Associate Professor Paul Grbin

Associate Professor Paul Grbin
 Position Head Winemaker
 Org Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
 Telephone +61 8 8313 7302
 Location Floor/Room 1 07 ,  Wine Innovation East ,   Waite
  • Biography/ Background

    In 2001 The University of Adelaide appointed Paul Grbin, and along with Professor Vladimir Jiranek, they form the Wine Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology Group within the School of Agriculture, Food & Wine.

    The research conducted within this group is principally funded through the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) with strong support from the Faculty of Sciences and the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

    Research Goals

    Our group is devoted to new grape and wine microbiology and biotechnology initiatives to bring long-term benefits to the Australia wine industry. We are located in the  Wine Innovation Cluster (WIC) situated on the Waite campus. This state-of-the-art facility brings together all partners on the Waite campus that are devoted to research for the Australian wine industry. The partners include AWRI, CSIRO and SARDI . The critical mass of personnel coupled with research infrastructure is unique in Australia and allows for rapid targeted viticulture and oenology research to address industry needs.

    Research Opportunities

    A number of research opportunities exist for joining our group especially for projects in collaboration with our WIC partners or other external national and international collaborators. You can join our group as a Summer Scholar, Honours student (half year (12 points) or full year (24 points)), Masters by research (half time or full time), PhD by research, visiting Research Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow. Appropriate backgrounds may include: oenology (winemaking), microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, food science, and plant pathology students. Please see below for vacant research positions or contact Paul Grbin or Vladimir Jiranek directly.

    Further information about studying in these fields is available from our Student Services page. Industry top-up scholarships of approx. 26K/annum are available for all PhD students with appropriate academic records.  Current Honours/Masters (12 Unit) Scholarships are detailed below via a downloadable file. These Scholarships are sponsored by Lallemand Australia.

    Adminstrative Responsibilites

    • July 2018-current: Head Winemaker

    • June 2015-December 2015: Head (Acting) Department of Wine and Food Science
    • 2002-2010: Program Coordinator BSc (Viticulture)/B Oenology
    • 2014-current: Program Coordinator Grad Dip/Master of Viticulture & Oenology
    • 2006-current: Member of School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, Learning & Teaching Committee
    • 2005-2008: Convener of Marketing, Outreach & Communications Committee School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
    • 2010-current: Marketing, Outreach & Communications Coordinator, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
    • 2010-2013: Member of Executive Committee, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
    • 2011-current: Convener of the Wine Alumni Network Steering Group
    • 2016-current: Faculty of Science Represetitive University of Adelaide Alumni Council
  • Awards & Achievements

    • South Australian Interactive Media Excellence Award (Government, Education & Non-profit) with K Wilkinson, D Jeffery & C Collins, 2015
    • Best Wine Educator, Wine Communicators of Australia, withK Wilkinson, D Jeffery & C Collins, 2015
    • Alumni Fellow, 2012, University of Adelaide, in recognition of contribution to the governance of the Alumni Association, the establishment of the Wine Alumni Network and selection committees for alumni awards
    • 2nd Place ("My Wine World" with K Wilkinson, M Rousey, C Hull, C Rogers) Zen eChallenge Entrepreneurs' Challenge 2012, University of Adelaide
    • Faculty of Sciences Overseas Conference Scheme 2012, to attend as Invited Speaker the 13th International Congress on Yeast, 26-30 August 2012, Madison WN, USA
    • Best Enology Paper 2012, American Society for Enology and Viticulture


  • Teaching Interests

  • Research Interests

    Research Projects

    Developing a fundamental understanding of the microbiological treatment of winery wastewater

    Most wineries (>1000 tonnes) use biological treatement to remove organic compounds from wasterwater at a significant cost (∼$30/tonne crushed). Biological treatment uses microogranisms in a controlled process to metabolise the organic substrates, either in the presence or absence of oxygen (aerobic vs anaerobic processin) with the aim of producing high quality effluent from winery wastewater (WWW).  WWW is very dyamic due to the dramatic seasonal flucuations in composition and volume, and consequently a unique approach to the management of these systems is required to optimise their performance. We have identified 3 distinct periods in WWW treatment that have unique micrcobiological and operational problems that need to be address namely; start up pre-vintage, peak vitnage flow and quiesent (post vintage). All have unique treatment challenges. This project aims to increase efficient and cost effectiveness of biological treatment of WWW by enhancing and improving the microbiological performance of treatement systems at these key stages of the annual treatment cycle.  A multidisciplinary approach is being undertaken to correlate the true microbiology, process operations and WWW chemistry.

