Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Mission Estate’s revolutionary new technique

World first innovation:

Mission Estate’s revolutionary new technique could
minimise major economic threat to New Zealand’s vineyards.

It’s the often-invisible virus that lowers vineyard yields and affects wine quality, making it arguably the most economically damaging threat to the New Zealandwine industry.

Now, a world first indicator grafting technique developed by Mission Estate Viticulturist Caine Thompson and Professor Gerhard Pietersen from the University of Pretoria, South Africa could identify leaf roll virus in white varieties before it takes hold.

Grapevine leaf roll-associated virus 3 can be seen in red varieties, as the leaves turn red when infected. But with white varieties, it’s impossible to detect visually as there are no obvious symptoms – meaning growers often don't realise there’s a problem until far too late.

There is no cure for leaf roll virus. The only remedy is to remove all the infected vines and replant.

“The cost (net present value) of the virus where it is left untreated and
the vineyard reaches 100 percent infection is approximately $57,000 per
hectare for both varieties considered.” Nimmo-Bell Report 2006

Back in 2011 Mission Estate CEO Peter Holley and Mr Thompson discussed the issuewith Professor Gerhard Pietersen from the University of Pretoria. The Professor has published about the potential for indicator grafting to indicate the virus in white varieties, but it has never been implemented or evaluated until now.

The idea is compellingly simple: take the bud of a red variety and graft it into the trunk of white variety. If the vine becomes infected with virus then the indicator shoot, being a red variety, will express visual symptoms – an obvious alarm bell.

In Spring 2011, Mr Thompson established the first field trial, in Mission Estate’s Hawke’s Bay Greenmeadows vineyard. He used Pinot Noir as the indicator shoot, grafting onto Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris vines.

The results of the field trial have just been released, showing the technique is a viable – and exceptionally cost-effective – way to identify leaf roll virus in white varieties. The economic benefits for the New Zealand winegrowing industry could be profound.

• Indicator shoots express the virus when the vine is infected.

• Cost for “installation” is approximately 90 cents per vine (one off cost), with annual running costs of about 13 cents per vine (in terms of managing the shoot).

• This compares with a single ELISA test of $15 per vine (annual cost).

“Grafting has been used for centuries in viticulture, just never for this application and use,” says Mr Thompson. “This technique has the potential to be a real game changer for virus management in white wine varieties in New Zealand and across the world. It’s a highly cost-effective method for protecting white varieties from virus so that wine quality continues to improve as vines age.”

“This is a world first innovation, and another example of Mission Estate’s pioneering spirit,” adds Mr Holley. “We are constantly looking at better ways to do things, for the benefit of our business and the New Zealand wine industry as a whole. Caine is a remarkable viticulturist who is leading the charge.”

Further research is being carried out in collaboration with New Zealand Winegrowers, to fine-tune the technique for wider adoption. As part of this research, Mission Estate will be grafting indicator shoots on their premium white varieties in their Gimblett Gravels vineyards.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Freight: New Report On Auckland Port Relocation

The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. More>>


Chartered Accountants: COVID-19 Fails To Knock Kiwi Investor Confidence, But More Disclosure Wanted

Three months of COVID-19 lockdown and investment turmoil has done little to knock confidence in New Zealand capital markets and listed companies with overall investor sentiment very similar to 2019, an investor survey held in mid June shows. However, ... More>>


Taxation: Black-Market Tobacco Sidesteps $287 Million In Excise Tax

Year-on-year increases in consumption of illicit tobacco in New Zealand have seen illegal trade swell to 11.5% of the total market. If consumed legally, illicit products would have netted the Government $287 million in excise tax during 2019. Independent ... More>>


Energy Sector: Meridian Spilled Water To Hike Electricity Prices - Authority Ruling

The Electricity Authority has found that generator Meridian Energy manipulated the power market, costing consumers about $80 million. More>>


XE Data Update: RBNZ Official Cash Rate Decision

The RBNZ will keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25%. T he key points in the RBNZ statement are: RBNZ keeps the OCR unchanged at 0.25% Maintain the LSAP (large scale asset purchase) at NZD$60 billion. Committee prepared to use additional monetary ... More>>


Electricity: Kiwis Ignore Promise Of Cheaper Power

Electric Kiwi and Flick Electric Co are joint winners of Canstar Blue’s award for Most Satisfied Customers | Electricity Providers From putting on an extra layer – rather than turning on a heater – to turning off lights and choosing the energy-saving ... More>>


Electricity: Transmission Pricing For A Low Carbon Future

The Electricity Authority has decided on new guidelines for transmission pricing. James Stevenson-Wallace, Chief Executive of the Electricity Authority says the new guidelines will deliver significant benefits to consumers, through lower electricity ... More>>


NIWA: The Climate Record That Keeps Getting Broken

Among the multitude of New Zealand climate statistics there is one record that continues to be broken month after month. Since January 2017 there has not been one month that recorded a below average nationwide temperature, according to NIWA’s seven station ... More>>


Govt: Extended Loan Scheme Keeps Business Afloat

Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small ... More>>


Science: 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Announced

The 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes have been announced in a digital livestream event today. The Prizes recognise the impact of science on New Zealanders’ lives, celebrate the achievements of current scientists and encourage scientists of the ... More>>


RNZ: Fuel, Alcohol Costs To Go Up From Today

The increase today in the taxes on fuel, road user charges and alcohol is being called a tone-deaf move. More>>


Stardome Observatory: Young Kiwi Astro-Photographer Shoots For The Stars

Matariki by Josh Kirkley. The stars are aligning for up-and-coming Auckland-based astro-photographer Josh Kirkley (Kāi Tahu). During lockdown, one of his images was picked up by NASA and shared on the space agency’s Instagram to its 59.2 million ... More>>

DCANZ: Time For EU To Commit To A Level Playing Field For Trade

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker’s statement that it is unacceptable for New Zealand exporters to continue facing an ‘unlevel playing field’ in the EU. Details leaked ... More>>


Potatoes New Zealand: Protecting NZ Fries As Part Of PNZ Pandemic Recovery & Transformation Plan

Potatoes New Zealand has met with Minister Faafoi this week to discuss investigating the potential importation of heavily discounted frozen potato chips into New Zealand. With MBIE’s support we are undertaking an investigation to gather evidence of the ... More>>


New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>