Turning olive trees into McLaren Vale wine

Friday 20 Aug 2021

An innovative new pilot project in Adelaide’s southern suburbs is removing feral olive trees from national parks and turning them into a product which is helping grow grapes at McLaren Vale vineyards.

This is the first time in South Australia that feral olive trees from Onkaparinga River National Park and Glenthorne National Park - Ityamaiitpinna Yarta are being used to create biochar, a product which can help retain nutrients, improve soil structure and increase water-holding capacity of soils.

Biochar production is an environmentally friendly carbon recycling process which in this project is taking the olive trees, putting them in a portable piece of machinery called a Tigercat and burning the trees at temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius to create biochar.

The Biochar produced as part of the project processed and sold by the project’s commercial partners including to local McLaren Vale vineyards. It’s expected that any funds raised will be able to go back into the project to fund further olive control and revegetation works. Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said this is a first for national parks in South Australia to be converting feral olive trees into biochar.

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