Home' Grower : May 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- May 2013
AWRI guides growers into
a carbon farming future
By JACINTA ROSE
WHILE many grapegrowers
have already embraced
able practices in their vineyards,
moving into carbon farming or
looking to minimise greenhouse
gas emissions can often be a
Even though many scientific
organisations have already con-
ducted research on climate change
and carbon farming, the findings
have often been conflicting, con-
fusing or difficult to apply to viti-
The Australian Wine Research
Institute has been tasked with col-
lecting any available research on
climate change relevant to the
wine industry and sharing it with
growers and winemakers in a for-
mat that is easy to understand -- a
move made possible by a Carbon
Farming Futures Extension and
Outreach Program grant.
Under the program, the govern-
ment will invest $21.3 million
across 24 projects, with the AWRI
awarded more than $750,000.
"This is a significant win for
grapegrowers and winemakers in
Australia," AWRI managing direc-
tor Dan Johnson said.
"The securing of this grant
enables the latest relevant research
undertaken by a vast range of
agencies on climate adaptability to
be packaged and fast-tracked to
grape and wine producers nation-
"We are delighted that the
Australian government has recog-
nised AWRI's long-standing abili-
ty to effectively extend informa-
tion to grapegrowers and wine-
makers around this country and
significantly, with this grant, that
grape and wine producers will be
in a better position to adapt to cli-
mate adaptability issues now and
in the future."
Minister for Agriculture,
Fisheries and Forestr y Joe Ludwig
said the grants would help people
learn how to integrate greenhouse
gas emissions management into
their normal business and land
"The funding supports a range
of activities that will ultimately see
farmers and landholders partici-
pate in the Carbon Farming
Initiative, which could see them
earn a second income stream," he
AWRI viticulturist Mardi
Longbottom led the grant appli-
cation, and said the funding
would make a big difference to
the wine industry.
"What it will do is establish the
AWRI as the national contact
point for the grape and wine sec-
tor for any information regarding
climate change, greenhouse gas
mitigation strategies, carbon stor-
age and also the CFI," she said.
Dr Longbottom said the first
step for the AWRI would be to
ensure its extension staff -- who
include viticulturists and oenolo-
gists -- have a strong understand-
ing of climate adaptability and
"The first stage of the project
will include a research mining
activity where the AWRI will be
approaching all the current
research groups in the area of cli-
mate change and greenhouse gas
emissions. The AWRI will gather
the research information and
extract the relevant information
for our industry," she said.
"The AWRI's job is to condense
all the information down and
come out with a relevant, clear
and consistent message in a pack-
age of resources that's available to
grape and wine producers."
Once the information has been
assembled and packaged for the
wine industry, Dr Longbottom
said the AWRI would engage
with the industry's major organi-
"It's about the AWRI coordi-
nating the communication to the
industry, starting by identifying
who the key stakeholders are --
people like the Winemakers'
Federation of Australia, Wine
Grape Growers Australia and
Wine Australia at the very top --
then engaging them in a steering
committee so that we are all on
the same page and sending out
the same message to everybody,"
"The idea is to engage the key
stakeholders first and then filter it
down through the large wine
companies, their technical staff,
regional associations and growers.
The information gathered will
be shared with the wider industry
through regional seminars and
workshops, the AWRI website,
webinars and social media.
"The AWRI will also have a ded-
icated workshop program on this
topic that will be presented to
each of the grapegrowing regions
around Australia over the next
three years," she said.
"It is a massive project, but at
the same time it's based on the
capabilities that exist within the
AWRI. It's a matter of sourcing
the most industry-relevant mate-
rials and then integrating that
into our existing extension mech-
Dr Longbottom was impressed
by the environmental pedigree of
many Australian wine businesses.
"I think as an industry we are
performing really well compared
to some of the other industries in
terms of our emissions," she said.
"If we're doing it really well, we
should not only identify the
things that we're doing well, but
also how we can improve on
With other agricultural sectors,
including cotton and beef, bene-
fiting from grants, Dr
Longbottom was keen to share
knowledge and advice with them.
"I think it's a fantastic way for
sectors to start talking to one
another because it would be great
-- once this all becomes formalised
-- to be able to contact other
industries and see what they're
doing, and learn from them about
what's been effective and the
types of messages that resound
most with their stakeholders," she
AWRI viticulturist Mardi Longbottom believes a $750,000 grant will help
make the institute the national contact point for climate change
information for the wine industry.
AWRI gets $750,000 grant
Climate research confusing
Wine-specific data needed
The grant enables the latest research on climate
adaptability to be fast-tracked to grape and wine
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