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Three of world’s best to talk on grapevine trunk diseases

4 November 2011

Three of world’s best to talk on grapevine trunk diseases

Three of the world’s pre-eminent experts on grapevine trunk diseases will be presenting the latest international research on effective management at a free workshop on Tuesday.

Dr Mark Sosnowski, Professor Doug Gubler and Dr Marlene Jaspers will be sharing their extensive knowledge of eutypa dieback and bot canker diseases at a New Winegrowers sponsored seminar at EIT, followed by a vineyard walk at Mission Estate Winery.

The workshop was particularly relevant for Hawke’s Bay grape growers as older vines and red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon were susceptible to the diseases, says Caine Thompson, chairman of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Focus Research group. “Being the oldest wine growing region in the country, and having a strong red emphasis, we need to be proactive in terms of any vines at risk.”

Both diseases can result in vines becoming unproductive and having to be pulled out.

“This is a great opportunity for growers to take advantage of the understanding that the speakers have of the diseases, and to learn of the technical outcomes of the research work that is being undertaken with the help of NZ Winegrowers,” says Xan Harding, deputy chairman of HBWG. “Supporting research and these seminar events is a key part of the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association’s role in the regional industry.”

Dr Mark Sosnowski is a research scientist with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). He has been responsible for research on managing eutypa dieback disease in grapevines at SARDI and has developed a trunk disease research programme, which includes post-graduate projects, commercial contract research and collaborative projects with organisations around Australia and abroad in New Zealand, the USA and Spain.

He is currently the Australasian regional representative on the International Council for Grapevine Trunk Diseases. In addition, Dr Sosnowski manages biosecurity research with national and international collaboration and co-supervises a number of post-graduate students in collaboration with the University of Adelaide.

A professor with University of California, Mr Gubler’s research interests include pathogen biology, disease epidemiology, and development of control strategies including disease risk assessment models for diseases of grapevines, and small fruit crops.

Prof Gubler’s past research includes: leaf removal for bunch rot control, documenting DMI resistance in the Erysiphe necator population, development of pathogen biology and disease epidemiology information for grapevine powdery mildew in California (CA), development of the Gubler-Thomas risk index for powdery mildew control, identifying etiology of esca in CA, development of information on grapevine canker diseases and development of control strategies for CA.

Dr Marlene Jaspers is a senior lecturer at Lincoln University who has over 30 years experience in Plant Pathology research. Her main research focus has been on the processes of disease development; the improved understanding of the interactions between pathogens, their plant hosts and their environment allows for development of control methods which disrupt the disease interaction. This knowledge and the related research into potential control methods have been used to develop sustainable control strategies.

Dr Jaspers has been the main supervisor of six PhD students who have investigated different aspects of grapevine diseases, including Botrytis rot, Cylindrocarpon black foot and Botryosphaeria dieback.

The latter two trunk diseases were investigated with the help of New Zealand Winegrowers funding. She and her students have presented some of their work at overseas conferences, at Romeo Bragato Conferences and local workshops and seminars.

The free workshop will be held from 9am – 12.30pm at EIT, Taradale, followed by lunch and a vineyard walk at 1pm at Mission Estate Winery.


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