Managing grapevine trunk disease to protect our $40 billion wine industry

Protecting our $40 billion per annum wine industry from one of the top five diseases found in vineyards across Australia. Eutypa dieback (ED) and botryosphaeria dieback (BD) are major Grapevine trunk diseases that are increasingly affecting vineyards over five years old and are threatening the sustainability of Australian vineyards and the wine industry.

The challenge

The grapevine trunk diseases Eutypa dieback and Botryosphaeria dieback contribute to grapevine decline worldwide, reducing vineyard productivity and longevity. These fungal diseases infect grapevine wood through wounds, leading to vine cankers, reduction in yield and eventually death. They are considered a serious threat to the sustainability of the Australian wine industry.

Our response

This project is aiming to provide rapid identification methods for grapevine trunk diseases.

By improving our understanding of the fungi associated with grapevine trunk disease we can improve disease forecasting, management and control while improving vineyard management and performance.

Research will investigate which microorganisms, both ‘good’ and disease-causing reside in planting materials in Australia which may impact the health and fitness of young vines.

Project name:
Management and diagnosis of grapevine trunk disease in vineyards and nurseries (2022- 2027)

Funding Wine Australia  Lead University of Adelaide, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)

The goal

The goal of the research project is to investigate the epidemiology along with development of efficient molecular methods for pathogen detection, pruning wound management and control of these trunk disease pathogens in Australian vineyards and nurseries.

Results to date:

This work has helped develop two DNA-based diagnostic tools that can detect and quantify Eutypa dieback and Botryosphaeria dieback pathongens in Australian vineyards.

The current method for identifying these fungal diseases takes at least five weeks and we have developed a LAMP assay that is capable of detecting these fungi in infected vines within 30 minutes in the vineyard: it is simple, low-cost, robust and requires no special skills.

While Eutypa dieback and Botryosphaeria dieback spores are released sporadically year-round, rainfall has been identified to be the main trigger for the way spores are spread in vineyards.

As rainfall patterns can vary for different regions, this has important implications for the timing of pruning and the use of fungicides before and after pruning in each region.

Our team

Principal scientist

portrait of  Associate Professor Sandra Savocchia
Associate Professor Sandra Savocchia
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Our research team

Meifang Liu
Technical Officer
Marcos Sodupe Andres
PhD Candidate
Dr Mark Sosnowski
(Project Leader), SARDI
Mr Matthew Ayres
Dr Tarita Furlan
Dr Andrew Taylor
WA Dept. of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Associate Professor Kara Barry
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture/University of Tasmania

Key research publications

Our partners

Connect and collaborate

We are looking for researchers, students, funding and partners to help take our research to the next level.