Virus-Free Vineyards – The Blog

Launching Leafroll 3 - the App

New Zealand Winegrowers’ Virus Elimination Project, co-funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund (MPI), has experimented with a wide range of tools for tech transfer. Guidance emerging from the project has been communicated to the wine industry on this blog, as well as via:

  • Workshops (52 and counting)
  • Fact sheets (13 to date)
  • Wall chart
  • Flickr photo library (13,000+ views)
  • 7-part video series on YouTube
  • Short articles in New Zealand Winegrower magazine.

In the same spirit of discovery, we’re very pleased to announce the launch of our latest effort – New Zealand Winegrowers’ Leafroll 3 App.

Designed for mobile devices (in New Zealand only), the app is free to download and holds all the useful information generated by the project in one handy location. Items are arranged by topic, so you can learn more about the virus, how to identify the symptoms, management steps in vine removal and replants, and how to control mealybug, which spread the disease.

All of the fact sheets have been reformatted for the smaller screens on smart phones, and links are included to the videos, Flickr image library and other resources.

As an added bonus, you can even take a photo of symptoms in your vineyard (using your smartphone’s camera) and send it to the Virus Elimination Project team for verification.

To learn more, watch the short video prepared by snApp mobile.


If you’re ready to download, you can either search Leafroll3 on your iPhone or Android App store, or, if you are reading this post on your phone, click this link to be taken to the correct supplier. 

August workshop line-up

New Zealand Winegrowers’ Virus Elimination Project will once again be hosting workshops in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay in August.

Nick Hoskins, Project Manager, and Vaughn Bell, Plant & Food Research Scientist, will review:

  • Virus mapping results in your region
  • Regional trends, research and monitoring
  • How to improve mealybug control in your vineyard

The best time to get on top of mealybug control is early in the season, starting just before budburst, so don’t miss the team’s new tips on how to get the best results from your control applications.

If you want more information on this topic, start by downloading our revised fact sheet, ‘NZVE 104 Mealybug control for cropping vines.’ This fact sheet and others related to the management of Leafroll 3 can be accessed from the table found at the bottom right of this page simply by clicking on the links provided.


Workshop Schedule

Virus Elimination Project Workshop – Marlborough

  • Tuesday, 5th August 2014
  • 1:30 – 3:30 pm at the Marlborough Convention Centre Hall
  • 42A Alfred Street, Blenheim

Virus Elimination Project Workshop – Hawke’s Bay

  • Wednesday, 20th August 2014
  • 2:00 – 4:00 pm at EIT Lecture Room 2
  • EIT Campus, 501 Gloucester Street, Taradale, Napier 

In appreciation of excellence

Vaughn Bell, a scientist with The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Ltd, is a key member of the Virus Elimination project and a familiar speaker at our workshops on the North and South Islands. Each year, he reviews selected trial blocks for infection incidence and mealybug populations, reporting back to participants and the wider industry on his findings, which provide valuable insights on vine removal and effective vector control.

In addition, Vaughn is also a PhD candidate with Victoria University of Wellington. For several years, he has been pursuing academic research on the complex interrelationships between Leafroll 3 Virus and its main vector – mealybugs.

Last month, Vaughn submitted his PhD thesis for marking, and Victoria University promptly issued a media release highlighting his valuable contribution to viticultural knowledge benefiting the wine industry.

We’d like to add our own note of appreciation. The Virus Elimination project has benefited from Vaughn’s participation in many ways. In addition to his trial work and related presentations and technical reports, Vaughn also provides thoughtful input to project strategy and is always eager to interact with growers and share knowledge.

To read the media release describing Vaughn’s academic achievement, follow this link while it lasts:


Welcome! This blog is maintained by members of the Virus Elimination Project, a New Zealand Winegrowers' Research Project that is co-funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries (Sustainable Farming Fund).

The Virus Elimination Project has three main objectives:

  1. Identify and map the presence and/or spread of Grapevine Leafroll-associated Virus 3 (Leafroll 3) in participating vineyards in New Zealand.
  2. Contain and control Leafroll 3 virus and the main vector – mealybugs – through a programme that comprises vine removal/replants, hygiene practices and insect control.
  3. Develop “best practice” guidelines for New Zealand Winegrowers, with the long-term goal of maintaining virus-free vineyards.

Control and management of Leafroll 3 is a community issue. That’s why the project trains growers to identify leafroll virus, map, treat, and remove infected vines on an area-wide basis in tandem with effective control of mealybugs. We welcome your comments and questions on this blog.

Click here to read disclaimer.


Fact Sheets