Courtesy of @Good_Drop, I noticed a new project in Western Australia to trial alternative grape varieties for warmer climates. There are 20 varieties in scope for the trials, with WA Government funding, and management by students from the WA College of Agriculture at Harvey.
Media release follows:
Fri 05 November, 2010
Warmer testing ground for alternative wine grapes
Portfolio: Agriculture and Food
Vignerons of the present and future have come together to trial new wine grape varieties for Western Australia.
Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said the trial of about 20 varieties was being planted and managed by the students at the WA College of Agriculture in Harvey.
The plantings will be under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and Food, on behalf of the WA Vine Improvement Association.
Mr Redman said the trial would examine how both new and existing wine grape varieties performed in warmer growing areas.
“The grapes being planted include new varieties from southern Europe suited to warmer Mediterranean climates,” he said.
These include Savagnin blanc, Durif, Tannat, Lagrein, Pinot Gris, Fer and Alicante Bouschet (France); Arneis, Brachetto, Fiano, Dolcetto and Pignoletto (Italy); Vermentino (Sardinia); Harslevelu and Kadarka (Hungary ); Sciacarello (Corsica); Graciano (Spain); Saperavi (Georgia); Scheurebe (Germany); and Chambourcin (French-American).
“The information about performance and management gained from this trial will also be relevant to similar warmer growing areas in WA, like the Geographe and Peel regions, as well as the Swan Valley and Gingin,” the Minister said.
The trial builds on the significant gains made by the long-standing alternative wine grape variety trial at the Manjimup Horticulture Research Institute, which evaluates cultivars suited to cool climates.
The WA Vine Improvement Association initiated the idea of the Harvey trial which will eventually provide for a source block of grapevine material available for industry.
Mr Redman said it was important for industry to continue exploring, adopting and adapting new wine grape varieties for WA to provide for a sustainable future.
“Traditional French varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc remain the mainstay of our industry but consumers are always looking for something new,” he said.
“New wine styles, blends and varieties can provide an edge in the market.”