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The early season predictions of a “lighter than last year” vintage have been wiped away with the astonishing February rains. Despite significant losses to hail and frost in some areas, enduring heatwaves throughout, powdery rejections in most regions and patchy yields following uneven flowering and fruit set, it seems it seems the Riverland will probably harvest 400K tonnes this year.

This year’s vintage is over the halfway point and there are many vines ready for post-harvest care. Irrigation post-harvest is worthwhile and useful for retaining the leaves on the vines for as long as possible after harvest.

Riverland Wine has been working key industry bodies to arrange two workshops to take place after harvest.

The Riverland has a multitude of hidden treasures: fine wines, world-class food products and fantastic tourism destinations. The fact that the majority of them are hidden treasures is a real problem, not only for visitors but also for those of us who live here and want to support our local producers and service providers.

Look out for late season powdery mildew. Recent milder conditions and dewy mornings have increased the likelihood of Powdery Mildew infections reinvigorating and light incidents on leaves are being discovered. If you think there is more than a month to go until leaf fall and you are discovering active powdery in your canopies, consider a post-harvest sulphur application to reduce Cleisothecia (spore) numbers for next season.

Powdery is not a particularly mobile disease, especially early in the season, and only blows around once it has sporulated (later in the year). If you see it on your leaves at this time of year there is no doubt that you are going to have additional pressure next season and control will be much more difficult.

Late season powdery is an indication that it was not completely controlled earlier in the year and growers who find it late in the season are encouraged to work harder at controlling it earlier. If powdery sporulation can be reduced or even halted with early/mid-season control, the chances of having the disease next season are diminished.

Powdery Mildew fact sheet
(provided by GWRDC)

We all know someone in the agricultural community – a family member, friend, colleague or neighbour – who has made a difference? Now is the time to nominate a worthy recipient – and to tell Australia about their work and outstanding contribution to the agricultural / horticultural community.

In recent weeks this column has focussed on mental health issues affecting many members of our grower community who are struggling to deal with feeling constantly tired and demotivated; angry or depressed and not knowing what they can do to avoid hurting loved ones. There are many for whom these feelings are increasingly the norm. There is no need to feel as if you have failed. Your predicament is shared by many. Doing something about those feelings can be really hard. The association has liaised with several organisations that specialise in this area and they can help.

It scarcely seems necessary to remind anyone that now is the time to do anything but harvest grapes. Nevertheless there are reports that downy is prowling through the region. It may well have visited your place, particularly your red varieties.

Anyone unaware that the wine industry is struggling again must have been in a coma for the past few months. It’s been spoken about, written about and broadcast by almost every media outlet and newspaper in the country. Many are working to find better ways for the industry to re-assert itself. Some are angry, some are in denial, most are confounded. It was not supposed to be like this. Chardonnay was going to take a hit but not the Reds!

Among feedback from recent breakfast meetings were calls for more promotion and marketing of our own Riverland wines to raise the region's profile, reputation and self-esteem. Many outsiders cling to outdated perceptions of past decades when Riverland wine would often be labelled as "cheap 'n cheerful" lacking the substance and value of wines from elsewhere.

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