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ARC launches wine research centre in Adelaide

Published:  12 June, 2018

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has launched a wine research centre in Adelaide.

The ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, which has been launched in collaboration with other wine organisations, will undertake research aimed at building the sustainability and competitive edge of Australia’s wine industry through increased productivity and profitability.

Key goals of the centre, which is backed by an A$4.46 million government grant, include defining Australian wines’ “unique flavours”, making vines more robust, defeating disease and introducing more innovation to winemaking, said Vladimir Jiranek, centre director and professor of oenology at the University of Adelaide.

“Our projects will help the industry respond to the challenges of climate extremes, diseases and spoilage, water limitations and quality losses while 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,” he said.

For example, one project would aim to characterise the distinctive flavours of Australia’s Cabernet Sauvignon wines, focusing initially on the Coonawarra region, he added.

“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,” said Jiranek.

In establishing the ARC Training Centre, which operates from the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus and the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University, researchers had consulted widely with producers, suppliers, industry bodies and other researcher agencies to identify research priorities, he added.

The centre “further cemented” Adelaide as Australia’s wine capital, said federal education and training minister Simon Birmingham, who launched the project.

“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.

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.