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Case Study

Mycorrcin & Digester Vineyard Trial


Marlborough 2013 – 2016
BioStart’s soil programme for increasing yield and white wine quality.


BioStart Ltd conducted a three year trial on a Pinot Noir block in the Fairhall Vineyard of Pernod Ricard Winemakers in Marlborough from 2013 to 2016. The grapes were used for making sparkling wine and microvins analysis demonstrated a clear link between the application of soil microbial stimulators, BioStart Mycorrcin and Digester and improved white wine quality.

Trial Design:

The trials were conducted on a block of Pinot Noir (clone 777 grafted on to rootstock 3309) planted on Brancott silt loam. When the trial started in the 2013/14 season the block was being converted from organic into conventional viticulture management as there had been issues with fruit yield and quality.

  • The trial consisted of two treatments, Control and the Standard BioStart Mycorrcin & Digester Programme applied to 5 replicates of 4 rows each. Both treatment areas received the standard Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ spray and nutrition programme.

  • The Mycorrcin & Digester Standard Programme consisted of; three 2 L/ha applications of Mycorrcin with the weed spray from early spring, and a post-harvest clean-up spray of 2 L Digester/ha.

  • Veraison leaf tests were collected in February 2016. In March 2016 the grapes were harvested and Kirsten Creasy, Oenologist, for Hill Laboratories made Microvins and analysed the wine.

  • In year 1 an additional 2 L Mycorrcin/ha was applied to first spray. This is recommended for blocks with poor soil health to kick-start the programme bringing total applications to 10 L/ha in Year 1.


  • Increased nutrient uptake
    At veraison the Mycorrcin and Digester treatment increased calcium and magnesium levels by 8% and 6% respectively over the control (Figure 1 and 2). These increased levels of calcium and magnesium improves juice quality and berry skin strength.

  • Soil microbes helped make nutrients available while Mycorrhizae helped nutrient uptake.



  • Better bunch architecture
    The Mycorrcin and Digester treatment had less bunches per vine (-7%) but a greater bunch weight +21% resulting in an increase in total yield/vine of +12%. The BioStart programme delivered an increased yield and a superior juice.



Microvin analysis (Hill Laboratories):

These grapes were used for making sparkling wine and were therefore at a lower Brix than is normal for white table wine. The Mycorrcin and Digester treatment showed;

  • Improved grape quality; less hen and chicken berries, more evenly ripe bunches, less botrytis, and more robust grape skins

  • Improved juice quality; less colour bleed and slightly increased Brix.

  • Improved sensory evaluation (blind tasting)

Control: Palest in colour; light peach / stonefruit nose. Medium intensity, pretty but lean. Upfront flavour but no finish.

Standard Mycorrcin/Digester:  Nice bright yellow/green colour. Riper melon/peach. Most intense nose; lemony/citrus flavours. Best structure with elegance and length. Best balance and weight. Most preferred.

“The chemical analysis does not adequately describe the flavour differences” Kirsten Creasy, Oenologist, Hill Laboratories

Mycorrcin & Digester:

Mycorrcin is a soil microbial stimulator which activates indigenous beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi in your soil. Mycorrhizal fungi colonise the roots and, in exchange for carbon, provide phosphorous, nitrogen and micronutrients to the plant which, in turn, improves plant health. Mycorrcin also stimulates new root growth, thus increasing root mass which supports plant growth and survival during times of stress like drought. Mycorrcin is suitable for all crops and soil types and is generally applied from spring onward.

Digester is a soil microbial stimulator which activates the indigenous beneficial bacteria in your soil responsible for decomposition. Digester speeds up the decomposition of leaf litter, prunings and dead roots and converts it to soil organic matter (humus) thereby recycling nutrients back into the soil, improving soil water-holding capacity and reducing soil compaction. By decomposing crop trash quickly potential inoculum sites are reduced. Using Digester therefore helps reduce disease inoculum levels in the vineyard for the next growing season.

Compatibility: Mycorrcin and Digester are compatible with commonly-used herbicides, fertigation nutrients and suspension fertilisers.

Related Products:

Take Control of Botrytis
Speed up Decomposition
Plant Defence