“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





26 May 2012


Master viticulturer Ian Hollick with the precious Terra rosa and limestone/calcrete profile of Coonawarra ... the dreaded Phylloxera doesn't like sand much, but it would revel in this plum layer cake if it were to cross the Victorian border. Like most of Coonawarra, the Hollick vineyards are not on rootstock, and so are highly vulnerable while giving better flavour. The Hollick winemaker, Matt Caldersmith, is "aghast" at the Phylloxera Board's mismanagement and diluting of the rigid regulations which have kept South Australia free of Phylloxera for a century.  Well, so far, anyway. Touch wood.

Vine Pox Invasion Hits Crossfire
Sweaty Board Rethinks Monday
Buggers Nearly Got Away With It  

This last week, DRINKSTER's been up to its gullet trying to digest the terrible mess which industry and government have together made of South Australia's previously brilliant Phylloxera laws, and the Board which properly and successfully policed them for a century.  It's now quite obvious that various vested interests are quietly softening the  regulations to suit their desperate new parsimony.  As Dudley Brown remarked on an earlier blog, it's as if the Phylloxera louse has hired its own lobbyist! But good sense must prevail here: we're not only gonna win this, but now we expect resignations.  

Here's a transcription of a discussion which went to air on Adelaide's local ABC891 with announcer Ian Henschke, followed by some further explanations and disgust. It's real long, but it has to be. Chew it up, and get ready to storm the ramparts if they don't reverse the decision. We can win this. Sharpen up the axes.

IAN HENSCHKE:  One of the things you wouldn’t want to discover in South Australia is Phylloxera, because it hasn’t been here. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a disease of grape vines, and er well, it could cause hundreds of millions of dollars of damage according to Philip White the wine writer.  Philip White, why are we worried about it now, seeing that we’ve been free of it for the best part of a century or more?

PHILIP WHITE: Well, we’ve had a really effective sort of self-policing body called the Phylloxera Board, to which all [South Australia] grape-growers have contributed a levy on their tonnes for a hundred years.  And Phylloxera is in Victoria and New South Wales in various places.  Since the wine industry boom of the last fifteen years it started to move in Victoria and it’s sprung up in many – I think there’s been six, seven maybe, outbreaks in different parts of Victoria in the last ten years (1).

Now what’s happened on top of that in the very complex and intricate network of committees and acronyms and stuff which the wine industry seems to thrive on, there’s been a move to actually alleviate or, or decrease some of the very rigid restrictions that we’ve had on the movement of machinery across the border; plant material, like cuttings, and soil (2).

What’s happened is, in a sort of almost secretive way - because nobody was really aware of it, or talked to about it - they’ve lifted some of these restrictions, to make it easier to move (3). 

Which is putting the fear of death into the wine industry here (4), because we have these ancient pre-Phylloxera vineyards that no-one else in the world has – or maybe Chile and Argentina have some – but there’s hardly anywhere on Earth which has these incredible old vineyards like your cousins have in Hill of Grace.

So while you can plant grafted anti-Phylloxera rootstocks and then put your Cabernet on the top of it, that just makes us the same as the rest of the world if we do that.  So people are really really worried.

HENSCHKE (below): Well it seems as if this is going on – and I know you’ve written a blog on this – if this is going on as you say I imagine there’d be absolute fear out there in the grape-growing community.

Let’s go to Matt Caldersmith, chief winemaker at Hollick Wines down in the Penola-Coonawarra region.  You’re not that far from the border, Matt Caldersmith.  Are you worried that you could see Phylloxera coming across the border if we’ve relaxed the rules?

MATT CALDERSMITH:  Yeah, definitely Ian.  It’s a major concern for us, as I think Philip was saying.  We’ve been free of Phylloxera pretty much since inception, and because of that we’ve probably been a little bit lazy with protection, and I can’t speak for all of Coonawarra, but I know that all of Hollick’s plantings are on their own roots, so they’re planted with vines that aren’t grafted onto Phylloxera-resistant stock.

HENSCHKE: So how much damage would it cause, if for example a bit of machinery or some soil came in that carried Phylloxera - because I understand that this particular organism, I think it’s a little tiny insect, isn’t it, it’s so small you can’t even see it – if that got into your vineyard, how much would it cost, for example, if it broke out in the Coonawarra region?

 CALDERSMITH (right): Well there’s been numbers bandied about, you now, in the millions, but the major issue is, and you’re correct, it’s like an aphid:  it’s very small and it lives in the ground and it chokes the roots and stops the water and nutrients from getting to the vine. 

