South Australian Viticulturist Mary Retallack has partnered with WGCSA to share the latest research on best practice viticulture with SA growers through a series of articles.
Mary says, 'I hope these articles stimulate new thoughts, ideas and actions! Each location in SA is different and needs a tailored approach but if we can incrementally change the way we grow grapes and build resilience into our vineyards, we can start to achieve longer-term solutions. The solutions don’t have to cost a lot of money but may provide significant benefits.'
To kick things off, we asked Mary to share her experience in the industry, what growers need to be aware of in 2019 and her tips to help growers save time and reduce costs.
Tell us about your experience in the grape and wine sector?
I grew up on a fruit block in the Riverland and have been working in the wine sector professionally over the past 25 years in a range of hands on, extension, education, research and consulting roles. I work as an independent viticulturist and Retallack Viticulture Pty Ltd provides a wide range of agribusiness services nationally. I am a also Director of Wine Australia and contribute to a number of wine sector advisory committees. I have a broad range of interests, and am particularly interested in ways we can build resilience and profitability into production systems, so both growers and the environment benefit.
I have just completed a PhD at the University of Adelaide in viticulture and plant protection studying the role of native insectary plants and their capacity to support diverse populations of predatory arthropods. They are the ‘good bugs’ and if we understand how to look after them, there are thousands of little insect workers that can potentially provide biocontrol of grapevine pests virtually for free! The opportunity to plant selected native insectary plants could help wine grape growers save time and resources by producing fruit with lower pest incidence, while enhancing biodiversity of their vineyards.
What are the top three things you think grape growers should be aware of in 2019?
Do you have any tips to help growers save time and reduce costs?
Informed decision making, correct timing and attention to detail are important for saving time and money. I like the idea of working smarter rather than harder. For example, there are networks of growers throughout SA who are enhancing biodiversity by revegetating with native, naturally adapted plants which can provide a range of benefits. By nurturing the environment it can take care of itself. Which means we can intervene less and benefit from naturally occurring ecosystem services. These benefits include biocontrol, weed suppression, erosion control, aesthetics, nutrient cycling, soil water retention, enhanced soil organic carbon and soil biological activity.
Looking to the future, what trends should grape growers keep in mind?
Export markets ebb and flow. The Chinese export market is demonstrating strong growth. Growers may wish to think strategically about how they can maximise their benefits in this market as well as spreading their risk into other emerging markets.
Being on the front foot regarding biosecurity is a must. Use rootstocks to provide protection against root borne pathogens and have a plan in place to manage visitation.
We will start to have access to grapevines that have been bred for resistance to powdery and downy mildew in the foreseeable future.
Plant growth regulators are used commonly in table grape production and are potentially a powerful tool to manipulate yield and the rate of berry development and fruit ripening in wine grapes also. Watch this space.
Attracting the next generation and providing diversified career paths to keep them in the sector. Let’s make sure we capture the collective wisdom of those who are nearing retirement.
Remember we can create our own trend and pathways, we don’t need to follow.
Australian Grape & Wine Incorporated (Australian Grape & Wine) is official, delivering on the industry’s call for a single united peak industry organisation, representing Australia’s winegrape and wine producers.
On 13 November 2018, members of both the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Australian Vignerons unanimously voted for the two organisations to amalgamate, resulting in the creation of Australian Grape & Wine.
The inaugural Chairman, Sandy Clark said ‘This is a very positive move for the sector. For the first time Australia’s grape and wine producers have a single body to represent their interests at the national level. This will strengthen our advocacy and enable us to provide a stronger service to the sector’.
Tony Battaglene, the new Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine added ‘I am delighted to serve a united sector and look forward to representing its interests on national and international issues. We will continue to listen to our members and drive a positive and forward-looking agenda, aimed at improving profitability for the whole sector.
Australian Grape & Wine demonstrates the industry’s ability to adapt to a dynamic and changing environment and will continue to deliver on its strategic priorities, including in the areas of biosecurity, health, market access and the environment.
