The main focus of biosecurity in Victorian viticulture industries (wine grapes, table grapes and dried fruit) is on grape phylloxera. In collaboration with industry, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) has surveyed most of Victoria to determine its phylloxera status and maximise market access for grapevine products.
A number of exotic pests and diseases are also potential threats to viticulture in Victoria. Grape growers need to ensure their biosecurity practices (including farm hygiene) are best practice to minimise the chances of either phylloxera or other pests becoming established.
Victorian Viticulture Biosecurity Committee
The Victorian Viticulture Biosecurity Committee (VVBC) has been established to provide:
- a biosecurity policy forum for government and the viticulture industries; and
- leadership in the planning and management of state vine health issues.
The VVBC is a collaborative venture between the department and key stakeholders in the viticulture industries, including the winegrape, tablegrape and dried fruit industries, plus the nursery and vine improvement sectors.
A critical factor in its success will be its ability to lead, work with and complement similar state and national initiatives and ensure the plant health needs of Victoria's viticulture industries are well understood and considered at the state and national level.
For more information on viticulture biosecurity, moving trellis materials and irrigation pipes, moving grapevine planting material, and vineyard biosecurity protection guidelines, please go to the Victorian Viticulture Biosecurity Committee's website.
Property Identification Codes (PICs)
Property Identification Codes (PICs) are being progressively introduced to plant industries in Victoria. The viticulture industries were the first to be included in this initiative.
PICs will assist the department to respond to plant pest and disease outbreaks, so that industries are informed earlier and disruption to trade is minimised.
If you grow 0.5 hectares or more of grapevines within Victoria, you are required by law (Plant Biosecurity Act 2010) to apply for a PIC.
See Property Identification Codes for Victorian plant industries for more information.
Grape phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifolii) is a destructive aphid pest that lives on the roots of grapevines. Phylloxera aphids feed by sucking fluids from grapevine roots, which causes a progressive decline in the vigour of infested vines.
European (Vitis vinifera) grapevines, which comprise the vast majority of Australian vineyards, have very little tolerance to phylloxera, which therefore represents a major threat to the industry.
Vine Health Australia also provides information about phylloxera.
See the latest national map of phylloxera zones for more information.
Tackling Phylloxera Program
$1 million has been received from the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund (AIJF) – Program Stream to fund the Tackling Phylloxera Program - a state wide project that aims to address the biosecurity challenges posed by phylloxera, improve productivity and allow for more efficient supply chains.
The program has two key objectives:
- empower and galvanise grape growers to manage phylloxera on-farm using only best practice measures.
- government to collaborate with the wine industry to deliver sustainable and long-term improvements to the current phylloxera management program which is administered by Agriculture Victoria.
Six projects have been funded by the investment.
Go to the Tackling Phylloxera Program page for more information.
Or watch the Tackling Phylloxera Program video
Grape phylloxera is the number one threat to grapevines in Australia.
Phylloxera (fil-ox-er-a) is a very small, yellow insect that feeds on the roots, and sometimes the leaves, of grapevines. It can also move to the soil surface and up into the canopy and the fruit.
Feeding by phylloxera can damage a susceptible grapevine's root system to such an extent that the plant may die.
If phylloxera is detected in a vineyard, a quarantine zone is established to restrict the spread of the pest. This has implications for grape growers selling their grapes and limits the movement of other grape material and equipment used in their vineyards.
These restrictions impose extra costs on the grower in addition to the loss of production caused by the pest. So it is crucial to the industry that the impacts of phylloxera are minimised.
High risk materials
Phylloxera is most commonly spread through transportation of materials such as:
- grapevines, including cuttings and rootlings
- whole fresh grapes
- grape marc and must and unfiltered juice
- sample material for analysis
- soil from vineyards
- packages and equipment used in the cultivation and harvesting of grapes, including bins, buckets, vine guards, and vineyard posts (but not limited to these)
- vehicles, machinery, clothing and footwear used in vineyards
You must check these materials carefully and follow appropriate procedures before transporting them.
Do not transport any materials that may have come in contact with phylloxera.
Preventing the spread
Victoria uses three types of management zones to protect the grape industries from phylloxera:
- Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ) is an area that is declared to be free of the pest. PEZs are used to improve biosecurity and market access for the industry and must be protected from the introduction of phylloxera.
- In 2012, all declared Victorian PEZs were combined into one zone, which is known as the Victorian PEZ.
- Victoria PEZ Order
- Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) is an area in which phylloxera has been detected. They are established to prevent the spread of the pest from the area. A number of PIZs exist in Victoria and New South Wales.
Current PIZ (maps):
A single Order applies to the declaration of these PIZs.
- Phylloxera Risk Zone (PRZ) has an undetermined phylloxera status because they have not yet been surveyed.
Which phylloxera management zone are you located in? Check our interactive application to find out which zone you're in.
Don't put our grape industries at risk
The whole community can help prevent the spread of phylloxera by being aware of phylloxera management zones and what they mean.
- When travelling by road, observe highway signage and do not move any phylloxera host materials into the Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ) without appropriate certification.
- When visiting vineyards in a Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) observe signage regarding movement around the vineyard (photo below) and do not remove any phylloxera host materials from the property.
- Report any unauthorised removal of host materials from phylloxera zones to our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Penalties can apply if host materials are moved into a PEZ or out of a PIZ without certification.
Movement and management procedures
Procedures for PIZs are provided in the National Phylloxera Management Protocol.
See industry notices for changes to quarantine movement conditions.
See the Victorian Phylloxera Management Policy for more information.
Interstate Certification Assurance
In order to facilitate regular movement of all grape material, Interstate Certification Assurance (ICA) arrangements are available. These can be used for interstate and intrastate movement of grape material between PIZs and PRZs or PEZs.
Reporting suspected phylloxera
If you think that you may have found phylloxera on your property, contact us on 136 186 or email plant standards.
Phylloxera - Stop the Spread
Removing unviable, infested vineyards, replanting on rootstocks resistant to phylloxera, or preventing the spread of the pest best achieves stopping the advance of phylloxera.
To support industry efforts to manage phylloxera, Agriculture Victoria has undertaken several measures, particularly in the area of communications, to reinforce awareness of the importance of vineyard biosecurity. The Phylloxera – Stop the Spread information kit is available that reinforces:
the importance of grape phylloxera management and awareness
the need to implement effective biosecurity standards and protocols.
The Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association launched the Phylloxera-Stop the Spread! biosecurity awareness campaign. The campaign offers growers and industry members free information on how to implement best practice farm biosecurity measures to reduce the risk associated with the spread of phylloxera.
The Phylloxera Stop the Spread! campaign provides a valuable range of information tools on preventing the spread of phylloxera, including:
- 'how-to' pocket guide and
- fact sheets in multiple languages.
Copies of the information kit are available through the Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association, 03 59627610.
For further information go to the VVBC website