Soil health is the number one priority for Barossa’s wine grape growers, with several projects helping to boost the resilience of the region’s world-renowned vineyards.

Barossa Australia, the organisation charged with sustaining, protecting and enhancing Barossa’s brand, runs multiple educational programs to help growers prepare for the changing climate, including the ‘Creating Resilient Landscapes’ initiative.

With funding assistance from Wine Australia, Barossa Australia has run demonstration vineyards over nine years on different soil types in Barossa’s Vine Vale, Light Pass, Nuriootpa, Ebenezer, Krondorf, Gomersal and Eden Valley.

Over the course of seasons, different vineyard management techniques are applied such as mid-row swards and mulch under-vine to improve water and nutrient infiltration, reduce vineyard temperatures, improve soil health, reduce erosion, diesel and chemical use, and increase biodiversity.

“The project shows, rather than tells, growers the benefits of modern viticultural management techniques,” said Nicki Robins, Viticultural Development Manager at Barossa Australia.

The most recent activity, a Barossa Vineyards Soil Health Field Day, attracted 85 participants to hear from renowned agroecologist David Hardwick and local grower Steve Schiller on the benefits of composting mulch on-farm.

IRSA soil scientist Brian Hughes also discussed the results of eight years of under-vine mulch application on the demonstration vineyards, and a discussion on Regenerative Agriculture was led by Kaesler viticulturist Nigel van der Zande.

“On the day we moved between four different vineyards, so we were keen to practice good farm-gate hygiene before stepping onto each vineyard. It took some time to get 85 people through, but with 10 footbaths we managed about 10 minutes at each stop,” said Nicki.

Read more about Barossa’s resilience projects here.

Footwear disinfestation at a Barossa field day.