New research by the CSIRO has confirmed the potential of rootstocks to reduce the impact of salty soil or irrigation water – a problem likely to become even more widespread in viticulture as climate change brings longer, hotter and drier summers.

Extensive trials in the southeast of South Australia highlighted a relatively wide range in salt tolerance capacity across eight commercially available rootstocks and led to the creation of a Salt Tolerance Index (STI) for ranking available rootstocks. Further testing of the STI with a range of scion-rootstock combinations in a range of regions was recommended.

The research, which was funded by the GWRDC and carried out in collaboration with the AWRI, went beyond traditional field tests to include compositional and replicated sensory analysis of wine made from the grapes.

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