This year, Vinehealth Australia is celebrating 120 years of safeguarding South Australian vineyards.
The statutory body, formerly known as the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of SA, was formed by an Act of Parliament on 21 December 1899.
That First Board consisted of some famous wine industry names:
- Thomas Hardy
- George Fullerton Cleland
- Henry Maydwell Martin
- William Patrick Auld
- Herman Büring
- Benno Seppelt
- Maurice William Holtze
- Arthur James Perkins
The modern wine industry has much to thank these pioneering wine families for. They established the biosecurity and quarantine systems that have prevented phylloxera from entering South Australia.
The tiny insect caused incalculable damage to the American and European wine industries in the late 19th century. In the face of the growing phylloxera threat, South Australian wine industry leaders persuaded the State Government to establish the Vine Protection Act 1874, prohibiting importation of vine material from countries and Australian states infested with phylloxera.
The Phylloxera Act 1899 established the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia, now trading as Vinehealth Australia, which has provided 120 years of unbroken service to the grape and wine industries.
This long dedication to biosecurity by South Australian grapegrowers, winemakers and industry leaders is a shining light of industry collaboration.
Vinehealth Australia’s stability through industry funding and leadership, and its proud history and ‘ownership’ by the South Australian wine industry should be acknowledged and celebrated.
Today, Vinehealth Australia works hard to minimise the risk of pests and diseases (in particular phylloxera) entering vineyards, by investing in biosecurity training and awareness, policy and procedures, research and development, and preparedness, prevention and response activities, to the benefit of the South Australian and national wine industry.
Here’s to 120 of service. And here’s to safeguarding South Australian vineyards for many more years to come.
Looking back into the archives we’ve been able to find some interesting articles associated with phylloxera and thoughts on its management at the time.
14 June 1890 from the Sydney Morning Herald