Adaption and Resilience
Sustainable viticultural practices and resilient vineyards are key to producing high-quality wine grapes in a changing climate.
Grape growers are continually refining their viticultural practices to adapt to climate change. For example, irrigation practices in the region continue to develop efficiencies. The benefits of ‘winter watering’ and ‘pulse irrigation’ are topics we often hear discussed over a coffee or a beer. Mulch is also used under vine to reduce the loss of water from the soil. CVWGA runs trials at demonstration vineyards which measure the benefits of using mulch.
Resilient vineyards better withstand the harsh extremes of temperature. Our growers are building resilience by actively improving the health of their soils and creating balanced ecosystems within their vineyards which help to control weeds and disease by promoting good bugs.
Several Clare Valley vineyards and wineries have recently joined the Australian wine industry’s new sustainability program – Sustainable Winegrowing Australia. You can search Clare Valley members and read about their sustainability credentials.
Healthy soils are the foundation of a vineyard. More than 30 vineyards in the region have participated in a series of workshops which looked at soil biology and its critical influence on the health of soils. Participants put their own vineyards to the test, benchmarking the health of their soils and forming action plans.
CVWGA also recently collaborated on an innovative soil mapping project which investigated chemical and physical soil constraints and solutions to improve soil health.
Stewardship of our soils is passed from one generation of grape growers to the next. It is nurtured in the knowledge that it is a key to prosperity. How we manage our mid rows impacts soil health and modern viticulture has moved away from cultivation to cover cropping and more recently permanent swards. A new trial, set up by CVWGA, will measure the effect of different cover crops.
Biodiverse ecosystems improve health and resilience of vineyards, by suppressing weeds and supporting populations of animal predators and good bugs which contribute towards the bio-control of vineyard pests.
Three Clare Valley vineyards have been chosen as Eco Growers in a new Eco Vineyards project, launched by the Wine Grape Council of SA last year. The Eco Vineyard concept incorporates native insectary plants to create biodiverse ecosystems in and around vineyards which out-compete the weeds and support insect predators who feed on the bad bugs. The project also allows vineyards to demonstrate their environmental credentials, change the look and function of their vineyards and provide opportunities to tell their unique story.
Meet the Ecogrowers
Another exciting program soon to be launched in the Clare Valley is Wildlife for Wine. This program, run by Landscapes SA, will assist growers in developing biodiversity action plans and facilitate wildlife monitoring, revegetation, weed control, riparian restoration and the construction of bat habitat.