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The viticulture sector represents a significant part of agriculture and Australia’s economy.

In 2022–2023, wine was Australia’s sixth largest agricultural crop export industry. Gross wine grape sales were valued at $1 billion. By producing grapes to create products for both domestic and international markets, the viticulture sector underpins Australia’s worldwide reputation for high-quality wines and diverse wine regions.

Many common diseases affecting grapevines – such as Botrytis, downy mildew and powdery mildew – are caused by microbes. Disease outbreaks are often sporadic and linked to adverse weather conditions. Protecting grapevines from these diseases may involve the application of antimicrobial treatments. To limit the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), it is important that such applications are well managed.

In addition to airborne spread, antimicrobial-resistant microbes can potentially enter vineyards through the water used in drip irrigation and via soil amendments such as organic composts. If diseases are not adequately controlled, they can lead to lower grape quality and higher crop losses, thus reducing both yield and profitability.

The Australian viticulture sector is known for its focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, as well as its adoption of new technologies, such as improved irrigation and precision viticulture.

Effective disease management strategies and research are crucial to addressing AMR and ensuring the continued health and productivity of vineyards and their downstream products.