Sandy Clark summed it up well when he remarked “These are challenging times for our industry. On the supply side, we have production challenges arising from ever changing weather patterns and biosecurity threats. We also face a marketplace of uncertain, international, trading relationships and terms, and at home an anti-alcohol lobby which is both strong and well-funded. There has never been a more compelling case for an effective, united, single national wine sector body’.
The first Board meeting of Australian Grape & Wine is scheduled for 5 March 2019, followed by a strategy day to develop the forward work program for the Association.
Further to the Biosecurity Alert issued by Vinehealth Australia on 7 December advising that PIRSA
had declared an outbreak of Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly) in Loxton, this Alert is to update the wine
industry on the conditions for movement of wine grapes grown in and transiting through the fruit fly
affected area in Loxton.
The fruit fly affected area is broken up into:
Map of the Loxton outbreak area:
Map of the Loxton suspension area:
South Australia is the only mainland Australian state that is fruit fly free. While this outbreak does
not impact the fruit fly status of the rest of the Riverland Pest Free Area or the state, it is important
that the risk of spread is minimised by placing controls on produce grown in the outbreak and
suspension areas, in addition to a comprehensive eradication program currently being undertaken in
the fruit fly affected area.
Consequently, given that wine grapes are a host for Q-fly, conditions have been placed on the
movement of wine grapes grown in the outbreak and suspension areas. It is mandatory that
growers, wineries and carriers comply with these conditions, as the strength of Australia’s
biosecurity system and the response measures put in place in the event of an outbreak of fruit fly
underpin ongoing access to lucrative export markets for our horticultural produce.
There is a strong emphasis on implementing control measures during this outbreak. This is because:
The conditions that must be complied with for the movement of wine grapes grown in either the
outbreak or suspension area are detailed below. These conditions will be in force until at least 11
March 2019. Any extension to the date for compliance with these conditions will be communicated
to industry accordingly.
PIRSA is responsible for managing the response to the outbreak, accreditation systems and ensuring
compliance with conditions imposed on the movement of wine grapes grown in and transiting
through the outbreak and suspension areas.
Click here to download the full alert which outlines movement conditions for wine grapes grown in and transiting through the outbreak and suspension areas as advised by PIRSA.
"The following statement was released by Hon Tim Whetstone MP Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development in response to the fruit fly outbreak in Loxton.
The Marshall Liberal Government has stepped up its fight against fruit fly with a zero tolerance approach to come into effect at the Yamba Quarantine Station from Friday January 4.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the new arrangements at Yamba follows the implementation of a zero tolerance approach at all random roadblocks last month.
“As part of an emergency response to the fruit fly outbreak in Loxton, as of today there is no longer an option to declare produce at the Yamba Quarantine Station without penalty,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The zero tolerance policy is aimed at changing the attitude of motorists who flout the law and bring produce into South Australia. This type of behavior is putting Riverland industries and communities at risk of economic devastation from fruit fly.
“Electronic signs have been put in place, as well as roadside disposal bins to ensure the message is clear to motorists travelling into the Riverland to ‘Eat it or Bin it’ before approaching the Yamba Quarantine Station.
“There are ample warnings leading into Yamba about disposing of fresh produce the correct way and if motorists ignore those warnings they will be caught and penalised. Do not throw fruit out the window or littering offences will apply.
“Additional staff have been appointed at the Yamba Quarantine Station, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to support policing of the new zero tolerance measures.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is also taking a zero tolerance approach to random roadblocks held across the state. In fact, we have significantly increased the number of random roadblocks this financial year.
“The suspension zone for the Queensland fruit fly outbreak in Loxton will be lifted on 25 March, 2019, without any further detections. To assist growers as part of the response to the Loxton outbreak, a team of dedicated PIRSA market access personnel have been deployed to provide advice in regards to the movement of produce and quarantine restrictions.
“There is a clear and simple message for people travelling into South Australia, do not bring in restricted fresh produce otherwise you will face fines and penalties of up to $100,000.
“From roadblocks to quarantine bins, we will use every tool at our disposal to defend our vital horticulture industry against fruit fly and to protect our fruit fly free status.
"Keeping South Australia free of fruit fly is everyone’s responsibility.”
