VinSites about to launch in the Riverland

A month ago this column made the point that more than three months after 2016 vintage, ‘the industry’ had still not been able to (reliably) work out how many tonnes of each variety were harvested across each Australian wine-region.  In the middle of July, with pruning operations well underway and just 36% of water entitlements guaranteed for the coming year, winegrowers and winemakers have been left with no realistic option other than to “go through the motions” and hope to be making the right decisions in planning for next-year’s crop levels.

The snag is: We ARE the industry so there’s no point grizzling.

Riverland Wine took the opportunity more than twelve months ago to put an idea to Wine Australia as to how this situation could be improved dramatically, saving time and money and removing doubt about these numbers; by simply adapting modern technology and working closely with all stakeholders.  The result of those early talks absolutely exceeds our expectations.  Wine Australia has selected the Riverland as the launch pad for the pilot of the* data system and it’s about to blast off.  The only possible impediments that could hinder progress are apathy or indifference. We are in the spotlight so let’s show industry that Riverland can (make it happen).

In the coming week and in cooperation with Vinehealth Australia (formerly Phylloxera Board) letters will be sent to all Riverland winegrowers seeking approval for the transfer of data to the Wine Australia *system.  All growers will have the option to simply tick the box and send it back, or go online where they will be able to view their own vineyard, make any adjustments or amendments to the existing details and flick back an approval by email.  That’s all there is to it, at this stage.  Much more detail will be provided over the coming months.  Keep an eye on this column and keep up to date. There are many more features to the new data acquisition and management program.

*VinSites is a national database for the Australian grape and wine sector allowing winegrape growers and winemakers to measure and compare their business performance over time, from the vine to glass.  Using satellite technology VinSites will detect and map vineyards.  Vineyard owners will verify their varietal, harvest, rootstock and block information.  This information will be linked to production data, with winery intakes providing winegrowers and winemakers accurate and timely information on yields by variety and region. With everyone’s cooperation Wine Australia plans to release the data collection system nationally at the end of vintage 2017 subject to the success of the pilot.

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