    Distinctive wines through an improved understanding of uninoculated fermentations

    Excellent winemaking outcomes and commercial success can occur for wines produced via uninoculated (indigenous) fermentations.  However, only limited research has been undertaken regarding the nature and contribution of the microbial populations involved and what characterises the reported benefits.  A number of key questions remain, in particular what is the nature, diversity and dynamics of these populations and how do they vary from variety-to-variety and year-to-year?  Critically there is a dearth of information related to the contribution of these populations to wine composition as compared to fermentations inoculated with commercial yeasts.  Empirical observations suggest that there is an enhancement of wine mouthfeel, as well as differences in flavour/aroma compounds and ethanol yield; however, there are few scientific studies to confirm this.  Questions also exist around ferment reliability, thus the feasibility and desirability of controlled inoculations of selected indigenous strains warrants investigation, whereby some of the perceived benefits of uninoculated fermentations may become available in a reliable manner. The objectives of this project are to undertake a comprehensive analysis of uninoculated fermentations and will seek to achieve these by investigating uninoculated fermentations to by defining the nature and diversity of yeast and bacterial populations, characterise the dynamics during fermentation, determine the consistency in the nature and dynamics from variety-to-variety and year-to-year, comprehensively determine the contribution of these populations to wine composition as compared to fermentations inoculated with commercial Saccharomyces yeasts.


    Growth and physiology of Dekkera/Brettanomyces yeast and the production of flavour impact compounds in wine

    Molecular and biochemical identification of a phenolic acid decarboxylase from Dekkera/Brettanomyces species has been the principle goal. Screening of Dekkera/Brettanomyces yeast for mousy off-flavour N-heterocycles and detailed investigation of the biochemical pathway of mousy off-flavour production has been undertaken.


    Use of innovative, Adaptive Evolution strategies to develop superior bacteria for ready application in the wine and related industries

    Evaluating the applicability of Directed Evolution to the optimisation of industrial bacterial strains for wine production.


    Evaluation of high-power ultrasound as an innovative tool for sanitation, colour/flavour extraction and fermentation enhancement in winemaking

    High-power ultrasound (HPU) is being investigated for it possible role in oenology. Of particular interest is the use of HPU to clean and sanitise oak cooperage and the application of HPU in fermentation.


    The enzymatic activities of wine lactic acid bacteria

    Previous work in our laboratory identified a number of enzymes of oenological significance from wine strains of lactic acid bacteria. Biochemical characterisation of the esterase activities of wine lactic acid bacteria was carried out. Molecular characterization and expression studies of 3 putative LAB esterase are currently ongoing.


    Innovative strategies for managing flavour, mouthfeel and alcohol in Australian wines

    This project aims to investigate strategies whereby reduced alcohol white wine (8.5 – 10.5 % v/v) can be produced in conjunction with improvements to flavour and mouthfeel. Several strategies have been identified for this investigation including harvesting grapes early for low potential alcohol and build body and flavour into the wine through the use of additives and winemaking techniques.


    Use of active dried wine yeast: impact of rehydration and inoculation rate

    Model fermentation studies were carried out to investigate the impact of rehydration conditions on yeast fermentation performance. The AWDY inoculation rate for high stress fermentation conditions was also studied, in both model and small-scale winemaking trials.


    Funding: AGWA, ARC Linkage, Yalumba Wine Company, CHR Hansen.

