Although New Zealand’s flourishing wine industry continues to evolve and develop, Dion Mundy, Plant and Food senior scientist, believes that it’s time to address vine trunk disease. As our country’s vines age, they become more susceptible to grapevine trunk diseases, which are caused by fungal infections.
Mundy said that New Zealand’s unique climate needs to be catered for specifically when it comes to combatting the disease. Although there is a general awareness of the state of our vines, there is perhaps not enough rigidity in terms of implementing preventative measures. Mundy said that early intervention is critical, if a vine is already infected, and allowing the disease to be cut out and new wood grown in its place is an effective strategy if picked up early enough. Through this method, around 18 months are needed for the vine to return to its original state, meaning that roughly a year’s yield would be lost. Having said this, the retrunking process costs between $7000 and $10,000 per hectare, in comparison with the $40,000 to $60,000 per hectare for replanting.
Mundy is advocating for more transparency, as well as a more in-depth conversation to be had amongst industry experts. Additionally, New Zealand needs to continue being proactive, something that he believes we have started doing already.