Wine grape growers across South Australia will benefit from the Wine Grape Council of South Australia’s (WGCSA) successful grant under the National Landcare Program’s Smart Farms Small Grants program.
The EcoVineyard concept incorporates native insectary plants to create biodiverse ecosystems in and around vineyards. These plants support populations of insect predators, which contribute towards biocontrol of vineyard pests and may ultimately lead to reduced input costs and the use of chemicals. The use of insectary plants, will help demonstrate our environmental credentials, change the look and function of vineyards and provide opportunities to tell our unique story to tourists and international wine customers.
Insectary plants provide food and shelter to nourish and support ‘good bugs’. Healthy ecosystems can help to reduce the presence of vineyard pests naturally. Stands of native vegetation adjacent to vineyards can increase biodiversity and provide season-long benefits. This project will give wine grape growers practical information and the confidence to grow selected native insectary plants in association with their vineyards.
WGCSA and renowned viticulturist, Mary Retallack from Retallack Viticulture Pty Ltd combined to win this two year, $199,748 grant. WGCSA Business Manager Lisa Bennier said, ‘One of our main objectives at WGCSA is to help SA wine grape growers to be the best in Australia. We aim to improve the health and resilience of our growers’ vineyards and reduce the costs of running a vineyard.’
Project staff will work with grape growers to establish native insectary sites and biodiversity corridors throughout South Australian wine regions. Viticulturist Mary Retallack explains, ‘Locally-adapted, native insectary plants have the capacity to provide benefits including weed suppression, erosion control, nutrient cycling, soil water retention, improved soil organic carbon and biological activity. By establishing native insectary plants around their vineyards, we aim to help growers save time and resources by producing healthy grapes, with lower pest incidence while at the same time, enhancing the resilience and biodiversity of their vineyard.’
The project will begin in spring 2019. It will be a collaborative effort. Experts in the field will work with growers to establish, maintain and monitor native plants around vineyards. Educational materials, fact sheets, workshops and field days will accelerate the uptake of new and practical information and demonstrate the benefits. New branding will identify vineyards using the new ecologically friendly methods.
South Australian wine regions will have the opportunity to promote the ecological and educational opportunities around participating vineyards. ‘We believe EcoVineyards across the state will make the beautiful SA wine regions even more stunning and improve the tourism experience for visitors,’ said Ms Bennier.
A number of project partners have supported WGCSA to get the EcoVineyard project started. Lisa says ‘We look forward to working with all of the project partners and thank them for their support.’
For more information about the EcoVineyards project, please contact WGCSA Business Manager, Lisa Bennier at firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through funding from Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
South Australian farmers, farm workers, farm contractors and suppliers in drought-affected areas can obtain help with accessing federal, state and local support services thanks to a series of outreach events being coordinated by the Australian Government.
Assistant Director of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities’ Drought Taskforce, Dale Sheridan, said locals would have the opportunity to sit down for one-on-one discussions with representatives from the Commonwealth and South Australian governments, farm business advisers, mental health support organisations and charities.
“The aim is to provide tailored advice about accessing immediate and longer term support to help people manage their financial affairs, farm businesses and health challenges during and after the drought,” Ms Sheridan said.
“There is a vast range of support measures available, which includes financial assistance, tax assistance, small business coaching, tools to assist farm-related decision making and information about local mental health support services.
“Farmers who attended the events across NSW and Victoria were surprised about the extent of financial support they were actually eligible for, leaving attendees feeling much more optimistic after obtaining advice about measures they previously weren’t aware of.”
Rural Business Support (RBS) CEO Brett Smith said the not-for-profit organisation’s team of experienced Rural Financial Counsellors would be available to help producers make strategic business decisions.
“Our RFC’s can help producers take a big picture look at their unique business situation and present proactive options to ensure they are making affordable, informed decisions about the way forward,” Mr Smith said.
“RBS can also assist farming families with applying for government assistance under programs like the Farm Household Allowance and prepare for meetings with banks.”
Some of the government agencies and organisations attending are:
The Department of Human Services: Farm Household Case Officers from the Department will be on-hand to provide information on the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) and offer advice on other Centrelink payments and services people may be eligible for. Those who are not already receiving FHA have until 1 June 2019 to apply for the lump sum payment of up to $6,000 per household.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO): ATO representatives will provide advice on tax and superannuation assistance measures available to all drought-affected individuals and small businesses across regional Australia. This includes help with interest-free payment plans, adjusting instalments, waiving penalties and more. Assistance is available to any individual or business that is impacted by the drought (not only primary producers).
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA): PIRSA staff, along with mentors from the Family and Business (FaB) Support Program, will be available to provide advice and support on accessing the range of drought support measures provided by the South Australian Government, including the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.
Natural Resources SA: Staff will be on-hand to provide advice about the management and conservation of natural resources.
