1. Tell us about your experience in grape growing?

I have a degree in Viticulture (Ag Science) and have been managing vineyards in McLaren Vale for over 15 years.

2. What prompted you to want to be involved in the EcoVineyards project?

I was interested in the work that Dr Mary Retallack had been doing. We had undertaken some revegetation work on our vineyards in the past and the EcoVineyard project looked to extend this work further.

I want to use the natural environment to our advantage and reduce the amount of chemical intervention used throughout our vineyards. I would like to be able use our learnings as part of this project, to help other growers establish their own EcoVineyards in the future.

3. What do you hope to achieve from your involvement in the EcoVineyards project?

To me it is about leaving the landscape in better shape than you found it in. It is about leaving a positive lasting legacy for the next generation. I want to see how far we can push the boundaries of using the natural environment to aid our vineyard management.

4. Have you tried to increase biodiversity on your property before undertaking this project? If so, how?

We have removed woody weeds (olives), we have also undertaken a revegetation project on our boundary line with our neighbour’s, working with the McLaren Vale Biodiversity Project.

5. Why do you think it is so important for growers to try and build natural resilience on their property?

By improving our biodiversity within the vineyard, we can then hopefully reduce the chemical & mechanical intervention required to control pests.

6. Looking to the future, what do you see as a new ‘normal’ for grape growers on their properties?

To incorporate a natural biodiverse ecosystem of natives within their vineyards, these could be large or just small pockets of land, which is unsuitable for vineyard production, but could bring so much habitat for beneficials. Also, growers being able to find undervine vegetation that suits their own unique vineyard environment, this would hopefully improve weed and pest management.