Frontline pest and disease management for healthy vineyards

The latest ASVO seminar, “Frontline pest and disease management for healthy vineyards” was held at the Mildura Arts Centre this week.

A crowd of over 130 engaged wine industry professionals came together to hear and discuss much needed information about the trends, concerns and practical challenges encountered keeping vineyards pest and disease free, including changing weather patterns, limited agrochemical options and the potential introduction of exotic pest species.

There were numerous take home messages for immediate implementation in the vineyard.

New this year was the ability to attend the seminar without travelling to Mildura.

The entire proceedings were live video-streamed to gatherings in Mildura, Launceston and Margaret River and allowed presentations from more than 20 speakers across Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

In her opening remarks, Dr Mardi Longbottom noted the ASVO’s commitment to delivering first-rate educational seminars to the wine industry.

“This was a unique opportunity for industry members to learn the latest practical management options for managing pests and diseases from Australian and international experts.

“This event continues a 37-year tradition of gathering wine industry professionals to share insights and practical solutions to the biggest issues facing growers.

“The information available at the seminar will provide the tools for optimum performance and continued success in the Australian wine industry,” she said.

Highlights from the seminar included presentations from Ollie Powrie, chief viticulturist at Villa Maria in New Zealand, who shared his success controlling Botrytis without using chemicals and Jim Pekin, CEO of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, who presented the stark reality of the impacts of the devastating Panama TR4 disease on his industry.

Andy Clarke, viticulturist at Yering Station described life living with phylloxera in the Yarra Valley and posed a scenario to consider the impacts of a phylloxera detection in South Australia, and Dr Gerhard Rossouw shared results of a study that will help growers to more accurately identify herbicide drift.

Liz Riley, viticultural consultant at Vitibit and 2017 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year said the seminar captured the vision of the ASVO on delivering topics of vital importance to the industry and to biosecurity.

“Their speakers provided science, experience and expertise that industry can both understand and take home and action.

“It’s these high-quality events that make ASVO membership so valuable. You can’t afford to not be a member,” Riley concluded.

For more information about the 2018 ASVO seminar, please visit

The Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO), founded in 1980, is a professional society to serve the interests of practising winemakers and viticulturists by encouraging the exchange of technical information.