Aussie grapes could be on the shelves year-round thanks to 20-year-old dwarf grape gene

Spring picnics are back on the menu as the weather heats up, but the grapes you’re filling your picnic baskets with at the moment are likely from overseas.

The Australian climate sees table grapes in peak production between November and May, but new research from the CSIRO hopes that could move to year-round production in the future.

About 20 years ago scientists discovered a dwarfing gene in an old French champagne variety, Pinot Meunier.

And now from bottles to tables, the CSIRO is using that gene to develop new grape varieties to grow in Australian conditions all year round.

The new varieties are small enough to be grown in pots, but still need summer like conditions to keep fruiting.(Supplied: CSIRO)

Small genes, big gains

The new dwarf varieties are small enough to be grown in a pot, but they will yield the best results for commercial growers in a hydroponic setup.

“Unless you’re living in the tropics, it will still go through a dormancy period as a normal grapevine would do,” the CSIRO’s Dr Ian Dry said.

The dwarfing gene sees the microvine skip its juvenile stage and fruit much earlier than many current grape varieties, and for longer.

“It now goes from seed to fruit within six months, whereas a normal grapevine would take two to three years,” Dr Dry said.

“Most grapevines produce only one or two bunches at the base of a growing shoot, whereas a microvine shows flowering and fruiting continuously along that shoot.

Dr Ian Dry is part of the team of researchers working with the 20 year old gene mutation to benefit Australia growers.(Supplied: Ian Dry)

With the mutation coming from a wine grape, these new varieties do not taste like what we are used to on the fruit platter.

“It has small berries, it has seeded berries, and it’s not a taste that one would normally associate with table grapes,” Dr Dry said.

Work over the past four years to change that is progressing well, with the CSIRO now looking for commercial-scale greenhouses to expand the research and move one step closer to releasing the new variety to Australian growers.

A bunch of green grapes hang from a vine.
Taste, size and seeds are the main differences between wine and table grapes — and something researchers have been working to change with their new microvines.(Supplied: CSIRO)

Reduced reliance on juicy imports

In 2019, Australia’s table grape exports tipped $500 million with Asia one of our biggest buyers, but through the cooler months, much of what’s on our supermarket shelves is imported.

“From about June up to [nearly] December again we rely entirely on imports, mainly from the United States, because we can’t produce those grapes locally,” Dr Dry said.

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In court: 20-year-old in court for cocaine possession | Goulburn Post

news, local-news, Goulburn, court, geraldine Beattie, drugs, cocaine, possession, law, Kyle Hancock

A 20-year-old man has avoided a conviction after accepting free cocaine from a stranger in the bathroom of a licensed premises in Goulburn. READ ALSO: BOCSAR report: More offenders supervised in the community Kyle Hancock, of Marulan, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited drug. Goulburn Local Court heard on August 26 that Hancock visited a club in Goulburn on August 15. The court heard Hancock went to the bathroom that night where an unknown man offered him free cocaine. Hancock took the cocaine, weighing 1.59 grams, and put two small plastic bags containing the white powder into his wallet. The unknown man then left. Shortly afterwards police came into the bathroom where they found Hancock with the drug. Solicitor Sam Rowland said Hancock had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. CHECK OUT: ‘Wake up to yourself’: 19-year-old convicted of drug dealing and pistol possession Hancock’s parents, brother and partner were present at Goulburn court to show support. Mr Rowland said the parents wanted to reassure the magistrate that they had “very, very strong words with their son”. Mr Rowland said the “use and possession of illicit drugs was not a regular issue for Hancock”. He said his client had gone out on a Saturday night with friends and it was “not his intention to have a big night”. “Hancock was not aware police were in the club,” Mr Rowland said. “I think it would be unusual for someone to donate an illicit substance.” He said his client had “immediately volunteered to police that he had the [cocaine].” Mr Rowland said that while Hancock had been before the court before and received a Section 10, “a conviction for a young man is a very significant penalty”. Section 10 allows a court to find you guilty of an offence, but to discharge the matter without recording a conviction Magistrate Geraldine Beattie took the “unusual circumstances” into account. The magistrate said she had her “suspicions” about the man who handed Hancock the drugs. She said the court regularly saw what people did to get money for drugs, what people did when on drugs and how this impacted families. READ MORE: Police charge nine people with drink driving offences “This night, which should’ve been a fun night with friends, went out the window,” magistrate Beattie said. “Do the right thing and then that’s the end of it. Get on with your life.” Hancock received a 12-month Conditional Release Order with no conviction recorded.


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20-year-old woman tests positive to COVID-19 after flight

THE region’s first positive COVID-19 case in 79 days was a 20-year-old woman from the 2480 postcode, Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones said.

He said she had done the right thing – she was displaying no symptoms when she caught a flight into Ballina from Melbourne, had the relevant permits, wore a mask and went to her parent’s home via private transport when she arrived.

>>> Jetstar’s response to passenger’s positive case after flight to Ballina

She started to get a raspy throat and went for a test, which returned a positive result yesterday.

Mr Jones said the woman had only been in close contact with her parents.

Her parents are now in isolation for the next 14 days.

Mr Jones said all 30 passengers on Jetstar flight JQ466 on Sunday July 12  Mr Jones was well distanced from each other during the flight and have been contacted. 

He said the health district “expected” a case and expect to see more in the region.

He urged anyone from Victoria or the Sydney hot spots to come forward for testing, and anyone with even a tickly throat to get tested.

He also said health authorities had done everything possible to contain the risk, and thanked the woman and her family for being supportive.

Mr Jones encouraged anyone with symptoms, however mild, to self-isolate and get tested. “Anyone with symptoms is also advised to refrain from visiting aged care facilities and hospitals,” he said.

NNSWLHD also reminded people to maintain physical distancing and hand hygiene.

Anyone who is unable to practise physical distancing should wear a mask.

More than 4900 people have been tested during the last fortnight in NNSWLHD.

Testing is free and available to everyone in the region, including visitors.

Mr Jones encouraged anyone getting a COVID-19 test to register to receive their results via SMS.

He said this can be done at the time of testing and means results can be delivered quickly, within 8-14 hours after a test.

People taking the test need to self-quarantine until their test result comes back, but Mr Jones urged people not to let that deter people from getting tested.

Fever clinics are located in Lismore, Byron Bay, Grafton and Tweed.

The site locations are/can be found at:

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Shehnaz Gill’s father booked for rape of a 20-year-old girl

Amritsar : Police have registered a case against Santokh Singh, father of Shehnaz Gill, one of the contestants in Big Boss, for allegedly raping a 20-year-old girl.

According to reports, the victim, who hails from Jalandhar, had alleged that Santokh alias Sukha Pardhan had allegedly raped her on gunpoint in his car on May 14 but she couldn’t sum up courage to file a complaint against him.

Investigating officer of the case assistant sub-inspector Harpreet Kaur informed that the police had registered a case on the complaint Rashmi (name changed), resident of Jalandhar against Santokh Singh, resident of Beas.

She informed that the women stated in her complaint that on May 14 she along with one of her women friend went to Beas to meet her male friend Lucky Sidhu. At around 5.30pm when she reached Beas, the alleged forced her to sit in the car and raped her on gunpoint and also gave her life threats.

The assistant sub-inspector informed that the women claimed that she didn’t talk to anyone out of fear but when she consulted her friends she decided to come out in the open and on May 19 she filed a police complaint against Santokh.

Senior superintendent of police, Amritsar, rural, Vikramjit Singh Duggal informed that the police had registered a case 376, 506 IPC at police station Beas and had begun investigations. However, he said police has not arrested anyone in the case.

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