Home' Grower : August 2013 Contents Viticulture
30 The South Australian Grower -- August 2013
By JACINTA ROSE
LOCAL grapegrowers will
soon be able to guarantee
the quality of rootstocks
and cuttings bought from
nurseries, with an Australian
Standard for grapevine mate-
rial being developed.
The standard has been cre-
ated by a technical reference
committee, and all areas of
the industry have been able
to have their input heard,
according to committee
member and chairman of
the Vine Industry Nursery
Association Paul Wright,
owner of Vinewright nursery
at Mount Pleasant.
It is probably the most
important development in
propagation in the country,"
"The good thing about it is
that it's backed by industry
-- the winemakers and the
are on the committee as well
and it's very widely accepted
throughout the industry.
"The demand for higher
health material is going to
come from the top down
rather than the bottom up.
Wineries are going to look at
filling contracts with fruit that
complies with the standard."
Mr Wright said a draft ver-
sion of the standard had been
supplied to the industry for
comment, with their feedback
reviewed by the grapevine
"We've gone through about
three-quarters of the work
already, but it'll be maybe
another 12 months before
the standard is in place and
out there for people to try to
comply with," he said.
Once the finer details of the
standard have been developed,
the Winemakers' Federation
of Australia and Wine Grape
Growers Australia will work
with Standards Australia to
introduce the new regulations
to nurseries and producers
across the country.
Mr Wright said the standard
would help increase trace-
ability of vine material to
greatly reduce the chance of
varietal mix-ups along the
"It's got a lot to do with
traceability of the material
going back to the vines that
were originally imported into
the country -- there will be a
very comprehensive tracking
system of that material," he
Mr Wright said using top
quality material when plant-
ing or redeveloping a vineyard
was vital, and having a winery
contract before investing
Grape merger bill
AUSTRALIA'S wine industry looks set for a major
organisational restructure, with the merger of
two statutory authorities close to receiving final
approval in Parliament.
An industry-driven proposal to create a
single statutory authority to support Australia's
winemakers and wine grapegrowers reached the
final hurdle last month with the introduction of
enabling legislation into Parliament.
The Bill, which entered Parliament on June 24,
seeks to establish the new Australian Grape and
Wine Authority through the merger of the existing
Wine Australia Corporation and Grape and Wine
Research and Development Corporation.
The Winemakers' Federation of Australia and
Wine Grape Growers Australia - the industry's wine
and viticulture representative bodies - proposed
the merger last year and completed an extensive
program of regional consultation sessions before
finalising their formal proposal.
They believe the merger will give growers,
winemakers, and regional organisations one clear
pathway to access information and services, and
"We are pleased with the support we received
from the Government and the Opposition when we
raised the idea and even more so, to see the matter
brought before the Parliament so quickly," WGGA
chairman Vic Patrick said.
WFA president Tony D'Aloisio, AM, said the
merger had been strongly backed by industry
during a consultation period.
"We were aware that merging two successful
statutory authorities was a big step, but the clear
message from both WFA and WGGA members was
that a single organisation would be in a better
position to effectively and efficiently meet their
needs," he said.
Mr D'Aloisio said the wine industry was
developing strategies to help it work through one
of the toughest trading periods in two decades, and
welcomed the Government's support.
The June Parliamentary sitting period wound up
before the bill could be voted on, but a result is
likely when Parliament returns in August.
It is hoped the Bill will pass through Parliament in
time for the merged entity to start in July next year,
with both organisations continuing business as
usual until that date.
Based on 2013-14 figures, the Grape and Wine
Authority will have a combined budget of about $35
MPs examine labels
A PARLIAMENTARY committee has called for an
investigation into whether supermarkets Coles and
Woolworths are lining their shelves with private-
label wines, squeezing out traditional winemakers.
Last month, a report from the House agriculture
committee raised concerns about the dominance of
private-label wines and the impact on competition.
Chaired by Tasmanian MP Dick Adams, the
committee pointed to the topic as part of a wider
inquiry into the operations of industry body Wine
Private-label wines have been a bugbear for the
Many wines sourced by Coles or Woolworths
receive pride of place on their shelves.
To consumers they look like traditional brands
and some have scored wine awards.
Last year, Ross Brown, the former boss of Brown
Brothers winery, criticised Coles and Woolworths
for flooding stores with private-label wines
that he said were "hollow", "copycats", and
"masquerading as real brands".
Later he said, "in fact they are just a label, which
has none of these values that traditional family
wine companies bring to the market and really give
the aspiration and values to what quality wine is all
Woolworths has argued that only about 4 per cent
of wines it stocks are private-label while Coles said
its proportion of own-brand wines had remained
stable, with consumers deciding what they wanted.
All areas of wine
Aim to increase vine
heavily in new material was
also a wise move.
"It is important that people
have good, healthy planting
material because those vines
that the growers buy are
going to have to provide an
income for them for the next
30 years or so and they want
to be on the right track from
the word go," he said.
"From the time they plant
to the time they realise they
might have made a mistake
could be as long as five years.
"It's also a good idea to
have a contract for the fruit
before planting new varieties,
rather than trying to sell it
on the spot market down the
The most popular varieties
sold at Vinewright contin-
ued to be traditional reds
such as shiraz and cabernet
"There's not much of an
interest in the alternative
varieties, and if there is, it's
only in trial lots for people
to work out if they like the
variety without investing too
heavily," he said.
The wine glut meant few
growers were looking to
spend money expanding or
updating their vineyards in
recent years, but positive
signs were beginning to
"The last five or six years,
the industry has been fairly
depressed," he said.
"Surpluses in grapes trans-
lated to low prices and low
prices mean that growers
don't have funds to recon-
"For nurseries in general,
not only myself, it's been
fairly quiet and a number of
nurseries have either decided
to retire or go out of the
Vinewright nursery owner Paul Wright has been instrumental
in the development of an Australian Standard for grapevine
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