Alternative variety harvest underway
The second season evaluating 22 alternative wine grape varieties grown at the WA College of Agriculture – Harvey is well under way.
College staff have been recording key phenological dates throughout the growing season and now that harvest has begun, students are becoming involved in counting bunch numbers and harvesting the fruit.
As at 26 February 2018, ten varieties had been harvested and on their way to be made into small lot wines.
|Variety||Harvest date||Weight (kg)/vine||Bunch weight (g)||Bunch/vine||Berry weight (g)||t/ha||Baume||pH||TA|
|Brachetto (Rose)||1 Feb||3.01||174.9||15||1.4||5.6||13||3.37||7.6|
|Dolcetto (Rose)||13 Feb||10.41||922.3||47||1.5||19.3||10.4||3.22||5.7|
Overall, the fruit has been in excellent condition with no significant incidence of disease observed to date.
This year the varieties were not thinned, so to show the extent to which the variety can yield, however some bunches were removed to allow sufficient airflow into the fruit zone.
Not all of the 22 varieties will be harvested this season. Pinot Gris is included in the block but due to the size of the area planted in Australia it is no longer deemed an alternative. Sangiovese (Brunello Di Montalcino clone) will not be harvested either as the vines are still establishing.
An important component of this activity is to extend the information collected over the season and to allow producers to taste the different varieties.
In the last five months Research Officer Richard Fennessy has conducted workshops (including tastings) in the Great Southern, Geographe, Blackwood Valley and Margaret River regions and a field walk at the demonstration site.
These workshops and field walk will continue once the 2018 wines have been bottled and assessed by the Geographe Wine Show judges in September 2018.
There is a forum planned for September/October to discuss and explore the potential of alternative varieties. Stakeholders throughout the value chain will be invited to participate.
This activity is funded through the Wine Australia Regional Program and supported by the Wines of WA technical committee and Western Australian Vine Improvement Association.
For more information contact Richard Fennessy, Research Officer on +61 (0)8 9780 6219