Trial & Error

With rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall, growing and maintaining vineyards in Australia is becoming a harder task each year. But researchers at the University of Adelaide are trialling a range of drought-resistant Cypriot varieties, presenting new options for viticulturists. The varieties they’re looking at are the white xynisteri and red maratheftiko. The experiment, first conducted in Cyprus, is being replicated in South Australia to further explore the vine’s suitability to Australian conditions.

“We are seeing increasing temperatures and increasing frequency of heat waves in southern Australia and this is affecting vine harvest and putting more and more pressure on water resources,” said University of Adelaide PhD student Alexander Copper. “These varieties are very drought tolerant in Cyprus, often grown without any irrigation, and it is hoped they will be able to grow in Australian conditions with minimal to no irrigation.”

While the results won’t be released until 2020 and 2021, the research holds potential to see these varieties used to make environmentally sustainable wines, and assist in adapting to a changing climate by requiring less resources to grow and be maintained.

Photography by the University of Adelaide