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GRAPE AND WINE RESEARCH AND
GRAPE AND WINE RESEARCH AND
I nside GWRDC
with J ohn H arvey
Mutton’s appointment contents
Mutton’s appointment extended 1
extended until April Viticulture value-add
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
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,”
“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
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
Mt Benson Hall 8:30am-12pm
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.
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,
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
Better wines through bunch exposure management • In cool and cloudy climates, full exposure may be necessary for
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,
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
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
advanced winemaker tasting
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