    Collaborators: AWRI, CSIRO, Laffort Oenologie, Lallemand Australia, Yalumba WIne Company, JJC Engineering, Cassella Family Wines, Pernod Richard Winemakers, TWG


  • Publications


    ORCID iD



    Iland P., Grbin P., Grinbergs M., Schmidtke L. & Soden A. (2007) Microbiological Analysis of Grapes and Wine: Techniques and Concepts. (Patrick Iland Wine Promotions: Adelaide) ISBN 978-0-9581605-3-7.


    Peer Reviewed Papers:


    Betteridge A., Grbin P. & Jiranek, V. (2015). Improving Oenococcus oeni to overcome challenges of wine malolactic fermentation. Trends in Biotechnology 33:547-553

    Li S., Crump AM., Grbin PR., Cozzolino D., Warren P., Hayasaka Y. & Wilkinson KL. (2015) Aroma potential of oak battens prepared from decommissioned oak barrels. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 63:3419-3425

    Sumby KM., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2014) Implications of new research and technologies for malolactic fermentation in wine. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 98:8111-8132

    Jin G., Wang H., Zhang C., Li C., Du L., Grbin P. & Li, H. (2014) Characterization and amino acid metabolism performances of indigenous Oenococcus oeni isolated from Chinese wines. European Food Research and Technology 238:597-605

    Sumby KM., Jiranek V. & Grbin PR. (2013) Ester synthesis and hydrolysis in an aqueous environment, and strain specific changes during malolactic fermentation in wine with Oenococcus oeni. Food Chemistry 141:1673-1680

    Sumby KM., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2013) Characterization of EstCOo8 and EstC34, intracellular esterases, from the wine-associated lactic acid bacteria Oenococcus oeni and Lactobacillus hilgardii. Journal of Applied Microbiology 114:413-422

    Curtin C., Langhans G., Henschke P., & Grbin, P. (2013). Impact of Australian Dekkera bruxellensis strains grown under oxygen-limited conditions on model wine composition and aroma. Food Microbiology 36: 241-247

    Sumby KM., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2012) Validation of the use of multiple internal control genes, and the application of real-time quantitative PCR, to study esterase gene expression in Oenococcus oeni. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 96:1039-1047

    Luo H., Schmid F., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2012) Viability of common wine spoilage organisms after exposure to high power ultrasonics. Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 19:415-420

    Schmid, F. Grbin, P. Yap, A. & Jiranek, V. (2011) Relative efficacy of high-pressure hot water and high-power ultrasonics for wine oak barrel sanitization. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 62:519-526*

    Dungey K., Grbin P. & Wilkinson K. (2011) Impact of smoke on grape berry microflora and yeast fermentation. In Proceedings of 9th Wartburg Symposium on Flavor Chemistry & Biology, 13–16 April, 2010, Eisenach, German. Schieberle P., Hofmann T. & Meyerhof W. (eds). DFA, Freising Germany, pp 249-253

    Petropoulos S., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2010) Influence of heat shock-treated cells on the production of glycerol and other metabolites in alcoholic fermentation. International Journal of Wine Research 2:115-122

    Sumby KM., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2010) Microbial modulation of aromatic esters in wine: Current knowledge and future prospects. Food Chemistry 121:1-16

    Harris V., Jiranek V., Ford CM., & Grbin PR. (2010) Inhibitory effects of hydrocinnamic acid on Dekkera spp. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 86:721–729

    Sumby KM., Matthews AH., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2009) Cloning and characterization of an intracellular esterase from the wine-associated lactic acid bacterium Oenococcus oeni. Applied and Environmental Microbiology75:6729-6735

    Harris V., Ford C.M., Jiranek V. & Grbin PR. (2009) Survey of enzyme activity responsible for phenolic off-flavour production

    by Dekkera and Brettanomyces yeast. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 81:117-1127

    Harris V., Ford CM., Jiranek V. & Grbin PR. (2008) Dekkera and Brettanomyces growth and utilisation of hydroxycinnamic acids in synthetic media. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 78:997-1006

