FUNGAL trunk diseases can reduce yields and grape quality, threatening the viability of many vineyards but scientists from the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga are helping growers plant healthier vines.
 
CSU PhD student Helen Waite says obtaining and maintaining healthy vines is important for the financial and environmental sustainability of the wine industry.
 
Waite says in young vines, the symptoms of trunk diseases and other defects are not always obvious and growers and nurseries are often unaware of problems with planting material until the vines fail to thrive in the vineyard.
 
By which time, she says, considerable expense has been incurred and vineyard establishment has been delayed by at least a season.
 
As part of her PhD project, Waite has developed a computer based tool called Fit Vine for evaluating the quality, disease status and over all “fitness” of grapevine material prior to planting.
 
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