Rapid assessment of grapes prior to harvest to quantify fungal off-flavours and product composition

Background

Harvest decisions are often pressured by harvest, transport and winery logistics and the need to coordinate with ripening of other grape varieties. Vintage compression, late rains and the associated mould growth and off-flavours add to the problem. Rapid objective methods to assess grape quality and mould taints would help decision-making and grading of grapes but currently no methods exist.

Objectives/aims

This project will develop in-field assessment of grape quality, composition and fungal taint compounds. The work builds upon our expertise for quantifying volatiles linked to grape fungal infection and will extend to volatiles linked to wine faults and taints. New instrumentation will aid growers and winemakers to ensure quality, thereby offering better wine to consumers, but could be applied more broadly to other horticultural crops.

 

PhD position available (ICHDR6)

We seek a highly motivated PhD candidate with a high level Honours or Masters qualification or equivalent in viticulture, analytical chemistry or microbiology. The project will be based at the Wagga Wagga campus of Charles Sturt University and may involve periods of time located within specialised analytical chemistry laboratories off campus. The candidate will develop skills/techniques in rapid measures of grape composition employing mass spectroscopy measures of volatile compounds, near and mid infrared spectroscopy, chemometrics and data modelling techniques.

For further information on the Centre PhD’s, including eligibility, visit the Join Us page. If you are interested in this project, email project lead Professor Leigh Schmidtke to express your interest, including a copy of your CV and academic transcript.

Project leader


Professor
Leigh Schmidtke
Charles Sturt University
 

Other investigators


Dr
Suzy Rogiers
NSW DPI
 

Industry partners

NSW Department of Primary Industries

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