THE GRAPEVINE BLOG

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Ecovineyards Program launches at four vineyards in the Hunter Valley

Last year, Wine Australia announced a new three year $2.2 million regionally-based program that will support winegrape growers to plant cover crops, enhance soil health and increase functional biodiversity in vineyards around the country.

Delivered by Retallack Viticulture Pty Ltd, in consultation with behavioural scientists Evidn, the ‘grass roots’ focused program commenced work with wine growers in 10 different wine regions across four states this year and includes new region-specific practices, resources and demonstrations.

Following a national ‘open call’ earlier in the year, the new intake of EcoGrowers in the Hunter Valley includes Brokenwood Wines, Margan Family Wines, Scarborough Wine Co and Tyrrell’s Wines. Over the next year, each of these local vineyards will set up demonstration sites to provide practical insights to questions in the field around the topics of soil health, ground covers and functional biodiversity.

Brokenwood Wines facilitated the first of the region’s demonstrations with a core focus on composting and soil health specific to the Hunter Valley. Delivered by Retallack Viticulture Managing Director Dr Mary Retallack, Darren Fahey (DPI NSW) and special guest presenter Lee Fieldhouse from Island Biologicals, topics covered on the day included vermicast bio-stimulants, composting, compost tea production and application plus soil health indicators and how to best measure.

All growers will benefit through the information sharing associated with the National EcoVineyards Program including various grower facing activities and deliverables (fact sheets, podcasts, webinars, social media posts etc.), grower discounts on supplies (where negotiated) and field walks associated with each demonstration site.

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