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Why researchers hope this trial will help future-proof WA’s wine industry against climate change

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Why researchers hope this trial will help future-proof WA’s wine industry against climate change

A South West vineyard has cloned one in every of Margaret River’s most well-known crimson wine varietals within the identify of future-proofing the {industry} in opposition to local weather challenges. 

The industry-funded trial has resulted in 14 completely different clones of cabernet sauvignon being grown on a plot of land within the coronary heart of the famend Western Australian wine area.

The genetic qualities of the plant have been fastidiously chosen from Australian and abroad sources to create the clones, which have been propagated and constructed as a part of the continued trial.

Wine producers throughout Australia could have entry to the outcomes to assist them resolve which genetic make-up of cabernet sauvignon is finest suited to their respective areas, local weather and rising situations.

A label on a post next to a grape vine, that reads "E8".
This wine clone trial began in 2019 and is the primary of its variety in WA.(ABC South West WA: Georgia Hargreaves)

Howard Park wines chief viticulturalist David Botting mentioned he was happy with the established web site.

“One other distinctive factor about this web site is it is most likely one of many uncommon events the place clones have really been introduced collectively on one web site and evaluated aspect by aspect,” he mentioned.

“This web site will finally present a set of information which [producers] can depend on as a result of it is acquired a robust statistical underpinning.

“And now it is simply time and each successive yr it will simply get higher and higher.” 

A man walks through a vineyard.
The trial web site has 14 clones which have every been replicated 14 occasions.(ABC South West WA: Georgia Hargreaves)

Advantages past the area

Mr Botting mentioned the analysis can be essential to farming sooner or later given the altering local weather, however would additionally assist producers make extra knowledgeable selections about which clone would work finest for his or her area.

“Cabernet is one in every of Western Australia’s highest-value wine selection — significantly in Margaret River the place there’s each nationwide and worldwide recognition of premium cab sav wines being produced,” he mentioned.  

Grapes on the vine.
These Cabernet Sauvignon grapes shall be harvested in April, earlier than being bottled into wine and introduced to {industry} members for tasting.(ABC South West WA: Georgia Hargreaves)

“In my opinion, this could do loads for credibility, and, you understand, the entire area’s dedication round cabernet and staying forward of the sport.”

Division of Major Industries and Regional Improvement (DPIRD) analysis scientist Richard Fennessy mentioned the clones had been derived from France, California, Australia and in addition Western Australia.

“It is actually necessary to take a look at these clones as a result of we perceive from the literature how they carry out of their international locations and areas of origin,” he mentioned. 

“However understanding with a level of confidence how they carry out underneath West Australian rising situations is basically necessary.

“So to take our cabernet to the subsequent step, we actually wished to guarantee that we’re planting one of the best genetics of that selection in our vineyards.”

A man stands in front of a wine rack.
Richard Fennessy has produced all of those wines utilizing the identical process, so the one variable is the clones themselves.(ABC South West WA: Georgia Hargreaves)

Does all cloned wine style the identical? 

Mr Fennessy mentioned when WA wine producers have been invited to style the cloned wine they have been capable of style variations.

“We have simply accomplished a Margaret River tasting earlier this yr in January, with near 40 producers tasting these wines,” he mentioned.

“Producers have been very excited by the work.

“[They] commented that there was fairly a definite vary of flavours, starting from savoury crimson fruits and darkish fruits.”

The following batch of cloned wine from the 2023 classic shall be processed within the coming weeks.

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