1. Tell us about your experience in grape growing?

I have been in the industry for 20 years. After completing a degree in Viticulture at CSU (Wagga Wagga) I spent a few years working at Seppelts Great Western, Victoria. I then moved to Margaret River, WA where I was the Vineyard Manager for Lenton Brae and Deep Woods Estate. I moved to SA in 2010 and joined the team at Grosset in 2012.

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

Having managed the Grosset vineyards organically for the past seven years I was interested in quantifying the benefits of no chemical inputs within the vineyard ecosystem.

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

I want to explore new techniques and systems to manage undervine. For example, will planting small perennial shrubs in the vine rows be useful for insect habitat and will it provide benefits to soil microbes etc?

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

Yes – every year for the past 10 years we have planted 1000 native tree/shrubs at our Springvale site. We have also fenced off a significant portion of the property to regenerate indigenous vegetation.

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

I think there are many factors, but in particular, having a functioning ecosystem so that there’s no need for chemical treatments to target a specific pest or alleviate a nutritional deficiency. Not only would this benefit the immediate environment but also the people who live/work on the property.

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

Increasing the diversity of the vineyard system. Perhaps re-thinking trellis layout so as to utilise undervine area to grow another horticultural crop.