What practices in the vineyard lead to the production of wines that consistently win medals?
Context and purpose of the study – High quality wines start in the vineyard however little is known about the role vineyard management practices play in this quality outcome. Gold medals and well-known regionality increase consumer preference for purchasing a wine. An increase in the former will certainly also drive an increase in the latter and therefore practices in production that consistently lead to gold medal winning wines will improve both the marketability of the region and its products. It is argued that vinification is the main driver of wine quality and in fact, the presence of some oak compounds is a well-known consumer and expert mark of quality. However, only select wines are vinified in oak and therefore the original grape quality at the winery door must in fact drive all further downstream vinification decisions. Grape composition is also an important driver of flavour and aroma in a final wine. Management practices are able to alter berry chemistry as well as the concentration of enzymes and compounds that act as precursor to many esters affecting wine volatile compounds. This study aims to identify vineyard practices associated with the consistent production of high-quality wine-styles as defined by consistently earning medals at the Barossa Wine Show.
Materials and methods – Twenty years of results from the Riesling and Shiraz categories from the Barossa wine show were analysed for consistent award winning wines. Consistent was defined as a wine that was awarded a medal for at least three successive vintages one of each was a Gold medal. Growers were then asked to respond to a survey to gather information on their viticulture practices including pruning, trellising, nutrition, soil health, pest and disease management, mid-row and under-vine management, irrigation, canopy management and harvest management. This data will be analysed for commonalities.
Results – Shiraz and Riesling wines that have consistently earned medals over a period of 20 years at the Barossa Wine Show have been identified. Growers are being surveyed and their specific vineyard management practices recorded. The analysis of these responses will be presented and aims to identify commonalities in vineyard management. A matrix, linking vineyard practices and wine medals will be created and deployed to the wine industry. Growers in the Barossa Valley will then be able to make more informed management decisions to produce grapes that leads to consistent quality wines. Findings from this study will also create opportunities to validate the matrix in other regions.
Issue: GiESCO 2019
1 School of Agriculture Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, PMB1 Glen Osmond, SA, Australia, 5064 2Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production
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viticultural practices, medal winning wines.