Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vineyard Photos - What is looks like inside an abandoned vineyard.

Powdery mildew infection on leaves. The majority of green leaf surfaces are covered with powdery spores. Willunga, SA.
An increasing number of vineyard owners are abandoning their properties because they believe the vineyards are unsustainable. Abandoned and mothballed vineyards are becoming a serious issue for us in McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.

It is an issue all around Australia.

Those who are unfortunate to be a neighbour of an abandoned vineyard, are suffering increased pest and weed management pressure due to the diseases that are being passed on from vine to vine.

Limiting this transmission of disease is greatly increasing the cost of grape growing, and in some cases 'good crops' have become too diseased to be harvested as premium fruit.

This season has seen a huge build up of powdery mildew (above & below) and downy mildew in abandoned vineyards; however these diseases are not quarantinable and council or our government has no authority to require the removal of diseased vines.

Victoria has some legislation - Plant Health & Plant Products Act 1995 (Section 12) - which talks of 'notifiable diseases' and 'control orders' being able to be issued in cases of disease.

A summary is listed here -
If a property is deemed infested, DPI has the power to order a property owner to destroy declared pests and diseases on their property if they pose a threat or are adversely affecting adjoining properties. If you have any concerns about a vineyard or orchard in your area being an actual source of pests and diseases and its potential to spread onto your property, the first step is to initiate a discussion with the owner and seek to resolve the issue.

In South Australia we urgently need some ability to control abandoned vineyards and stop the spread of disease. As a community we need legislation that removes abandoned vineyard blocks to reduce sources of pest infestations and disease load.

Powdery mildew on bunches. Willunga, SA.

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