Did you know regulations have changed under Heavy Vehicle National Law? Not sure if your primary production business is compliant?
South Australian grape growers are invited to attend one of the upcoming interactive and practical workshops organised by Grain Producers SA. WGCSA members can attend free of charge as a part of our membership with Primary Producers SA.
The workshops will assist primary producers in understanding their obligations and risks in the CoR chain, and help them implement plans and checklists to reduce the risk to their businesses.
There will be 20 workshops held across South Australia. The first dates and locations are:
Following attendance, producers will receive support and advice from facilitators Natwide, valued at $1500.
For more information and to register visit the Grain Producers SA website.
*This program has been made possible by support from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative Program.
Australian Vignerons and Winemakers' Federation of Australia amalgamate to form Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated.
On 13th November 2018 Australian Vignerons (AV) and Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) convened their annual general meetings. At both meetings, members unanimously voted to amalgamate and form Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated (AGWI) - a united national body that will see wine grape growers and winemakers collaborate together at the national level.
Wine Grape Council of SA (WGCSA) Chair Heather Webster commented that she was thrilled that both national bodies delivered on the simplification that members had been asking for and working towards for several years.
Heather said, 'Having a united national industry body will bring increased benefits to our SA members through strong unified advocacy. Relationships will be further strengthened with winemakers and it is great to know that the interests of our vignerons, irrespective of size, are represented on national issues affecting the grape and wine sector through one strong voice to government.'
Business Manager Lisa Bennier commented that it was a significant move forward for the whole grape and wine industry and congratulated all involved in achieving such a monumental outcome. 'Due to SA wine grape growers holding the majority membership of Australian Vignerons, both Heather and I have been involved in many of the discussions leading to this outcome. We could not be more pleased with the aligned focus and respect shown by all involved.'
Lisa continues, 'In particular we acknowledge the collaboration and leadership by the Chairs of both organisations, Sandy Clark and Jo Andrews, along with CEO's Tony Battaglene and Anna Hooper. To achieve what they have is no easy task and shows how working collaboratively can produce significant outcomes for grape growers and winemakers alike.'
Lisa encouraged all wine grape growers to become members of the new entity. She said 'There is undisputable strength in numbers. If growers wish to receive the highest level of national representation and benefits, become a member. Together we can unite for the future success and sustainability of our Australian Grape and Wine Industry.'
For South Australia's independent wine grape growers this is a very simple process. If you pay the current $1/tonne state contribution you're already a member of WGCSA and therefore will be a member of the new national body, Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated. This is thanks to part of your voluntary contribution already being directed to the national body on your behalf.
The new amalgamated entity will be represented by 4 committees - Large Winemakers, Medium Winemakers, Small Winemakers and Vignerons. Each committee will provide 4 Directors to the new board for an initial term of one year.
WGCSA, on behalf of the new member committee, will appoint the four inaugural Vigneron Directors to the board. These positions are significant to the success of the new entity and require individuals who are capable of representing the whole viticulture industry at a national level. WGCSA Councillors are currently engaged in determining the selection process, we will provide further details once confirmed.
WGCSA is excited by this announcement and will continue to play an active, positive and supportive role in the future success of Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated.
This SAWIA Notice outlines what you need to do about any existing casual employees you hire in the vineyard & what you need to do in future when hiring casual employees.
In a controversial decision the Full Federal Court has held that a casual employee employed by a
labour hire company in the mining industry in fact is not a casual employee, but a permanent
employee and therefore entitled to paid annual leave. (Workpac Pty Ltd v Skene )
This decision is relevant to all employers engaging casual employees, regardless of industry and
regardless of whether the relevant Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement provides for casual
The decision means that employers cannot simply rely on the use of the term “casual employee” in
their relevant contract (verbal or written), Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement, but must ensure
that a person engaged as a casual works in a way that meets the characteristics of a casual employee
at all times.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The employee was engaged as a casual fly in, fly out worker by a labour hire firm in the mining
industry for two periods totalling two years. The following key facts were established:
MEANING OF CASUAL EMPLOYMENT
The Court held that the definition of “casual employment” included in a Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement is not the appropriate mechanism to determine whether an employee, in reality, is casual. Instead, whether an employee is casual is based on an overall assessment of the key characteristics of casual employment.
