Study path proves busy but beneficial

Applications are closing soon for Wine Australia’s PhD, Masters and Honours scholarships. Previous recipient Dr Tony Robinson, discusses his experience as a scholarship holder.

Tony was not just a Wine Australia PhD scholarship holder, he was also a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.

After receiving the inaugural Fulbright Western Australia Scholarship in 2008, he spent what can only be described as a whirlwind 12 months working alongside the best in his field, while also finding time to be an ambassador for Australian wine, to learn more about what the US sector has to offer, to judge at wine shows, and to swap ideas with students from many disciplines and all corners of the globe. And this was all while starting a PhD supported by a Wine Australia (then GWRDC) scholarship.

And when he discovered there was ‘more to be done’, he self-funded a further six-month stint at the University of California Davis, again working alongside Professor Hildegarde Heymann, a world leader in the field of sensory evaluation of food. She was happy to be a partner as well as a mentor, and together they co-wrote 10 peer-reviewed papers, one of which won the Best Enology Paper of the Year for the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture.

‘It was a fantastic experience, a great chance to grow academically, and the opportunity to collaborate at such a high level was a bonus’, he said.

His resulting PhD thesis, which looked at the environmental influences that drive flavour formation in grapes, largely comprised chapters that had already been published.

Now the Technical Winemaker for Treasury Wine Estates based in Nuriootpa, Tony already had a strong background in the sector when he decided to take on a PhD. Over eight years from 2000, he had jobs in Margaret River, the Swan Valley, the Barossa and McLaren Vale, and also worked vintages in the Hunter Valley and New Zealand.

However, it was a role as project manager for an ARC Linkage project looking at Margaret River Chardonnay at the University of Western Australia that pointed him in the direction of further study. His PhD was carried out jointly at Murdoch University in Perth and at the CSIRO in Adelaide.

‘The Wine Australia scholarship provided me with an invaluable opportunity to further my studies and develop a better understanding of wine’, he said.

‘I believe that Wine Australia scholarships that support further education are an important investment in the future of our sector and in the next generation of researchers and practitioners’.

Applications for the next round of Wine Australia scholarships to support PhD, Masters and Honours studies close on 6 November 2015.

The scholarships aim to attract postgraduate students to study in wine- and viticulture-related fields.

It is anticipated that recipients of these scholarships will represent the future leaders in grape and wine research and will make positive contributions to the wine community and Australian agricultural sector.

Click here for more information about Wine Australia’s PhD, Masters and Honours scholarships.

 

(Image credit: Sasha Key)

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