Vinehealth Australia
eNewsletter: December 2019
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Merry Christmas from Inca Lee

As we all prepare to down tools for Christmas, I wanted to share some last pieces of news for 2019.

Firstly, our Phylloxera Immersion Tour to Victoria's Yarra Valley at the end of November was enlightening and a great success. The tour included a visit to a phylloxera infested vineyard where 35 growers, winemakers and other industry members from around Australia saw the impact of phylloxera on vine health.

Dressed in chemical suits and wearing new rubber boots, the tour group used the dig detection method to examine vine roots for presence of phylloxera. For most, it was the first time seeing the tiny but destructive pests live in the field.

Participants said the tour really opened their eyes to the spread of phylloxera over time and the cost and complication it adds to wine business operations. Read more about the phylloxera tour below.

We're also thrilled to share our 2018/19 Annual Report, which has just been tabled in parliament. This year we've created a handy summary document, called the Annual Report Snapshot, which gives a brief overview of our activities and results from May 2018 to April 2019. It was a year of great progress! But there are still many challenges to tackle.

Finally, we wish you a safe and happy Christmas and a smooth and successful vintage. Please keep biosecurity top of mind as you harvest and bring in those grapes.

Inca Lee
CEO Vinehealth Australia

In this issue

Last issue highlights

2019: another big year

Our 2019 Annual Report has recently been tabled in parliament and we’re pleased to share with you both the report and a handy summary document, called the Annual Report Snapshot.
The Snapshot gives an overview of our activities and results from May 2018 to April 2019. It was a year of great progress including five quarantine related responses, a full review of SA’s Plant Quarantine Standard’s phylloxera-related conditions, the translation of science for the benefit of industry, including new phylloxera kill rate science, 22 formal presentations at events to raise awareness about biosecurity and much more.

Read more

Phylloxera tour shows the impact of outbreak

35 wine industry members from around Australia have seen firsthand the financial and social impacts of a phylloxera outbreak, during a Vinehealth Australia and Wine Yarra Valley Phylloxera Immersion Tour.
Held Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 November in the Yarra Valley, the tour included a visit to a phylloxera infested vineyard where the dig detection method was used to examine vine roots for presence of phylloxera.
The tour group also heard a firsthand account of the initial 2006 outbreak in the Yarra.

Read more

Cheers to 120 years

On Saturday 21 December 2019, Vinehealth Australia will turn 120 years old. The Phylloxera Board (now Vinehealth Australia) was established by an act of Parliament in 1899 to safeguard South Australian vines from the threat of phylloxera.
While prevention of phylloxera remains a core focus, Vinehealth Australia is committed to the prevention of all exotic pests, diseases and weeds that could damage the wine industry. It’s a huge job and we couldn’t do it without the support of the growers and winemakers of South Australia. 

Read more

Meet Alex Sas

Vinehealth Australia Director Alex Sas is a well-known and respected viticulturist, with more than 25 years’ experience in the Australian and New Zealand wine sectors.
Currently Senior R&D Program Manager for Wine Australia, Alex also oversees management of a vineyard in McLaren Vale. His previous experience includes Chief Viticulturist at Constellation/Accolade Wines.
Alex also brings considerable biosecurity experience to the Vinehealth Board table, having coordinated a large wine company’s response to the Yarra Valley's initial phylloxera outbreak.

Read more

Qfly and the Riverland wine industry

The wine industry operates amongst other horticultural industries in many areas of our state, including in the Riverland Pest Free Area (PFA). As a result, the wine industry plays an important role to help protect market access of other commodities.
In the event of a Queensland fruit fly outbreak in the Riverland, detailed movement conditions for the wine industry will apply. We've summarised the conditions in a handy new Biosecurity Bulletin.

Read more

Annual Vineyard
Record review

Keep an eye out for your Annual Vineyard Record which should have arrived recently via email or post, according to your preferred communication method.
Please review your Record to ensure all information is accurate, including contact details and planting details.

Read more

2020: the year of
plant health

The United Nations has announced that 2020 will be the International Year of Plant Health, with a theme of ‘Protecting plants, protecting life’. Activities will occur around the world, including in Australia, which will underline the need for everyone to understand their role in biosecurity.
Each year, plant diseases cost the global economy about US$220 billion and invasive insects cost about US$70 billion. Pests wipe out up to 40% of global food crops annually.

Read more

Tips for flying winemakers

We’ve been busy sharing our ‘factsheet for Australian wine personnel travelling overseas’ with all sorts of industry groups.
Cassandra Collins from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide is giving a copy of the factsheet to current students, with a particular focus on students about to undertake vintages overseas.
We’ve also shared the factsheet with Charles Sturt University and the Travelling Winemakers – Living the Dream Facebook group.

Read more

Did you know?

The Adelaide Observer, Saturday 21st December 1918, page 4
Phylloxera safe guard
South Australia’s example
It was a far-seeing statesman-like move, which, nearly 20 years ago, resulted in the passing of the Phylloxera Act in South Australia. The dread(ed) scourge had caused havoc in the sister State, and there was no certainty that, notwithstanding the most stringent precautions, it would not some day appear in South Australia. To be prepared in the event of its entry was the best policy in the circumstances.
Hence the present Act, which provides for a Phylloxera Board, the employment of inspectors, and the collection of funds to be accumulated for use in administering the scheme, dealing with any outbreak of the pest, and paying compensation where necessary.
All vignerons are required to pay a rate of 3d. (3 pennies) per acre on vines from two to four years old; 6d. (6 pennies) per acre on vines from four to eight years old; and 1/ (1 shilling) per acre on all vines over eight years old. In addition, the winemakers and distillers have to contribute at the rate of 6d. (6 pennies) a ton on all grapes which they purchase.
The amount to the credit of the fund, after the payment of all expenses since the board came into existence in 1899, is about £14,000, which may be regarded as highly satisfactory.
It has been urged that this would be quickly absorbed were a serious outbreak of phylloxera to occur. That is true, but—apart from the fact that the trouble has been kept out of the State so far, which, to say the least, is a good augury that it will be excluded for many more years, if not for all time—it is comforting to realize that even that much is available for immediate use, and, what is perhaps of even greater importance, that all the essential machinery is ready to be put in instant action should the need ever arise.
Unquestionably, South Australian vignerons have every reason to be thankful that there is such a measure as the Phylloxera Act, and such an organisation as the Phylloxera Board. In the absence of those during the last score of years it is very problematical whether the local viticultural industry would have been in the happy position it occupies today. Not only does this apply in respect to freedom from phylloxera, but also other diseases for, although the board's inspectors are concerned primarily with the enemy named, so soon as they observe the presence of any other parasite the fact is communicated to the horticultural branch of the Department of Agriculture, by which steps are at once taken to ensure proper attention for the vines with a view to the control and eradication of the trouble.
Recently the board appointed Mr. E. M. Inglis Chief Inspector, and Mr. A. H. Mazure Sub-inspector. Both of these officers are thorough, painstaking and scrupulously conscientious, and nothing of moment is likely to escape their notice. They report that so far as they have gone this season, the vines have been absolutely free from any signs of phylloxera. In some places, however, they have found a little—a very little—anthracnose (black spot) and oidium (powdery mildew).
—Compliment to South Australia—

Secretary of The Board in 1919, W G Auld

Biosecurity tips

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