So what happens is you lose production.  The vines generally slowly die and shut down, so you have to replace the vines. 

Now the costs being bandied about really only account for the purchase of the vines.  To replace the vines you’ve got to pull out all the infrastructure: all the water; all the posts, and then go through and replant.

On top of that you’ve got a to wait a good four years before you get any decent crops from the vines –

HENSCHKE: Well that’s extraordinary. If you ended up, say, even wiping out ten per cent of an industry that’s worth two billion and you had to wait four years, you’d be losing a billion dollars.  The figures would be up around that, not allowing for the cost of the labor of replanting all the vineyards.

CALDERSMITH: Oh, it’s potentially devastating.  That’s why we’re aghast at what’s going on.

HENSCHKE: Well let’s go to Louisa Rose now the co-chair of the South Australian Wine Industry Council.  Louisa Rose, how did this come about, that the rules are being relaxed at a time when obviously the wine industry’s got enough problems on its hands with oversupply and low international prices through the high rate of the [Australian]  dollar?

LOUISA ROSE (below):  Hi Ian.  Well look I have to say I don’t know how, particularly how it came about. I’m not up to speed with exactly the history of this.  I know that really it’s the Phylloxera Board that has been you know has been looking at looking at this and it’s my understanding that they went through, you know, a process of trying to – you know, as all government agencies have done – to try to reduce red tape, and this is something that came about after some consultation … and and it has been to my knowledge, you know, available for public sort of scrutiny. 

What I, what I can say, though, is I that know that the Phylloxera Board – and there wasn’t anybody available to speak to you today: I’m afraid they’re they’re travelling but they are meeting on Monday to review the information they’ve been collecting over the past months –

HENSCHKE: And to review the decision?  Is that one of the things they’ll be doing as well?  Because if people like Matt Caldersmith are that upset about it then you would imagine that they would – I mean I understand that the Board is actually funded by grapegrowers’ levys isn’t it?

ROSE:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  And I mean I think that the Phylloxera Board is the grape is the grape industry’s board. So they’re certainly not trying to make decisions that are in any way you know trying to harm the South Australian wine industry.

And since this has this has come up, in the last couple of weeks, that it’s been you know come through the media and Philip’s blog, and they have been consulting very widely with grape growers in the industry, and with the industry regional bodies (5), and they all their work and the information they’ve collected over the past few weeks, and months, I might say, as part of their ongoing work, you know, it’s going to be tabled at the meeting on Monday and they will they will review that as well as the recommend as the recommendations that you were referring to, and then they’ll report back to the Minister with their, their recommendation.

So that’s what I know about the Phylloxera Board and how that’s how they’re they’re addressing this particular issue.  And they can’t really comment I suppose until after they’ve reviewed that.

HENSCHKE.  Okay. So even if they were available they may not have been available.

ROSE:  Well I think it’s a Board thing so it would only have been individuals that could sort of take individual comments so –

The insidious, tireless, indestructible Phylloxera killing vines at Mitchelton, in Victoria's Goulburn Valley.  All the water from here drains into the Murray.  Sorry about the miserable low res - there's a shocking dearth of proper photographs of this sicko micro varmint and the damage it wreaks, even on the Phylloxera Board Goebbels sheets.  They don't like us taking photographs much. It's obviously a bad look!

HENSCHKE: Well Louisa Rose on behalf of the South Australian Wine Industry Council, you’d represent quite a lot of growers, and a large section of the industry.  Do you think then that we should be as strict as ever on this particular, well, creature, this this microbe that could effectively give the State a massive walloping economically?

ROSE:  Oh absolutely and I don’t think anybody, anybody that’s involved in the South Australian wine industry would have any would have any other opinion, other than that we have to be absolutely vigilant on it.

And as I say, I’m not exactly sure of the history of this particular issue but what I do know is that the Phylloxera Board are absolutely on it.

I’m just wondering Ian if you’d if you’d like a little bit of a rundown on the Board itself?

HENSCHKE:  Well I mean my understanding is that the Board is funded by the grapegrowers.  But we’ve seen, for example, we’ve seen the apple, the apple industry being told that because of free trade between countries that they have to allow certain types of apples into the country, and certain types of plants into the country that might put them at risk.  Is this part of the whole free trade thing between states?

