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14/11/2014

Winegrowers welcome new viticulturist

NSW winegrowers will benefit from the recent appointment of a viticulture development officer, as part of a collaborative extension model between the NSW Government and the state’s wine industry.

Darren Fahey said his first-up goals are to work on skills development and “seeking input from regions on what research areas growers are most interested in”.

His position will oversee the delivery of research programs through the Australian Wine Research Institute and he aims to “take the science and have a look at how it can be best applied and adapted in the vineyard”.

“Sometimes there is a lot of science, but there’s not a lot of outcome for growers. They need practical things that
help advance what they are doing.”

Fahey said he has an “entrepreneurial” background, having run his own trucking business for 12 years, but he also has a strong science background through his study of horticulture and viticulture.

He has also previously worked for the NSW DPI on a compost project and has an interest in soil, mulch and climate change.

“It’s a great opportunity to work alongside winegrowers and share my expertise in the field and enhance the sustainability of the NSW wine industry," he said.

"I am focused on the practical needs of the industry and will make sure that NSW wine producers have access to all
the latest information, technology and innovations.

“I’ll be based a Wagga Wagga, where there’s a bit of a ‘hub’, but it’s a roving role and I get to cover the 14 regions of NSW.

“I’m looking forward to getting involved and engaged. I’m keen to work closely with growers and help them out.

“But what I won’t be doing is turning their water on and off, or pruning for them."

Myles Parker, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) horticulture development leader, said Fahey had been appointed to the new role which will deliver expert advice and assistance to NSW winegrowers.

“Darren will coordinate the delivery of the DPI’s Skills and Development program currently being undertaken by the Australian Wine Research Institute,” Parker said.

“He will be working closely with grower associations and groups to determine their priorities and enhance the profitability and sustainability of the State’s wine industry.

“Importantly he will be visiting the regions over the coming weeks to meet with growers and develop specially tailored research programs to meet their regional needs.”

Tom Ward, NSW Wine Industry Association president, said winegrowers will benefit from Darren’s unique skills and technical knowledge in the adoption and use of recycled organic materials.

“With more than 10 years’ experience in the wine industry, Darren has a great understanding of the industry, growing
regions, winemakers and researchers, and has a well-established network of relationships across the industry,” Ward said.

Fahey said he is looking forward to delivering outcomes across NSW regions and industry as a whole.

“I love the enjoyment that wine brings to people, and the passion that each producer has for their product,” Fahey
said.

“I am personally interested in new winegrape varieties and wine styles that could be adopted in NSW."

This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Grapegrower & Winemaker. To subscribe, visit www.winebiz.com.au/gwm/subscribe.

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