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Hot snips for top sips

14 Jul 2009

There's a lot of science and skill that goes into a great wine - from choosing the right climate, soil and fruit to crushing, blending and fermenting in suitably aged barrels.

However, many of us that enjoy a good drop aren't aware that a trained eye and a sharp pair of secateurs can mean the difference between a classic vintage and a barbeque leftover.

Grampians Winemakers Inc, the organisers of this year's Australian Pruning Competition, understand the importance of careful grapevine pruning to the outcome of a wine and have therefore introduced a new event to the competition - the NMIT Student Event.

Named after Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), which hosts the Australian Pruning Competition using the established vines at its Aradale campus, the NMIT Student Event is open to students enrolled in viticulture and winemaking courses throughout Australia.

The NMIT Student Event, along with the BAHCO (principal competition sponsor) Individual Event and Grampians Winemakers Inc Teams Event, tests pruning skills across three main criteria including condition of the wood (spurs and buds), cutting technique and speed.

"In 2008 individuals and teams from Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales battled it out to see who were Australia's "gun" pruners; this year we're hoping for an even bigger field of competitors," says NMIT's Head of Agriculture and Animal Science, Phil Tripp.

Competitor registration for the competition is open until 20 July 2009 so don't miss your opportunity to show the industry your (or your student's) skills in this vital aspect of wine making.

Registration fees are:

BAHCO Individual Event $20 per entry
Grampians Winemakers Inc Teams Event (3 people per team) $50 per entry
NMIT Student Event $5 per entry
Individuals and teams interested in competing should contact:

Chandra Ball
Grampians Winemakers Inc
m: 0419497263

Spectators are also encouraged to attend the Australian Pruning Competition where they can see some of the Australian wine industry's best pruners in action and pick up some valuable tips on how to prune vines to produce quality fruit (see NMIT's Top 5 pruning tips below).

What: Australian Pruning Competition
When: Friday 24 July 2009 (Student Event 10 am, Teams Event 11.15 am, Individual Event 1 pm)
Where: NMIT Aradale campus, Grano Street, Ararat

Top 5 tips for grapevine pruning
Alastair Reed, Head of Programs for NMIT's Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking Degree, gives his Top 5 Tips for grapevine pruning:

keep secateurs sharp and hygienic (use disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease in your vines
count your nodes and prune to a plan
watch out for your fingers and those of your pruning partner
wear eye protection
prune as soon as all your leaves have dropped


Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.