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April (No. 495)

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Which Shiraz clones are best?

Wayne Farquhar , South Australian Vine Improvement Incorporated

At South Australian Vine Improvement Incorporated (SAVII), the question we’re most frequently asked by grapegrowers is “what Shiraz clones should I plant”. The answer is unfortunately no one really knows.

Australia has an international reputation for Shiraz yet we do not actually have an answer for that simple question. We have enjoyed great wines from 80-140-year-old vines of Shiraz, but who wants to wait that long to start to produce good Shiraz wines?

SAVII is undertaking a complete review of all Shiraz clones and their performance both in yield data and small-lot winemaking in an attempt to work towards a better understanding of the “best” clones. This work has necessitated the planting of many fully replicated clonal trials in all Shiraz-growing regions so that replicated assessment can take place. SAVII started this work back in 2000 and it continues today. Initial reviews of existing plantings of Shiraz were conducted to gain a rapid knowledge of clonal performance and allow SAVII to better target its limited financial resources in the right area.

I would like to share some unexpected, yet fascinating outcomes with you from some initial small-lot winemaking assessments we’ve conducted.

NOTE: The complete article can be found in the April issue of The Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker.



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