Barossa grower Steve Schiller took home the top-prized Wolf Blass Shield at the 2019 South Australian Pruning Championships last week. It’s the second time Schiller has taken home the Shield, winning it previously in 2017.

Barossa’s Boehm family also featured prominently, with the “Fortified Dills” Jim and Mick Boehm, along with Paul Braunack, scoring 2nd place in the Felco Team Spur – and Cheree Boehm, with Mandy Mader and Fiona Habermann in the “Sizzling Secateurs” scoring 3rd place in the team event.

Around 200 people attended last week’s Barossa Pruning Expo, which combines a pruning competition, workshops and a trade show, and was launched by the Barossa VitiTech Group in 2014. The competition, now offering over $13,000 worth of prizes donated by leading suppliers including Pellenc, Bahco, Electrocoup, Felco and Campagnola, was resurrected after a hiatus of 30 years, with local comps previously running from the 1920s until 1983.

The event is now run every alternate year in Barossa and Clare Valley, and in Barossa regularly attracts up to 200 growers, technical viticulturists, researchers and pruning technology suppliers to PIRSA’s viticulture research station in Nuriootpa.

The 2019 Expo’s keynote speaker was leading Eutypa research scientist Dr Mark Sosnowski, who spoke on the subject of “Preventing and Managing Eutypa” and this was followed by BGWA’s video case studies featuring growers talking about yield, quality and profitability benefits five years after reworking Eutypa-affected grapevines, and a decision-making tool by Chris Rogers Viticulture.

A highlight of the day was a presentation by retiring SARDI scientist and Barossa grower Dr Mike McCarthy who reflected on 45 years in viticulture research and his thoughts on the future.

“Barossa Grape & Wine Association is dedicated to ensuring Barossa is producing the highest quality wines from vineyards that are financially and environmentally sustainable,” said BGWA Viticulture Development Officer, Nicki Robins.

“The Barossa Pruning Expo is an example of our strong focus on giving growers access to best practice viticulture tools and information so they can, in turn, run healthy, profitable businesses that will thrive for many generations to come,” she said.

SA Pruning Competition Results

Wolf Blass Shield (overall winner)
Steve Schiller (Barossa)

Pellenc Individual Spur
1st place – Dean Willoughby (Barossa)
2nd place – Leigh Victor (Clare Valley)
3rd place – Steve Schiller (Barossa)

Electrocoup / Bahco Individual Rod & Spur
1st place – Chris Parbs (Barossa)
2nd place – Steve Schiller (Barossa)
3rd place – Ryan Schiller (Barossa)

Felco Team Spur
1st place – “Cutting Edge” – Steve Schiller, Dean Willoughby, David Vaughan (Barossa)
2nd place – “Fortified Dills” – Jim Boehm, Mick Boehm, Paul Braunack (Barossa)
3rd place – “Sizzling Secateurs” – Mandy Mader, Cheree Boehm, Fiona Habermann (Barossa)