Following the initial detections of Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus in Australia, Vinehealth Australia worked in collaboration with Biosecurity SA and vine improvement associations to develop and implement a surveillance plan for GPGV in South Australia in October to December 2017.

The Register that Vinehealth maintains of vineyards in SA proved valuable in identifying high risk blocks for inclusion in this surveillance plan. This surveillance resulted in further detections of GPGV in SA.

These results, together with further detection in Victoria following testing of suspect vines submitted by industry, resulted in a recommendation to Australia’s National Management Group for biosecurity that it is technically not feasible to eradicate the virus from Australia. This recommendation was accepted, which means that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will no longer regulate this virus at the national border.

GPGV is therefore now categorised as being established and present in Australia in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It has been detected in multiple winegrape varieties and a tablegrape variety. With this categorisation, it is now up to industry to manage this virus.

However, given that GPGV was only recently identified in 2012, work has begun on actively addressing many of the ‘unknowns’ surrounding this virus, in order to assist grapegrowers in its management and the nursery and vine improvement sector to limit its spread via propagation material.

A new Wine Australia funded project titled ‘A comprehensive review of GPGV, including recommendations for future research, development and extension work in Australia’ has been initiated, and is supported by the nursery and vine improvement sector, Vinehealth Australia, the Australia Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and Agriculture Victoria.

The project, led by Vinehealth, is being undertaken by Dr Fiona Constable, Senior Plant Virologist from Agriculture Victoria and Libby Tassie, Principal Consultant, Tassie Viticulture Consulting. Dr Nuredin Habili of the AWRI will also provide expert technical advice to the project.

The project will run until the end of October 2018 and is predominantly looking to:

  • Identify knowledge gaps in the epidemiology and diagnostics for GPGV and use this to prioritise requirements for future research and development;
  • Better understand the potential impact of GPGV on Australian viticultural industries, including for wine, table and dried grape production and nursery and vine improvement sector;
  • Provide preliminary guidelines:
    • to growers for managing infected blocks and to minimise spread of GPGV;
    • for field sampling for GPGV;
    • for laboratory diagnostic protocols for GPGV;
  • Empower the nursery and vine improvement sector to adopt appropriate management strategies for the provision of planting material free of GPGV.

Vinehealth Australia will continue to provide updates on this project, including outcomes at the conclusion of the project.