ROSE: No. I don’t - that’s not, that’s not my belief.  That’s not that’s not my belief at all. It is quite important because I think the wine industry is actually incredibly in South Australia it’s incredibly proud of having the Phylloxera Board because it’s been around for over a hundred years.  It was established in, I think it was in 1899, with an absolute mission to promote this healthy, free Phylloxera state.

Almost microscopic Phylloxera devouring a hairline vine root.

It was recognized very early, very early in South Australia history that we didn’t have Phylloxera while it while it had come into other states, such as Victoria and New South Wales, so, for over a hundred years, you know, as the industry, and with a lot of government support we’ve been absolutely fighting this, this little aphid, and it is, it’s an aphid as Matt said, so, so you know to keep it out of the of the state.

So it’s, it is an industry board, or an industry-funded board, and it’s governed by legislation, so it’s there not just at the whim of the industry but absolutely embedded in, you know, you know, in the state.

HENSCHKE: Look er –

ROSE: - and it and it does a couple of things and I just want to - if you’ve got time I’d like to share this because I think as a you know, I always, I talk about this all over the world and how exciting it is because it’s something that nowhere else in the world and nowhere else in Australia has.

They do aerial surveillance of every vineyard, oh, every three years.  So they go along, and they take these aerial images, and they compare them with the same image from three years ago, and any changes in the vigour, which can be measured by infra-red and check things like that, they then go out and they ground-proof.  I’ve heard examples of them going to a vineyard and saying “Look, we’re from the Phylloxera Board and we’ve, we’ve um recognized that there’s a little bit of a change in the vigour in your vineyard,” and they’ve gone in and found that there’s a vine that’s been pulled out. (6)

You know, it’s that sensitive.

HENSCHKE: Okay. Well I mean –

ROSE: - they’re they’re looking at this you know every year.

And they also do, as we were already talking about, you know, you know, look after the Phylloxera Act and the laws and the regulations about bringing things in and quarantine and all of that.

HENSCHKE: Alright.  Look, thanks for explaining that Louisa Rose, co-chair of the South Australian Wine Industry Council.  Just quickly back to Philip White then.  Philip White, want do you think the end result of this will be then?  Because clearly there seems to be almost two agendas running here.  One, we want the place to be completely disease-free, and you’ve got aerial surveillance but at the same time you’re relaxing some of the rulings in terms of transport of machinery and soil.

WHITE: Yeah well I beg to disagree with Louisa, with respect.  This is an indication of, or perfect example of the industry not working together.

It was the Victorian nurserymen who’ve lobbied this change, using free trade as an excuse.  They somehow tried to involve the Australian Constitution. (7)

Now, the reality is that in spite of all this incredible technology, in the last decade, there’s been outbreaks of Phylloxera in all these places in Victoria, and there are actually people in South Australia who are suspicious that the damn thing might already be here.

Now I don’t begin to hope that that occurs, or that it’s true.  But the really difficult bit to face is that these nurserymen stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars selling rootstocks if Phylloxera does spread (8).

So I’m not suggesting that they’re doing it deliberately for that purpose, but if Phylloxera were to appear in South Australia, all the arrows would point to these lobbyists from the state where Phylloxera exists, who’ve managed to bully our board into softening its restrictions.

HENSCHKE: Well look Philip White, we’ll be interested talking to the Phylloxera Board after it has its meeting and I imagine that in the meantime there’ll be a lot of lobbying going in the other direction, now that the lobbyists in one way seem to have got their way, I think things’ll go back the other way.  Thanks for your time this morning.

WHITE:  Thank you.  The wires are buzzin!

And furthermore:

Whether we did it before or not, we might as well get this over with now:
Declaration of potential vested interests:

Ian Henschke has a small vineyard in the Adelaide Hills and is related to the Henschkes of Keyneton. He's the announcer of Adelaide's ABC Mornings show.
Matt Caldersmith works for the Hollick family, making wine in Coonawarra.
Louisa Rose is chief winemaker at Yalumba, which owns South Australia’s biggest vine nursery.  This Yalumba Vine Nursery, possibly the second-biggest in Australia, is managed  by Robin Nettelbeck, chief viticulturer for Yalumba. Nettelbeck also happens to be the Chairman of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia.
Philip White loves drinking good wine.    

Yalumba's Oxford Landing Estate Manager, Ashley Ratcliff, pointing, and Robin Nettelbeck, manager of the Yalumba Vine Nursery, South Australia's biggest and perhaps Australia's second-biggest. As a Phylloxera-resistant rootstock vendor, Yalumba Nursery is an almighty money-spinner, while Nettelbeck, renowned for his   Macchiavellian management manoeuvrings. also happens to be the chairman of the Phylloxera Board. Don't laugh.  Sensibly hatted is PIRSA viticulture man Mike McCarthy from the South Australia Research and Development Institute. So where's Disco Rob when you need some bright action?

