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Biosecurity and Sustainability

The National Wine Biosecurity Committee met for the first time last month discussing issues that impact on our ability to manage biosecurity risk now and in the future. The inaugural meeting set the scene for a whole of industry biosecurity strategy that will aim to future proof the sector from serious impacts associated with pest and disease incursions and to build resilience across our winegrape and wine businesses.

The Sustainability Advisory Committee will also meet for the first time this month. One item for the agenda will be the united national sustainability program, Sustainable Winegrowing Australia. This program will seek to put Australia at the forefront of managing sustainability providing a defensible platform for winegrape and wine producers to demonstrate their sustainability credentials. It presents opportunities to build on and enhance a broad range of aspects of sector sustainability including biosecurity.

As well as protecting our valuable vineyard assets, biosecurity measures have the potential to impact the entire supply chain. As a result of a number of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) detections at our borders during the Northern hemisphere BMSB season, the government has recently implemented revised seasonal measures (for 2019-20) for biosecurity controls that are likely to impact upon inbound shipments from certain countries. The revised measures currently being applied include two amendments to the previous years measures: 

  • The season has been extended from September to May inclusive (rather than April).
  • Treatment continues to be methyl bromide and heat, but the heat requirements have changed.  All products are to be on pallets and heat application, previously 50° for 20 minutes, is now 56° for 30 minutes or 60° for 10 minutes at the core of the container.

This is posing additional logistical challenges for barrel suppliers and producers should be aware of the potential for increase in cost which may arise.  Australian Grape & Wine are continuing to raise the issue with the department of agriculture and biosecurity officers to ensure the measures are proportionate to the associated risk.

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