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For regular viewers of Landline, you would have seen launch details of one of Wine Australia’s most exciting releases of recent times, the ‘Climate Atlas’. The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has produced a video guide that is be available on the Wine Australia website.

Riverland was mentioned in the context of its leadership in planting alternative varieties in the past few decades but also from the perspective of an anticipated warmer drier climate. In contrast, the Hunter Valley was noted for the likelihood of more tropical conditions. In both cases questions are prompted. How will growers adapt crops and management practices in response to a continuing change of climatic conditions? What are the implications for all Australian horticultural industries, not just winegrapes? This industry enjoys some natural advantages over many other permanent crops by virtue of lesser water requirements relative to other crops. Irrigation technology and knowledge of how vines utilise water is constantly on the improve. The remote sensing work being undertaken in this region, through the Hands-off Hectares tool kit will provide yet more relevant data for decision support in vineyards in coming months.

The Climate Atlas is a tool that will be available to all levy payers to enhance planning and decision making in the coming years. It is comprehensive and complex and Wine Australia is keen to ensure that as many industry stakeholders who want to be leaders and early adapters get to see it and try it out and is available to download from the Wine Australia website.

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The Climate Atlas with its specific climate outlook for all regions will be helpful. It will also strengthen the case for some relatively modest levy resources to be applied to the Optimisation program, first mooted by Riverland Wine in 2009.

The Big O, as it is now referred to, will enable winegrowers to access previously locked-up knowledge about the relationships between soil, water, nutrients air and light factors and how to optimise the inter-relationships between each of those crucial elements. It is an holistic approach to modern day viticulture; one that will cause long held beliefs to be more closely scrutinised. Riverland almond led the way in Australia. They invested in ‘The Big O’ in the late 1990s. The results speak for themselves. Their industry has outcompeted their global competitors ever since.

Optimisation calls for growers to be bold, to be ambitious and generous and they will be. BUT neither the growers nor the industry can afford any more delays in making it happen. The Climate Atlas underscores that reality.The Climate Atlas is a tool that will be available to all levy payers to enhance planning and decision making in the coming years. It is comprehensive and complex and Wine Australia is keen to ensure that as many industry stakeholders who want to be leaders and early adapters get to see it and try it out. The Wine Australia website will have all the details at www.wineaustralia.com/climate-atlas from Monday June 15.

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