One of Vinehealth Australia’s important roles is providing support to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) to respond to incident investigations and incursions that have the potential to impact the grape and wine industry.

During 2020/21, Vinehealth responded to 16 plant pest biosecurity incidents:

  • Five plant pest incident investigations;
  • Two pieces of advice to PIRSA on potential quarantine pests and implications for industry;
  • Two pieces of advice to PIRSA on quarantine import issues on grapevine material/equipment; and
  • Seven fruit fly outbreaks (Renmark, Monash, Cooltong, Berri, Pike River, metro Adelaide Medfly, metro Adelaide Qfly ).

The fruit fly response included the production of 51 maps between 1 January 2021 and 30 April 2021, indicative of changes to the Riverland and metropolitan Adelaide Fruit Fly Affected Area boundaries transposed over Vinehealth Australia’s SA vineyard layer.

Under strict data sharing arrangements, we also provided 12 rounds of vineyard owner contact details to PIRSA to assist them in calling affected growers to communicate quarantine requirements related to fruit fly outbreaks.

In addition, Vinehealth attended weekly government/industry teleconferences for briefings on the outbreak situation during vintage and assisted four industry meetings – three in the Riverland and one in Adelaide Hills.

“There was also a sizeable increase in phone support to industry for sending and receiving wine grapes associated with Fruit Fly Affected Areas, including understanding conditions of movement and understanding biosecurity documentation options and how to complete it,” said Inca Lee, Vinehealth Australia CEO.

“We also developed three Biosecurity Bulletins outlining operational and movement requirements for vineyard owners and wineries and helped PIRSA refine fruit fly-related certification and accreditation documentation for industry.

“Importantly, through the work of Vinehealth, we successfully articulated the wine industry’s comprehensive tracing system for winegrape loads to negate the need for such loads transiting the Riverland Fruit Fly Outbreak Area to undertake additional quarantine requirements.”

Vinehealth also worked with PIRSA to design a pause point system to minimise cost and time for both industry and PIRSA in future situations where businesses pre-emptively apply for accreditations in fruit fly outbreak situations.