Viticulture

Survey seeks views of grape growers and winemakers

Researchers from the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre are keen to hear from grape growers and winemakers on management practices that effect grape composition and minimise acid amelioration costs.

A short, online survey is part of research investigating the impact of vine nutrition in maintaining appropriate acid levels in grape and wine.

Lead researcher, Dr Suzy Rogiers principal research scientist at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, said it’s important to hear from those directly working in the industry.

“We are inviting grape growers, technical specialists in the vineyard and winery, along with vineyard managers, consultants and winemakers from across Australia to take part in this survey,” Dr Rogiers said.

“The aim is to understand current methods for managing vine nutrition, the factors that drive management decisions, sustainable growing practices and the barriers to adoption of new techniques.”

The survey is open until 15 November and is available here www.research.net/r/Wine_pH.

The questionnaire is expected to take 15 minutes to complete and people can also nominate to take part in longer interviews as part of the research.

Dr Rogiers said acid adjustment is a costly burden to the industry, and this project aims to better understand how we can manage grape composition in the vineyard.

“Excess potassium in grapes reduces the free tartaric acid concentration in the juice and can modify the pH of both the juice and wine,” Dr Rogiers said.

“A common amelioration strategy is to add expensive tartaric acid during the wine making process, in 2010 this was estimated to cost the industry around $40 million annually.

“Soil factors, canopy manipulation, rootstocks and various irrigation strategies all offer a practical means of obtaining grapes with the desired composition.”

The NWGIC, an alliance between Charles Sturt University, the NSW DPI and the NSW Wine Industry Association, undertakes research to improve the sustainability and profitability of the Australian wine industry.

This project is supported by funding from Charles Sturt, the NSW DPI and Wine Australia, and will continue under the Agriculture, Water and Environment Institute when it opens.

Photo caption: Dr Suzy Rogiers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Source: CSU