A $2 million seed bank project to future-proof the Australian wine industry will be developed in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.
Yalumba Family Winemakers have won a grant from the state government’s $12 (US$8.7) million regional growth fund to deliver the project, which will provide high-quality and disease-free vine material that can be accessed by other grape producers.
Chief viticulturist Robin Nettelbeck said the company would establish an extensive and intensively managed high-health grapevine collection and a large-scale grapevine nursery.
“This project will establish the highest health and most genetically diverse commercial collection of grapevine material in Australia while establishing the most hygienic and productive field nursery site to propagate best performing vines for the Australian viticultural industry,” Nettelbeck said.
“Australia and in particular South Australia has some of the oldest vines in the world and during last summer’s bushfires, it was devastating to see how quickly some of these were destroyed.
“Our project can effectively act as a seed bank and contribute to the future-proofing of the $45 billion Australian wine industry and provide valuable support to the growing domestic table grape industry.”
Primary Industries Minister David Basham said the vine project was among 16 to get money from the regional growth fund that would create up to 1,000 jobs.
“This has been a tough year for South Australians and our regions have been hit particularly hard firstly with drought, then bushfires and now the coronavirus pandemic,” Basham said.
“Our regions are a key driver for the South Australian economy and this will provide a much-needed shot in the arm to help business bounce back as quickly as possible.”
The state government boost comes a month after the Chinese Ministry of Commerce launched its investigation into anti-dumping allegations against Australian wine exporters to China.
It is alleged that Australian wine exporters are selling to China below the market price, or even below production cos, freezing out local supply. This “dumping investigation is said to take 12-18 months.
The federal government have denied the claims.
By Tim Dornin. The Epoch Times contributed to this article.