Consideration For Wine Industry During Autumn Prescribed Burns

Consideration For Wine Industry During Autumn Prescribed Burns

South Australia Minister for Sustainability Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter

Grape Harvest A Consideration During Autumn Prescribed Burns In South Australia

Victor P Taffa

Autumn prescribed burning programme is being carefully planned to take into account the needs and concerns of the wine growing industry.

This follows advice provided from some industry members to Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter that smoke from prescribed burns has the potential to taint grapes and impact the quality of the harvest.

“South Australia’s food and wine industries are a vital part of the state’s economy, and that’s why we have listened carefully to wine industry concerns and will work closely with them to ensure that grapes continue to be of premium quality.” Minister for Sustainability Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter said.

In response to these concerns, the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) is reviewing and amending proposed burns that may pose a significant risk to vineyards in the surrounding area.

Autumn prescribed burning programme will be delayed in some areas as a result of these requests from the wine industry.

“DEWNR will communicate with vignerons in the vicinity of proposed prescribed burns to ensure that potential risks are minimised as much as possible.” Mr. Hunter said.

DEWNR is working closely with industry leaders and the Bureau of Meteorology to carefully assess the situation on a case by case basis and manage risks that may occur.

 

Background

There is some evidence to suggest that exposure to heavy or prolonged smoke events may affect grape quality.

Unusually wet seasonal conditions, particularly in the Mount Lofty Ranges, have caused the autumn prescribed burn season to be brought forward. However those same conditions have also delayed the grape harvest, causing a more significant overlap in timing than in previous years.

This issue has been successfully managed in the past and smoke taint has not occurred as a result of DEWNR’s prescribed burning programme.

A balanced and considered approach is being taken, so that any amendments to the prescribed burning programme do not significantly increase the bushfire risk.

Primary objective of prescribed burning is to reduce fuels to prevent the spread of bushfire and impact on communities and the environment including providing earlier containment options for firefighters.