Grapegrower & Winemaker - March 2017

What held up this year's harvest?

The 2017 vintage growing season has been challenging; a wet and cold spring season impacted on early shoot development and mild summer conditions, interrupted by regular rain events, has kept growers on their toes.

"Spring and early summer of this season have been a complete contrast to the previous season – the hottest on record in 15/16 and one of the coolest in 16/17," said Ian Macrae, CCW Co-operative Limited senior viticulture officer.

It's been a season of extreme, sometimes isolated, weather events - with some vineyards hit hard by storm and hail damage; others contending with floods; and some recording high temperatures. Despite all this, many growers are expecting it to be a season that delivers on both quality and quantity. In the latest edition of the Grapegrower & Winemaker, we asked a group of experts from around the country to comment on what impacted vintage this year and to give us an outlook on what to expect in the coming season.

The expert assessments included:

Marcel Essling, The Australian Wine Research Institute senior viticulturist, gives a national overview. "Generally, the season started cooler and wetter than recent years. Flooding and waterlogged soils in some regions made getting equipment into the vineyard difficult. Growers were forced to alter their spray plans and adapt to higher disease pressure.”

Colin Bell (AHA Viticulture director and viticulturist) contributes from Western Australia. "Following strong winter rainfall and resultant cold soils, early vine growth was slow, but fruitfulness was high.”

Mike Hayes (Symphony Hill viticulturist and winemaker) checks in from Queensland. "Berry size was down. Crop levels were up last year so vines normally have a respite, had a very nice skin to juice ratio.”

Marty Smith (Absolute Viticulture viticulturist) provides the Tasmania update. "Budburst was early for us this season (late August) with the above average temperatures over winter. This changed very quickly as a month of cold and windy weather after budburst stunted the vines considerably. We went from two weeks early to three weeks late by the time we got to flowering.”

Ian Macrae (CCW Co-operative Limited senior viticulture officer) reports from the Riverland. "Flowering occurred about two-to-three weeks later than recent seasons. At the time of flowering there were less leaves per shoot than in previous seasons i.e. flowering started at an earlier EL stage as assessed by the number of leaves per shoot.”

Andrew Mclean (Casella Family Brands grower liaison officer) looks across regions in SA, NSW and Victoria. "Whilst some of the late varieties in cooler regions may run the risk of senescing prior to desired sugar accumulation, overall yields look like they will be in line with long term average and prospective fruit quality looks to be very promising.”

You can read all the feedback from the experts here.

Premier's Agriculture and Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Program

The Premier's Agriculture and Aquaculture Entrepreneurship Program supports entrepreneurship and innovation in agriculture and aquaculture by offering scholarships to regional entrepreneurs in the sector.

This scholarship provides Western Australian farmers and individuals engaged in the agriculture or aquaculture sector up to $30,000 to enable them to develop and pursue their idea through exposure to international best practice and leaders in their field. At the completion of their travel and learning experiences the successful applicant will share their knowledge and learning with industry.

This Program forms one component of the Science and Agribusiness Connect initiative being administered by the Office of Science in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC).

Applications close midday Friday 5 August 2016.

More information, including the applicant information and application form, is available on the DPC website.

If you have any queries please contact either Judd Millner or Johanna Dowsett at the Office of Science on 6552 6080 or

VinSites: Insights from Grape to Glass

In conjunction with Wines of Western Australia and coinciding with the introduction of an APC producers’ committee for winegrapes, DAFWA is partnering with Wine Australia, the grape and wine community’s national statutory services body, on a new national benchmarking system. 

Western Australia has been chosen as the pilot state for VinSites, Wine Australia’s new insights system that will provide grape and wine producers with access to timely and accurate benchmark information, so that they can compare their vineyard’s and/or winery’s business performance with others.

Each vineyard in WA will be mapped in VinSites, a web-based tool, using satellite technology. Maps previously developed by DAFWA and that are freely available to producers, will be used to verify the satellite imagery. These maps can be downloaded from the department’s website. Vineyard owners can then claim their vineyard and enter their own specific varietal, harvest, rootstock, block and water information.

The vineyard information is also linked to production data, with winery intakes to provide winegrowers and winemakers with accurate and timely information about yields by variety and by region. 

Is VinSites data collection mandatory?

Entering data into VinSites is not mandatory. Once vineyard owners claim their vineyard it will be matched with the known crush data information. It is then up to each individual how much extra information they wish to enter for their vineyard. The more information entered, the more accurate and valuable the reports and comparisons become.

Providing a service to levy payers

Currently, the wine sector has access to many disparate data repositories, all with slightly different content or out-of-date information.

VinSites will provide an accurate single source of truth for all wine producers to access. No more unreliable or unconfirmed data. The information entered will come straight from the user, in as much or as little detail as they choose. The user can choose who sees what: what the public see, what other growers see and what Wine Australia can see.

The information will give grape and wine producers an insight into their position in the sector but the value they get out of VinSites will only be as good as the details they enter.

When will VinSites be available?
The new tool will ‘go live’ in Western Australia and the Riverland in August 2016.

How much does it cost to use?
VinSites is a free tool provided by Wine Australia for grape and wine producers.

Is my personal information confidential?
Yes, user privacy and data security is a primary objective of the VinSites development and is assured.

Growers are encouraged to opt in to participate in the pilot. For more information, visit

To register, scan the QRcode:

To register, scan the QRcode:

Entwine Australia

When the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) took on the management of Entwine, the team was tasked with implementing a suite of industry recommendations to ensure that Entwine provided value to its members. This has been a significant task and I am pleased to report that the ‘refreshed’ Entwine has received endorsement from Wine Grape Growers Australia, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Australia to be the principle vehicle to convey the Australian wine industry’s sustainability credentials.

