Grapevine leaf rust contained by AU$1m programme

Grapevine leaf rust contained by AU$1m programme News Wine News
  • Monday 30 June 2003

A million-dollar programme has been put in place in Australia's Northern Territory to contain the spread of a serious vine disease that has already decimated the area's fledgling wine industry.

Grapevine leaf rust causes defoliation and has infected half of the 400 vines in suburban Darwin and other areas of Australia's far north. The federal government has set up the National Grapevine Leaf Rust Eradication Program (NGLREP) as a result of the discovery, with the aim of stopping the disease spreading to the multi-billion-dollar wine industry in the south.

The AU$1m (€0.58m)funding for the programme is shared equally between the federal government and the Australian states, depending on the value of their respective grape and wine industries. It also has the backing of the AU$4.4bn (€2.6bn) wine industry.

The programme involves locating and recording every grapevine in the Northern Territory, removing diseased vines and monitoring healthy vines.

According to the Australian press, the programme may extended to centres further south to make sure the disease is not spreading south.

'Katherine [the nearest major centre] is currently outside of our existing quarantine area but we're considering doing that from the point of view of making sure that the disease hasn't moved,' project director Steven West said.

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