Drowning post-Brexit woes with Aussie wine

GLOBAL WINE RI Farm
CHALLENGE: New Zealand winegrowers facing climate challenge. (Photo: Viveno)

AUSTRALIA has inked an

agreement with the Un-ited Kingdom to keep Australian wine flowing north post-Brexit.

Nearly a third of Australian wine exports go to the UK, worth A$380 million (£211.6 million) a year.

“The agreement will secure the benefits of the existing deal with the EU so they continue with the UK after leaving the union,” Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says.

The agreement on wine exports to the EU continues.

The UK is Australia’s top wine export market by volume – 239 million litres.

Worldwide, Australian wine ex-ports increased by 11 per cent in value to A$2.71 billion (£1,5 billion), and five per cent in volume to 842 million litres.

Meantime, across the Tasman Sea the effects of climate change are increasingly being felt by winegrowers throughout New Zealand, posing challenges for their NZ$1.7 billion (£890,000) exports.

National horticultural supplier Wholesale Landscapes says in a report that with lengthened growing seasons, grape ripening is happening faster, meaning earlier harvests and potentially diminished wine quality.

It says the recently created New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre’s key driver is how the country’s wine innovates into the future.

“Following industry consultation, it identified climate change as one of its research priorities and is in the process of developing a programme of work looking at its impacts and potential adaptation techniques,” it says.

The aim is to provide viticulturists with well-researched assistance allowing them to flourish through warming times.

Wholesale Landscapes says New Zealand’s favourite Sauvignon Blanc – which makes up 85 per cent of export sales – may risk losing its distinctive flavour, with increased temperatures liable to promote a flavour profile that is more mellow tropical fruit than its current acidic gooseberry.

Pinots grown in cool climate areas may similarly suffer.

“Methods available to delay ripening include altering plantation density, limiting the height of vines and utilising hail nets,” it says. “Trimming shoots or removing leaves to reduce the leaf area to fruit weight ratio can also help.”

The report says Lincoln University studies indicate management techniques could also include late pruning, canopy trimming or the application of plant growth regulators.

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