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25/01/2016

Disease risk for Murray Valley grapes ahead of vintage

RAINFALL across many parts of the Murray-Darling wine region has created conditions for botrytis bunch rot and delayed the harvesting of early-ripening white varieties.

But Industry Development Officer for Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW), David Coombes, says growers are restricted in their choice of preventative treatments at harvest time.

“The only chemical spray treatments available to them are Iprodione (Rovral) or Potassium Metabisulphite (PMS), but only with the approval of wineries,” he said.

“In these conditions, growers’ first priority is to speak to their grape buyers to establish whether they’re comfortable with these treatments. If growers don’t get permission, there’s a risk of grapes being rejected.”

The most at-risk varieties of botrytis infection are the white varieties Colombard, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Harvest of these has started or is close. Of the red varieties, most susceptible are Merlot and Shiraz.

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