The Phylloxera Board presented a surprisingly interesting workshop on the dry topic of Risk Assessment at Banrock Station last week.
Thanks to the wisdom of SA’s early settlers wine growers in SA have had the great benefit of the Vines Protection Act since 1874. This was reinforced in 1878 by another Act that provided for the appointment of vineyard inspectors, the erection of landmarks to show infected areas and the destruction of infected vineyards. In the 1890s leading grape growers believed the legislation needed to be more stringent and in 1899 the Phylloxera Act provided for the appointment of a Board to be elected by growers with power to raise funds via a levy on commercial vineyards to form a Phylloxera fund with the aim of managing risk. It can well be argued that our Phylloxera free status across the State is a direct consequence of the foresight of the pioneer growers.
A key question for growers today is: Who owns the risk? The answer is simple: We all do. The workshop focussed on assessing the likelihood of phylloxera occurring in the Riverland and then assessing the consequences on a scale of being insignificant to catastrophic. Emphasis was put on the need for all growers and winemakers to be constantly on guard and to ensure protocols are enforced as appropriate. It’s not a matter of IF we have an outbreak in SA but when and where will it occur. To read more go to: phylloxera.com.au/phylloxera-risk-management/