With the vast connectivity of our wine industry, every cog in our supply chain plays an important role in minimising the introduction and spread of pests, diseases and weeds. Grape bin cleanliness is no different.
A myriad of trucks moves a network of empty and full grape bins around during vintage between wineries, carrier depots and vineyards. These loads are essentially a live advertisement of our industry’s collective commitment to biosecurity – and of course the commitment of each company, who’s branding and bin colour identifies them.
At present, unless empty grape bins are consigned under certification which comes with a level of scrutiny, it is up to individual wineries, carriers and growers with owned bins to enact a cleaning strategy before they move them.
Every year Vinehealth Australia receives feedback from South Australian grapegrowers concerned about the lack of cleanliness of empty grape bins being delivered to their vineyards, and the potential risk of pest and disease introduction this poses.
Grapegrowers receiving these bins are commonly in a situation where they have no way of knowing where the grape bins have been used previously and therefore the risk that any grape residue present could pose to their vineyard.
In addition, growers commonly do not have the facilities to fully clean bins that arrive dirty to their vineyard, often to isolated loading pads.
The question then becomes, should they have to? And would the situation be different if biosecurity responsibility was collectively considered a high priority?
Vinehealth urges all wineries and carriers to show leadership in the biosecurity space and focus on what steps they can take to improve grape bin cleanliness for vintage 2023, to ensure grape bins being delivered to growers arrive clean of soil, grape and vine material.
This will help to demonstrate that practicing strong biosecurity activities matters.
Vinehealth encourages grapegrowers, wineries and carriers to continue to have biosecurity conversations and to work together on solutions that benefit the whole wine supply chain.