Wine Australia supports a competitive Australian wine sector by investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), encouraging growth in domestic and international markets, protecting the reputation of Australian wine and administering the Export and Regional Wine Support Package.
Nuffield Australia 2020 Scholarship winner
Sarah Keough from Strathalbyn, South Australia, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Wine Australia. She will use her scholarship to investigate new and emerging irrigation methods to reduce vineyard crop losses and sustain fruit quality during extreme heat events.
As a viticulturist at Bleasdale Vineyards and member of the Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Association, Sarah works closely with the region’s growers, as well as those in the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. She believes her Nuffield research will be a valuable extension to existing work in the sector on reducing the impact of heat in vineyards.
“A gradual increase in the number of days reaching 40 degrees has prompted local growers to look at new approaches, such as mulching and alternative irrigation schemes, to reduce the soil temperature and enable vines to endure prolonged heat stress,” said Sarah.
“While growers have seen great success by using undervine misters, low volume overhead sprinklers and misting fans, there is a need to look at more cost-effective and water-efficient alternatives. In particular, my research will look to unearth new technologies to better manage and improve irrigation scheduling.”
Through her Nuffield Scholarship, Sarah will meet with water irrigation leaders in Israel, investigate innovative irrigation methods being used in semi-arid climates like Argentina, and visit America’s Napa Valley, which is increasingly experiencing higher than average temperatures.