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THE GWRDC’s biannual Regional Program Partners day, held in late May, again highlighted the diverse issues confronting Australia’s winegrape growers and the value of providing support programs tailored to their needs.

More than 55 separate programs were discussed and evaluated as the 11 regional partners reported on their activities in the current financial year and plans for the next.

In 2014/15, the program will deliver 58 activities across the country.

The most popular activities relate to trunk disease, with five regions selecting this topic, followed by irrigation, variety/clone and rootstock related activities.

The Regional Partners day is organised primarily to allow partners to provide feedback to the GWRDC and share their experiences with each other.

“It tends to be a very focused and honest discussion around which activities and elements worked well, how factsheets and other supporting materials were received and what participants most enjoyed,” GWRDC program manager Adrian Loschiavo said.

“Partners tend to make decisions based on the recommendations of others as to what is likely to suit their regional needs.”

The May meeting also included a visit to the University of Adelaide’s Plant Accelerator and small-batch winemaking facility based at the Waite Campus; and updates on current research into eutypa dieback and vine balance being carried out by SARDI and the University of Adelaide respectively.

Over dinner Wynns Coonawarra Estate vineyard manager Stuart Sharman led a discussion on the application of continuous improvement principles to viticulture.

“Stuart visited Japan, New Zealand and The Netherlands among other countries to study various applications of continuous improvement (CI) to agriculture after receiving the 2012 Nuffield Scholarship, which the GWRDC sponsors,” Loschiavo said.

“He believes many of the core management tools that are central to would be of great benefit to viticulture.”

The Regional Program is a key GWRDC initiative that seeks to actively encourage and support wine sector innovation, extension and adoption in the Australian wine sector.

It allows grapegrowers and winemakers to:

  • identify their region’s highest priority innovation, extension and adoption issues
  • evaluate new concepts and technology in their own region to measure regional benefits of adoption
  • identify aspects of production that will ensure the region is sustainable into the future
  • assist with the uptake of new tools and research findings.

For more information, visit www.gwrdc.com.au/better-practice/regional-program or contact GWRDC program manager Adrian Loschiavo on 08 8273 0500.