Compost Under Vines is a three-year project, trialing the financial and environmental benefits of urban green waste mulch under vines in the Macedon Ranges. Certified compost has been placed in vine rows at three vineyards and are being compared to control row with standard practices (brushcutting under vine). Electronic data loggers are being used to monitor progress hourly and grape quality is being assessed at each annual harvest.
This project was original led by the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA. The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA was integrated into Melbourne Water in January 2022 and Melbourne Water is now the delivery agency.
Why this project is important
The Macedon Ranges vineyards are the coldest in mainland Australia and produce outstanding cool climate wines. These highly labour intensive vineyards need a reliable method to increase the time vine roots and grapes can spend at beneficial temperatures with cost effective and efficient management practices.
Research shows that in mulched vines, warmer roots and bunch zones in spring and cooler conditions in summer will increase grape and wine quality. Moreover, non-herbicide weed suppression under vine is a goal for many vineyards in the region.
The concept is based on trials undertaken on the Mornington Peninsula between 2015 and 2018, which saw positive grape quality results from pinot noir with recycled composted mulch under vine.
Year three (2022-23)
This project is due for completion in May 2022
A final results day will be held in early May to communicate the findings of the 3 year trials on wine grape quality parameters.
Year two (2021-22)
Year two focused on monitoring and was primarily coordinated remotely due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Temperature data loggers were placed in the vine canopy and soil sensors at the root zone and data was acquired hourly all season.
Weed growth and leaf area were assessed at veraison, and the grapes from mulch treatment and contr
Year one (2019-20)
Three trial sites identified
Three vineyards received AS 4454 certified composted mulch to cover a strip under 25 vines 1 metre wide and 7.5cm deep.
- Macedon Ranges Vignerons Association
- Australian Organics Recycling Association
This project is delivered by Melbourne Water in partnership with Macedon Ranges Vignerons Association, and GrapeLinks, and is supported by the Victorian Government and the Australian Organics Recycling Association.