May 1 marked the start of a new financial year for Vinehealth Australia. It’s when we begin working on our Annual Report and reflecting on the year that’s been. Here we share some of the highlights of 2018/19.

PQS Review

We carried out a comprehensive review of the phylloxera-related conditions in SA’s Plant Quarantine Standard (PQS) in 2018 and since late November we’ve been seeking industry feedback on the proposed changes. We created a comprehensive PQS consultation pack, which is available at vinehealth.com.au/industry/sa-pqs-consultation and includes the proposed new Condition 7, a full list of proposed changes, a state pest risk analysis, an evaluation of recent phylloxera research, frequently asked questions and a feedback form. Feedback is due by 30 June 2019.

Outbreak simulation

We conducted a phylloxera outbreak simulation with Treasury Wine Estates, which was designed to provide an opportunity for TWE to review its mitigation plans. This highly successful simulation also delivered valuable intelligence to the South Australian wine industry as we embark on the development of a new State Phylloxera Outbreak Management Plan.

Responsible Visitation Campaign

We were funded by PIRSA to deliver another round of the Responsible Visitation Campaign (RVC) in 2018/19. This campaign saw hundreds more cellar door and tourism staff trained in healthy vines protocols, bus tour companies educated and dozens of regional councils updated on biosecurity priorities.

Coonawarra Rootstock Trial

The Coonwarra Rootstock Trial is yielding results for the first time this year. Wines are being made and we will be able to match observations gathered during field walks to wine preferences determined during a range of tastings. The trial, established in 2009, is a long-term joint venture between Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), Vinehealth Australia and Coonawarra Vignerons, with funding this year from the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council through Wine Australia to contribute to the winemaking costs.

GPGV Review

Vinehealth Australia led a comprehensive review of Grapevine Pinot gris virus (GPGV), to improve Australia’s knowledge of the virus. In the review, a number of virus management recommendations were made and clear research priorities were identified. Now knowledge is being extended to the nursery and vine improvement sector.

New border signs

Nine new biosecurity signs are positioned on the state’s major roads in the Limestone Coast and Riverland. The large and distinctive signs are 2.7m wide x 2.85m high, and encourage people crossing the border to ‘Keep SA vineyards phylloxera free’. Designed and organised by Vinehealth Australia and funded by PIRSA, the signs highlight the strict quarantine requirements associated with the entry of key phylloxera risk items, such as vineyard machinery, equipment, soil and grapes, to the state.

Loxton fruit fly eradication

Vinehealth Australia took the lead on preparing and communicating movement conditions for wine grapes grown in and transiting through the fruit fly affected area in Loxton as part of the successful eradication of Queensland fruit fly over the 2019 vintage period.

New phylloxera stickers

In June 2018, we posted two eye catching phylloxera bumper stickers to every registered vineyard owner in South Australia, asking them to display them with pride on the back of their vehicles as a way to spread the message about keeping SA phylloxera free. We also posted out more than 1,700 stickers to regional wine industry associations. View the stickers here.

Phil at The Show

Phil the Phylloxera Guy was a hit at the 2018 Royal Adelaide Show thanks to an invitation from PIRSA, wandering around the show and talking all things biosecurity and vine health. He communicated with visitors about the need to stay on paths and roads and not wander into vineyards, to stop Phil and his nasty pest friends getting into South Australian vines.

On the road

We’ve travelled around South Australia and regions interstate, talking biosecurity with growers, winemakers, industry leaders and others. We roamed the state in 2018 with other key industry bodies in a road show organised by the Wine Grape Council of SA. We spoke at numerous wine industry events. And we delivered keynote addresses on biosecurity at several conferences, including the Great Wine Capitals event.

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