Networking for EU wine production
The popping of corks and glugging of a good wine may not be at threat just yet, but if the diseases threatening Europe's vineyards have their way, they could be. EU-funded researchers therefore have very good reason to network around wine - they are building a knowledge bank to help vineyard owners protect their crops and keep the wine flowing.
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The EU is the worlds biggest wine producer, accounting for 60 % of world production, and €6 billion annually in trade. These figures have however been put at risk by diseases causing untold harm to Europes previous vineyards.
When asked by the EU-funded WINETWORK project consortium to identify priorities for the wine research and innovation agenda, wine-growers, scientists and decision-makers were quick to identify two particularly nasty menaces: grapevine trunk diseases (GTD) and flavescence dorée, a bacterial disease. Both are present across Europe, posing a threat to the economic viability of the entire sector.
GTD is an umbrella term comprising three specific diseases which all lead to the death of the vine after withering. Flavescence dorée affects the yields of a vine, and eventually leads to its death. When an infected vine is identified, it must be destroyed to limit the spread of the disease. This can be a huge economic loss for the vineyard owner.
WINETWORK is collecting and compiling knowledge coming from European research and the innovative and sustainable approaches already used by wine-growers in seven countries to fight these two diseases. The team is synthesising, tailoring and translating the best practices collected, and making them fully accessible via a knowledge reservoir.
The information is accessible to everyone online, and disseminated to stakeholders across Europe in the form of technical data sheets, flyers, videos, newsletters and publications.
The team will also identify the most efficient path for transferring such knowledge to relevant end-users in the hope that the methodology could be applied to other agricultural sectors.
The project will use the network created to develop a research and innovation agenda for increasing the productivity and sustainability of the European wine industry at large.