Current members of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia:

Robin Nettelbeck, Chairman
Pete Balnaves, Deputy Chair
Geoff Raven
Ashley Chabrel
Ashley Keegan
Cassandra Collins
Elise Heyes
Narelle Borgmeyer
Raegan Noon

Most of these people are unknown to me.  Please let me know any details which may be helpful in further research: leave a message below, or send to whiteswine@hotmail.com


(1)  “Around Australia phylloxera is clearly being mobilised. Previously confined to North Eastern Victoria Phylloxera is on the march ... Phylloxera was first detected in Australia in 1877, in Geelong, and was responsible for the near destruction of the Victorian wine industry in the 1880s. Until fairly recently it was confined to small areas in central Victoria (Nagambie, Upton, Mooroopna) and northeast Victoria (Rutherglen, King Valley), in southeast New South Wales (Corowa) and in Camden and Cumberland near Sydney. However, there have been several detections in central Victoria in the past 10 years (Buckland Valley 2003, Ovens Valley 2003, Murchison 2006, Yarra Valley 2006, Mansfield 2010).” James Hook

(2)  The Australian wine industry is not what it was.  Desperate problems with irrigation water supply, floods, totally unpredictable weather patterns, the Australian dollar going back up to where it obviously should be, and an international oversupply of grapes has played havoc with the balance sheets, particularly of the big companies, whether public or private.  This has forced many to regroup their corporate philosophies, and in the lunge to remain viable, quite dramatically restructure their businesses.  At the risk of compromising flavour and quality, this includes the prophylactic planting of vineyards on Phylloxera-resistant rootstock, to avoid more trouble. It has also forced centralization of processing like never before, a desperate drive to automation, and the sale of the many satellite, or regional wineries where grapes were traditionally vinified closer to their source.  So large winemakers with Victorian vineyards, or which buy Victorian or New South Wales fruit, have an obvious desire to limit unnecessary restrictions on the efficient transport of grapes, to begin with.  As these giants can usually afford to graft nearly everything to rootstock, as they frequently own giant vine propagation nurseries, they do not suffer from Phylloxera damage; they suffer only from the inconvenience of the restrictive Phylloxera Board regulations.  Jacob’s Creek (Pernod Ricard), Wolf Blass (Treasury) and Yalumba (S. Smith & Sons) are examples.  Richard Hamilton (grape boss at Fosters, owner of Wolf Blass) was chair of the Phylloxera Board previous to Robin Nettelbeck (Yalumba). 

(3)  Since 2009, the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia (PGIBSA) seems to have lost much of its power to the bureaucrats of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA), whose Minister they answer to.  In that year, however, when the current act was passed, the initial ruling to monitor imports of grapes and grape products into South Australia by transport manifests was soon dropped as there were too many manifests.

(4)  “If the South Australian Wine Industry is serious about preventing a Phylloxera outbreak then shouldn’t ALL interstate transfer of grapes or vineyard machinery be banned? We should be increasing the measures of protection not decreasing them.  I am very concerned about the relaxed attitude that seems to be descending on this matter. I am unsure what I can do as an individual but I offer my support to you wholeheartedly.”  Justin Lane, Alpha Box & Dice

“The national body, the National Phylloxera Technical Reference Group has changed the classification of the Heathcote region which will allow importation of grapes and grape material from there. However we have seen the spread of Phylloxera to new areas in Victoria over recent times and, as it takes up to 10 years for Phylloxera to be apparent in vine decline, Phylloxera may already be in these areas which will be allowed to send grapes to the Barossa for prcessing ... The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia has the brief to ensure that prococals exist to pretect South Australia from the pest. However a number of members of the South Australian board and also members of the National Board making the changes. The South Australian Board is funded by a levy on growers but how can we expect them to protect us if the are members of the group putting us at risk ... The Chairman of the national body, who is also a member of the SA Board, was quoted as saying that the protection for South Australia has been strengthened and that all people importing grape material need to register with the State Government and will need to comply with the standards ... There is sure to be a lot more to be said about this situation. It is a very very serious matter.” Anon., Barossa

