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Rochford Wines Yarra Valley Vineyard gets all clear

Rochford Wines Yarra Valley property is officially ‘phylloxera free’ following on from the discovery of the vine pest at Romsey Park in Macedon, a property under lease to Rochford Wines. Proprietor Helmut Konecsny received notification from the Department of Primary Industries of the all clear yesterday and the business is now focussed on strict containment at the Romsey Park site.

The phylloxera was suspected by the Rochford viticultural team on Wednesday 3rd January with notice immediately given to the Department. Samples were taken from the Romsey Park vineyard by the Department on Friday the 5th and again on Monday the 7th with the presence of phylloxera confirmed on Tuesday the 8th of January.

A meeting of wineries in the infected zone, the Department of Primary Industries and the leaders of the Macedon Vignerons Association was called last Friday with a follow up meeting today, which included the Victorian Wine Industry Association and other interested parties to ensure all stakeholders were informed of the issues and the required next steps.

Owner of Rochford Wines, Helmut Konecsny said, “Early detection and immediate shutdown of the site will help with the containment of the disease which is our immediate priority. We do not know which strain of phylloxera is present in the vineyard as yet, with the Department focussing on linked and surroundings properties first. Further studies of the Romsey Park site will continue in the next few weeks to allow us to understand and address the situation. We are very pleased to have confirmation of the containment and the all clear for our Yarra Valley vineyards.”

“It is important to stress the quality of fruit sourced from infected vineyards is not affected and those grown on resistant rootstocks should experience little damage. We will make decisions in due course as to the future management of this particular vineyard,” added Helmut.

Phylloxera is an aphid pest that feeds on the roots of grapevines on their own roots or on resistant rootstocks. The pest causes gradual deterioration of vine health but does not affect the quality of wines. Wines made from fruit sourced from phylloxera infected vineyards or the fruit itself pose no threat to consumers. Victoria currently has a total of 63 vineyards which are registered as infected with phylloxera which means this remains an industry-wide issue that requires an industry led response.

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