As the 2017 vintage draws to a close, South Australian growers, wineries and transport companies are to be congratulated for maintaining vigilance in the face of the threat of phylloxera.
The State Government introduced tougher rules to help ensure our State remains phylloxera-free. Vintage is traditionally a high-risk period for pest and disease incursions, given the increased movement of phylloxera vectors. It’s also a time of year when South Australia experiences increased numbers of tourists who can unknowingly spread pests and diseases via footwear, clothes or transport in regional areas.
As part of the increased focus, Biosecurity SA staff at both the Yamba and Pinnaroo quarantine stations have been recording checks on wine grape related movements to ensure compliance remains at a high level. Trucks entering SA carrying agricultural machinery and equipment and grapes and grape products require a permit to do so. Work has also been undertaken to modify the Plant Health Inspection and Certification (PHIC) template to include 72 hours’ notice for planned travel to better enable tracking, tracing and verifying compliant imports. There were also more thorough audit checks conducted on the ground at vineyards.
Other key information is being collected to identify any opportunities to strengthen various strategies in place to manage the risk of phylloxera entering South Australia. The findings will inform a review by Biosecurity SA of future risk management arrangements.
In 2015–16, South Australia’s wine industry generated $2.1 billion in revenue. Local wine grape growers produced 817 980 tonnes with a farmgate value of $581 million during the 2016 vintage.
South Australia is one of the few places in the world that is free of the grape vine destroying pest phylloxera, and produces almost 80% of Australia’s premium wine from some of the oldest vines in the world.
One in five working South Australians is employed in the agribusiness sector.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Leon Bignell
Good, strong biosecurity in the vineyard is everything. We all want to keep phylloxera out of SA but it means everyone involved in our local wine industry needs to be absolutely vigilant in implementing the highest quarantine measures—at the border and in the vineyards.
This vintage we upped the ante on maintaining our phylloxera free status and I thank all those vineyard owners, managers and contractors who have done the right thing. Beyond the additional mitigation measures implemented this year, I urge grape and wine producers to keep reviewing their biosecurity plans and safeguard our precious grape industry from the ongoing threat of phylloxera.
We are one of the few jurisdictions in the world that is phylloxera free, fruit fly free, and GM free. These credentials give South Australia a massive boost on the competitive world stage and support the State Government’s Premium Food from our Clean Environment and Exported to the World economic priority.
Quotes attributable to Geoff Raven, Manager, Plant & Food Standards, Biosecurity SA, PIRSA
Responsibility for preventing the spread of pests and diseases between states, and within states, is a collective effort between industry, regulators and the public.
Quotes attributable to Vinehealth Australia CEO, Inca Pearce
Vinehealth Australia has been working to support grape and wine producers in their efforts to prevent the spread of pests and diseases during vintage and beyond, including the creation and delivery of a range of educational tools focused on the correct movement of machinery, rules for disinfestation of equipment and footwear, navigating quarantine standards and farm-gate hygiene practices.
We know how devastating the introduction of a pest such as phylloxera would be. Prevention of an incursion is our number one focus.