Environmental Champions of the Barossa
Barossa’s wine grape growers are forging ahead with modern viticultural practices to prepare for the changing climate – highlighted with the first launch of a six-part video series that demonstrates Barossa’s environmental best practices.
The video series, entitled Environmental Champions of the Barossa is an initiative of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA), which represents Barossa’s 550 independent grape growers and 170 wine companies.
Nicki Robins, BGWA viticultural development officer, said being able to deliver a succinct, simple message was important.
“The issue of climate change is so big and scary – and the amount of information so overwhelming – people sometimes just switch off,” Robins said. “Our strategy of working with all our community to better prepare for a changing climate is to work from the ‘ground up’ and engage people through inspirational stories.
“If the actions of certain growers can affect change in the behaviour of their neighbours or peers, then that will help build the momentum for the good of the region.”
Funded by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, the video series was launched in July 2016 at the board’s session ‘Smarter Farming on Adelaide’s Doorstep’ at the Climate Adaptation Conference hosted by NCCARF and CSIRO at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
Robins said the conference illustrated how the climate is changing.
“It’s getting hotter, drier, and weather events are becoming more extreme,” she said. “Barossa wine grape growers are seeing these changes every year; every season is unpredictable. We’ve seen normal spring rainfall only four times in the past 12 years, and some growers have experienced spring frost three years in a row. Growers are responding by improving the ‘resilience’ of their vineyards to mitigate the highs and lows of these extreme conditions.”
The video series, filmed by renowned photographer, Dragan Radocaj, featured viticulturist Prue Henschke, Barossa wine grape growers Anthony Scholz, Evan Gobell and Sam Dahlitz, Eden Hall viticulturist Dan Falkenberg, and Barossa-based SARDI principal research scientist Dr Michael McCarthy.
“Growers are improving their soil health with mulch and compost applications. They’re using less water, more efficiently, monitoring soil moisture, capturing and storing solar energy and water, applying vine sunscreens, trialling alternative varieties, and planting native and other non-competitive grasses and plants in the mid-row to improve water and nutrient infiltration. Many of these actions have the added benefit of enhancing biodiversity, reducing tractor time, diesel and chemicals applied in the vineyard,” Robins said.
The videos tell each growers’ environmental ‘story’ in a two to three minute timeframe, and will be available on the Barossa website www.barossa.com and BGWA’s own website www.barossadirt.com
BGWA has also recently joined McLaren Vale’s Sustainable Australia Winegrowing program to further record, benchmark and communicate Barossa’s positive actions for the natural environment.
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View all Environmental Champions of the Barossa videos here