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January 2019

In this edition

Wisdom meets fresh thinking in Future Leaders 2019

Applicants have until Friday 15 March to apply for the 2019 vintage of Australia’s grape and wine sector leadership development program – Future Leaders.

People with the skills and leadership drive to contribute to the future success of the sector are invited to apply for the program, which has been reshaped to better harness the collective wisdom across Australia’s grape and wine community.

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Gingin Chardonnay clone – are viruses the hero or the villain in this story?

An innovative research project underway in Western Australia hopes to provide the first real evidence as to whether viral infection has any beneficial impact on the final wine produced, particularly with the Gingin Chardonnay clone.

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Grape sunburn damage prevention assessed in novel study

Dr Joanna Gambetta uses the analogy of Aussie beach culture to explain her Wine Australia Incubator Initiative research into sunburn damage in Chardonnay grapes, which is evaluating three different timings of defoliation in Chardonnay vines grown around Orange, NSW.

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Quiet achiever in the spotlight as ASVO Winemaker of the Year

A stalwart of the Australian wine sector, Pete Bissell wears many hats – including that of winemaker, author, researcher, innovator and wine show judge. It is his talent for innovation and his eagerness to share his knowledge that was particularly noted by the judges at the recent ASVO Awards, who named Pete the ASVO Winemaker of the Year 2018. 

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Thinking outside the box snares Kate top award

Kate Goodman was half way through a biomedical science degree when she realised life as a biomedical scientist was never going to cut the mustard. Kate made the switch to winemaking and was recently named Winemaker of the Year 2018 at the Australian Women in Wine Awards.

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Image: Adobe Stock

Brown marmorated stink bug detected in Victoria

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) was recently detected in Clayton in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne on an imported mini-bulldozer. Agriculture Victoria has commenced a trapping and surveillance program in a two-kilometre radius around the detection points in Clayton. Yesterday, Agriculture Victoria published notice of an additional detection in a warehouse in Dandenong South. 

The BMSB is a significant exotic pest threat to Australia's wine sector. Even in low numbers on grape bunches, BMSB causes flavour taints in wine. 

The BMSB looks similar to native Australian stink bugs but it is larger. The white bands on its antennae are a distinguishing feature.

Everyone has a role in keeping BMSB out of Australia. If you think you have seen BMSB, phone the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. Ideally, collect any live or dead specimens and keep them in a secure container for identification. 

For more information, visit

Wine Australia and University of Adelaide sign multi-million-dollar partnership

Wine Australia and the University of Adelaide have signed a four-year, multi-million-dollar agreement to support and stimulate longer term strategic wine research and development that will enable the Australian grape and wine sector to benefit from world-leading innovation.

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Managing vines during heatwaves 

Are you preparing for hot weather in your vineyards? Careful irrigation before, during and after a short-term heatwave can help your vineyard survive the heat.

The factsheet Managing vines during heatwaves provides action guidelines for established vineyards in an extreme heat event.

Read more (PDF link)

In brief

  • In December, an outbreak of Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly) was declared in Loxton following the discovery of seven male flies. Vinehealth Australia has published updates on the outbreak on its website, including movement conditions for winegrapes. 
  • Registrations for the 17th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference (AWITC) will open in February 2019. AWITC is also calling for poster abstracts to be submitted for its ‘Fresh Science’ session. Visit for more information.
  • Have you met the Climate Kelpies? Climate Kelpie is a website to connect Australian farmers and their advisors to tools and up-to-date climate information. This video 'Climatedog Enso' takes a look at the influence of El Niño/La Nina on rainfall. 
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