Wine Australia invests $8.5 million in 12 new projects

Wine Australia will invest $8.5 million over the next 4 years in 12 new research and development (R&D) projects that will help increase demand and the premium paid for Australian wine and increase the grape and wine sector’s competitiveness.

Wine Australia Chair Brian Walsh said, ‘We are delighted with the quality of the research projects that we will fund through this round and we look forward to the outcomes contributing to a prosperous Australian grape and wine community’.

‘The knowledge developed through these research projects will provide tangible evidence to support our fine wine claims, contribute to objective measures of quality, help manage the effects of climate change and provide practical tools to support informed decision making.

‘Our research partners in these projects include the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), CSIRO, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), the University of Adelaide, the Antarctic Climate Ecosystem CRC and 2XE, and we look forward to working with them to deliver strong outcomes for the Australian grape and wine community’, he said.

Further detail on the 12 projects follows.

Wine provenance and measures of quality projects
To increase the demand and premium paid for all Australian wine, we will provide tangible evidence to support our fine wine claims through R&D into Australia’s unique terroirs and how these terroirs influence wine style and quality. These projects will focus on better understanding how and why fine Australian wines reflect their provenance and terroir and what changes in management practices can be adopted to more optimally express Australian terroirs. They will also contribute to the development of objective measures of wine quality.

• Sparkling wine
This project will develop and test objective measures of quality for sparkling wine, including understanding how the aged character develops in sparkling and how to achieve this more efficiently. It will be led by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) with the University of Adelaide and the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) as collaborators.
• Pinot Noir
This project aims to provide robust evidence for the uniqueness of Australian Pinot Noir. It will be led by the TIA with the AWRI and international collaborators.
• Microbial genetic diversity
This project aims to understand how much microbial diversity contributes to regionality and regional characteristics. The AWRI will investigate unique microbial strains that may be a way to enhance regional terroir.
• Glutathione
This project aims to understand how best to use glutathione, a naturally occurring antioxidant, in winemaking. It is proposed that glutathione may enhance the expression of varietal character and terroir as well as prevent oxidation. The AWRI will lead this project with collaboration from the University of Adelaide and Western Sydney University.
• Objective measures of Shiraz quality
This project will look at grape measures that could be used for commercial grape grading and wine quality. It will be led by the AWRI with strong collaboration from Pernod Ricard Winemakers.
• Provenance validation tool
This project aims to test whether trace metals and stable isotopes can be used to determine the place of origin of wines. It will be led by the AWRI.

 

Climate adaptation projects
One of the ways to increase competitiveness in the sector is to provide the information that the sector needs to manage the challenges of short-term climate cycles and long-term climate change. We will focus on viticultural treatments to manage the effects of climate change, with an emphasis on fruit and wine quality.

• Adapting to ongoing climate change
This project aims to develop tools to help growers manage short term climate cycles and long-term climate change. It will be led by the Antarctic Climate Ecosystem CRC in collaboration with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), TIA and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.
• In-canopy misters
This project aims to evaluate in-canopy misters to reduce temperature during heatwaves. It builds on successful research done by SARDI and will be led by the University of Adelaide in collaboration with SARDI.
• Adjusting berry ripening
This project will look at using plant growth regulators to manage compressed or early harvest dates. It will be led by CSIRO Agriculture and builds on previous successful R&D done at CSIRO.
• New scion-rootstock combinations
This project has two aims – to determine cost and water savings achievable with new no spray and no prune varieties and to trial ‘ArduCrop’, a new thermal imaging system for irrigation decision making. It builds on earlier research and will be led by CSIRO Agriculture.
• Epi-breeding
Epigenetics acts like a chemical switch for genes. It allows cells to be different (e.g. all skin cells in zebras can make pigment, but only some do). Epigenetics allows adaptation to stress in plants. This project aims to determine whether epigenetic ‘memory’ is retained in grapevine cuttings, and if it can be ‘passed on’. It will be led by the University of Adelaide.

 

Economic sustainability project
Economic sustainability is another way that we will increase the competitiveness of the sector. We will focus on practical information, innovations and tools that enhance winery profitability and thus economic sustainability.

• Activity-based costing tool
This project aims to develop a user friendly tool to help wineries adopt activity based costing (ABC), which aids decision making. The tool will include the capacity to benchmark with other businesses and it will be developed by 2XE.