Fruit fly fears

Vineyard / Friday, February 26th, 2021

With fruit coming off vines all across the Adelaide Hills (and beyond), growers are letting out a collective sigh of relief.

It’s been a fantastic vintage. Putting the concern around those couple of recent rainfall events and the unknown impact of smoke taint for a small number of vineyards from the Cherry Gardens fires aside, 2021 is shaping up to be the best we’ve seen for a while.

But there always has to be something…

And this time it’s this little guy:

Fruit fly

And while Mediterranean and Queensland fruit flies don’t pose a massive risk to the grape industry, they are a huge headache for horticulture in general. Fruit fly affects over 300 horticultural crops including stone fruit, pome fruit (like apples and pears), citrus and some vegetables such as capsicum. And it is especially troublesome if you want to export your fruit overseas. Japan, for example, pay top dollar for fruit that comes from a “Fruit Fly Free” zone. 

An outbreak of Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) was identified at the end of 2019, with other outbreaks popping up throughout 2020. Earlier this month, South Australia recorded its first sighting of Queensland fruit fly (Qfly), which was terrible news for the industry.

Ridleyton Qfly 5 February 2021 5 May 2021
Black Forest Medfly 12 January 2021 5 May 2021
Klemzig Medfly 6 August 2020 5 May 2021
Campbelltown Medfly 7 May 2020 5 May 2021
Pooraka Medfly 6 May 2020 5 May 2021
Semaphore Park Medfly 2 April 2020 5 May 2021
Rosewater Medfly 24 March 2020 5 May 2021
Angle Park Medfly 7 March 2020 5 May 2021
Croydon Park Medfly 26 February 2020 5 May 2021
Blair Athol Medfly 16 December 2019 5 May 2021

(VineHealth Australia)



PIRSA (Department of Primary Industries and Regions) has over 7,500 fruit fly traps, baited with an organic solution, in place at over 3000 South Australian sites to detect fruit flies. We actually have a couple on our street which are monitored weekly. Here’s what they look like…

Once an outbreak has been declared, PIRSA set up “fruit fly management areas”. The area around the fruit fly discovery point is split into an Outbreak Area (1.5km radius around the discovery point, within which on-ground activities are focused) and a Suspension Area (7.5km or 15km radius around the discovery point for Medfly or Qfly respectively). Collectively, these management areas are known as the ‘Fruit Fly Affected Area’.

Here is the latest map of the Fruit Fly Affect Area…

And a close-up to show why this issue is starting to cause problems for harvest in the Adelaide Hills…

Can you see that cluster of green patches on the right-hand side? They’re vineyards. The Adelaide Hills regions of Greenhill, Morialta, Ashton, Piccadilly, Basket Range, Norton Summit, Marble Hill, Forest Range and Carey Gully are either within or very close to the current Suspension Area boundaries.

That means that growers in these areas have to adhere to very strict treatment and movement controls to mitigate the risk of further outbreaks.


I guess 2021 thought we were getting off a bit too lightly, hey?!



Somerled vintage 2021 update

It has officially begun!

This morning!

Always the first cab off the ranks, the Pinot Noir destined to become our Sparkling white was picked earlier today at Paul Henschke’s vineyard in Summertown.

It was pretty cold and wet here in the Hills this morning. But that’s always preferable to 35-degree heat!


Rob also visited Kim Anderson’s vineyard in Charleston this week to check on the other varieties. Here’s what he found out…


The Sauvignon Blanc fruit is at around 9 Baume, so another two weeks should see this one ripe enough to pick.

Results for the Chardonnay were variable across the vineyard. Between 9.5 and 11 Baume. Rob wants to pick this one at around 12 to 12.5, so again two weeks should be about right. It will be tested again this weekend to check the progress.

Pinot Noir is a nice, even 11 Baume. Rob is aiming for 12 Baume for the Rosé (so maybe late next week for that one).  And Rob likes the pinot for his dry red to be at around 13.5 – 14 Baume. It should be ready to pick a couple of weeks after the Rosé.


It’s going to be a very busy vintage for Rob this time around. Make sure you keep up to date with all the happenings here on the blog!

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