Improving viticulture and oenology practice through extension
Australia’s reputation as a technologically advanced producer is underpinned by this project, which facilitates the early awareness of current research findings and premiumisation opportunities, amongst industry personnel. The project also fosters technology adoption and practice change, which leads to premiumisation and increased competitiveness.
This project will use the AWRI’s recognised position as a leader in the planning and delivery of wine industry extension and industry outreach programs across Australia, which have proven to be successful in supporting the rapid adoption of new and improved production and management techniques and technologies. Those events include the roadshow program, Regional Program, state-based extension (nodes), and the delivery of content with collaborative partners.
Roadshow seminars and workshops
During the year, nine roadshow seminars and forty-one workshops were held in winemaking regions across Australia (see Appendix 2 for details). Workshop topics included spray application, vine pruning methodology, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay winemaking treatment tastings, and smoke taint. A total of 1,559 participants attended workshop events in 2019/2020.
Eighteen webinars were presented to a total of 1,316 attendees in 2019/2020 – more than double the attendance from the previous year (610). Views of webinar recordings via YouTube approximately doubled compared with the previous year, with more than 18,000 views. Webinars covered a wide spectrum of topics, including heat-proofing vineyards, soil health, weed management, frost prediction and warning tools, seasonal climate outlook, and managing fire-damaged vineyards. The portfolio of presenters remained diverse, with only one-third of sessions presented by AWRI staff. The most popular webinar (with 190 attendees) presented during the year was titled ‘A beginner’s guide to grapevine pruning’ and included three short demonstration videos. This webinar and associated videos were created to respond to COVID-19 restrictions having an impact on the mobility of the pruning workforce.
Educational courses and events
The AWRI presented its 50th Advanced Wine Assessment Course in November 2019 and held a celebratory event with past course judges and presenters. The ShowRunner software platform was again used by participants to provide their wine scores and comments. The events team coordinated a program of 33 workshops with a total of 957 participants at the 17th AWITC, for the first time all presented in one day. A range of additional educational events were also presented (see Appendix 2), with a highlight being the first AWRI Advanced Viticulture Course. This course proved to be a successful pilot for what will become an annual three-day course, with a group of 20 participants visiting a range of vineyards and sites across several regions to discover the latest practical developments and innovations in viticulture.
Support for Wine Communicators of Australia
The AWRI provided technical support and hosting of the WCA webinar program and continued to enhance and support the WCA website.