Entwine continues to serve as a national ‘umbrella’ program, providing oversight and direction for participating programs and a mechanism for national data collection. AWRI staff have been working closely with the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association, Freshcare Limited and also the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) to ensure that a unified and rigorous approach is taken to maintaining and improving the reputation of Entwine.

Entwine carries significant cachet and is recognised internationally as the Australian wine industry’s mark of sustainability. The AWRI is working to enhance the prominence of Entwine and the connection amongst Entwine members, consumers and customers.

About the Grants for Asian Market Export Program

The Grants for Asian Market Export are a major component of the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Asian Market Success project, funded through the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program.

The purpose of the grants is to better equip Western Australian agriculture and food (“agrifood”) exporting businesses to develop and implement strategies to capture export market opportunities and attract investment. 

What funding is available and to whom?

·       Up to $3 million will be invested in two rounds of grants, with $1.5 million available in round one

·       applications for round one will open 21 March 2016 and close 5.00pm (WST) Thursday 21 April 2016

·       individual grants are between $20 000 - $200 000

·       applicants will require an in-market partner, and provide 25% co-contribution (cash and in-kind)

·       only businesses that are exporting goods and services related to food and beverages produced or manufactured in Western Australia are eligible to apply

·       applicants can be eligible over both rounds of grants.

Apply for funding Here

Read more about the Asian Market Export Program - Here

Latest Wine Production, Inventory and Domestic Sales Information Available

The report is now available on the Wine Australia website.

Wine Australia has published a ‘State of Australian Wine’ report outlining the results of the Wine Production, Inventory and Domestic Sales Survey 2015.

The survey and report follows on from last year’s Wine Sector Survey, a coordinated effort with other bodies in the grape and wine sector including Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, to streamline the annual collection of data across the wine community.

Wine Australia Manager, Market Insights Peter Bailey warmly thanked survey respondents.

‘This is the second year we’ve conducted this survey and we estimate that we were able to collect data on 84 per cent of Australian wine production and 82 per cent of domestic sales.

‘I thank everyone who took the time to participate in the survey. This information is invaluable for the sector to better understand the current state of play for Australian wine,’ he said.

Key insights from the report include:

·     Total wine production increased 0.4 per cent to 1.19 billion litres

·     White wine production increased 2.7 per cent to 550 million litres

·     Red wine production was stable at 580 million litres

·     Domestic sales value increased 3.8 per cent to $2.78 billion despite volume declining 0.6 per cent to 456 million litres

·     Winery direct to consumer sales are on the rise, up 1.5 per cent to 42.1 million litres; in contrast to retail sales, slightly down 0.8 per cent to 414 million litres


Confirmation of Approved Manager Personal Details and Renewal Process - Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor

In 2011 the Licensing Authority introduced Approved Manager Identification Cards which were granted for a period of five years. As a result cards will start to expire from June 2016.

The Department will carry out the approved manager card renewal process in stages:

  1. An email will be sent four months prior to card expiry requesting those managers whose details have changed to update their information via their online account (Note: those managers whose cards expire in June should have already received their emails); and
  2. Approximately three months before a card’s expiry date, a notice will be sent to the card holder requesting they complete the approved manager will be required to respond to a series of questions relating to their card renewal process has been completed, the card will be valid for five years from the original expiry date.

It is important to note that only those managers who have received a renewal reminder will be able to undertake the renewal process as those outside the 90-day expiry period will not have had a renewal option added to their account.

It is imperative that the department has current email and postal addresses of all approved managers.

Failure to renew an identification card before the expiry date will result in the manager no longer being able to work as an approved manager in Western Australia.

Licensees are reminded to check the approved manager credentials of their staff as it’s their responsibility to ensure they have an approved manager on the premises at any time that the business is being conducted. Failure to do so may result in a maximum penalty of $10,000.

For more information go to –

Wine Industry APC Update

Industry APC Update

The inaugural meeting of the WA wine industry APC Committee was held on Friday 11th March at Technology Park, Bentley. All Committee members attended. A summary of the proceedings follows:

• APC Chairman Dr William Ryan welcomed the incoming Committee and provided a brief overview of the APC and the purpose of a Producers’ Committee
• APC Executive Officer Ingrid Smith provided an induction on Committeeprocedure and governance

The Committee then continued independently to determine the following:

• Jeff Burch appointed Chair of the Committee
• Wines of WA requested to provide secretariat services for the Committee
• Summary of all meetings will be forwarded to Regional Associations and producers
• Meeting summaries and Committee contact details to be archived at the APC website on dedicated Wine Producers’ Committee page - details to be forwarded when page is live
• Association budgets and Fee For Service (FFS) should be forwarded to secretariat by 8th April 2016
• Next meeting Friday 15th April 2016

The APC Implementation Timeline Going Forward

• Regional Associations and WoWA develop budgets and identify appropriate FFS rates through consultation with producers
• Association budgets and FFS forwarded to Producers’ Committee (via secretariat) for review by 8th April.
• Committee meets on 15th April to discuss submitted budgets
• If approved, budgets and FFS forwarded to Commissioners for approval
• Once approved by Commissioners, budgets and FFS forwarded to Minister for Agriculture for approval
• FFS gazetted mid-May
• Producer compliance information sent 1st June 2016
• Producer’s return form lodgement due 30th June 2016
• FFS payment due 30th July

Regional Association Action List

  1. Finalise 2016/17 Budget and FFS.
  2. Send to Wine Producers’ Committee c/o by COB Friday 8th April 2016

Contact Larry Jorgensen for further information.
E –
M – 0448 884 161