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Nuriootpa, Australia

Newson D.N.,Yalumba Wine Company and Nursery | Nettelbeck R.J.,Yalumba Wine Company and Nursery
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

Precision mechanisation in cool climate vineyards can provide increased capacity for improvements in grape and wine quality, financial sustainability as well as offering staff a higher skilled career path. Adapting and modifying certain cultural practices towards mechanisation can produce savings between 30-80% over hand conducted operations. Modifying grape harvesters for a wider diversity of uses including pest, disease and matter other than grape (MOG) control allows for a stronger amortisation over the relatively high capital cost of single purpose machinery. Mechanisation of practices such as summer cordon shoot thinning provides greater control of yield, quality and disease control through spray canopy penetration. The use of recirculation sprayers and low weight slashers, builds on an ethos of reducing a vineyards carbon foot print and increase their overall sustainability. Wine growers of the future can easily adapt to mechanisation and enhance their capabilities through basic modifications of pre-existing machinery, in turn providing them with further capacity in an environment that is increasingly requiring us to do more with less.

Newson D.N.,Yalumba Wine Company and Nursery | Ratcliff A.R.,Yalumba Wine Company and Nursery | Freckleton J.C.,Yalumba Wine Company and Nursery
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

Trials utilising Plant Cell Density (PCD) mapping techniques have led to findings of high levels of vineyard variability, including yield equivalent per vine variations from 1 to 30 t/ha within a single block. Baume ranges of 13.5 °Bé to greater than 18.5 °Bé representing up to 21% variation from the mean and as much as 37% variation across the range, within a single block. Other measureable berry attributes such as phenolics and anthocyanins often referred to as indicators of quality, showed a significant range of variation also. These findings have led to the development of split harvesting techniques and an improvement in the quality of the finished harvest sample. Further refinements in techniques used have led to ongoing quality increases in both harvest samples as well as financial savings of $400/t or $3,150/ha. PCD mapping has also been utilised to help identify and manage pest and disease hot spots, zoning for the targeted application of mulch and nutrient fertilisers, targeted canopy management. In 2007 The Yalumba Wine Company established a premium vineyard in the Coonawarra Wine Region of South Australia utilising knowledge in soil depth and vigour relationships and overlaying these with PCD maps, the block was sectioned and then irrigation system was specifically developed to match these zones. This development has so far led to irrigation management flexibility, that has resulted in 30% water savings, and evenness in canopy and fruit load across the block.

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