Vinehealth Australia
eNewsletter: March 2020
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Hello from Inca Lee

We're living in unsettling times, where the global COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our daily lives, creating uncertainty. We're also in the thick of another vintage which adds another layer of complexity to doing business. 
Please remember that we're here to support you with your biosecurity needs. If you want to talk about ways to protect your business from biosecurity shock, phone us on (08) 8273 0550 or email me at 

In this issue of our e-news, we share a video that we created following our Phylloxera Immersion Tour to the Yarra Valley in December 2019. In the video, we look at the low level of replanting to date of phylloxera infested vines in the Yarra Valley, which will likely see a drop in Yarra Valley wine in years to come. Phylloxera was first reported in the Yarra Valley in 2006.

Speaking at the Phylloxera Immersion Tour, Rob Sutherland, viticulturist at De Bortoli Wines and member of the Yarra Valley Technical Committee, said only 14 to 15% of vines in the Yarra are planted on phylloxera resistant or tolerant rootstock. This is a real concern for the Yarra Valley region and demonstrates that we still have a way to go in addressing the issue.

We encourage you to watch and share this video to boost awareness of phylloxera, which continues to be a big risk to the South Australian wine industry. Can we count on you to take action to address this pest in your daily activities?

Wishing you a safe and successful vintage,

Inca Lee
CEO Vinehealth Australia

In this issue

Last issue highlights

Must watch: phylloxera tour video released

If you wish you’d attended the 2019 Phylloxera Immersion Tour to Victoria’s Yarra Valley, watch this video to get a taste of what the participants saw and heard.
“The tour really opened participants’ eyes to the speed of phylloxera spread in the Yarra Valley and the work still to be done to recover from this infestation, including the need for significant vine removal and replanting with phylloxera-resistant or tolerant rootstocks. Replanting rates to date have been alarmingly low. This may mean a drop in wine supply from the Yarra Valley,” said Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Lee.

Read more

Autumn prescribed burns notice

On an annual basis, the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) undertakes burns to reduce fuel hazards, manage native vegetation and protect biodiversity in strategic areas in SA.
Vinehealth Australia has received notification that the planned autumn prescribed burns season will be undertaken between mid-March to mid-May in the Adelaide Hills and Mt Lofty Ranges Region this year. The commencement date will depend on weather and fuel dryness.

Read more

Meet Richard Barrett

Board member of Vinehealth Australia since July 2019, Richard Barrett brings extensive business experience to the table.
Richard is currently Chair of MedTEC South Australia, the State’s peak Health & Medical Industry Leadership group. It was established in 2014 under the SA Government’s Industry Cluster Initiative to advance SA’s world class health and medical technologies. Richard was founding CEO prior to taking the Chair in 2019.
Richard is a keen wine enthusiast, having absorbed a curiosity from a family of wine tragics, including his uncle, winemaker Ian (Macka) McKenzie.

Read more

Call to clean grape bins

Vinehealth Australia is receiving feedback from SA growers who are worried about the cleanliness of grape bins being delivered to their vineyards and the potential that dirty bins create for pest and disease spread.
Unfortunately, this is not a new issue for growers during vintage. And it’s time to ask the question: who’s for cleaning grape bins?
Wineries and processing facilities play an integral role in ensuring grape bins leaving their sites are clean of soil and vine material.

Read more

Biosecurity and
dropped grapes

The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) hosted a webinar in February, which featured Vinehealth Australia’s Technical Manager, Suzanne McLoughlin, talking about biosecurity principles related to movement of smoke-affected winegrapes.
One of the options for growers with smoke-affected winegrapes to consider was harvesting the grapes and dropping them into the midrow as a feed source for stock. But, as always, we encourage you to consider biosecurity. 

Read more

Caution with
grape marc

With vintage well under way, it’s always good to stop and think about whether your use of grape marc could be putting your vines or another grower’s vines at risk.
Do you actively seek out grape marc to apply to your vines? This application brings with it the risk that the marc could act as a vector for transferring phylloxera into your vineyard or adding to your present pest load.

Read more

Fruit fly: are you prepared?

South Australians must remain vigilant against the threat of fruit fly, which can be spread through the movement of infested fruit and vegetables, including grapes, by travellers or in commercial consignments.
There are three current fruit Mediterranean fly outbreaks in Adelaide being actively managed by PIRSA – Biosecurity SA: at Blair Athol, Croydon Park and Angle Park.

Read more

Australia joins global research network

The future of plant health in Australia is looking brighter, with a new international research collaboration on pests and diseases that are common global threats announced last week.
Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative has signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Phytosanitary Research and Coordination network.

Read more

the future

The Vinehealth Australia team attended a Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) workshop last week presented by Doug McKenzie-Mohr, and organised by Wine Australia.
The workshop provided valuable information on how to create meaningful change in communities, with many lessons learnt that can be applied to biosecurity communications.

Read more

In the news

Make sure you read the March-April issue of WBM – Australia's Wine Business Magazine, which includes the article 'Yarra Valley: the cost of outbreak', which looks at the spread of phylloxera in the Yarra Valley, the immediate business and social impacts, and the longer-term implications for the region. “For the Yarra, we know the horse has bolted. We can't stop it within the Yarra Valley, but as an association, we really want to stop it spreading to other regions,” says Wine Yarra Valley President Franco D'Anna.

Read more

Did you know?

This article from 1921 highlights the importance of considering planting a proportion of your vineyard to rootstock even if in a non-phylloxera zone, as a risk management strategy. The question about what to plant and the availability of that is also raised – a question still relevant today – highlighting the benefits of Vinehealth Australia’s partnership in the Coonawarra Rootstock Trial and importance of a new project we’re embarking on, looking into the supply/demand issues around rootstocks for the viticultural industry in Australia.

Click here to read the article.

Biosecurity tips

  • #V20 Tip#8: Despite the frantic pace of vintage, stay alert for biosecurity breaches. Report these to Vinehealth Australia or your state biosecurity department. Be an advocate for biosecurity and play your role in keeping our most important assets safe. #Vinehealth
  • #V20 Tip#9: Calling all winemakers! If you are visiting vineyards between states and/or Phylloxera Management Zones, remember that your footwear and clothing can pick up and spread phylloxera. Know the zones and precautions you must take.  #Vinehealth
  • #V20 Tip#10: Communicating important biosecurity information to hand pickers? Check out our Seasonal Workers multi-language fact sheet here, most recently available in Malay to complement six other languages. #Vinehealth

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity is a system to reduce the risk of entry, establishment and spread of pests, diseases and weeds that threaten the economy and environment. It’s also a system for managing and recovering from an incursion of a pest and disease by minimising its impact through eradication, containment and ongoing asset protection. Biosecurity is a shared responsibility – we need to work collaboratively.

Copyright © Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia,
trading as Vinehealth Australia and governed by 
The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act 1995