Wine grape varieties originating from a diverse range of countries and regions, and advanced CSIRO breeding lines, have been assessed. The results demonstrate that there are significant opportunities to broaden the genetic base of varieties available to the Australian industry to enhance its capability to meet the challenges associated with climate change, limited water supply and drought and high alcohol content. Specifically, varieties have been identified with short seasonality to improve water use efficiency; small canopies to minimise transpiration and improve water use efficiency; long seasonality to ripen in cooler conditions; optimal pH and titratable acidity and unique aroma and flavour profiles
Over 150 Australian isolates of malolactic fermentation bacteria, collected over decades and housed in the AWRI Culture Collection (AWRI CC), were characterised by genomic (DNA) sequencing. A subgroup of these, of known provenance, was screened for tolerance to stresses encountered when grown in wine. This enabled the identification of strains with strong performance characteristics, the most promising of which will be trialled in future research at larger scale winemaking. In addition, genetic markers for stress tolerant traits have been identified. This will facilitate rapid screening of the AWRI CC to isolate candidate strains with desirable characteristics, suited to Australian winemaking conditions.
Fiona Kerslake presented two posters entitled ‘UV spectra and chemometrics discriminate press fraction and variety of juice for sparkling wine’ and ‘Non-destructive process monitoring of sparkling wines with in-bottle near infrared scanning and chemometrics’ (Dr Bob Dambergs lead author) at the In Vino Analytica Scientia 2015 conference in Trento, Italy. This conference provided an excellent opportunity for Dr Kerslake to build new connections, both nationally and internationally, and strengthen existing relationships. The high level of wine chemistry presented both in oral presentations and posters provided an excellent opportunity for Dr Kerslake to keep abreast of new developments in this discipline and also to promote Australia’s research strength in this area. The number of Australian researchers that attended and presented research at this conference was also testament to Australia’s strong research capability.
Latest work lead by Dr Fuentes with collaborations with colleagues in Australia and Chile was presented at the VIII International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops (Lleida-Spain).
Specifically, one oral presentation and two posters were delivered:
• Low cost infrared scanner for estimating grapevine water status (oral)
• Almond crop coefficients calculation including day and night-time tree water uptake and transpiration (poster)
• Orchard water status variability assessed using proximal and aerial infrared thermography(poster)
A number of planned activities relating to the challenge of yield estimation in viticulture were undertaken with the support of AGWA funding. These included presentation of peer-reviewed work at two conferences and several research visits across the USA. The papers presented addressed the issues of bunch detection from imagery and counting berries from a single image of a bunch, with both papers showing results of between 85 and 90% accuracy. The major result from the research visits was a better understanding of the state of the art yield estimation system developed by Steve Nuske which directly informs the system development underway in AGWA project DPI 1401. In addition ideas were gained for future proposals as well as directions for reducing the risks associated with the current project.
Dr Ian Dry was an invited speaker at the 11th International Conference on Grapevine Breeding and Genetics, Yanqing county, Beijing 29 July - 2 August 2014 where he presented a plenary talk entitled 'Resistance strategies of grapevines to biotrophic pathogens'. This presentation gave an overview of our current knowledge regarding the identification and function of resistance genes from wild grapevine species which can be used to confer resistance to powdery and downy mildew which are the two major pathogens of cultivated grapevines. Dr Dry also took the opportunity to visit with collaborators at China Agricultural University in Beijing to discuss current and future collaborations.
Project Supervisor: Keller, Professor Mike and van Helden, Dr Maarten
Suppression of the inter-row permanent ground cover sward by tillage or herbicide strongly affected ecosystem services in McLaren Vale Shiraz. Ground cover suppression increased yield (berry size) by 15% (0-40%) due to increased nitrogen availability. Overall water stress (measured as must δ13C) was not significantly affected but was related to Leaf Area Index. Soil Organic Matter (SOM), entomopathogens and seed predation were unchanged. SOM decomposition and meso-fauna abundance increased in tillage while bulk density and compaction decreased. Arthropod biodiversity was highest in Sward. Optimising soil management requires variation over time to conciliate long term positive and negative impacts, increasing resilience for the grower. A three year collaborative project including winter cover crops and more regions is in preparation.
Project Supervisor: Conduit, Dr Jodie and Plewa, Dr Carolin
This research supports the work of Wine Australia by identifying capabilities required to bring together research institutes, wine producers, and others in the wine sector to integrate resources and skills in a way that achieves superior RD&E outcomes. Through a series of interviews and an exploratory survey, several capabilities required for successful R&D collaboration are identified; market knowledge, absorptive capacity, technological competence, network and alliance capabilities, co-creation capability and the capability to build capabilities. The study suggests all partners should focus on developing relational capabilities, while firms low on technical capabilities should focus on developing their capacity to build capabilities.
One of the key cohorts to influence in Asia is the younger and more educated part of the population. Australia is in a unique position to access a sample of this important segment, because over 500,000 Asian students are currently studying in Australia. The results of this project show that an education by regions-of-origin with Western terminology are more effective in improving the likeability, willingness-to-pay (WTP) and perceived price point (PPP) of Australian wines. In addition, one-off education sessions (e.g. master classes) are a more time-effective way to shift consumers’ choice.