Rural Business Support (RBS): Any primary producers concerned about the financial impacts of the drought, or reduced access to irrigation water, can discuss these and other business issues with representatives of RBS’s free Rural Financial Counselling Service. Rural Financial Counsellors can also provide support with applications for the Farm Household Allowance, Drought Assistance Funds and Drought Concessional Loans.
The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul: Representatives from both charities will distribute grants provided under the Australian Government’s Drought Community Support Initiative, which provides up to $3,000 ($2,000 in cash and $1,000 in vouchers) to eligible farmers, farm workers and suppliers/contractors living or working in one of South Australia’s 22 drought-declared areas.
NBN Co: NBN Local will be available to discuss how the rollout of broadband services in regional South Australia is helping farmers and rural businesses to find and access new markets and improve their overall productivity.
Small Business Coaching: Small business coaches will be available to help provide local farmers and other business people with advice on a range of issues crucial to ensuring they can survive the drought. At each event, 10 local small businesses can access a free 15-minute coaching sessions on the day, and 12 local small businesses can schedule a free 30-minute session with a business coach who has an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing local businesses.
Mental health support organisations: Information will be available about local mental health support services.
For more information about the drought outreach events or Commonwealth drought support measures, please visit: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/outreach
Queries about South Australia’s drought assistance measures can be directed to the Drought Hotline on 1800 255 556 or the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions’ Drought Hub at pir.sa.gov.au/drought
Wine grape growers from South Australia who sell fruit and contribute to the South Australia Grape Growers Industry Fund (SAGGIF) now have membership of Australian Grape and Wine through their membership of Wine Grape Council of South Australia (WGSCA).
Below is a short introduction from Australian Grape and Wine outlining the benefits of their organisation and how growers can get in contact with any questions or concerns relating to national issues.
Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated (Australian Grape & Wine) is Australia’s national association of winegrape and wine producers. We provide leadership, strategy, advocacy and support that serves Australian grape and wine businesses now and into the future.
We represent the interests of the more than 2,500 winemakers and 5,000 winegrape growers working in Australia. Our role is to help forge a political, social and regulatory environment — in Australia and overseas — that enables profitable and sustainable Australian wine businesses. These businesses make a significant contribution to growing regional economies by driving growth in jobs, regional exports and food and wine tourism.
Grape growers and winemakers across Australia can look forward to the benefits the amalgamated organisation will bring including:
To get in touch regarding issues of National significance impacting upon the wine sector you can contact our CEO, Tony Battaglene on 0413 014 807 / email@example.com.
For concerns relating to water, biosecurity, pest and disease management (including maximum residue limits and agrichemical availability) or issues regarding environmental and economic sustainability, contact Anna Hooper on 0427 685 077 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Manager Industry Policy, Anna works on promoting the best interests of the industry in domestic policy and we encourage WGCSA members to share their views.
For queries around market access technical issues, please contact Damien Griffante on 0423 094 943 / email@example.com. For those broader strategic issues around wine and health, container deposit schemes and the ACCC, please contact Lee McLean is always happy to hear your views, please contact him on 0418 998 749 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
WGCSA members are encouraged to sign up to receive AGW updates here.
2019 Fit4Work - Champions of Change
Register for free workshops to help reduce the risk of injuries to vineyard workers. The feature will be a new online tool called Fit4Work to help reduce the risk of musculo-skeletal injuries when performing common vineyard activities.
Developed via collaboration between the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) and Pinnacle Workplace Consultants, with additional funding provided by Wine Grape Council SA (WGCSA) and SA Health, these Fit4Work workshops will provide practical advice on topics including:
These complimentary workshops are open to business owners, managers and staff and aim to educate vineyard workers on how to best protect themselves from injury while also helping grape-growing businesses to protect against financial risk by reducing their exposure to Return to Work premiums.
We also encourage workers from the grape and wine industry across South Australia who:
Coonawarra - Monday 13 May 2019 - 1.00pm - 4.00pm
The Stables, Katnook Estate, Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Barossa - Wednesday 22 May 2019 - 1.00pm - 4.00pm
Vine Inn, 14-22 Murray Street, Nuriootpa
Clare - Thursday 23 May 2019 - 9.30am - 12.30pm
Mr Mick's Cellar Door and Restaurant, 7 Dominic Street, Clare
Adelaide Hills - Wednesday 29 May 2019 - 1.00pm - 4.00pm
Meadows Memorial Hall, Mawson Road Meadows
Riverland - Wednesday 5 June 2019 - 10.00am - 1.00pm
Berri Hotel - Riverview Drive Berri.
This SAWIA Notice provides an update on the Labour Hire Licensing Scheme and what grape growers need to know about the latest developments.
