Out of little things…

It’s not always the case that little things grow into big things but Riverland Wine is optimistic that we may be on the verge of landing two major projects for the region’s growers and winemakers.

The first of these is the ‘long talked about’ Optimisation project that seeks to improve on-farm efficiencies by optimising water and nutrient applications to decrease the costs of production and thereby improve profitability. The project will investigate a novel irrigation practice based on pulsed drip irrigation in conjunction with new crop water sensing technologies to enhance vineyard water use efficiency, yield and grape quality. An application for co-funding is presently being considered by the Australian Research Council Linkage Program with a decision likely by the end of September.

If successful, the study will be conducted on a 20ha shiraz and chardonnay vineyard in the region. These are the two most economicallyimportant winegrape varieties in Australian inland viticultural regions. Several irrigation and nutrition scheduling treatments will be evaluated for their effects on soil health, vine physiological performance, yield, and grape/wine quality over five growing seasons, 2019 – 2024.

The project will deliver recommendations on strategies to obtain more consistent yields, quality, and profitability for Australian warm climate viticultural regions. A comprehensive economic cost-benefit analysis of the project will also be conducted. An important objective of this work is promoting industry adoption of the techniques used in this trial as well as industry education of best practices; these will be done through workshops, field days, webinars, and a new viticulture masterclass for growers. The project will deliver to grape growers practical, long-term strategies for better adapting to resource scarcities, extreme weather events, and changing market conditions for sustainable and profitable grape and wine production.

This work will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Adelaide.

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