Tag Archives: Wine

Debate: Grape and wine quality doesn’t matter – it’s marketing that sells wine!

Green Vines

The Australian wine industry has made huge gains based on investment in research and development during the past 30-50 years, giving us the edge in a competitive global market. Industry levy and government-funded research has led to knowledge and applications that have enabled significant improvements in grape and wine quality, as well as productivity and yield increases.

In an era of more costly inputs and diminishing returns, and with Australian wine no longer the ‘flavour of the month’ internationally, is it time to shift investment to support marketing efforts that increase the future growth and profitability of the industry? Many winemakers feel the challenging global economic and market forces they now face are more immediate and grave than longer-term environmental threats such as soil salinity and climate change.

On the other hand, the fruit of much labour in R&D is slow to reveal itself – a 20-year time lag between discovery in the lab and application in the field is commonly cited in agricultural science. In some areas this has dropped to as little as six years to meet industry imperatives. An exciting period lies ahead, with many more possibilities evident on the knowledge horizon, but the rising costs of research, funding cuts and a diminution in the perceived value and importance of R&D to the industry are real threats.

Why bother making better wine if we can’t sell it? Can consumers tell the difference between average wine and great wine anyway? Is increasing the marketing spend (especially if it’s at the expense of R&D) a sound investment strategy, or a sign of desperation from an industry under pressure in a world that has become short-sighted, shallow and dollar-driven?

In this exciting and important debate, moderated by Dr Paul Willis, Director RiAus, six experts in two teams will argue for your vote.

For the affirmative team …

  • Professor Pascale Quester Deputy Vice Chancellor & Vice-President (Academic), The University of Adelaide
  • Professor Larry Lockshin Pro-Vice Chancellor, Strategic Coordination, Professor of Wine Marketing and Head of the School of Marketing, University of SA
  • Dr Roberta Veale Program Director – Wine Business The Business School, Marketing, Faculty of the Professions, The University of Adelaide

For the negative team …

Will you be for or against?

Date: Thursday 17 October 2013 Time: 6.00pm (for a 6.30pm start) to 8.30pm
Place: Lirra Lirra Café, McLeod House, Waite Road, Waite Campus, Urrbrae Finger food and cash bar provided
Event is free. Please register at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/wri/events/debate/

Easy way to keep track of favourite wines

This story was orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Tuesday, 17 September 2013.

wineapp

University of Adelaide wine staff and students have developed a free iPad app that will help consumers learn more about the wines they are drinking and keep track of their favourites.

‘My Wine World’ guides users through the assessment of wine appearance, smell, flavour, taste and the feel of the wine in the mouth. Users can record tasting notes and their own ratings in a searchable archive.

“We needed an educational tool to help our winemaking and wine business students develop their sensory skills,” says Senior Lecturer of Oenology Dr Kerry Wilkinson. “This promises to be really successful as an e-learning tool, but then we thought, why should students have all the fun?”

The app was developed by Dr Wilkinson and fellow Oenology Senior Lecturer at the Waite Campus, Dr Paul Grbin, together with Viticulture and Oenology student Matthew Roussy. It is available to the general public through the Apple app store.

My Wine World starts with a wine tasting tutorial and uses touch tools with colour displays, sliders and input screens where wine drinkers can enter the sensory attributes of the wines they are drinking. They can add a photo of the label, and easily refer back and cross-reference at a later date.

“Traditionally, technical wine assessment involves recording detailed observations and perceptions of the sensory properties of wine with tasting notes usually recorded in a diary or journal. But these can be cumbersome, messy and easily lost or damaged,” says Dr Wilkinson.

“This is an ideal tool for anyone who has a serious interest in developing their wine sensory skills, but also for those who just love wine but don’t have much technical knowledge. And then there are plenty of people who simply like to drink nice wines but can never remember the ones they liked, or what they like about them.

“My Wine World makes it very easy to build up a searchable archive of your favourite wines, with star ratings and even photos of the wine labels.”

Viticulture and Oenology student Matthew Roussy said he could have done with this app during his 10-year career as a sommelier.

“I knew that the need existed for a tasting note recorder and, now as a viticulture and oenology student, I realised I could help make My Wine World a very handy educational tool,” says Matt.

