Planting a proportion of a vineyard to grapevines grafted to phylloxera-tolerant rootstock is a strategy we encourage growers to employ as part of phylloxera risk management.

However, nationally, growers report issues with accessing virus-free planting material, the high cost of grafted material compared to own-rooted material, and inability to obtain their preferred scion/rootstock match in the quantity and timeframe desired.

Collectively, these issues are preventing growers from being adequately prepared for a biosecurity incursion.

In response, Vinehealth Australia has engaged Nick Dry from Foundation Viticulture to investigate rootstock supply and demand nationally.

“We see this project as key in quantifying grapevine rootstock supply and demand and identifying the main factors that influence the grafted vine supply chain,” said Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Lee.

“Importantly, we see it delivering a roadmap to efficiently increase production of high-health rootstocks, for the benefit of wine producers.”

As a first step, Nick will identify and consult with stakeholders. This will help shape the desired outcomes of the project.

“Grapevine rootstocks are an incredibly important commodity in viticulture. Without access to the right rootstocks, vineyard development and replanting will be reliant on the use of own-rooted vines to meet demand which has sustainability, quality and biosecurity implications,” Nick said. 

“Rootstock mothervines take up to five years to come into full production and so to ensure that the wine industry can meet future production requirements, we need to proactively anticipate shortfalls so that rootstock suppliers can confidently make changes to their varietal mix.”

We’ll keep you up to date with this important project.