Wine Industry Newsletter

DPIRD vintage update

The 2018/19 season proved a challenging one for grape and wine research. With expectations of more than 30 separate batches and in excess of 1000kg of fruit, only 21 batches and 560kg of fruit have been harvested due to bird and disease pressures.

Alternative variety evaluation

Evaluating the 22 alternative varieties planted this season at Harvey Agriculture College will be the last funded through the Wine Australia Regional Program.

The plan was to evaluate the performance of the varieties to demonstrate to producers the key viticultural and wine attributes over three consecutive seasons.

Leading up to January, the vines and crops were looking very promising but as the sugars accumulated, so did the bird attention. With an unforeseen delay in applying the bird netting and the addition of powdery mildew outbreaks, has meant little fruit was harvestable.

Settling wines in 2L glass vessels
2019 Vermentino, Arneis, Scheurebe and Fiano settling post fermentation.
Table 1 This years harvest data of alternative varieties
Variety Harvest date Baume pH TA Quantity
Arneis 19 Feb 12.4 3.13 6.9 13

Powdery mildew over 50%

Scheurebe 19 Feb 12.2 3.22 5.6 5.5 Significant bird peck
Pignoletto 19 Feb 12.4 3.27 5.8 51.5 Clean fruit
Vermentino 19 Feb 11.9 3.15 7.6 68.5 Powdery mildew ~10%
Fiano 19 Feb 12.4 3.02 8.0 6.5 Sunburn and powdery
Harslevelu 26 Feb 12.4 3.23 7.1 32.5 Split berries, powdery mildew and bird peck
Sciacarello 27 Feb 13.7 3.47 9.4 41 Some powdery mildew
Tannat 27 Feb 13.9 3.50 9.5 43 Bird peck
Graciano 13 Mar 12.8 3.20 5.6 28.5 Bird peck
Montepulciano 13 Mar 12.5 3.30 5.2 15.5 Clean fruit
Alicante Bouchet 13 Mar 14.3 3.40 6.2 13 Powdery mildew ~80%
Carmenere 13 Mar 11.4 - - 6 High amount of shot berries

Demonstrating differences between Pinot Noir clones

This season we have initiated a pilot trial to utilise a commercial planting of diverse Pinot Noir clones. We have collected some harvest data and will make small-lot wines to demonstrate the differences between clones 114, 115, 777, D5V12 and WA Droopy. This fruit has been sourced from a Pemberton vineyard and we thank them for their support.

If this pilot trial proves successful it may be expanded to more varieties next season. Growers that have plantings of multiple clones within a single block or uniformed site and are interested in participating next year are encouraged to contact Richard Fennessy.

Pinot Noir ferments in stainless steel buckets
Small-lot ferments of five different Pinot Noir clones.

Virus trial

Led by DPIRD Researcher Monica Kehoe, this innovative trial aims to examine the influence of virus on Chardonnay wine quality. Two sites in Margaret River had been identified as having clonal vines with no detected virus and Grapevine leaf roll virus 3 (GLRV3). These two viral loads represent ‘treatments’. Once the winemaking is completed, a formal sensory evaluation will be undertaken to see if there is a correlation between wine attributes and viral load.