Key characteristics of casual employment, includes:
This means that an employee engaged and paid as a casual employee under the Wine Industry Award 2010, but where the characteristics point to permanent employment, will be held to be a permanent employee and not a casual employee.
Find out what you should be doing about protecting your business when it comes to your existing casual employees and any casual employees that you will be taking on for vintage 2019.
Give Henrik or Sarah a call or attend one of SAWIA's upcoming sessions in Barossa on 5 December 2018 and McLaren Vale on 6 December. The session is great for anyone who has responsibility for employing or managing casuals (including rostering).
Find out more here.
FURTHER INFORTMATION AND ADVICE
For further information and advice, please contact either of the following:
- Henrik Wallgren: 8222 9270 or email@example.com
- Sarah Hills on 8222 9212 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2018 Wine Grape Council of South Australia Annual General Meeting was held on October 18. It was great to have many members in attendance to hear Chair Heather Webster’s report on the past 12 months.
Heather farewelled and thanked our longstanding Clare Councillor, Anna Baum. Anna has been a valuable and committed council member for four years and we all wish her well in her future endeavours.
David Travers will join WGCSA as the new Clare Councillor. David brings plenty of broad business experience and knowledge to the council and we’re thrilled to have him join us.
Councillors ratified as per the AGM are:
Adelaide Hills – Hamish Laurie
Barossa – Adrian Hoffmann
Clare – David Travers
Langhorne Creek – Heather Webster
Limestone Coast – John Summers
McLaren Vale – Andrew Press
Riverland – Sheridan Alm
Earlier this month we held our inaugural Grower focus event at the beautiful Strathalbyn Racecourse. The day brought together growers from across the state to share their thoughts on the priorities of WGCSA for the coming 12 months.
Each of the WGCSA regional councillors were tasked with nominating impressive, influential and forward-thinking growers to attend the event and share their thoughts.
Ashley Ratcliff from Ricca Terra professionally moderated the day, brilliantly facilitating discussions and keeping everyone on track.
It was wonderful to see such genuine engagement from all attendees. I was particularly grateful that everyone was so generous with their time, had read the draft plan and questions sent out prior to the day and came prepared to share thoughts and knowledge, listen to others and collaborate on ideas. Growers also had the opportunity to hear from Toby Bekkers as he shared his Nuffield Scholarship learnings.
The two CEOs of our national advocacy bodies were also invited as guests. Anna Hooper from Australian Vignerons and Tony Battaglene from Winemakers' Federation of Australia attended as observers and gained a clear understanding of contemporary issues of interest and concerns to growers.
Throughout the day many new networks developed whilst others re-connected with past acquaintances. We were all reminded of the immense value in good relationships, effective and honest communications and having a strong workplace culture.
Feedback received has been extremely positive. Growers welcomed the engagement and the opportunity to be involved, many commenting on the need for days like this to be developed further and implemented annually.
Many thanks to all the growers, speakers, observers and council who attended and offered up such insight and honesty. I am so very, very grateful. It was without a doubt my absolute favourite workday since being in this position and one that has given me plenty to think about, investigate and act on.
For Growers who weren’t at this inaugural Grower focus day, there’s still plenty of opportunities to have input, here are some questions I’d love your thoughts on.
The ACCC has announced it will be conducting a market study into the wine grape industry. The study will examine competition, contracting practices, transparency and risk allocation issues in the wine grape supply chain.
The study is a result of concerns raised by wine grape growers about a range of competition issues and contracting practices.
The ACCC has released an issues paper and are seeking submissions from people involved in the industry on:
The ACCC will be holding public forums in wine grape growing areas to hear directly from interested stakeholders. Details will be announced on our website soon.
For the results of the ACCC survey, conducted in July and August 2018, please visit: Grape growers survey.
If you would like to make a submission, visit the ACCC website for more details - https://www.accc.gov.au/focus-areas/market-studies/wine-grape-market-study/issues-paper