25/07/2018 – News / Beverages / Innovation / Sustainability / Wine / Grape / Australia
Australian grape and wine tech receives US$6.6m partnership boost
Wine Australia and the National Wine & Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) have signed a AU$9-million (US$6.6m) co-investment research, development and extension (RD&E) agreement to develop new technologies and provide practical information to growers and winemakers to increase profitability and competitiveness, as well as improve environmental sustainability.
The strategic partnership agreement will fund research projects that align with Wine Australia’s Strategic Plan and RD&E priorities, and have been developed in consultation with the wine sector in New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria, and with the NSW DPI.
One of the projects will explore the potential for controlling berry acidity in the vineyard through the addition of minerals such as calcium and magnesium in fertiliser to decrease additional intervention in managing acidity when making wine. The alliance also plans to develop a decision support tool and a field-tested smartphone app for assessing fruit volume and predicting optimal harvest date, as well as a smartphone app for on-the-spot nutrient assessments and diagnosis of nutritional disorders in the vineyard.
Other projects include conducting research to determine the thresholds for botrytis and other bunch rot contamination of grapes, alongside a feasibility assessment of the most appropriate practices to manage faults in wine when bunch rot thresholds are exceeded, as well as the development of recommendations on how to tailor sulphur dioxide and ascorbic acid use based on wine compositional parameters.
A good year for innovation
Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andreas Clark, said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre to deliver some outstanding practical tools and outcomes for our sector over the next five years. This agreement reflects our united commitment to finding effective solutions to improving the competitiveness of Australia’s grape and wine community. We would like to thank all of those who participated in the development of these projects to help us ensure the timely delivery of relevant and valuable outcomes for our sector.”
NWGIC Director, Professor Leigh Schmidtke, said: “This research is based on meeting the needs of industry and aims to deliver practical information and innovation to make Australia’s wine industry more profitable and sustainable to support thriving rural communities.”
The NWGIC is an alliance between Charles Sturt University (CSU), the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the NSW Wine Industry Association. Wine Australia will contribute AU$2.5m (US$1.8m), Charles Sturt University (CSU) will contribute AU$4.1m (US$3m) (cash and in-kind) and NSW DPI AU$2.4m (US$1.7m) over the next five years.
This agreement is the fourth in a series of bilateral partnerships between Wine Australia and major research institutions under a new research and development funding framework that aims to allow the Australian grape and wine community’s research partners to be better able to make strategic investments and plan for the future, maintain technical capabilities in key areas, and have greater flexibility to pursue promising research results within an overall agreed framework.