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Some of the industry’s best minds are working together to combat a serious threat to New Zealand’s top-growing varietal.

Sauvignon Blanc vines are particularly at risk from Grapevine Trunk Disease (GTD) which can greatly reduce the volume and quality of grapes yielded, and the useful life of the vines themselves.

Diseased tissue needs to be removed from vines that have GTD, which may include re-trunking. If remedial surgery is not carried out early enough, then vines may need to be completely removed at significant cost to growers.

At a recent event in Nelson, growers heard from Bragato Research Institute’s (BRI) Len Ibbotson who outlined the progress of the latest research into improving grapevine remedial surgery and, along with vineyard consultant Mark Allen and Villa Maria’s Hannah Ternent, an update on current best practice for managing GTD.

This particular GTD research on remedial surgery is funded by Bragato Research Institute. It’s just one study in the wider $7m Vineyard Ecosystems Programme, which is funded by New Zealand Winegrowers and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Several vineyard blocks in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay are included in the four-year study, which is a collaboration between BRI, New Zealand Winegrowers, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Linnaeus Laboratory and Villa Maria.

The research aims to improve the industry’s understanding of the best time and method for remedial surgery and learn more about the progression of GTD in vine tissues.

Len says although the study has only been active for its first season, the research is on track to deliver some useful findings.

“It’s hard to beat getting great minds together and being outside in a vineyard bringing science and industry together.

“We are very grateful for the support of Mark, Hannah and Neil McCliskie from Alandale Orchards for their valuable contribution to making the workshop a success,” Len says.

Dr Eline van Zijll de Jong (Linnaeus) and Dr Mark Sosnowski (SARDI) will provide an update on the project at the first of BRI’s Grape Days spring webinar series on 8 September (11:30AM-12:30PM).

Registration for this webinar is free, so sign up by clicking here.