“The weakening of the state's phylloxera protection measures are even worse than first thought, and as highlighted by Whitey, Wayne Farquhar and Drew Noon it should be ringing alarm bells for all old-vine growers throughout South Australia (and all wine lovers who value these drops made from pre-Phylloxera age vines). It's the sort of thing that deserves a full-on protest outside parliament, it's that serious ... How the hell can the powers that be significantly weaken the rules protecting our grape and wine industry from Phylloxera without consulting or informing the state’s primary stakeholders in this area, the grape growers and wine producers? Are these idiots completely unaware of the history of the recent movement of this destructive pest into the Yarra Valley in 2006, or are their heads too far up their own arses to care? … Once this threat appears in this state that's it, it can't be treated, it cannot be cured, it will very probably destroy our oldest vines first and take away the one truly unique thing we can promote on a world scale - a large resource of old vines on their own natural rootstock (as opposed to American rootstock that has to be grafted to in Phylloxera afflicted regions). A small example of what we stand to lose - Hill of Grace, Mt Edelstone, Kay Bros Block 6, Penfolds Block 42, Wendouree, etc, not to mention the many old vineyards that haven't had their name on a label but have been equally important in making our top wines and establishing our reputation here and overseas - imagine if the lot were gone? The recent efforts to increase the value of what we sell overseas based on terroir and uniqueness can be flushed down the toilet, and we're back left competing with the likes of Chile and Argentina in the race for the bottom, wall-to-wall bulk booze to line the grocers' shelves labelled as "sunshine in a bottle" with a critter label and a $2 price tag. Game over ... A couple of years ago I remember talking with Franco D'Anna and being shocked when he said they were grafting all of their vines on to American rootstock, and his comments that it's only a matter of time before everyone in the Yarra Valley had to do the same because it was in Fosters (now Treasury's) vineyards and eventually it will be everywhere. Perhaps that's something Gail Gago should have thought of before defending the slackening of these protections, if Phylloxera makes its way into South Australia it will eventually strike her husband's most valuable Penfolds vineyards, no matter what security measures they take." Ian Hickman

"This fight is never over it seems. But we can never stop trying. Ever. South Australian wineries never talk about the fact that the wines you taste are some of the only vineyards in the world that taste as they should - from own rooted vines. My little (4 acres) own rooted Primitivo / Zinfandel block is a wonder to winemakers from the arguable ‘home’ of zin - California. If we lose this uniqueness, we lose all. And we don't even talk about how amazing this is. We just accept it. We can't accept our good fortune and hard work of 113 years - we must honor this bequest and fight for it." Dudley Brown, Inkwell Vineyard

"At recent Phylloxera meetings held in South Australia by the PGIBSA, Dr. Kevin Powell Australia’s top researcher into Phylloxera said that the Phylloxera outbreak in the Fosters Vineyard in the Yarra Valley probably occurred in 2001 and was only visible in 2006 a total of 5 years from infestation to detection. Under current protocols a PRZ can gain full PEZ status only after 3 years of surveys to detect Phylloxera, and new emerging regions after only one year, yet Dr Kevin Powell is indicating minimum of 5 years or longer which would also depend upon the soil type, moisture and temperature ... So Phylloxera could have potentially crossed from neighboring effected areas into Heathcote/Bendigo regions and not have been detected yet, and while they have PEZ status under the slackened measures heavy equipment and grapes could travel into South Australia without compulsory inspection and cleaning at the border. For all we know, with the complete lack of checks it may already be here and is biding its time to announce its presence in another five years. Anyone in the wine industry and wine lovers in general should be outraged and horrified by these decisions by the Phylloxera board?” Wayne B Farquhar (upper left, with family), Barossa vine nurseryman at Elite Nursery, owner Frill Hill Vineyards - Home to 145 year old Grenache and 118 year old Riesling

“BIG thumbs up on this one. You definitely have our support- in our view the enormous risk to SA’s own rooted vines far outweighs the desire for ‘easier’ equipment/grape movement.  We see our old vines as one of our most precious assets. Please let me know if there is anything that I/we can do to assist. Corrina Wright, winemaker, Oliver’s Taranga (170 years of family grapegrowing in McLaren Vale)

Corrina Wright, left with sister Briony Oliver and father Don: this family's been growing grapes on the same McLaren Vale land for 170 years - photo Philip White.

