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          GRAPE AND WINE RESEARCH AND
          DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION




                                                                                                      MARCH 2010
        wrdc
          GRAPE AND WINE RESEARCH AND
          DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION




                                        I nside GWRDC
                                        with J ohn H arvey
                                        executive director




  Mutton’s appointment                                                                                             contents
                                                                                                                   Mutton’s appointment extended                     1

  extended until April                                                                                             Viticulture value-add
                                                                                                                   vitiSnips
                                                                                                                                                                 2
                                                                                                                                                                 2
    Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke has reappointed Dennis Mutton as chairperson of the                    Wine Excellence                               3
  Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation for a short-term period until April 2.                       Regional Radar                                3
    Mutton is an independent consultant in the fields of natural resource management, regional                     People in research                            4
  development, leadership and business-government relations. He is the former chief executive of
  several South Australian Government departments, including Primary Industries and Resources
  SA (PIRSA), the Department for Environment and Heritage, and the Department of Woods and
                                                                                                                   BREAKING NEWS
  Forests.
                                                                                                                   Hellams heads to PIRSA
    Mutton is also chair of Bio Innovation SA, presiding member of the Natural Resources
                                                                                                                   Late last month GWRDC Business and Strategy
  Management Council and a member of the Premier’s Science and Research Council (SA).                              general manager Samantha Hellams departed
    In addition to this, he is a member of the Geographical Indications Committee of the                           the corporation to take up the role of Director
  Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.                                                                          of Grape and Wine at Primary Industries and
    GWRDC executive director Dr John Harvey is pleased Minister Burke appointed Mutton for the                     Resources South Australia (PIRSA).
  extra period.                                                                                                    Hellams had worked at the GWRDC for seven
                                                                                                                   years and will be dearly missed.
    “He has already done two terms and his appointment was meant to come to an end on
                                                                                                                   GWRDC program manager Mark Krstic said
  December 31 last year, and now through an extension from the Minister he will be our chair
                                                                                                                   that in the seven years Hellams worked at the
  until April 2,” Dr Harvey said.                                                                                  corporation, she had become highly regarded in
    He says it is likely Mutton’s term was extended to accommodate the next chairman to be                         the Australian wine industry.
  appointed by Minister Burke.                                                                                     “The GWRDC will certainly miss her legal
    “There have been no rumours about who might be appointed, but I’m presuming the Minister                       expertise and her guidance in Program One
  has someone in mind who he would like to appoint,” Dr Harvey said.                                               around marketing and consumer preferences,”
                                                                                                                   he said.
    “This extension is probably a case of that person not being able to start until April and I’m
                                                                                                                   “All the team at GWRDC wish Sam the best and
  thankful the Minster has allowed us to retain the chair while they make the decision for who’s
                                                                                                                   look forward to developing a more collaborative
  next.                                                                                                            (and lucrative) relationship with Sam and PIRSA
    “This is a good vote of confidence in his [Mutton’s] abilities, and I look forward to the                      in the future.”
  announcement of who it might be next.”
  He says Mutton has brought strong leadership and pragmatism to the GWRDC during the past
  six years, and he is “terrific to work with”.
    “He is good at communicating with the Board, staff and industry; he is politically well                        WHAT’S ON
  connected both at state and federal level; he is one of those guys you want to have sitting next                 GWRDC Board meetings
                                                                                                                   March 24-25
  to you when you go into a meeting,” Dr Harvey said.
                                                                                                                   GWRDC Board Meeting 84, Adelaide Hills
    “It’s been great to have him for six years and it will be sad to see him move on, but I know he                May 9-10
  has to go because these positions don’t last forever.                                                            GWRDC Board Meeting 85, Mornington
    “The next person will have big shoes to fill.”                                                                 Peninsula
                                                                                                                   Innovators Network session
                                                                                                                   May 11
                                                                                                                   Limestone Coast
                                                                                                                   Mt Benson Hall 8:30am-12pm



