• Photo by Thomas Martinsen on Unsplash.
    Photo by Thomas Martinsen on Unsplash.

A centre aimed at nurturing innovation in Australian winemaking has opened at the University of Adelaide.

Supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and other partner organisations, the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production aims to "define Australian wines’ unique flavours; make vines more robust, defeat disease; and introduce more innovation to winemaking", according to planners.

Launched at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus last week, the centre will continue the work already being done in wine research, vice-chancellor professor Peter Rathjen said.
“This is a perfect example of how our university can leverage research strengths and intellectual capability to meet industry needs, which will bring economic benefits for the state and the nation,” he added.

In collaboration with the wine industry, the research will aim to build the sustainability and competitive edge of Australia’s $5 billion wine industry.

The ARC Training Centre will operate from two nodes – the lead node at the Waite campus and a second node at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University.

In establishing the centre, researchers consulted with producers, suppliers, industry bodies, and other research agencies to identify priorities.
“Our projects will help industry respond to the challenges of climate extremes, diseases and spoilage, water limitations and quality losses,” centre director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide, said.
“We'll also help industry increase profitability through the production of sought-after, distinct wines that fetch higher prices, and use more efficient wine-making processes.
“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.
Another key objective is to train the next generation of wine scientists and researchers focused on industry outcomes.
The partner organisations involved are: 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.