Wine Victoria Chair, Damien Sheehan, today welcomed the announcement of a two-year research partnership between the Victorian Government and the Australia Grape and Wine Authority to fight a vineyard pest – Phylloxera.
"Wine Victoria has made representations to the State Government on the need to continue to invest in research and development activities that will help to address this biosecurity issue. We are very pleased with the $580,000 partnership," Mr Sheehan said.
Phylloxera attacks the roots of European grapevines (Vitis vinifera) eventually killing those vines it infests and moving on to others. The only remedial action is to remove these vines and replant with a vine over resistant rootstock.
"This process can be about four times the cost planting the original vine. The cost of re-planting the vineyard and years of lost production while establishing the new vines can be devastating," Mr Sheehan said.
"Biosecurity and other issues such as a high Australian dollar and a narrowing retailing market continue to chip away at the profitability of our industry. This investment will assist in the task of turning the tide for Victorian Winemakers and Grape Growers," he said.
Victoria has 21 distinct wine regions that span the state. There are almost 800 wineries that produce a wide range of wine varieties that are exported to more than 80 countries. The Victorian wine industry is currently worth $1.04 billion per annum and our industry exports more than 120 million litres of wine every year.
"The wine industry is one of the last regionally-based manufacturing industries that value-adds, directly employing over 2,600 regional Victorians in grape growing and winemaking, and indirectly employing more than 11,500 through administration, tourism and hospitality functions," Mr Sheehan said.
"We look forward to working with the Government on this project which will strengthen the Victorian wine industry, ensuring our industry can continue to support the prosperity of our state," he said.