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TAS Country : January 26th 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012 Tasmanian Country 7 News Sparkling start to wine industry year PIONEER: Andrew Pirie helped to kick-start an industry which has grown to 250 vineyards. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN from the VINE Graeme Phillips WHILE 2011 presented many of Tas- mania's grape growers and winema- kers with a challenging vintage, the year was an unprecedented success for the industry with the state's rieslings, sparkling wines, pinots and sauvignon blancs harvesting a total of 17 trophies at domestic and international wine shows, including, of course, the Jimmy Watson Trophy for Nick Glaetzer's 2010 Shiraz. And, if those trophies and the Jimmy Watson were the highlights for 2011, this year takes off on a high note next week with Hobart hosting 300 leading wine scientists, academics, writers, winemakers and marketers from across the globe at one of the wine world's most important events, the International Cool Climate Symposium for Viticulture and Oenology. Back in the '50s, Jean Miguete and Claudio Alcorso might have thought they were planting vines to make wine for their own enjoyment. Instead they, and other pioneers like Graham Wilt- shire, Andrew Pirie, George Park, Bill Casamaty, John Austwick and Geoff Bull, kick-started an industry that has grown to today's total of more than 250 vineyards in seven recognised regions of the state with almost 1500ha of vines producing a record 10,000 tonnes of fruit in 2008 and 8000 tonnes last year. In the production stakes, pinot noir and chardonnay continue to lead the way with 3425 and 2164 tonnes respect- ively followed by sauvignon blanc (776 tonnes) and with pinot gris (517 tonnes) showing a big increase to almost overtake the production of riesling (550 tonnes). While the state still produces less than half of 1 per cent of Australia's total wine production, the recent Wine Australia's 2011 Market Insight report shows that the average prices paid for purchases of Tasmanian riesling, char- donnay and pinot noir grapes were the highest in the country. For riesling, the price for Tasmanian fruit averaged more than double the next highest in the country; for chardonnay it was 44 per cent higher; and 12 per cent higher for pinot noir. The first Tasmanian Wine Show, in 1991, attracted a total of 42 entries. This week in Launceston, close to 550 wines are vying for trophies and medals at the 22nd show. But the effects of industry are much broader than just grapes, med- als and prices. Wineries and established wine routes, with 44 cellar doors and vineyard restaurants, are now major tourist attractions and the industry has brought investment into the state from some big mainland players as well as from France, Switzerland, the US, Britain and China. It is a major source of rural employ- ment; and, since 2005, UTAS has graduated or has studying nine PhDs, one masters and 12 honours projects in viticulture and oenology, the number in 2009 exceeding that of Charles Sturt University in Adelaide. The university also has two viticul- tural research fellows, Dr Jo Jones and Dr Fiona Kerslake, and senior research fellow Dr Kathy Evans as well as an industry development officer based at Wine Tasmania. Tasmania was chosen for the first Australian Wine Research Institute node nationally, which is based at UTAS, with co-funding and support provided to AWRI senior research scientist Dr Bob Darnbergs. And the upcoming symposium in Hobart will see the international re- lease of the results of a three-year, $1.8 million Tasmanian research project into sparkling wine and pinot noir viticulture and winemaking. It's a good story and a long way from the days when Miguete and Alcorso enjoyed a glass or two. And it's a story that Tony Walker tells in his PhD treatise submitted to UTAS this month in the form of a fascinating and colourful history of the Tasmanian industry from 1823 that is likely to be commercially published later this year. Swamp harrier nest saved Bill Scott-Young From page 6 enough to give them some protection,'' he said. ''I've worked out it prob- ably cost me $60 in lost seed, which is not a lot to lose to be able to save the nest.'' The nest has two swamp harrier chicks which, thanks to Mr Scott-Young's help, are thriving. Mr Scott-Young said swamp harriers preferred to nest in large areas of long grass, which unfor- tunately often ended up being grass seed or hay paddocks. ''We get them out this way quite a bit, but I wouldn't mind betting there are less of them around because a few of them are killed in hay paddocks or grass seed when the paddocks are mowed,'' he said. ''Most of the time if you keep an eye out though, when the parent birds are disturbed and fly up out of the grass, you can soon work out where the nest is.'' Mr Scott-Young said the birds were an important part of the eco-system and helped keep down the number of rabbits and oth- er rodents. Swamp harriers are found in large areas across the country and nest dur- ing spring and summer. The female harriers normally look after the nest while the male har- riers hunt and provide her with food. Each year Mr Scott- Young grows about 75ha of grass seed crops on his property near Poatina. He grows grass seed as part of a mixed cropping and sheep operation which includes about 4000 Coop worth ewes. 2008782-110318 ARRANGE A DEMONSTRATION TODAY! Phone Philip or Ruth Paterson on 0428 583320 www.moretonhill.com The HE-VA Disc Roller is a High-speed, high output ma- chine for farms with many hectares of work to cover in a short space of time. 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January 13th 2012
February 2nd 2012