. Finding ways to separate brands on the shelf for locally produced wines can be an uphill battle. Journalist Harrison Davies spoke with producers and designers about why they have explored options for adopting new bottle designs to streamline their brand and stand out at a time when shortages and rising costs are disrupting glass supplies.

Supply chain chaos and ballooning material costs are contributing to challenges for bottle suppliers to meet demand. The cost of glass with which to make bottles is also being exacerbated by the exorbitant cost of delivery – all of which eventually affects the cost of the finished product. This creates natural barriers for many consumers when purchasing a bottle of wine. When consumers picture a bottle of wine, some often conjure images of the traditional 750ml bottle with a simple white label. Standard bottle designs for each varietal were co-opted in the 1970s after styles were standardised in the EU. However no such standard was adopted in the new world, allowing producers in Australia and New Zealand to have a bit more fun with their designs, and also providing opportunities to reduce environmental footprints as well as costs. Clare Valley-based producer Taylors Wines recently revamped their range of Estate white and light red wines, now all in bottom-heavy burgundy style bottles, as a way to update their branding. Taylors winemaker and managing director Mitchell Taylor said the new look would help to streamline the Estate range and bring a refreshing new identity to the core range at Taylors. “It’s very exciting to be bringing an updated look to our family’s foundation range,” Taylor said. Designs by Damian Hamilton. Photo Slingshot Studios


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“The Estate range represents the Taylors’ house style, delivering exceptional value and consistency with every vintage. March 2022 – Issue 698

Taylors Estate range redesign. Image courtesy Blend PR

“Like our classic Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Shiraz wines, our Estate whites have become a delicious drink to enjoy with friends and family around the dinner table. The new design conveys the idea of refreshment whilst giving a modern, crisp feel to our classic look.” Atop providing a new image for the Estate range of wines, the change in bottle design also helps to reduce the weight of the bottles. Bottle designers and suppliers have, in recent years, been exploring ways to design and market new designs to respond to rising costs and also to help reduce the environmental impact of shipping bottles. Alongside supply chain struggles, the cost to make glass is rising, and this is forcing bottle designers to come up with new ways to get bottles to the market.

A battle for resources The continuing supply chain backlog has been making accessing glass much more difficult than in previous years. March 2022 – Issue 698

With some manufacturers fearing a glass shortage, designers are pointing to reused glass as an alternative, suggesting it may be a much more sustainable and attainable resource.

She explained that in the next year it could become very difficult to source the materials to make new bottles if the industry does not adopt more recycled materials.

According to a report by the Department of Environment and Energy, published in 2019, the recovery rate of glass in Australia was roughly 46 per cent.

“I would imagine in the next six to 12 months you will start to see a lot more wine in pouches, casks and cans,” Curlewis said.

This rate has remained relatively stagnant since 2010 and has never been recorded to exceed 50%. Rowena Curlewis, CEO and founder of Denomination Design, who designed the new bottles for Taylors, said she was disappointed by these stats. “It has been estimated that a third of glass presented for recycling is lost in the collection, sorting and beneficiation process - some depressing statistics that we absolutely have to change,” she said. She explained that whilst the clarity and colour of recycled glass mightn’t be the same as brand new, adopting more recycled glass into the supply chain would help to alleviate a number of pressing issues.

We are going to continue to battle with the supply chain issues. And we will we will be forced as an industry look for what it is. And, consumers will be forced to accept that. – Rowena Curlewis “We need to give manufacturers the ability to use recycled content and that the government is making a concerted effort to invest in recycling. “We don’t want to end up like Argentina and just be stuffed when it comes to glass supply – our clients in those regions are really struggling.” Grapegrower & Winemaker


sales & marketing Using recycled glass and manufacturing bottles with lighter designs has been shown to not only provide for more sustainable business but can also help to reduce costs of shipping. Curlewis continued to explain that producers and distributors should communicate the switch to recycled material and new designs with consumers to create a better understanding of why the bottles look and feel a bit different. “Lightweighting bottles has been happening for a little while and seems to be getting a much stronger push now,” she said. “Consumers are more accepting now to have lighter weight bottles in a bid to be a more sustainable.

“So that has come through messaging on social media and packaging communication campaigns. “The second part of that sustainability push is using 100% recycled glass. “Again, it requires consumer communication because for example, when that glass goes down the line, because it’s a light coloured glass, it’s really depending on the inputs.

