Barossa grower Steve Schiller was the overall winner at the 2021 South Australian Pruning Championships held at the Barossa Pruning Expo on Wednesday.
He won the Wolf Blass Shield for the third time, scoring a perfect 100 in the Individual Spur Pruning event.
Fellow Barossan Ryan Schiller blitzed the field in the Individual Cane Pruning event, and the Clare’s Old Timers team of Giulio Dichiera, Chris Verran and Ghulam Mohammadi won the Team Spur Pruning event.
The only female team, Sizzling Secateurs, comprising Mandy Mader, Cheree Boehm and Laura McEwen, also featured prominently, scoring second place in the Team Spur Pruning event.
About 175 people attended the Expo at Nuriootpa Research Station, which combines a pruning competition, workshops and a trade show.
It is an initiative of Barossa Grape & Wine Association’s Barossa VitiTech Group.
The competition now offers more than $13,000 worth of prizes donated by leading suppliers including Pellenc, Bahco, Electrocoup and Felco.
It was resurrected in 2014 after a hiatus of 30 years, with local comps previously running from the 1920s until 1983.
The event is now run every alternate year in Barossa and Clare Valley, and in Barossa regularly attracts up to 200 growers, technical viticulturists, researchers and pruning technology suppliers to PIRSA’s viticulture research station in Nuriootpa.
This year’s Expo featured leading Eutypa research scientist Dr Mark Sosnowski, and BGWA’s video case studies featuring growers talking about the benefits of utilising the Simonit & Sirch “soft pruning” method.
And viticulturist Chris Rogers, and a panel of growers and winemakers, led an overview and wine tasting of BGWA’s shoot-thinning trials with Penfolds, Torbreck and Gomersal grower Steve Schiller.
“Barossa Grape & Wine Association is dedicated to ensuring Barossa is producing the highest quality wines from vineyards that are financially and environmentally sustainable,” says BGWA viticulture development manager, Nicki Robins.
“The Barossa Pruning Expo is an example of our strong focus on giving growers access to best practice viticulture tools and information so they can, in turn, run healthy, profitable businesses that will thrive for many generations to come.”
Wolf Blass Shield (overall winner)
Steve Schiller (Barossa)
Pellenc Individual Spur
First place – Steve Schiller (Barossa)
Second place – Giulio Dichiera (Clare Valley)
Third place – David Vaughan (Barossa)
Electrocoup/Bahco Individual Rod & Spur (Cane)
First place – Ryan Schiller (Barossa)
Second place – David Vaughan (Barossa)
Third place – Martin Gallasch (Barossa)
Felco Team Spur
First place – Clare’s Old Timers – Giulio Dichiera, Chris Verran, Ghulam Mohammadi (Clare Valley)
Second place – Sizzling Secateurs – Mandy Mader, Cheree Boehm, Laura McEwen (Barossa)
Third place – Cutting Edge – Steve Schiller, David Vaughan, Karl Schiller (Barossa)
Photo: Pruning champ Steve Schiller (Barossa Grape & Wine Association)