                                                                                                                                                                         1
Viticulture value-add                                                          influence beneficial invertebrates in vineyards by altering the nature of
                                                                               non-crop vegetation bordering vines.
Increasing the benefits from invertebrates                                       The third finding is that some types of native vegetation used as
                                                                               cover crops within vineyards that are relatively resistant to drought
                                                                               can increase the abundance of natural enemies. Crop selection is
  The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation-
                                                                               critical but, when successful, cover crops have the potential to confer
funded project ‘Sustainable viticulture 2010 and beyond: Vineyard
                                                                               benefits for pest control. Again, an additional value of these can be the
management to maximise beneficial invertebrates to increase the
                                                                               provision of resources for natural enemies with an associated increase
bottom line’ provides ways of assessing impacts of chemical use,
                                                                               in abundance (without any increase in pests).
vegetation and cover crops with a view to supporting the industry’s
                                                                                 The project also contributed to an increased understanding of
environmental image and enhancing economic outcomes.
                                                                               invertebrates in vineyards more generally. Researchers catalogued
  Principal investigators Dr Linda Thomson and Professor Ary Hoffmann
                                                                               the distribution of invertebrate groups across South Eastern Australia
from the Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research (CESAR),
                                                                               and collected information on the relative abundance of predators and
Zoology Department, at the University of Melbourne have spend time
                                                                               parasitoids. This included new species of small local ladybirds that appear
identifying means to enhance invertebrate diversity, including those that
                                                                               particularly abundant in vineyards and new information on ground-dwelling
contribute to pest control as predators and parasitoids, and to soil health.
                                                                               invertebrates. The investigators also collected the first comprehensive data
  They also investigated options within the context of practices that are
                                                                               set on ants in vineyards and showed that a diversity of native species were
part of normal vineyard management. This included chemicals that are
                                                                               almost always the only ants found in commercial vineyards, typically with
often part of pest and disease management, non-crop vegetation that
                                                                               few detrimental effects on outbreaks of pest species.
is increasingly managed or put in place to provide a variety of vineyard
services, and mid-row crops that are being considered in response to
                                                                                 The full final report can be viewed at www.gwrdc.com.au/webdata/
drier conditions within vineyards.
                                                                               resources/project/MU_06-01.pdf
  The management practices targeted all have economic and
environmental components. Reduced use of chemicals detrimental
to beneficial invertebrates has the potential to enhance pest control
and decrease the environmental impact of chemicals in the industry.
Vegetation in vineyards, with a range of different primary functions,
                                                                               vitiSnips
similarly increases natural enemies with the potential to reduce chemical      14th AWITC program offers producers options
impacts, and confers the benefits of the vegetation and enhances the
image of the industry both locally and globally. Reduced rainfall and            Registrations for the 14th Australian Wine Industry Technical
temperature increases associated with changing climate conditions have         Conference (AWITC) in Adelaide in July are open.
spurred interest in cover crops which can grow in more difficult conditions.     Now in its 40th year, the successful international event will deliver
  The project has led to three main findings with direct practical             information to inspire changes to benefit producers.
implications.                                                                    AWITC chairman Professor Sakkie Pretorius knows it has been tough
  The first finding is that a simple chemical rating across a season           for producers throughout Australia.
provides an effective tool for growers to broadly assess the likely              “Natural disasters and man-made challenges such as the global
impact of their spray programs on beneficials. Pesticide information           financial crisis, shrinking markets and our soaring Australian dollar have
on beneficials facilitates consideration of environmental impacts of           meant many businesses are fighting for survival,” he said.
chemical use with a view to supporting the industry’s environmental              “And when there’s war, to quote Sun Tzu from The Art of War, “only
image while maintaining all-important pest control. It is available            the flexible, adaptive and inventive will win.
through the CESAR website at cesar.org.au/index.php?option=com_                  “For those people who are prepared to do what it takes to survive,
collateral_manage. This index was validated across regions and some            attending the 14th AWITC is just one important part of their arsenal.
of the key chemicals contributing to low ratings have been identified.           “This type of conference program is only possible through the
  The second finding is that shelterbelts and remnant vegetation               support of industry members and from our principal business partner,
adjacent to a vineyard can increase pest control within the vineyard           Vinpac International.
and increase the abundance of natural enemies.                                   “We are confident that each conference delegate will come away with
  The vegetation has to be structurally complex but narrow shelterbelts        several key take-home messages that will assist their business.”
appear to be as effective as entire blocks of remnant vegetation – at
least for many groups of natural enemies. This means that growers can           To register and for further information, visit www.awitc.com.au




