Soil, pests, diseases and weed seeds can be picked up and spread on footwear and clothing, including hats and high viz vests. But the movement of the people wearing this footwear and clothing is not regulated by state quarantine standards.
Instead, it is up to the wine supply chain to acknowledge the risk that footwear and clothing can play in the introduction and spread of pests, diseases and weeds into a vineyard. And secondly, to adhere to strong farm gate hygiene systems to address the cleanliness of footwear and clothing.
While it can be common to pick up and spread weed seeds on footwear if you’re not alert, pests such as grape phylloxera are more likely to be picked up on footwear and clothing and spread in the warmer months when they come out of the soil and travel up into the vine canopy. This includes over vintage. Therefore, vintage is a key time to upgrade your footwear and clothing policies at your site. This risk applies to vineyard owners, wineries sending staff out to assess vineyards, contractors and cellar doors with adjacent vineyards.
As phylloxera can survive for up to three weeks without food, access to vines should only be granted under controlled conditions, depending on where the footwear and clothing has been worn in the previous three weeks. This means you need to ask your visitors where they have been before coming onto your property.
If you grant entry to your vines, it is recommended that you ensure all people who come onto your property either disinfest their footwear upon entry and exit in accordance with the current Footwear and Small Hand Tool Disinfestation Protocol, or you provide ‘safe shoes’ such as property rubber boots or work boots which remain on the property at all times.
Is footwear disinfestation all sounding too hard? Vinehealth Australia sells disinfestation kits to get you started. Click here for more information about these kits or call us on (08) 8273 0550.
Flowcharts in Vinehealth Australia’s fact sheet ‘Biosecurity Planning for Vineyard Owners Hosting Visitors’ provide guidance to best practice management of clothing and footwear based on which Phylloxera Management Zone (PMZ) your vineyard is in and which PMZ your visitors have visited in the previous three weeks.
This information was also published in January 2019 in an article called ‘Managing people risk this vintage’ that we wrote for Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker Magazine.