Using interviews to understand agroecological practices in the Australian viticultural context

Anne C Johnson (Presenter), Geoffrey Gurr (Panel member), Jason Smith (Panel member), Judith Crockett (Panel member), Yann Guisard (Panel member)

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review

37 Downloads (Pure)


Record-breaking droughts, bushfires and now floods have left few in doubt that climate change is having a severe impact on the Australian environment. Farmers are observing accelerated changes to their climate especially in the climate sensitive wine grapes. This mixed methods study will increase understanding of the diversity and extent of agroecological practices that grape growers are using to proactively adapt to current and future climate uncertainties. In the first exploratory stage of this research, interviews with 33 winegrape growers from 8 NSW wine growing regions has given qualitative insights into the types of changes that have been occurring and the benefits or barriers that growers have experienced when transitioning to agroecological practices.
Incorporating biodiversity into agricultural practice is topic that industry is keen to grow knowledge of best practice for each region, so this qualitative study was linked with a biodiversity landscape survey which provided logistical economies of scale. Working as a team made driving distances, physical sampling and recruitment easier for both studies. Ethical best practice was used as part of the process of building respect and trust when recruiting and interacting with farmers, especially in the adherence to biosecurity and sanitation practices between farm visits. Participants were given autonomy of choice for interview location, usually on the edge of a field, in the farm office or at their cellar door which ensured participants were comfortable in their surroundings. The interview was conducted as a triadic interaction between the interviewer, the vineyard and the grower who managed the vineyard. Interviews were mostly conducted outdoors as a precaution for COVID, which meant participants could point out features of the vineyard. This often allowed their passion for the subject to show, particularly around their environmental improvements. Informal feedback after the interviews indicated that some found the conversation about drivers of change a useful personal reflection.
The ultimate purpose of these interviews was to serve as a foundational study of agroecological practices in viticulture and a quantitative stage will follow to access the extent of, and regional differences in the uptake of agroecology. The data and results acquired from this study will be interpreted with respect to existing behavioural theories in motivation and behavioural change and compare them to current literature on motivations behind agroecological movements. The sustainable and regenerative farming movements are well reported in the media. This study will seek to provide some insights into motivations and experiences of agroecological practices in the context of viticulture which will help guide future research priorities to help navigate future uncertainties and increase the sustainability of Australian agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2022
EventACSPRI - 8th Biennial ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference - Online, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 23 Nov 202224 Nov 2022


WorkshopACSPRI - 8th Biennial ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference
Abbreviated titleMethodology in the social sciences
OtherOne of the challenges in the social science methods space is it's dynamic nature. Given this and the need to keep abreast of changes and innovation, this conference provides the opportunity to reflect on where we've come from, highlight where we are and imagine our future as social scientists.

A unique feature of this conference is that it is multi-disciplinary and brings together researchers and methodologists from a range of environments and contexts.

The conference is organised around four themes:

Research paradigms and designs;
Research methods and techniques;
Research technology and tools;
Datasets, data collections and data archiving.
There will be two types of papers:

Papers / presentations where an abstract is reviewed (abstract in the conference proceedings).
Short videos (under 5 minutes) - including a student short video competition (abstract in the conference proceedings). Short videos of accepted abstracts have a final submission date of 16 November 2022
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Using interviews to understand agroecological practices in the Australian viticultural context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this