Today’s grapegrowers face many challenges. The speed at which new fads, trends and markets emerge is mind-blowing. The global surplus of grapes is well-known. The change in our climate will force growers to consider changing practices and inputs. Perhaps these factors combined are indicators to consider whether fulfilling a niche market with an alternative variety might be a viable option for continued sustainability.
If we want to stay in the grapegrowing business, then we need to think about which varieties might be best suited to our future climate. The AWRI’s Research to Practice (RtP) program has just launched a new ‘Alternative Varieties’ RtP to help with these questions.
Program coordinator, Dr Peter Dry, explained the program. “This full day program covers 40 different emerging varieties with different climatic tolerance to Australia’s ‘traditional’ varieties,” he said. “The program looks at climate change and its impact on viticulture. We profile emerging varieties and their heat/drought tolerances, and we give participants access to sources of further information.” The content of the program is available exclusively to RtP participants.
Former University lecturer and Southcorp viticulturist, Libby Tassie, is the primary presenter of the course. Libby brings years of local and international experience to RtP. With qualifications in viticulture and winemaking from Turin Italy and personal experience in the importation of Italian varieties, Libby has a genuine and passionate interest in the subject of Alternative Varieties.
The first RtP Alternative Varieties program was held in Griffith on 16 November. Each RtP program is tailored for each region’s specifications, so participants receive maximum value relevant to their circumstances. Interested parties, who are primary producers, can apply to have the fee for the course reimbursed through the Australian government Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry’s Farm Ready Scheme (http://www.farmready.gov.au). Regional associations who wish to run the RtP program in their area should contact the AWRI’s Marcel Essling on email: email@example.com or by telephone: 08 8313 6600.