Launched in 2014/15 with funding from Wine Australia, BGWA set up three vineyards in Vine Vale, Light Pass and Ebenezer to demonstrate the benefits of modern vineyard management techniques such as mid-row swards (particularly native grasses) and mulch under-vine to improve water infiltration, reduce vineyard temperatures, improve soil health and increase biodiversity. The project shows, rather than tells, growers the benefits of these techniques, combined with improved pruning and introduction of catch-wires.
In 2016/17, BGWA continued this project, with the set-up of three further vineyards in Krondorf, Gomersal and Eden Valley, to demonstrate the above techniques on a further three Barossa soil types with the aim of:
- Improved water infiltration (reduces water and pumping costs).
- Reduced vineyard temperatures, particularly night-time.
- More ability to withstand heatwaves, therefore improve yield and quality.
- Improved soil health and therefore more consistent yield (while also reducing `traditional’ inputs/costs such as chemicals, fertiliser, fuel, machinery).
- Reduced tractor passes, fuel, chemical and fertiliser costs (reduces compaction and erosion, whilst increasing vineyard profitability).