Australia: The Australasian wine industry and the physical environment: some recent Australian observations: Part 2 - Eucalyptus taints and other impacts

Last Updated: 4 July 2014
Article by Paul Kordic
  • Great Southern Plantations
  • Complaint by Yanmah Ridge Winery
  • Application for development approval for a timber plantation before the Manjimup Shire Council
  • Studies tabled concluded:
    • Eucalyptus taint in grapes is associated with nearby eucalyptus trees – remove the trees and the taint disappears
    • Bluegums (Eucalyptus Globalus) emit the strongest eucalyptus characters
    • Contamination is from airborne oil transfer and leaf fragments caught in grape clusters
  • Application refused: existing vineyards/intensive agriculture takes precedence to a timber plantation

4. Yeast drifts

  • Development Application for a proposed microbrewery adjacent to the cellar door of Cullens Winery in Willyabrup, Caves Road, Margaret River
  • Cullens Chardonnay recently judged "World's Best Chardonnay" at the Decanter International Wine Awards
  • Brewery to be sited within 60 metres of the boundary of the Cullens property
  • Cullens utilises biodynamics in the vineyard and wild yeasts in winemaking
  • Manufactured yeasts decrease risks in winemaking
  • Cullens argues against the DA that:
    • Yeast cells from the brewery will escape and contaminate the wild yeasts in the vineyard
    • Wild yeasts from a biodynamic vineyard result in wines that are in touch with terroir
    • Escaped yeast cells will alter the flavour profile of wines and therefore the Cullens Brand
  • AWRI Report commissioned for the matter (not publicly available):
    • Brewery yeasts will migrate to the adjoining property
    • Contaminating yeasts will likely alter the course of fermentation (stuck ferments)

5. Frost control fans

5.1 Sumar Produce v Griffith City Council Land and Environment Court of NSW 2000

  • Citrus orchard
  • Fan comprising a 10m mast 2 blades @ 590 RPM – the sound of a helicopter
  • Local area used for horticulture, but a rural lifestyle development has taken place in recent years and more is likely
  • Applicant lodged a DA for the fan but proceeded without DA after legal advice that a DA not needed
  • Complaints made and a Notice of "intrusive and offensive noise" issued
  • Decision:
    • allowed so long as noise limited (55 d BAL)
    • the land was within the "Rural General Zone" where agriculture is development that can be carried out without development consent

6. Planning

6.1 Nurmi v WAPC 2006

  • Subdivision of a 2.48 ha lot in the Swan Valley into 2 lots was rejected:
    • It would create an undesirable precedent
    • Contrary to Government objectives to conserve and enhance the Swan Valley's unique resources

6.2 Town planning scheme 9

  • Purpose and intent "to promote the Swan Valley as a horticultural, recreational tourism and landscape resource"

6.3 Swan Valley Planning Act


  • Protection of viticulture/horticulture and to discourage inconsistent uses
  • Tourism
  • Encourage traditional activities of the Swan Valley and industries associated with viticulture horticulture and cottage industry
  • Allow subdivision into lots of <4 ha only when consistent with these objectives
  • Decision closely followed in several subsequent State Administrative Tribunal decisions

7. Pivot Group v Shire of Busselton 2007

7.1 Sculpture: "Free As A Bird"

  • Rising from the dam
  • 17metre steel beam (angle of 60°) supporting a 3 m high female figure
  • Blue beam
  • Figure gilded in 23 carat gold
  • Vertical height 17.5 m
  • 9 m above the high water mark
  • Water feature below and lighting
  • Application to SAT for retrospective planning consent
  • Principal issue – the visual impact of the structure on Caves Road and whether it is inconsistent with the established planning framework
  • Land zoned viticultural and tourism
  • Shire policies – "maintain enhance and protect the natural and rural landscape, cultural and tourist values of Caves Road and environs"
  • Held: the structure was compatible with the rural character of the locality

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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