The Waite’s Coombe vineyard extension was officially opened on 26 April, with research and industry partners gathering in bright, balmy Autumn weather to view and celebrate the new section. In announcing the completion of the project, which takes the total Coombe vineyard area to 2.75 ha, Associate Professor Chris Ford, Interim Dean of Waite, noted the University’s appreciation of the support of Eco-trellis, Ocloc and Yalumba Nursery for their generous donation of trellis infrastructure and potted vines.
Two different trellis infrastructure systems have been used in order to expose students to these emerging technologies, and new irrigation technology is also being installed. The new section is planted entirely to red wine grapes and features all late ripening cultivars, selected to ensure fruit availability when semester starts. In addition, two shiraz clones have been planted to highlight the differences in bunch morphology and canopy management between clones of the same cultivar.
The enlarged vineyard will provide an increased grape supply of between 8-10 T to the winery for the Winemaking at Vintage course and enable the commencement of staged reworking of the rest of the vineyard’s aging infrastructure. The Coombe vineyard was established in 1991.