Disruption and standing out A push for alternate designs can also help brands to stand out in a busy market. Recycled materials are an obvious solution to help push for this kind of disruption. Design can help to provide solutions to a problem but also push a brand further within the market, causing disruption.

“There is variation between runs. So one might look a little bit bluer, the green ones a bit clearer.

Brand keeper and designer at Adelaidebased Cornershop Design, Damian Hamilton, said disruption was the best way to solve challenges around design whilst also separating products from their competition.

“It’s a matter of communicating to consumers that that’s okay, that’s actually a really good thing that we’re actually just using all of this glass.”

“We will only present solutions, as long as they’re relevant and meaningful to the client and they ultimately are engaging and evoke an emotion or are emotionally

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engaging to the consumer and to that, ultimately to their target market,” Hamilton said. “So if their strategy is to develop a contemporary solution, and there’s relevance in that, because they’re, for example, trying to target the millennial demographic, and the wine they’re selling is a handcrafted or it’s lower price point, we might suggest the more contemporary solution. “I think [design] needs to align with their strategy and it needs to be long term solution or whatever their strategy is, needs to be a solution that’s aligned with their objectives and what they’re communicating to their target audiences.” Both Curlewis and Hamilton suggested

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Kauri Australia 1800 127 609 We specialise in high quality European glass bottles in all shapes, sizes and closures. If you are looking for a bottle that stands out from the crowd with a point of difference then please get in touch. SIZES: 200ml, 375ml, 500ml, 750ml, 1L, 1.5L, 3L and larger. SHAPES: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Riesling, Champagne, Fortified, Spirits and more. COLOURS: Antique Green (Olive), Deep Dark Green, Flint, Amber and more FINISH: BVS, Cork, Vinolok, Crown Seal, etc. WEIGHT: Lightweight, Standard, Premium

I’m always up for disruptive [design] and that would be my recommendation because our point as brand designers, and why our clients come to us to invest in expertise, is because we’re trying to communicate their brand and their point of difference. - Damian Hamilton that disruption would be beneficial to the industry, and Curlewis emphasised that a move toward more sustainable materials would create greater security and longevity for producers.

will be forced as an industry look for what it is. And, consumers will be forced to accept that,” Curlewis said. Curlewis said that while smarter design and new materials would not fix the issues, they would help to alleviate the strain on distributors, manufacturers and producers. Hamilton mirrored her thoughts and emphasised the importance of disruption. “Whether it’s bottle shape, or a label that’s bold and colourful or illustrative or I guess, defies convention,” he said.

“We are going to continue to battle with the supply chain issues. And we will we

“I’m always up for disruptive [design] and that would be my recommendation because our point as brand designers and why our clients come to us to invest in expertise is because we’re trying to communicate their brand and their point of difference.”

Plasdene Glass-Pak

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Portavin Integrated Wine Services

Tennyson Design

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Rush Design & Advertising

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Saverglass Australia (08) 8232 0770

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Vinpac International (08) 8561 0600

VIP Packaging 0413 805 580

Wine Network Consulting (03) 5962 2427

Yantai Changyu Glass Co 0086 535 4830 286


Looking for industry suppliers? Bottle design services listings brought to you by the Wine Industry Directory Search online here: March 2022 81 Grapegrower – Issue 698 & Winemaker

Grapegrower March & Winemaker 2022 – Issue 698 81

producer profile

The Grapegrower & Winemaker has always been there for the wine industry, almost like a bible to growers and winemakers. Covering all aspects of the industry there is a wealth of knowledge to sort through. – Mark Summerfield on the Grapegrower & Winemaker

MARK SUMMERFIELD Winemaker, Summerfield Wines How did you get your start in wine?

My father Ian Summerfield planted vines in 1970 after selling land to what is now Taltarni. He thought that diversifying from farming would be a good idea. As kids we worked in the vineyards, so it was a natural progression were I am now: business manager, winemaker, baker and butcher. What is your favourite part of working in the industry?

I love being able to take what you see in the vineyard and allowing it to express itself in the wine. Wine is something that brings people together, just a wonderful industry to be involved in. What have been some of the highlights of your career in wine?

