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Innovative wine research centre to future-proof Australia’s industry

Research & Development

A wine research centre to combat the effects of climate change, defeat disease, define Australian wine flavours and increase grape quality will be established in Adelaide.

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Supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and based at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus, the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production will undertake research aiming to build the sustainability and competitive edge of Australia’s $5 billion wine industry.

In establishing the centre, researchers consulted widely with producers, suppliers, industry bodies and other researcher agencies to identify research priorities.

Centre Director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, who is also Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide, said the research projects would help industry respond to the challenges of climate extremes, diseases, spoilage, water limitations and quality losses.

“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,” Professor Jiranek said.

“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.

The University of Adelaide’s Waite campus is part of Australia’s largest wine research hub in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, which also includes the Australian Wine Research Institute, CSIRO and the university’s teaching winery.

A secondary ARC Training Centre node will be established at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen said the centre built on a long history of wine research and multi-agency collaboration at the Waite campus.

“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,” he said.

Launched today by Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham, the centre is being backed by an A$4.46 million government grant.

Minister Birmingham said the centre further cemented Adelaide as Australia’s wine capital.

“Spanning the entire product chain—from grape-growing to the consumer—this training centre will continue to be critical to improving the competitiveness and viability of Australian wine production in the long-term,” he said.

“World first research and technological breakthroughs in the vineyard, winemaking processes, marketing practices and even bottle closures have helped make Australia a world leader, but it is essential that we invest and train to stay ahead of our many global competitors.”

A key objective of the centre is to train the next generation of wine scientists and researchers focused on industry outcomes.

Partner organisations include: 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.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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