Thanks to the great crew of viticulture managers at Matua Valley, I have able to visit a wide range of businesses contributing to the great NZ Sauvignon Blanc.
28 May 2012: Dr Rob Beresford, NZ Plant & Food Research has been working extensively in Leaf Roll virus 3 and the vectors spreading this virus across NZ. Mealy bug have been identified as the primary vector, given these bugs don't have the ability to travel great distance by themselves, harvesting is the primary action in the vineyard spreading this problem.
GMO research of the bug and natural pheromone use are being considered the primary agents to manage this issue.
Botrytis management was another key area of research for Rob's team, with the development of the Bachuss model allowing growers to understand the disease incidence pressures, based on weather recordings and modelling for their district.
Chemical resistance management is also very crucial in botrytis management, with some worrying chatter out of the Northern Hemisphere on access to strobiloran.
29 May 2012: Fonterra and Hills Laboratory CI visits
30 May 2012: Matua Valley, Hawkes Bay.
Andrew Stove, North Island Vyd Manager, introduced the fine art of using sheep to leaf pluck and shoot bash vines. I had heard about this practice, soft lipped sheep, short necked sheep, but had to see it to believe it.
700 head are cell grazed in 2 hectares for upwards of 48 hours at pea size. These flocks are watched very closely as allot of fruit damage can occur during the high grazing times of the day, midnight to 6am. Romney are the preferred breed, with merinos used in a few cases. An interesting observations for Aus were the concerns with MRL of vineyard chemicals in the livestock, copper and glyphospate being the primary actives being watched.
31 May 2012: Matua Valley, Marlborough
Jade Rogge, South Island Vyd Manager, spent a really informative day on cane pruning and how mechanical vine stripping has revolutionised the practise of cane pruning.
The Marlborough region has 15,000ha of planted vineyards with about 95% of that area being cane pruned. Extend a saving of 30%/vine for pruning by using this machine, significant savings can be realised by the NZ industry.
Jade introduced me to a innovative contractor, Jason Tripe from JTC Viticulture, he provided me some great OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) numbers to consider in a business, tractors hours 1500-2000 pa, vine stripper 1000hrs pa, harvesters 600hr/pa engine, 300hrs/pa picking head, out of season harvester maintenance 120 hours.
Jason runs a very professional business that was clearly his pride and joy.
1 June 2012: blog updates and email answering!!