“We applaud Victoria’s efforts to survey its wine regions for phylloxera but we cannot accept the claims that these new interstate areas are phylloxera free ... As noted Phylloxera is a tricky problem that can take several years to be detected ... The surveys provide a guide only and are not a guarantee. Opening our border to free trade with these regions is not worth the risk with South Australia’s old vines.” Glen Harminson, Angaston Vineyards

“We all know phylloxera would devastate our old vineyards and probably a lot of livelihoods along the way if it got into SA ... I think we are being somewhat polite about the whole thing and have taken our (SA Industry and quite obviously Vic. - All inclusive) foot off the pedal for the last 10 years ... In more recent times lobbying from SA has been ineffective which has resulted in us getting to where we are now, This strongly points towards the Phylloxera Board which seems to be wanting to please all parties ... This will be the downfall of our current Phylloxera free status … I think we need to have a strong, well distributed and understood message in our own region(s) to give us more strength.”  Michael Paxton, Paxton Wines

(5)  The Phylloxera Board is required to have Regional Committees (Phylloxera Act Section 15.1), but they have shut these down.  DRINKSTER cannot understand how how they managed this.  If these committees still existed, growers wouldn’t have to be learning about threats to their livelihood on this blog, which is still the only journal in the country to be running this treacherous story. This battle will be won only when healthy communication via regional committees is re-established, and the South Australian regulations dependably and fiercely protect this state from imported grapes, machinery and other phylloxera risk vectors.  (Remember 2009 when it all got swept under the carpet).

(6) While the precision of aerial surveillance is admirable, it obviously cannot detect Phylloxera in vineyards grafted to Phylloxera-resistant rootstock – vineyards of the type developed on a vast scale by the big wineries who can afford such luxury and compromised flavour, and whom are the most likely to be shipping whole fruit and plant material across borders.  Vineyards in very good country adjacent to places where Phylloxera is extant are obvious choices for rootstock viticulture. Aerial surveillance can only detect Phylloxera once it has infected vineyards on their own roots. Once that’s happened, the grower has no choice but to uproot the vineyard and replant it with grafted rootstocks which must be bought from a big nursery. The Phylloxera never goes away.

Kym Ludvigsen, right, picks up his Distinguished Services Award from Wines of Victoria ... his 2010 piece below, published in the Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker may be a clue to why they admire him!

(7) “In recent years, Victoria has made huge leaps in managing Phylloxera … The Victorian wine industry worked for years to convince the Victorian government of the advantages that would flow … The discussion was successful because it was based on realistic aims and sound business sense, including issues linked to market access, the movement of machinery, nursery materials, grapes, grape products, and elimination of conditions that resulted in restriction of trade between the states … [South Australian restrictions] are particularly galling issues for grapegrowers and wine industry contractors from Victoria, who see business opportunities in other states but are unable to easily access them … this is an intolerable situation requiring attention by the national and state governments … One wonders if South Australia doesn’t trust the Victorian government officials and certification processes … It is becoming increasingly plain that South Australia is acting to protect its grape industry and is denying market access to contractors, second-hand machinery dealers, nurseries, wineries and grape growers from other states ... there is no logic in their actions.”  Kym Ludvigsen, Ludvigsen Viticulture Services, Grampians, Victoria, chair, Australian Vine Improvement Association (vine nurserymen's lobby), Treasurer, Grampians Winemakers Inc; Victorian Regional Grape Supply Manager, Southcorp, 1994-02, writing in The Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker, October 2010.

(8) Grape vines grafted to Phylloxera-resistant rootstocks cost about $5.50 per cutting to purchase from a nursery.  Vines are commonly planted at about 2,000 cuttings per hectare.


Anonymous said...


This is some of your most important work, and the industry will thank you for it in time.

I found the comments from Kym Ludvigsen, Ludvigsen Viticulture Services most enlightening.

"One wonders if South Australia doesn’t trust the Victorian government officials and certification processes..."

As Mr Hook, Noon and the Phylloxera boards own website shows, Victoria's record with Phylloxera in the last ten years is poor.

Lets hope the next ten years don't cause a repeat in SA.

Trade opportunities for Victorian nurseries and contractors is not worth the risk.

Anonymous said...

That'd be a better tv show than Flacon Crest!

BLOKE said...

they cant lose can they because just the fear this spreads makes people buy nmore rootstocks

Max said...

Phyloxera getting into SA is an unavoidable enevitability, regardless of the efforts of anyone.
However. It is still in the best interests of everyone to be as vigilant as possible.

Ian Hickman said...

Kym Ludvigsen, the Chairman of the Vine Improvement Association has had a good whinge over at the ABC now that the Phylloxera Board seem to be reconsidering their shocking decision. A vested interest maybe?