Thursday 23 May 2019

Upgraded tool highlights solution to tricky rootstock selection

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Media release

Wine Australia has released an upgraded Grapevine Rootstock Selector tool that will arm Australia’s winegrape growers with enhanced knowledge about the rootstocks that suit their individual vineyards.

Planting rootstocks can provide viticultural benefits as well as provide protection against known risks to vine health such as phylloxera and nematodes.

The free Grapevine Rootstock Selector tool has refined the vineyard selection criteria and highlights phylloxera tolerance among the identified rootstocks to ensure that growers can better determine the rootstock that will best suit their vineyard.

Wine Australia general manager Research, Development and Extension Dr Liz Waters said the Grapevine Rootstock Selector brought together knowledge from Australian and international research in a single, easy-to-use, independent resource for the Australian grape and wine community.

“Working with CSIRO research scientists Dr Rob Walker and Peter Clingeleffer, the Grapevine Rootstock Selector has been thoroughly revised, updating knowledge from many years of scientific research from Australia and overseas with the latest information about the specific characteristics of different rootstocks,” Dr Waters said.

“Choosing the right rootstock can eliminate many long-held concerns about quality. The Grapevine Rootstock Selector has extensive information on rootstock and scion compatibility and soil suitability, so that grapegrowers can take advantage of decades of research and trial work.

“By answering a series of specific questions about their vineyard, growers can use the Grapevine Rootstock Selector to identify a small number of appropriate rootstocks for their vineyard. It highlights the specific characteristics of different rootstocks and provides further information about the varieties that have been shown to be suitable for each option.”

The Grapevine Rootstock Selector assesses criteria that directly relate to important information about the planting site. These include climate, soil water availability, soil salinity, drainage and pH, root knot nematodes and desired vine vigour. The tool includes for the first-time information on rootstock tolerance to phylloxera.

“Planting on rootstocks is more expensive than own-rooted material, however, rootstocks also provide the best opportunity to future-proof vineyards against exposure to phylloxera. It is excellent to now have this additional information available to growers through the Grapevine Rootstock Selector,” Dr Waters said.

The Grapevine Rootstock Selector is based on a tool first developed in 2002 by Yalumba Nursery, the Yalumba Nursery Rootstock Selector.

Wine Australia upgraded the Grapevine Rootstock Selector in 2016, with a further major upgrade over the last 12 months. It draws on published, peer-reviewed research by respected Australian and international research organisations on how the rootstocks perform.

Wine Australia encourages growers who are considering planting or replanting grapevines to use the tool at www.grapevinerootstock.com to pick the best rootstocks for their vineyard and seek expert assistance from their local nursery.

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