Viticulture industry recognises achievements of NSW DPI viticulture Development Officer

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Development Officer Viticulture, Darren Fahey was last night awarded the prestigious Wine Science and Technology Award from the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oneology (ASVO) at a ceremony in Adelaide.

The award honours an outstanding individual who demonstrates a broad positive contribution to the Australian wine industry and/or community, improvement from standard practice in their field through adoption of innovative practices, technologies or standards and contributes positively to the culture of their organisation and the broader wine industry in either a regional, state or national capacity.

NSW DPI Group Director Plant Systems, Dr Alison Bowman said that Darren is a well-deserved recipient of the award, having achieved many outcomes within his role in the department.

“Darren has worked across the 16 wine regions of NSW/ACT, delivering the NSW Government-funded Viticulture Skills Development Program and the Wine Australia Regional Program in Greater NSW/ACT on behalf of the NSW Wine Industry Association,” Dr Bowman said.

“As part of these programs, he has led the delivery and extension of numerous applied demonstration and scientific trials to drive change and adoption, with these findings and outcomes published in the annual NSW DPI Grapevine Management Guide.

“Mr Fahey has led the recent ongoing project consisting of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) releasing native predatory mites Typhlodromus doreenae.

“This project utilises Agtech solutions to efficiently release millions of beneficial mites across large vineyard areas to reduce the use of insecticide to manage bud, blister and rust mites in grapevines.”

Dr Bowman said another recent project led by Mr Fahey was focused on undervine cover crops, which demonstrated that maintenance of a permanent ground cover undervine can result in a reduction in herbicide and labour costs, while limiting impacts to production and grape quality.

“Mr Fahey’s extension as part of a team of Development Officers includes masterclasses, workshops, industry group tours, forums and association meetings, ensuring that the NSW/ACT wine regions are well-resourced and supported,” Dr Bowman said.

Mr Fahey said he was honoured to receive the award, being a member of the SVO since 2016.

“To receive this award and be recognised in this way is a privilege. I work in an industry that I am passionate about, with fantastic wine growers and industry experts who are willing to continue to be open to improving practices and innovation,” Mr Fahey said.

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