Grape expectations

Table Grapes After 30 years research by the CSIRO, an exciting project is budding to life at the Arid Zone Research Institute in Alice Springs.

In partnership with the CSIRO, the AZRI has planted 15 new seedless table grape selections, both red and white and part of an Australia wide evaluation program.

Primary Industry and Fisheries Minister Gary Higgins said it’s an important step in the research and one which may yield better, heartier grape varieties.

“Bred by CSIRO Agriculture, these selections will be tested against the three commercial varieties - Menindee, Crimson and Magic Seedless - to identify new superior varieties adapted to Central Australian conditions,” Mr Higgins said.

“It is hoped the new varieties will reduce production costs and minimise berry collapse, poor budburst and low fruitfulness in sub-tropical regions.

“Over three decades, the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries and CSIRO Agriculture have maintained a vine improvement program in Central Australia to provide viticultural industries with material suited to Australian conditions and industry needs.

“This trial of the new grapes is an integral stage in that research.”

Early and late ripening types; and those with favourable long term storage and transport characteristics that could extend the season and provide opportunities to develop new export markets, will be targeted.

Between five and eight vines of each of the 15 new varieties on Freedom and Ramsey rootstocks have been planted at AZRI. With the control varieties, a total of 251 plants have been planted but it will be two years before they mature and bear fruit.

The horticultural research team in Central Australia will monitor the growth of the vines, and perform quality analysis once the vines reach maturity.

Last updated: 28 June 2016