My Wine World won second place in last year’s Australian eChallenge, the annual entrepreneurial business planning competition run by the University’s Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre. The app was developed with a small grant from the University of Adelaide’s Wine2030 research network.

 

New partnership for Radio Adelaide and the University of Adelaide’s Waite Research Institute

Harvest version 3

What we eat and drink, how it’s grown, and how science and innovation can help meet the challenges of food quality and security – this is the focus of Harvest; a new partnership between Radio Adelaide and the University of Adelaide‘s Waite Research Institute.

The radio program will feature research and topical issues related to agriculture, food and wine and will be broadcast on Radio Adelaide from Wednesday the 7th of August each week from 3.00pm-4.00pm South Australian time.

Radio Adelaide’s General Manager Deborah Welch said that the partnership is in line with Radio Adelaide’s long history of supporting life-long learning and using a variety of platforms and technologies. “We deliver an audience of enquiring minds from all walks of life to the University of Adelaide, and by extension to the Waite Campus” she said. “Our listeners are curious people who are looking for more information about their world. They are interested in social issues and influencing decision making. And they like to eat!”

Professor Mike Wilkinson, Director of the Waite Research Institute said that the partnership provides a unique opportunity to engage the community in the issues in food production. “Producing a radio program gives us the opportunity to present our research in a way that is personally relevant to the listener, and by working with Radio Adelaide, we are going to reach a much larger and more diverse audience than we ever could alone. Whether you are from the city or the country, food production, quality and safety is relevant to you.”

For Radio Adelaide journalist Chris Brunner, producing Harvest is unique opportunity. “I’m interested in documentary-style radio and current affairs, and there are so many stories to tell about the work at the Waite and how it relates to the bigger agriculture, food and wine landscape” he said. “And to be able to have so many key people in one place is a journalist’s dream.”

The Waite Research Institute’s Public Engagement Officer, Dr Heather Bray will co-produce and co-host the program. “Agriculture is exciting, diverse and personal – its science you can eat. As a science communicator, I’m really looking forward to working with a journalist to present agricultural science stories in a personally relevant and engaging way.”

In addition to the program’s live audience in Adelaide, people will be able to listen to the program from all over Australia either via Radio Adelaide’s live stream or podcasts at radio.adelaide.edu.au/program/harvest. Podcasts will also be available through iTunes.

Harvest will also use Twitter and Facebook to interact with the audience. Links to podcasts will also be shared here on the Waite Research Institute’s blog as well as the WRI Twitter channel and Facebook page.

 

$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.

‘Darwin’s drop’: Using evolution to improve wine featured in latest e-Science

Darwins drop on iPad

The work by Prof Vladimir Jiranek and his team on using directed evolution to improve yeast fermentation has been featured in the latest issue of e-Science magazine.

e-Science is produced by the University of Adelaide’s Faculty of Sciences and is designed primarily for school teachers and students. The innovative magazine is designed for iPads and other electronic devices (including Android) and can be downloaded for free using links available on the e-Science magazine website.

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.

Recent research: Sensing sulphur dioxide in wine

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is important in winemaking because it prevents spoilage. Over time the SO2 is used up, leaving wines without any SO2 protection. Some people are allergic to SO2 so it’s important to be able to monitor and regulate SO2 content during wine production. Current techniques mostly require a sample of the wine to be taken and chemically analysed for sulfites (including SO2) which can be time consuming.

This study demonstrates a technique that can measure sulfite content in small samples of white wine. The researchers used an optical fibre sensing platform which can be suspended in the wine and adapted a known chemical reaction that produces a colour-change when sulfites are present. The optical fibres have three separate chambers and the reaction depends on the interaction between guided light located within the fibre voids and a mixture of the wine sample and a chemical indicator. The researchers showed that this technique makes measurements without the need for the wine dilution and paves the way towards real time in situ wine monitoring.

Corresponding author: Professor Dennis Taylor
Organisations: Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and School of Chemistry and Physics, University of Adelaide; School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide
Publication: Monro, T.M., Moore, R.L., Nguyen, M.-C., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Skouroumounis, G.K., Elsey, G.M. and Taylor, D.K. (2012) Sensing Free Sulfur Dioxide in Wine. Sensors 12(8):10759-10773.
Link: doi: 10.3390/s120810759 (Open Access)

“Recent research” is a series of short, regular posts highlighting recent research papers from the Waite Campus.