Bayer Chris Robinson Luna Sensation Testimonial

Powdery Mildew – Luna Sensation solution

Mildew sent packing at Margrain Vineyard

Margrain Vineyard manager Chris Robinson is looking forward to sampling the outcome of this year’s harvest that includes grapes from a block almost wiped out by powdery mildew two years ago now contenders for a 2016 Reserve label.

The 2016 harvest was a particularly high quality one for Margrain in Martinborough. That quality has been enhanced, thanks to a successful spray programme Chris put in place, prompted by an outbreak of powdery mildew that was getting progressively worse each season in a 4.3ha block on the 12ha estate.

The successful control has come about thanks to using Luna Sensation from Bayer Crop Science. The newly released protectant and systemic fungicide targets powdery mildew in grapes, and includes a new active, fluopyram.

Chris was contacted by his local PGG Wrightson rep about Luna Sensation’s release and quickly saw the potential it had to deal with a block experiencing increased infestations of powdery mildew. He decided to apply it across the entire vineyard to contain the outbreak and prevent it spreading further.

“The block had been through a period of neglect before I started, and then we tried several different sprays on it but still lost a lot of fruit to mildew, so we were very keen to try Luna Sensation and see if things could be improved.”

Powdery mildew has proven a problem in that particular block for the estate and had got out of hand over recent seasons.

The results have him making Luna Sensation application a firm date in his spray control calendar.

He applied a single application strategically in December when the vine yard was approaching 80% cap-fall. Luna Sensation was sprayed after an earlier application of Mortar to control mealy bug and a sulphur spray.

“Later in the season we could see there was no sign of mildew, the vines all looked clean, with no sign on the leaves.”

At harvest time Chris was impressed with the extremely high quality crop.

“There was no need to do any selective picking, and we did not have to sort bunches, it was excellent.”

The block affected by powdery mildew that prompted him to treat the entire vineyard is the youngest on the Margrain estate, with plenty of potential ahead of it.

Chris is excited about the quality of the grapes it yielded after controlling the powdery mildew.

“It is definitely coming into its own, and we may even go so far as to put some of it into our Reserve label this year.”

Comments and observations of other vine yard owners have confirmed what Chis has also seen, namely that his incidence of powdery mildew was significantly reduced in comparison to most other estates this year.

This year he intends to apply Luna Sensation across the entire vineyard again.

“If we had not used Luna Sensation last year the only alternative would have been to use more late season sprays, not really the best approach when you want to try and minimise your spray treatments.

 “While two applications of Luna can be used, we found one was very effective provided you use it at the right time with that 80% capfall target.”

Chris says he appreciated the ease of Luna’s liquid formulation made it for handling, mixing and transport.

Bringing powdery mildew under control has been a key focus for Chris, as the Margrain estate works hard at refining its fruit quality for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc range.

“The industry is looking very positive at the moment, and we have enjoyed some good harvests, things are going in the right direction.”