Tag Archives: Winemaking

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.

Debate @ the Waite, 15th of March, 2012

“The future of the Australian wine industry

will be based on technology, not tradition”

Ensuring that Australia’s wine industry remains profitable, internationally competitive and sustainable into an uncertain future is a major challenge. The industry is under pressure from oversupply of fruit, the high Australian dollar and increasing competition from other ‘new-world’ wine producers.

The Australian wine industry is estimated to be worth $5 billion annually, with approximately 60% of our wines exported. Innovation has underpinned the growth of the Australian wine industry in recent decades, enabling the production of high-volume, value-for-money wines for export, optimising wine outcomes and increasing profitability.

How should the Australian wine industry position itself as consumers become increasingly discerning and wine-savvy? Does remaining competitive in a global market mean embracing any and every existing and emerging technology in both viticulture and winemaking?

Despite advances in technology though, winemaking remains essentially a natural biochemical process which humans have exploited and enjoyed for thousands of years. The basic tools – grapes, yeast, wooden barrels and presses – have remained the same throughout the ages.

Consumers at the premium/boutique end of the market are increasingly savouring the differences between wines, and seeking to know the unique ‘story’ of the wine they are drinking. The wider trend towards ethical consumption, sustainable production practices and reduced use of additives may also suggest that it’s time for a ‘back-to-basics’ approach.

This debate, moderated by Dr Paul Willis, RiAus, will explore these issues and many more, as six experts in two teams argue for your vote.

Will you vote for or against?

Team for the affirmative
Professor Steve Tyerman, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, The University of Adelaide
Dr Dan Johnson, Managing Director, Australian Wine Research Institute
Professor Vlad Jiranek, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, The University of Adelaide

Team for the negative
Mr Brian Croser, AO, Tapanappa winemaker
Professor Barbara Santich, School of History & Politics, The University of Adelaide
Dr Sue Bastian, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide

Thursday 15 March 2012
6:00pm – 8:30pm

Waite Campus
Lirra Lirra Cafe,
Waite Road, Urrbrae

Admission is free, but prior registration is essential as seats are strictly limited.
Go to http://debateatthewaite.eventbrite.com.au/

Free wine tasting and finger food provided

Up close & personal with Max Allen

The Future Makers: Australian Wines for the 21st Century

Max Allen has been writing about wine in Australia for almost 20 years. He is the wine columnist for The Weekend Australian Magazine, wine editor for Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine, and a regular contributor to consumer and trade magazines such as Gourmet Traveller Wine in Australia and Wine and Spirits in the USA.

Max is in Adelaide to promote his new book ‘The Future Makers: Australian Wines for the 21st Century’. He will be joined by well known Australian wine identity Peter Leske in a lively debate about the future of the wine industry in Australia. Topics will range from biodynamics in viticulture to climate change and water to alternative wine shows.

Max also publishes an independent, critical guide to biodynamics in Australian vineyards – www.redwhiteandgreen.com.au – as well as a blog – realaustralianwines.blogspot.com. In September 2007, Max launched The Wine Map of Victoria, a comprehensive, detailed overview of the State’s 20-plus wine regions and subregions. In 2010 this has been joined by The Wine Map of Australia: www.australianwinemaps.com.

Date/Time: Monday 25th October 1-2 pm
Location: Plant Research Centre Auditorium, Waite Campus

For further Information contact: Dr Amanda Able

The Inaugural A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture

Winemaking – A Continuum between Art and Science?

The inaugural A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture is named in honour of the former Roseworthy Lecturer who is regarded as the father of Australian oenology (wine-making) education. This Lecture recognises individuals that have had an impact on the wine industry and are world leaders in the field of oenology. Alan Robb Hickinbotham (1898-1959) joined the staff at Roseworthy College in 1929 as a Lecturer in Physical and Chemical Sciences. In 1936, he established the nation’s first wine-making course which evolved into the University of Adelaide’s world-renowned Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology which is now run at the Waite Campus. Alan R. Hickinbotham remained at Roseworthy College until 1948. His research and writing on wine-making under Australian conditions laid the foundation for a technically advanced Australian wine industry. The Hickinbotham family continued their father’s passion for wine through their ongoing interests in viticulture and wine production. The National Wine Centre has recognised the Hickinbotham family by naming its major function hall after the family while the Hickinbotham Roseworthy Wine Science Laboratory was established at the University’s Waite Campus in 1998 with the family’s support.

Most winemakers sit somewhere on the continuum between being pure artists or scientists. Arguably the best wines are made by those that sit somewhere between the two; knowing where to and when to rely on their instincts and experience and when to reach for the lecture notes, text book or phone. Without going into a debate on what is science, it’s fair to say that winemakers have different needs of the scientific and research community that fall into three main types. The “Oh my gosh something has gone wrong and I need help” type; the “I wonder what I can do to make this more efficient or understand it better” type, and the “blue sky – I never would have thought! – pure research but sometimes revolutionary” type. This lecture will discuss these ideas and give examples where all have been or are relevant to current Australian winemaking.

Date/Time: Monday 12th July, 4pm
Plant Research Centre Auditorium, Waite Campus
Louisa Rose, Yalumba

The presentation will be followed by drinks and nibbles

For further Information contact: Dr Amanda Able