2                                                                                                                                    R &D at W or k
Wine Excellence                                                                   • In cool and sunny climates, moderate exposure may be necessary
                                                                                for some varieties, but minimal exposure may be desirable in the
                                                                                afternoon.
Better wines through bunch exposure management                                    • In cool and cloudy climates, full exposure may be necessary for
                                                                                some varieties.
   Severe heatwaves in southern Australia in recent years have resulted
in high levels of leaf and bunch damage in many vineyards, with                   A fact sheet containing the introduction and information on bunch
consequent quality and yield losses.                                            exposure management by Australian Wine Research Institute
   A high level of bunch damage was associated with a high degree of            viticulture consultant and University of Adelaide Adjunct Associate
bunch exposure.                                                                 Professor Dr Peter Dry is available at www.gwrdc.com.au/webdata/
   There has been an increase in heatwave occurrences since the                 resources/factSheet/99BunchExposure.pdf
1950s, and they are projected to increase in the future.
   Bunch over-exposure causes losses in both productivity and wine
quality. Excessive bunch exposure is detrimental to wine quality in
warm to hot and sunny climates. Even at moderate air temperature,
                                                                                Regional Radar
well-exposed bunches can be ‘chemically damaged’ in the absence                 Grassroots program enjoys strong participation
of any physical symptoms on berries or the bunch as a whole. Where
there is physical damage, sunburnt fruit will often lead to increased
                                                                                  The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation’s
bitterness and browning of wine. Also, skin damage caused by sunburn            Regional Grassroots Solution is now in full swing with all 11 regional
may lead to invasion by secondary bunch-rotting fungi.                          extension plans across the country approved and fully operational.
   So how do bunches get hot? Bunch temperature is determined by air              Activities run within regions during 2009/10 range from workshops
temperature, absorbed radiation and convective heat loss. As incident           covering business management, pest and disease, and climate change
radiation increases, so does bunch temperature. The extent to which             to irrigation demonstration trials and information packaged into
bunch temperature will exceed air temperature will depend on the degree         regionally relevant fact sheets or DVDs.
of exposure, radiation load, wind velocity, berry/bunch size, berry colour        R&D program manager Dr Troy Fischer says it represents a major
and bunch compactness. Dark berries in the sun and under low wind               milestone for the new program.
conditions can be up to 15°C above air temperature. Leaves readily absorb         “Through GWRDC Regional and in conjunction with the GWRDC
solar radiation and just one leaf layer can provide good bunch protection.      Innovators Network we now have an active extension program in every
   Can we maintain a reasonable degree of bunch shading – particularly          winegrowing region of Australia,” he said.
in a hot and sunny climate – and still expect to get good expression              “A range of different activities are taking place in the different regions,
of varietal character in wine? An extensive review of scientific literature     all of which are chosen and run by the regions, and participation has
on the effect of bunch exposure on the primary and secondary                    been pleasing with positive feedback coming in about the program and
metabolites of grape berries – the compounds which determine wine               its various activities.”
composition and quality – allows us to answer this question.                      To facilitate exchange of ideas, each of the 11 plans has been placed
   Fortunately, there has been extensive research on most of the important      on the GWRDC website and sharing of materials is being encouraged
secondary metabolites: flavonoids (anthocyanins, tannins, flavonols),           to avoid duplication.
monoterpenoids, norisoprenoids and methoxypyrazines. In general, the              The plan for each region can be found on the GWRDC website.
formation and preservation of the aroma and flavour compounds of                Anyone seeking further information on what is happening within their
grape berries are much more under the control of temperature than light.        region is encouraged to view the plan and get in touch with their
It is not possible to specify a berry temperature limit which applies to all    Primary Contact.
of the important compounds, however once the air temperature exceeds              A meeting of the regional representatives will take place during May
35°C, it is likely that the chemical composition of well-exposed bunches        to gain feedback on the 2009/10 activities – what worked and what
can be detrimentally affected. This is why in warm to hot and sunny             didn’t – and to hear what is planned for 2010/11.
climates the greatest aromatic intensity and varietal typicity is achieved in     “It is a great opportunity to gain feedback on what is working well
partial or reduced intensity sunlight plus moderate air temperatures.           in regional extension as well as to hear first-hand what the different
   The main conclusions of this review are:                                     priorities are across the wine regions of Australia,” Dr Fischer said.
   • In warm to hot and sunny climates, it is possible to maintain bunches
with minimal exposure, i.e. ‘dappled’ light, particularly post veraison.         For further information, visit www.gwrdc.com.au




w ww.gwrd c.com . a u                                                                                                                                     3
People in research
Reuben Wells – linking vine leaf health and quality in Pinot Noir
                                                                                               availability. We have also been able to demonstrate the subsequent links
                                                                                               to wine quality, with changes in fruit chemistry influencing fermentation
                                                                                               rates, phenolic content and wine sensory characteristics. Dr Smart was a
                                                                                               supervisor in this project, and tools such as remote sensing were used in the
                                                                                               development of rapid methods of objectively defining vigour.

