Category Archives: Wine Innovation Cluster

$2.4m to help make the wine consumers want

This story was orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Wednesday, 1 May, 2013

Wine research and training has been given a significant boost today with the announcement of $2.4 million for a new training centre focussed on innovative wine production at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus.

The Australian Research Council grant was awarded under the Federal Government’s Industrial Transformation Research Program and is one of just four training centres and four research hubs from the program’s first round.

Training Centre Director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology, said the Centre would provide new knowledge, methods and technologies, as well as skilled researchers, to help the wine industry tackle its big challenges. Key objectives are to better manage flavour and alcohol content in Australia’s wines.

“The Australian wine industry is facing major challenges through climate change, water restrictions, changing consumer preferences and rising wine alcohol content. As such this research training initiative comes at a critical time for the industry and will help in retaining the global competitiveness of Australia’s wine industry,” Professor Jiranek says.

“Essentially we seek to help the industry make wines of the composition, style and quality that consumers want despite these challenges.”

The Industrial Transformation Research Program aims to support industry-research partnerships to boost the competitiveness of Australian industries.

The Training Centre provides an opportunity for the University of Adelaide’s Waite Research Institute to work with its research partners in the Wine Innovation Cluster (the Australian Wine Research Institute, CSIRO – Plant Industry, and SARDI) as well as industry partners: BioSA, Laffort Oenologie Australia Pty Ltd, Lowe Wines Pty Ltd, Memstar Pty Ltd, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd (UK), Tarac Technologies and Treasury Wine Estates Vintners Ltd.

The Centre will incorporate at least 12 PhD candidates and 3 postdoctoral fellows, all of whom will have an opportunity to spend extended periods embedded within a partner organisation.

A major goal of the Training Centre is to provide researchers with extensive experience working at the university/industry interface, enabling them to move seamlessly between the two and facilitating interactions between these groups.

Crush 2012: The grape and wine science symposium

Crush 2012 is a two-day national symposium dedicated to grape and wine research.

It provides a forum for researchers, students and technologists in both viticulture and oenology to discuss the application of their work to the opportunities and challenges faced by the wine sector.

The global success Australia’s wine offer was built on the back of a strong research-based culture of innovation. To some extent, the world has caught up, but our researchers are continuing their work to ensure that in a fiercely competitive domestic and global market, our wines will continue to have a winning  edge. This is particularly important in our domestic market where a combination of factors, including exchange rates, now sees Australian wine losing market share to imported wines.

This is an excellent opportunity for all researchers, whether current PhD or Masters students, early-career post-doctoral scientists or experienced investigators, to present the results of their work to their peers and benefit from building collaborative networks. Wine industry leaders will be on hand to guide the all important discussions at the end of each half-day session.

Themes to be explored include the lowering of alcohol in wine without diminishing quality, moves to ‘greener’ farming methods and the ongoing quest to better understand the origins of flavour, both in the vineyard and in the winery. An exciting, inclusive part of the program are the ‘snapshots’, where up to 20 researchers will have 5 minutes to  share their work with the audience – this is the researchers’  version of speed dating.

Convened by the Wine Innovation Cluster and held at the Waite Campus, Urrbrae, Crush 2012 presents an opportunity to both share current findings and explore further opportunities for collaborative research through the strong networking focus.

The Waite Research Institute is proud to be a sponsor of Crush 2012: the grape and wine science symposium. For more information (and the program) click here.

Wine Microbiology for Fermentation Success and Wine Quality

Associate Professor Vladimir Jirank
On the 30th of August, Associate Professor Valdimir Jirank gave this talk as part of the WIC Seminar Series. You can listen to the talk here or you can watch the slidecast below.

The microbiology of the winemaking process, which includes inoculated strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the lactic acid bacterium, Oenococcus oeni, is critical to process efficiency and wine quality. In each case these organisms are required to complete a core conversion (sugar to ethanol or lactate to malate, respectively) as well as make desirable sensory contributions. These activities typically occur under extreme conditions which may include high sugar (osmolarity) and ethanol content and low pH, temperature and nutrient availability.

We have used mutant screening strategies and functional genomic approaches to identify the basis of superior yeast performance in the face of these challenges. In addition we have use adaptive evolution to yield yeast with enhance fermentation reliability based on increase nitrogen efficiency, fructophilicity or general robustness. In parallel work, we have isolated and heterologously expressed genes from O. oeni which encode esterases or glucosidases. Characterisation of these gene products has provided insights into their roles within the cell as well as potential contribution to wine.