One step closer to repeal of labour hire licensing
On 28 November 2018, the South Australian Attorney-General introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Repeal Act 2018 (the Repeal Bill) to repeal the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 following extensive lobbying and representation, including from the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA).
The Repeal Bill was passed by the House of Assembly on 27 February 2019. It is currently before the Legislative Council (Upper House) were the Government must win the support of the cross-bench to successfully pass the Repeal Bill into law.
SAWIA is continuing our lobbying and advocacy efforts, speaking to members of the South Australian Parliament about the importance to the wine industry of the Repeal Act being passed.
SAWIA expects the Repeal Act to be debated and voted on in the Legislative Council in April or May.
n the event there is insufficient parliamentary support for repealing the Act, then SAWIA would support a number of amendments being made to the Act to better target the intended group of labour hire employers.
Licensing system currently not enforced
As a result of the Government’s policy decision, the agency responsible for administering the Act, Consumer and Business Services (CBS), is not accepting applications for a labour hire licence at this time. In addition, CBS is not granting any licences already applied for until Parliament has dealt with the legislation to repeal the labour hire licensing scheme.
IMPORTANTLY - Employment & safety laws continue to apply, including paying correct wages
It should be noted that the process to repeal the labour hire licensing scheme does not affect the operation of other laws relating to employment or safety.
This means that host businesses/clients continue to be responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their labour hire/contract workers and be satisfied that the fees paid to labour hire/contract labour providers is sufficient to cover award minimum wages and entitlements.
Got questions about labour costs or employment conditions??? Professional telephone advice only a phone call away (pre-paid)
WGCSA members are entitled to contact SAWIA Business and Workplace Adviser, Henrik Wallgren via email: email@example.com or calling 08 8222 9277 and seek advice about any employment or safety related matter as part of an on-going arrangement between WGCSA and SAWIA.
Our service is trusted by wine industry employers across South Australia.
As vintage continues across the state, you might have noticed a few unwanted visitors in amongst your grapes. The black Portuguese millipede is a common sight around the house and relatively harmless. But did you know that millipedes may cause damage to grape berries and wine taint if they are fermented with grapes at harvest?
Luckily our resident viticulture expert Mary Retallack has some management tips so growers are better able to manage the impact of millipedes in their vineyard.
The black Portuguese millipede was introduced near Port Lincoln in 1953 and again in Bridgewater in 1964 and is now widespread across southern Australia. Mary says, ‘The conditions in South Australia are perfect for these exotic and invasive millipedes. They prefer our climate of moderate temperatures, lower annual rainfall and have a higher tolerance to drier conditions than native millipedes.’
Mary explains why these tiny creatures can be such an issue at harvest in some locations. ‘Millipedes are an unwelcome pest at harvest due to their capacity to cause damage to grapes and wine taint. They may damage the skins of berries by feeding on them, which has the potential to cause Botrytis and other bunch rots. This may result in a quality downgrade or rejection of fruit from the vineyard.’
The other big issue with black Portuguese millipedes is their defensive nature. Mary says, ‘These millipedes are less susceptible to predation as they excrete chemical compounds when attacked which make them inedible to most natural enemies and birds.’
It is these defensive chemical compounds that often result in wine taint if millipedes are accidentally fermented with grapes. The excretions produce unpleasant flavour compounds which are noticeable when tasting contaminated wine.
Image - Millipedes in a grape bin at vintage and outside a building
Millipedes in vineyards
Mary says, ‘Even though millipedes do not move much more than several hundred metres a year they have the capacity to colonise areas quickly and grape berries may provide an attractive source of food. It is important that if you have experienced a millipede problem in the past, to take preventative action.’
Mary’s research in vineyards in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa revealed that millipedes were found in the greatest numbers early in the growing season and declined during the warmer months. However, following rainfall events in February, the millipede population increased again.
One method of controlling millipedes, which is successful in domestic situations, could provide a long-term biocontrol option for vineyards. Mary explains ‘It is possible to control millipede populations in domestic backyards via the release of the parasitic nematode Rhabditis necromena which occurs naturally near Bridgewater, SA. The nematodes are released via a series of baiting stations which attract the millipedes. The millipedes then ingest the nematodes which bore through their gut wall lining. Bacteria from the gut then infects the millipedes, which kills them.’ Further research is required to assess their potential use and efficacy in broader scale applications such as vineyards.
There are a number of chemical control options registered for the control of millipedes. However, pesticides have a limited active life, must be re-applied for ongoing control, are not registered for use in vineyards or are restricted for use by some wineries. The use of broad-spectrum pesticides may also have unintended consequences, leading to the death of natural enemies or facilitate secondary pest outbreaks.
Growers are encouraged to maintain vigilance. If they have experienced a millipede issue in the past on a particular site, then consider an integrated and long-term approach to pest control using the points above as a guide.
If you have any questions about the topics covered in this email, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”