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$3 million to protect vineyards from smoke

A new $3 million project to reduce the impact of controlled burns and wildfires near wine regions was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

The three-and-a-half-year project Mitigation of Climate Change Impacts on the National Wine Industry by Reduction in Losses from Controlled Burns and Wildfires and Improvement in Public Land Management is a collaborative project between Wine Australia and the Australian Wine Research Institute, Agriculture Victoria and LaTrobe University. It will examine practices and advanced technologies to safeguard the supply of grapes and improve profitability for Australia’s grapegrowers. 

Andreas Clark, Wine Australia chief executive officer, welcomed the announcement and said the $3 million project will help Australian grapegrowers and winemakers to manage a problem that affects many wine regions globally.

“It’s vital that we’re able to provide the Australian grape and wine community with innovative and cost-effective tools to minimise the unintended impacts of controlled burns and wildfires,” he said.

Depending on the stage of the fruit’s development, smoke from controlled burns and wildfires can affect winegrapes so that they develop tastes such as smoked meat, disinfectant, leather or char. It is an issue that affects many wine regions across the world.

“By investing in this research, we will help the Australian grape and wine community’s competitiveness by reducing the risk, ensuring the certainty of supply and improving profitability in our sector.” Clark said. “This project will also help public land management agencies to implement effective planned burn programs that have a significantly lower chance of unintended negative impacts on winegrapes.

As well as developing an early warning system for smoke exposure which will enable the targeted application of protective sprays in vineyards at risk, the project aims to determine the critical distances that reduce the risk of controlled burns to vineyards. It also aims to develop practical technologies that prevent smoke taint compounds entering the grapes, and removing these compounds from grape must and wine.

“We look forward to delivering this project’s practical outcomes that will help contribute to a prosperous Australian grape and wine community,” Clark said.


AB Mauri



WID 2017