Australia's wine and grape industry has been one of the nation's great agricultural success stories. We are working with industry to improve the performance of grapes in the production, processing and marketing chain.

The challenge

Maintaining vineyard health and productivity

Grape varieties used in winemaking or table and dried grape production have historically been imported from overseas. These imported varieties can be challenged by Australian conditions such as heatwaves and periods of limited water supply. Grape growers are facing increasingly adverse environmental conditions, pests and diseases which impact the sustainability and quality of their product.

Our response

Improving grape genetics and vine management

Our grape research is targeting:

  • improved wine, dried and table grape varieties, as well as better rootstocks adapted to Australian conditions
  • quality characteristics such as berry colour, tannin and flavour, especially the compounds and genes responsible for fruit flavour and aroma
  • characteristics such as disease control, flowering and berry development from flower to fruit
  • sustainability issues, such as water and nutrient use.

Over the past few decades we've developed and released a range of rootstocks and wine, and table grape and dried grape varieties with greater resilience to Australian conditions, and improved attributes and performance. The novel wine varietals have contributed to increased revenue for wine companies, and companies using CSIRO wine varieties for blending have been able to develop quality wine products which are more attractive to customers, providing excellent value for money compared to equivalent products. A recent economic assessment has estimated the net present value of CSIRO's grapevine breeding work for wine grapes is approximately $334.2 million.

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