VINES OF THE FUTURE: Stanthorpe State High School’s Amy Colyer, Makayla Doughty, Maddison Ditton and Sirromet chief winemaker Mike Hayes at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism vineyard on Thursday. Students begun planting a brand new variety.
VINES OF THE FUTURE: Stanthorpe State High School’s Amy Colyer, Makayla Doughty, Maddison Ditton and Sirromet chief winemaker Mike Hayes at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism vineyard on Thursday. Students begun planting a brand new variety.

Risk aversion: Students aid wine industry in climate fight

NORWAY has entered into the wine game

The dark, snowy Scandinavian nation, famed for fjords, mountains and author Roald Dahl, has begun producing top shelf wines.

According to Granite Belt wine guru Mike Hayes, it’s another symptom of climate changes’ impact on the industry.

“It’s like the Arctic having a surf lifesaving club,” he said.

“So for those people who aren’t climate change believers, perhaps they should jump on the internet and buy some Norwegian wine.

“If we’d said that 25 year’s ago they’d have locked us up.”

As one of the most nuanced and sensitive of all agricultural products, the winegrowing world is having to adapt to a changing landscape.

Stanthorpe has a big role to play in that change Mr Hayes said.

Last Thursday, Stanthorpe State High School students begun planting a brand new variety.

So new, it doesn’t even have a name yet.

“Queensland Wine Industry Association along with the CSIRO of South Australia are trialing the first batch of hybrid varieties.

“They’ve been specifically designed to combat powdery mildew and downy mildew.

“These varieties have had a gene implanted in there to make them stronger and therefore we can put it into many other regions.

“The vines will be grown, the grapes will be harvested and we’ll make small batch wine with the students here at Stanthorpe State High and we’ll put them out for consumer and industry evaluation,” Mr Hayes said.

The students have a pivotal role to play as they’ll be tasked with collecting all the data as the variety progresses.

“It’s exciting to have this on our doorstep. There’s only been three or four other places selected to do this.

“It’s another addition to the Vineyard of the Future (at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism) and a nice addition to the vineyard where we still have about 80 varieties here combating climate change.”

If successful, the variety could fill the void Mr Hayes expects will be left from other varieties that could succumb to the affects of climate change.

“Every vineyard will be changing their practices,” he predicts.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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