New centre to build wine industry’s competitive edge
Defining Australian wines’ unique flavours, making vines more robust, defeating disease and introducing more innovation to winemaking are among the key goals of a new national centre launched by Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham at the Waite campus on June 6.
Backed by $4.46 million government funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and supported by other partner organisations, the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production in collaboration with the wine industry will undertake research aiming to build the sustainability and competitive edge of Australia’s $5 billion wine industry, through increased productivity and profitability.
“The Centre builds on a long history of wine research and multi-agency collaboration at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus,” says University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen.
“This is a perfect example of how our University can leverage research strengths and intellectual capability to meet industry needs, which will brings economic benefits for the state and the nation.”
The ARC Training Centre will operate from two nodes – the lead node at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus and a second node at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University.
In establishing the Centre, researchers consulted widely with producers, suppliers, industry bodies and other researcher agencies to identify research priorities.
“Our projects will help industry respond to the challenges of climate extremes, diseases and spoilage, water limitations and quality losses,” says Centre Director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide.
“We will also be helping industry increase profitability through the production of sought-after, distinct wines that fetch higher prices, and more efficient wine-making processes.
“For example, one project will aim to characterise the distinctive flavours of Australia’s Cabernet Sauvignon wines, focusing initially on the Coonawarra region. We want to determine how pragmatic and cost-effective vineyard practices can change grape composition to meet consumer preferences, whether in traditional Western or booming Asian markets.”
Other projects aim to develop strategies for meeting quality and yield targets despite environmental challenges; better understanding, detecting and controlling disease, spoilage and wine taint; and developing and adapting new technologies to reduce waste and cost, and drive profitability.
A key objective is to train the next generation of wine scientists and researchers focused on industry outcomes.
The partner organisations are: NSW Department of Primary Industries, VA Filtration, CSIRO, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Coonawarra Grape and Wine Inc., Australian Genome Research Facility, Australian Wine Research Institute, E&J Gallo, Chalmers Wines, Charles Sturt University, Wine Australia, Availer and Lallemand Australia.