I think the biggest highlight is being able to be successful in something that you love doing. We have been able to build stability with good growth which has been mainly due to a very strong member base. We have also been able to transform our business in what is a very quiet tourist area into now seeing several hundred people through the door a weekend. The addition of a restaurant, wood fired pizza, bakery and butchery using our own free-range Berkshire pigs and Australian Suffolk lamb has proven to be a great success. Being a 5 red star winery with James Halliday is also something that we are very proud of. What are some aspects of Australian wine that help to separate it from Old World wines?

have such diversity in terroir right across Australia but it is also like we have no boundaries, if you think it you can do it in Australia. How have you been able to explore winemaking across multiple wineries?

One of the wonderful things about the Australian wine industry is that mostly the people in it are very willing to help you. I have been lucky enough to follow on from my father, Ian Summerfield, and work with people like Drew Noon from Noon Winery in McLaren Vale, as well as many others along the way. What are some of the challenges involved with being a part of the winemaking industry?

The wine industry is not an easy one. Even if you have the product, you still have to find and develop markets. And at the end of the day we are farming and with that comes the ever-changing seasons that you have to adapt to. What would be your advice to someone just entering the industry?

Be very careful and understand what your market will be. Making the wine is sometimes the easy part. What do you make of the increasing prominence of alternative varieties like Albariño and Nero d’Avola?

I think that this just makes it more exciting for the consumer and continues to shine the light on the diversity of the Australian industry and how fantastic it is to be a part of.

Grapegrower & Winemaker


Moonambel, Pyrenees Victoria

I think the Australian wine industry has so much flexibility. Not only do we 82

Mark and wife Masa Summerfield. Photo: Summerfield Wines.

March 2022 – Issue 698

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calendar Event dates may be subject to change or cancellation. Please refer to event websites for updated information. Travel restrictions may also apply.

Australia and New Zealand 22-25 March

Women in Leadership Summit 2022, Seymour Centre, Chippendale, NSW,

International 8 March

Women of the Vine & Spirits CONNECT!, Online,

8-9 March

Oregon Wine Symposium, Oregon Convention Center, Oregon, USA,

8-11 March

Foodex Japan, Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan,

9-10 March

Vinexpo America and Drinks America, Jacob K Javits Convention Center, New York, USA,

15-17 March

SIVAL, Exhibition Centre, Angers, France,

21-24 March

Asia Trade Week, Hong Kong & Online,

21-25 March

Grands Jours de Bourgogne, Bourgogne, France,

22-24 March

Eastern Winery Exposition, Syracuse, New York, USA,

27-29 March

Prowein 2022, Düsseldorf, Germany,

30 March

B.E.V. NY (Business. Enology. Viticulture) – Virtual Conference, Online,

30 March

Taipei New-to-Market Wine Tasting 2022, Taipei,

30 March

WiVi – Central Coast Wine Industry Conference, Paso Robles, California, USA,

4-7 April

Discovery of the Rhone Valley, Rhone Valley, France,

See more on the Wine Industry Directory Events calendar at


looking back 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.

March 2012 Template to help growers step up and stand out Several Barossa Grapegrowers have come up with an innovative way to stand out in the crowded marketplace and sell grapes at secure process. The growers are recent graduates of the barossa’s Next Crop Leadership Program, a course established in 2011 by Grape Barossa in response to the need to develop leadership capacity among local growers. March 2002 The effect of different oak types on the sensory properties of Chardonnay A large untrained but experienced tasting group was used to produce sensory profiles of a Chardonnay. Wine aged for 10 months in four different oak types sourced from the same cooper [was tasted]. Analysis of intensity ratings given by assessors who were reproducible in repeat assessments of the wines showed that American oak U stave barrel with toasted heads produced wines with greater coconut, vanilla, toast, butter, in-mouth texture and overall oak character than did the other treatments. March 1992 Jarrah grape trellis facilitates Riverland export initiatives While much of Australia’s horticultural production languishes in the doldrums of diminishing returns, a small group of progressive growers in the Riverland areas of South Australia is reversing this trend by developing a table grape export industry with exciting growth potential. Did you know that your digital subscription to the Grapegrower & Winemaker allows access to archived digital copies of the magazine dating all the way back to 2005? To download the back issues visit:


Grapegrower & Winemaker

March 2022 – Issue 698






Over 500 pages of essential information and data for the wine industry and its suppliers The 2022 Directory provides the most current and comprehensive access to wineries, growers, wine and grape industry professionals, products and services across Australia and New Zealand at your fingertips. Search the Directory for winery profiles, locate vineyards and consultants in your area, or identify potential new customers. The Buyers’ Guide makes it easy to find the suppliers and service providers to assist your business solutions.

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