AGWA management conducted a Regional Programme Partners’ Day this week in Adelaide. Regional representatives from around the country were invited to come together to witness some of the high level services offered to our industry and to talk with scientists about some of the latest grape and wine research covering topics around flavour, colour, tannin and low alcohol wine yeast development. The CSIRO’s Peter Clingleffer, well known to many in the Riverland from his days at Merbein, conducted a tasting of four wines, all made from the same Shiraz clone but grown on different root stocks. The differences between the four wines were remarkable. Harley Smith, working in the area of nematode resistance screening used the microscope to illustrate just how destructive these tiny creatures can be in the vineyard.
After seeing the work being undertaken in the laboratories, the group went to the vineyard to see some of the robotic tools that progressive growers will be using in the Riverland in the not too distant future. The first of these was a ground-based, battery-powered, memory laden moon-lander device that drives itself around the vineyard, mapping the terrain, estimating yields, identifying stronger and weaker patches and storing it all for download and interpretation back at base. This unit is well supported by a small drone, loaded with a multispectral camera the flies over the vineyard, also mapping the terrain, observing stronger and weaker patches and providing intelligence for the ground-based vehicle.
There’s a good chance, if the RVTG speaks to the right people, that part of next year’s extension program will be demonstration of some of these tools normally associated with lunar landings and James Bond!
Stay tuned for further updates.