Research aims to help grapegrowers deal with climate change challenges

A research team from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) is using climate science to provide the Australian grape and wine community with information on dealing with climate change.

The team has provided tools and practical management options to help the industry face the challenges of short-term climate cycles and long-term climate change.

Led by Dr Rebecca Harris, the project employs a multi-disciplinary approach to integrate climate science, species distribution modelling and viticultural expertise.

Dr Tom Remenyi, a member of the UTAS project, said inter-annual climate variability has always posed a challenge to the wine sector. 

READ: Australia’s winegrape crush in 2018 just above long term average 

“Spring frost, heatwaves at flowering or just prior to harvest and bushfires can inflict large financial losses,” he said.

The incidence of such events was projected to increase with ongoing climate change, said Remenyi.

Discussions with grapegrowers and winemakers had highlighted the need for fine-scale regional projections across Australia and forecasts of inter-annual and decadal climate variability driven by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

The team hopes to identify how the weather risks for all wine regions may change into the future across a range of time-scales.

The sector is already highly adaptive and innovative, driven largely by an existing climate that is highly variable, said Remenyi.

These tools aim to help grapegrowers and winemakers choose adaptive strategies with the best long-term returns, he said. 

The UTAS project aims to provide both short-term predictions and long-term projections of climate across Australia, with a focus on regional climate indices tailored for the grape and wine community. 

The goal includes identifying weather risks, particularly important to grapegrowing within different wine regions.

The project also aims to develop region-specific indices of ‘heatwave’ and variety-specific indices of heat accumulation.

The team has also produced a tool that allows the rapid comparison of any region now, with any other region globally into the future. 

This allows users to identify what the vineyard conditions are going to be similar to into the future.

Remenyi said improved knowledge of conditions expected over the next decades could help growers and winemakers position themselves to take advantage of new opportunities and markets.

Independent breweries are growing the beverage industry across Australia

Independent breweries are growing the beverage industry across Australia with new facilities and partnerships.

Australian independent brewery, Tribe Breweries, has taken on Mornington Peninsula Brewery through a partnership structure.

Matt Bebe, co-founder and CEO at Mornington, will become a shareholder in Tribe as a result of the partnership and will remain at the helm to lead the Mornington team.

All employees of Mornington will continue in their current roles as the brewery looks to grow its reach both domestically and internationally.

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The partnership will increase Mornington’s brewing capacity and allow the launching of new brews more rapidly.

Bebe said Mornington reached a point where it had to make some strategic decisions about its future.

“Joining Tribe is a great decision for Mornington as we can have our cake and eat it too; continue to be both local and independent while also part of a larger collective group that can provide benefits across the board,” said Bebe.

Anton Szpitalak, co-founder and CEO of Tribe Breweries said Tribe aspired to become Australia’s number one independent brewer and it was firmly committed to working with artisans to realise their dreams.

“Mornington fits perfectly into that vision and with the brewery joining the tribe we take a big step forward on our journey,” said Szpitalak.

Later this year, Tribe Breweries’ much anticipated state-of-the-art $35 million craft beverage production facility will open in Goulburn.

Meanwhile, Brick Lane Brewing Co. has launched a new brewery in Dandenong.

Brick Lane will offer other breweries an opportunity to use its state-of-the-art brewhouse to create their own beers.

Head Brewer Jon Seltin said the company wanted to give breweries the opportunity to bring their wonderful beers to a wider national and international audience.

“We are excited about working with some of the wonderful, talented and creative brewers out there to get more of their beers out there into the world,” said Seltin.

Brick Lane has incorporated several energy reduction, recovery and storage technologies into the Dandenong brewery, including a highly efficient vapour condenser which reclaims energy from steam produced during the brewing process.

Brick Lane will employ 60 workers in its brewhouse, producing 10,000 bottles and 15,000 cans per hour – a capacity of more than 100,000 pints of beer every day.

Urban Alley Brewery has started production in a new centre in Melbourne’s docklands.

It is located next to a brew-pub that is opening its doors in September 2018 and has a capacity of 700 people.

The 25-hectare-litre brewhouse is set to produce 2 million litres per year.

Urban Alley Brewery is also using biodegradable six pack rings (E6PR), which are made from spent grain.

 

 

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