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VINA works to increase phylloxera awareness

The Vine Industry Nursery Association (VINA) has responded to an article by Philip White (Lobbying puts old vines at risk) written for The Independent Weekly and referenced on Daily Wine News on 9 June 2009.

In the article, White wrote about a Wine Press Club SA meeting he’d attended to discuss the 2009 vintage, where he said Stephen Strachan of WFA and Stuart McNab of Foster’s both touched on matters such as tonnages and Australia’s need to cut vineyard production by about 20%.

White wrote: “I agreed about the quantity and the quality, and the smoke and the heat, but said there was already a foolproof plan in place which would inevitably reduce Australia’s vineyard by at least 20%. This, I explained, was the nasty little matter of the Vine Industry Nursery Association, the body representing the nurseries that propagate and sell vines, secretly lobbying to pull most of the sharp teeth out of the anti-phylloxera regulations so that vine material can be shipped around Australia without heat treatment. Heat treatment involves sanitising baby vines with hot water to kill phylloxera. There’s a 3% loss incurred in this procedure, which the nurserymen would prefer to avoid.”

Paul Write, chairman of the Vine Industry Nursery Association sent Daily Wine News this letter on June 16 in response: “The Vine Industry Nursery Association (VINA) is an invited participant to the National Vine Health Steering Committee (NVHSC), an advisory body to the Federal Government on biosecurity matters. The National Phylloxera Management Protocol has been developed by NVHSC to prevent the spread of Phylloxera. The NVHSC recognises that with the growth in viticulture-based industries across Australia there comes an increased risk of phylloxera infestation through the movement of grapevines and grapevine material or associated contaminated items. The national protocol will raise awareness of the risks and provide those in the industry with consistent guidelines for their risk prevention or management.

"Companies with interstate connections will welcome the national protocol and an end to ‘border confusion’.

“The national protocol does not replace existing State Government legislation and it is important that the relevant detail of legislative and regulatory requirement are obtained from the department of Agriculture or Primary Industries in each state, or the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia.

“The Technical Reference Group of the NVHSC has reviewed the national protocols and has suggested some draft amendments. As part of their industry consultative process, some draft amendments relevant to vine nurseries were passed to the VINA representative for comment by VINA members. Issues were raised by VINA members. On 20 May 2009 the VINA representative reported back to the NVHSC that VINA could not endorse the draft amendments and that they should be returned to the Technical Reference Group for further review.

“Recently there has been published some editorial in e-news media, presenting this matter in an entirely different and incorrect way. The wine journalist, Philip White of Independent Weekly, was apparently misinformed. The resultant article was sensationalist, inaccurate and damaging to genuine debate on biosecurity. It is disappointing that this journalist did not verify the accuracy of what he published.

“VINA is a responsible member of the viticulture community. VINA would never propose a change to the phylloxera protocols that could increase the risk of a phylloxera incursion into non-infected regions.”

For further information about VINA or phylloxera protocols, contact Paul Wright on .

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