We were invited to present at a Vineyard Series workshop last week, organised by the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association. We took this opportunity to invite Stephanie Small from UniSA to share her progress with the shoe cover project, which aims to develop a better footwear biosecurity solution for vineyard use.

Stephanie described a range of attributes she is considering as part of the design process, including sole grip, comfort, breathability, weight and transportability and gained valuable feedback from attendees on design features, including waterproofing, height and recyclability.

Participants at the workshop also said minimising weed seed pick up was a desirable attribute for consideration in the design process with choice of materials.

“This forum provided Stephanie with an excellent opportunity to discuss the shoe covers with a new group of potential users,” said Vinehealth Australia Technical Manager Suzanne McLoughlin.

“This is important to ensure solutions are not only fit-for-purpose for our industry but can be easily integrated into current practices to increase likelihood of uptake.”

Stephanie is now developing a range of prototypes to test in the field. We’ll share more news about this project over the coming months.

Current tools

Vinehealth continually works to heighten awareness of biosecurity risks to the wine industry.

Vinehealth has identified the ten top farm-gate hygiene activities recommended for growers to address to protect their vines from the introduction and spread of pests, diseases and weeds.

One activity is to ensure that the footwear of all people who enter a property is managed appropriately. At present, this means through disinfestation of shoes according to Vinehealth’s Footwear and Small Hand Tool Disinfestation Protocol, wearing footwear provided by the site which stays on the property, such as gumboots, or by wearing a form of shoe cover.

Industry has reported that there isn’t an adequate disposable or reusable shoe cover solution available for vineyard use. Our joint project with UniSA’s Industrial Design Department will help address this issue.