A web-based collection of interactive maps that shows the location of every grape variety in South Australia is being hailed as rare, if not unique in the world.
The virtual atlas of information – recently made available to the wine industry and the public alike – is a by-product of the pest control work conducted by the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of SA (PGIBSA).
“This is highly valuable industry information, it’s definitely an Australian first and so far we’ve heard of nothing else like it in any other wine-producing country,” says Board CEO Alan Nankivell.
“Because you can see a state-wide snapshot, and drill down to individual regions or varieties, the maps are a great resource, not just for winemakers searching for tonnage but for industry strategists, investors, wine marketers and researchers.”
The PGIBSA is required by law to gather regular and detailed data from all vineyard owners and grapegrowers to help prevent and manage outbreaks of vineyard diseases and pests, including the sap-sucking phylloxera insect that has decimated vineyards and wine regions around the world.
With help from Brisbane-based technology company Precision Management Solutions, it has turned its database into a series of interactive maps and accompanying lists for each of the 18 official geographical wine regions of SA.
Two hundred wine and table grape varieties are identified and the quantity of each –down to plantings of less than one hectare – is listed by region.
“This resource has the potential to help drive wine industry strategy in South Australia,” Mr Nankivell says. “We can now see exactly how much of every variety is under vine, when we might be in danger of over-supply or where there is potential for something different or new to be exploited.
“A national database like this would be gold. It would enable the industry as a whole to monitor, forecast and plan for international competitive advantage.”
Internationally respected winemaker, author and judge James Halliday concurs. He has told the Board he finds the maps very useful and says all states should produce them.
University of Adelaide Professor of Economics, Kym Anderson, whose team spent a year gathering information for a recently released global database of wine varieties, says he found nothing to match the detail of the PGIBSA information and nothing so easily accessible.
“If it’s not unique, it’s certainly rare, particularly for less well known or emerging grape varieties,” he said. “It’s available to anyone who wants it, and you can drill right down to .01 of a hectare of a particular variety. It’s a very valuable asset.”
The maps and statistics are updated in “real time” as soon as growers upload changes to their vineyard records via the Board’s password-protected Grape Industry web kiosk.
Mr Nankivell says winemakers around the country have used PGIBSA data for sourcing grapes in the past but the online version was making it much easier.
“Quite apart from being valuable to the industry, this information is great for settling arguments between wine buffs. It proves that the Coonawarra is currently the biggest producer of cabernet sauvignon and that the Barossa grows the most tempranillo, as well as the most shiraz.”
The series of interactive maps and supporting data is available on the PGIBSA website at www.phylloxera.com.au. Grapes and their quantity can be searched by region or variety, lists have been compiled of the most prevalent and less common varieties in each region, and the area of all plantings is recorded by hectare. Detailed rootstock information, vital for pest control, is also available.
For privacy reasons, the Board cannot publish the names of vineyard owners but anyone wishing to contact a grower or owner can contact its office and staff will try to facilitate introductions or discussions.
Visit: www.phylloxera.com.au and select interactive maps from the homepage.
Phone: Alan Nankivell, CEO, Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of SA, (08) 83620488
Email: [email protected]