Granite Belt Grape and Wine

Viticulture on the Granite Belt

Production

The Granite Belt has approximately 320 hectares of vineyard
area, more than fifty commercial vineyards and about forty boutique cellar doors. Although 60% of production is from the mainstream grape varieties Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, there are about thirty other varieties grown, which has led to the formation of the famous Strangebird Alternative Wine Trail.

Practices

Most growers use the vertical shoot positioning system (VSP) trellis which involves one or more sets of movable wires above the fruiting wire that train the canopy upwards. This provides for better disease control with good airflow and light to the fruit zone.

Vines are pruned in the winter mostly using the spur pruning method though a number of growers practice cane pruning.

Although most growers irrigate there is often little need in some seasons. Irrigation is however generally required for the establishment of new vineyards.

Pests and diseases are similar to those experienced in other wine growing regions of the world. There are relatively few problems with insects in the region, such that many growers choose not use insecticides in their vineyards. Possibly the greatest pest is birds which do the most damage in small blocks surrounded by trees. Bird nets are often the only solution to growers in these circumstances.

Many of the smaller blocks are picked by hand though larger blocks are harvested by machine.