                                                                                               What is your proudest moment in wine research to date?
                                                                                                 Feedback from growers saying they had taken away positive lessons from
                                                                                               my research. In particular, we have examined the impact of nitrogen fertiliser
                                                                                               timing in cool climate viticulture and found that it has answered questions
                                                                                               for local growers.

                                                                                               What, in your opinion, are some of the most important wine
                                                                                               research findings within your field?
                                                                                                 Plant nutrition has been well researched, but the interactions of vine nutrient
RuralSmart managing director Reuben Wells was born and raised in                               status and wine quality are still being teased out. The main benefit of a large
Tasmania, graduating with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the                          body of research is that the sum lesson can be greater than that of any
University of Tasmania in 2006. He then worked for the Western Australian                      individual study, and this basically appears to be that vine growth should be
Department of Agriculture before spending time travelling. This led him to                     managed to ensure the canopy is healthy but not over-vigorous. Balance is
work as a cellar hand in Washington, then again in Tas, before he acquired                     the key, and no one fix is correct for all situations. The most usefully illustrative
a position as an assistant winemaker and vineyard manager back in                              lesson from my own work was that it appears that wine quality is much more
Washington. “Significantly hooked” by the wine industry, Wells then moved                      strongly tied to vine vigour than to yield. Yield may also be tied to vigour.
back to Tas where he is currently undertaking his PhD.                                         However, the link between yield and quality is not direct (within reason).
Tell us about your position and current projects.                                              How do you spend your spare time?
  In partnership with Dr Richard Smart and Ruralco, I have established a new                     Having a young and really quite active family and a new business means that
business called RuralSmart that specialises in agricultural monitoring services.               the term ‘spare’ is not used to describe any of my time. If some came along, I
Coming from a science background, we are working to ensure our protocols                       would probably try and fill it with sailing, or maybe a bit of time in the garden.
are evidence-based, transparent and user-friendly.
  I am also completing the writing up of my PhD. Conducted through the                         What was the last movie you saw?
University of Tasmania and funded by Tamar Ridge Estates, this project has                        The re-re-re-run of Lethal Weapon 3 that was on after the early finish to the
been focussed on links between vine leaf health later in the season and                        first Australia Versus West Indies one-day game. I’m a sucker for a fine mullet!
wine quality in Pinot Noir. This project has involved vineyard field trials, and               What is something that would make you want to stay in bed in
has also made much use of a custom-built small-scale winemaking facility.                      the morning?
We have been able to draw a strong link between leaf health and nitrogen                         Accounting springs to mind (for a negative reason to stay in bed). A more
                                                                                               positive reason would be being allowed to, but generally I find that enthusiastic
                                                                                               morning greetings from a two- and four-year-old make this impossible.


                                                                                                These final reports are now available on the GWRDC
                                                                                                website, www.gwrdc.com.au
    67 Greenhill Road WAYVILLE SA 5034                                                          Project No           Project Title
    PO Box 221 GOODWOOD SA 5034
                                                                                                CRV 02/07N           Mechanism of powdery mildew infection in
    Telephone (08) 8273 0500
                                                                                                                     grapevines (CRV 3.1.5)
    Facsimile (08) 8373 6608
                                                                                                RT 07/05-3           Some Like it Hot 2008 – Technical seminar and
    Email      gwrdc@gwrdc.com.au
                                                                                                                     advanced winemaker tasting
    Website    www.gwrdc.com.au
                                                                                                GWT 09/03            Attendance at the 16th meeting of the International
    Disclaimer: The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation in publishing
    this newsletter is engaged in disseminating information, not rendering professional                              Council for the Study of Virus and Virus-like
    advice or services. The GWRDC expressly disclaims any form of liability to any person in
    respect of anything done or omitted to be done that is based on the whole or any part                            Diseases of the Grapevine (ICVG), Dijon, France,
    of the contents of this newsletter.                                                                              August-September 2009



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