As a vineyard owner, you have the power to manage visitor entry to your vineyard. You can use a visitor register to do this successfully, but there are some important aspects you need to consider.
Using a visitor register effectively is one of your first opportunities to prevent access to those who pose too high a risk to your vineyard of introducing a pest, disease or weed.
- Your register is essentially a tool for contact tracing if you have a biosecurity incident.
- Ensure you record contact details of your visitors so that you can contact them after their visit. We recommend you collect their name, company, mobile number, email and who they are visiting onsite. Other details such as the date and the time in/out are vital to help identify when the visitor was and was not on your property – this is especially useful as part of contact tracing. Capturing the visitor’s signature as part of the sign in process also helps to ensure the information being provided is true and accurate.
- Record retention time is an important consideration for contact tracing. Vinehealth recommends you retain visitor sign-in records for a minimum of seven years. This timeline covers the approximate ‘worst case scenario’ timeframe of phylloxera introduction and related vine death and the associated tracing that could be needed to investigate introduction.
- Ensure the questions you ask capture vital details you need to decide whether you will allow the visitor onto your vineyard from a biosecurity risk perspective.
- Know what the key pests, disease and weeds are you want to avoid introducing into your vineyard, as your primary and follow up questions will be tailored around these.
- Ensure any questions you ask of a ‘technical’ nature are based on latest science. This means being aware of latest science in relation to pests, diseases and weeds, and updating the questions you’re asking on your register if changes occur. Vinehealth will always keep you updated on technical changes related to phylloxera that are relevant to your visitor register and you can find our current visitor sign-in registers here.
- Ask questions in an appropriate order, with the aim of quickly identifying visitors who pose a risk that is too great to allow them to enter your vineyard. From a phylloxera perspective, you need to ask questions that will help you identify if someone has come from a risk area and is visiting within a timeframe that the pest could still be alive if it was on their shoes, clothing, vehicle, machinery or equipment.
| Your key initial questions for vineyard visitors should be:
> Have you visited a vineyard, or has your vehicle, machinery or equipment been in a vineyard in the past 29 days?
> What wine regions have you visited?
- Ensure you have a staff member review the information the visitor has recorded.
- This is a vital step prior to allowing any visitor onto your vineyard. Assessing the responses on the register turns this into a powerful biosecurity risk management tool. If you don’t, you could be allowing entry to visitors who pose a high risk of introducing an unwanted pest, disease or weed onto your property which you may not be able to treat once it establishes.
- In this review you will likely need to ask the visitor some follow up questions so you can further assess the risk they pose to you, based on their planned activities on your vineyard, and what they might have brought with them (e.g., vehicles, machinery, equipment, livestock).
This step will likely require staff training, including understanding of Phylloxera Management Zones, and how to undertake visual machinery and equipment inspection.
If your visitor answers YES to having been in a vineyard, then you need to carefully review the listed wine regions provided and match them to a Phylloxera Management Zone by using the Phylloxera Management Zones map. For SA growers, you must be extra vigilant of all visitors who report having visited vineyards in either a Phylloxera Infested Zone or Phylloxera Risk Zone in the prior 29 days.
Next, use the Flowcharts inside Vinehealth’s Biosecurity Planning for Vineyard Owners Hosting Visitors fact sheet to pose appropriate follow up questions in the right order. For SA vineyard owners, follow Flowcharts A (people) and C (machinery and equipment).
Working through these flowcharts will guide your response to your visitor and any actions you and your visitor need to take to ensure your vineyard remains safe from a biosecurity incident.
| Key follow up questions for vineyard visitors include:
> Has the visitor visited vineyards in the 29 days prior AND has touched vines or walked
down or near vine rows?
> Is the visitor wearing the same clothing (including hats)?
> Is the visitor wearing the same shoes?
> Have these shoes been disinfested according to the Footwear and Small Hand Tool Disinfestation protocol prior to entering your property?
| Key follow up questions for vehicles, machinery and equipment include:
> Does the machinery or equipment need documentation according to state plant quarantine standards or equivalent, if coming from a different Phylloxera Management Zone or state to the location of your vineyard?
> Has the required documentation been sighted upon sign in?
> Has the vehicle, machinery or equipment arrived thoroughly clean of soil and plant fragments?
> Best practice is to ensure each visitor entry is approved (via an initial on the register) by a staff member (e.g., the onsite person being visited) as confirmation that they have completed the agreed internal process of evaluating the risk of entry of the visitor to the site.
> Knowing where the closest regional washdown facilities are to your vineyard will also be useful in case you need to deny access to a machinery operator until their machine returns clean.
> Ensuring clearly documented expectations of cleanliness between you and your contractors prior to them starting work on your vineyard will also help you to manage biosecurity risks and avoid confusion.
- Review your visitor register
- Spend half an hour once a year to review your visitor sign in/register documents and procedures. Think about what you’re asking of visitors and ensure the questions are still relevant and accurate.
- If you’re using an electronic system, ensure you either have the direct capability to change the questions you are asking of visitors, or you have the capability to request your system operator changes the questions and that these changes will be actioned in a timely manner.