Development of resources for the objective measurement of grape parameters to address ACCC recommendations
In 2018/2019 the ACCC’s Agriculture Unit conducted a market study of the wine-grape industry. The study examined competition, contracting practices, transparency and risk allocation in wine-grape supply chains. This project aims to address some of the recommendations of that study, by developing a range of standardised methods, endorsed by both industry and regulatory bodies, for the measurement of key parameters in grapes; for sampling in the vineyard, in the winery and at the weighbridge; and for validating secondary methods against the reference methods. It will also provide training and tools to support the implementation of standardised methods and assist third parties mediating disputes.
Preparing industry-endorsed standard practices
A major focus of this project has been the formalisation of standard methods for the measurement of the key grape parameters total soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity and colour, and validation of the secondary methods that reference them. The development and review of these standard methods have been guided by a project reference group of representatives from key industry bodies.
Additional protocols have been developed for vineyard sampling and grape assessment at the weighbridge, including sampling practices for matter other than grapes (MOG) and pest and disease. To better understand the sampling practices currently employed in industry, the project team engaged with members of the project reference group to conduct experimental trials during the 2021 vintage. In addition, a sensory procedure was developed for evaluating wines for the presence of specific attributes, particularly those arising from vineyard smoke exposure.
Training and resources
With the formalisation of industry-endorsed standard practices nearing completion, guideline documents and extension activities are being developed to support training for businesses. A series of webinars and training resources will be deployed to support adoption of the standard practices in vintage 2022.
Neil Scrimgeour, Eric Wilkes