No. 63


October 2016

In this edition

Australian Vignerons finds its feet….

Following the unanimous vote of support at the special general meeting on September the 8th we are moving toward the transition over to “WGGA trading as Australian Vignerons”.  There has been a delay in starting this work due to the commitment that has been necessary on attending and contributing to the national consultation on Wine Tax, with Senator Ruston.  While it was heartening to receive such support for the proposed changes, it is also recognized that change often brings with it unease and resistance.  I think that it is universally agreed that it would be preferable not to be in a position where the national advocacy body was in a position where such drastic changes are needed, but there is no escaping the fact that this is the case.

While we are in a transition period there may be some confusion of identity while we “bed down” the changes, hence the “joint branding” of this announcement.  There is much to do, including the commitment of willing and able supporters, the securing of funding to ensure a viable future, agreement among intending members on a voting model, and the establishment of an independent skills- based board.  We will continue do our utmost to keep everyone informed and involved along the way.

Taxing time

Australian Vignerons was invited by Minister Anne Ruston to attend the national consultation sessions in Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.  It is fair to say that there was a lot in common between those attending the industry sessions in regard to problems with the eligibility criteria that were handed down in the budget, and concerns about reduction in the cap.  Andrew Weeks was there to represent the views of vignerons nation wide.  The resulting feedback to the Minister was as close to a consensus position as it is possible to get, and it was a very tiring but rewarding session to experience.

The commitment made by Minister Ruston is acknowledged and warmly appreciated.  There was widespread industry unrest at the proposed eligibility criteria unveiled in the federal budget this year, and concern at the likely impact of those changes.  The final session crystallised all of the thoughts and proposals from wine regions across the country, including the state wine industry associations and the Winemakers’ Federation.  The resulting proposal is strongly integrity-based, as the government desired, with less negative impact on the industry.  It must be made clear that at this stage this is an offer for the Department of Treasury to consider, and is in no way set in stone. There is a chance that this proposal will not gain acceptance, but it is a great improvement from the situation where the industry was following budget night.

During these sessions we have made it clear that vignerons across the country have many different business models.  Some growers have felt the need to make wine in order to defray losses or due to a failure to secure a fruit sale with wine companies.  These businesses will be affected by the proposed removal of rebate for bulk wine.  Growers and winemakers across the country, however, are negatively impacted by the status quo.  On balance, Australian Vignerons has supported a position that it genuinely believes is in the best interest of the wine industry as a whole, both in terms of restoring integrity and also in terms of minimizing unintended consequences for valuable regional businesses.

Storm Damage in S.A.

Our thoughts are with those battling the after effects of the storms that have swept through S.A and other parts of Australia in the past few weeks.  There have been many stories of flooded vineyards and houses all over the various forms of media.

There may be many impacts from these events, from damage to emerging shoots from wind or hail, through to increased likelihood of disease due to the prolonged wet conditions.  Growers are strongly urged to contact local agronomists and advisers to discuss what measures may be required.  For many it will be a challenge just to be able to access vineyards to be able to spray.  We wish everyone patience and success in dealing with the aftermath during the next few weeks and hope that the remainder of the seasons is much less challenging.

AWRI October Events Calendar

6 October 2016 
Remote sensing applications in viticulture: recent advances and new opportunities (Webinar)

13 October 2016 
AWRI Grape & Wine Roadshow Geelong Seminar
Deakin University – Geelong Waterfront Campus, Geelong VIC

13 October 2016 
Measuring up authentication: analytical tools to test wine provenance (Webinar)

14 October 2016 
Spray application workshop – Mildura
DEDJTR Irymple, Irymple VIC

19 October 2016 
Spray Application Workshop – Barossa Valley
Nuriootpa Research Centre, Nuriootpa SA

20 October 2016 
Spray Application Workshop – McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre, McLaren Vale SA

20 October 2016 
Does rootstock performance change with age? (Webinar)

21 October 2016 
Spray Application Workshop – Langhorne Creek
Langhorne Creek Football Clubrooms, Langhorne Creek SA

25 October 2016 
Spray Application Workshop – Milawa
Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard, Milawa VIC

26 October 2016 
Spray Application Workshop – Mornington Peninsula
Handpicked Wines – Capella Vineyard, Bittern VIC

27 October 2016 
Spray Application Workshop – Yarra Valley
De Bortoli Wines, Dixons Creek VIC

27 October 2016 
Hot extraction: a tool to manage compressed vintages? (Webinar)

31 October 2016 – 3 November 2016
40th Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC 40)
The Australian Wine Research Institute (WIC Building), Urrbrae SA

Soil Workshop

Thursday 3rd November
10am to 4pm
Waite Campus

Is soil terminology a bit of a mystery to you?  Do you want to know more about soils – so you can understand & communicate better about them, their properties, as well as their impact on growing plants, water & nutrient movement, land management & the environment?  Do you know your Red Brown Earths from your Chromosols, or your Terra Rossas from your Dermosols?  Do you want to know about soil horizons, texture, structure, and the meaning and use of common soil terminology; or why there are so many different soils?  Do you want to know about common soil analyses like pH & what they tell us?  Do you want to learn about cation exchange; or what a simple soil description can reveal about soil nutrition, water movement and drainage, water holding capacity, soil-plant-water interactions, plant growth limitations and land management?  Do you want to know more about soils? … if so, this interactive 1-day workshop could be for you.

Workshop Info


Managing vineyards after a wet winter and spring

Refer to the attached e-bulletin published by AWRI looking at early season considerations in relation to a wet start to the season, with an increased risk of downy and powdery mildew.

AWRI e-bulletin 


Applications close Friday 14 October
2017 Science Awards – Grants Available

Grant applications are now open for the 2017 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.  If between 18-35, this is your chance to apply for up to $22,000

Read more