    Jiranek V., Grbin P., Yap A., Barnes M. & Bates D. (2008) High power ultrasonics as a novel tool offering new opportunities for managing wine microbiology. Biotechnology Letters 30: 1-6

    Grbin PR., Herderich M., Markides A., Lee TH. & Henschke PA. (2007) The role of lysine amino nitrogen in the biosynthesis of mousy off-flavour compounds by Dekkera anomala. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 55: 10872-10879

    Matthews A., Grbin P. & Jiranek V. (2007) Biochemical characterisation of the esterase activities of wine lactic acid bacteria. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 77: 329-337

    Curtin C., Grbin P. & Henschke P. (2007) Molecular characterisation of the wine spoilage yeast Dekkera (Brettanomyces) bruxellensisMicrobiology Australia. 28: 62-64

    Matthews A, Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2006) A survey of lactic acid bacteria for enzymes of interest to oenology. Australian Journal of Grape & Wine Research. 12: 235-244

    Snowden EM., Bowyer MC., Grbin PR., & Bowyer PK. (2006) Mousy off-flavor: A review. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 54:4665-6474.

    Matthews A, Grimaldi A., Walker M. Bartowsky E., Grbin PR. & Jiranek V. (2004) Lactic acid bacteria as a source of enzymes for use in vinification. Applied & Environmental Microbiology. 70:5715-31

    Steel CC., Grbin PR. & Nichol AW. (2001) The pentose phosphate pathway in yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Kloeckera apiculata, an exercise in comparative metabolism for food and wine science students. Biochemical &. Molecular Biology Education. 29:245-249

    Grbin PR., & Henschke PH. (2000) Mousy off-flavour production in grape juice and wine by Dekkera and Brettanomyces yeasts. Australian Journal of Grape & Wine Research. 6:255-262

    Herderich M, Costello PJ., Grbin PR., & Henschke PA. (1995) The occurrence of 2 acetyl-1-pyrroline in mousy wines. Natural Product Letters. 7:129-132


    *Best Enology Paper 2012, American Society for Enology and Viticulture.

  • Professional Associations

    • Professional Member, Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology, since 1989
    • Professional Member, American Society for Enology and Viticulture, since 1992
    • Program Committee 2nd Wine Innovation Cluster Crush Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, 15-16 November 2012.
    • Organising Committee 4th Australian Yeast Group Conference Yeast: Products and Discovery. Adelaide, South Australia, 2-4 December 2009.
    • Organising Committee 23rd International Conference on Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology, Melbourne, Victoria, 1-6 July 2007.
    • Organising Committee 3rd Australian Yeast Group Conference Yeast: Products and Discovery. Barossa Valley, South Australia, 4-6 April 2004.


  • Community Engagement

    Wine Alumni Network: linking Roseworthy Agricultural College and University of Adelaide Wine Graduates

    The Wine Alumni Network was launched in August 2012 at historic Urrbrae House by the inaugural Network Patron, Dr Patrick Iland OAM, Professor Mike Wilkinson (Head of School) and Paul Grbin from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide.
    The Network aims to link past and present students and staff from Roseworthy Agricultural College and the University of Adelaide from the wine–related programs encompassing the disciplines of viticulture, oenology, wine marketing and wine business.

    Hear from the Network:

    The main contact from the Network is via email, including a regular newsletter. To ensure you receive this and other communications from the Network you need to make sure your email address is up to date on your alumni profile and that you have registered for the Wine Alumni Network. To do this visit Adelaide onLION, the University of Adelaide‘s online alumni community, at If you are an Adelaide onLION member (you already have a username and password) login and check your profile to make sure your email address is up to date. If you have not previously received login details for Adelaide onLION, you can use the link to request an account. Our team will send you your login details (note this may take a couple of days). You can then login as above and check your details.
    To register (be part of the Network) for the Wine Alumni Network, simply tick the ‘Wine Alumni’ box in the Alumni Network tab within your Adelaide onLION profile.
    If you have any issues updating your profile, please send an email to stating your full name and date of birth and the Development and Alumni staff will help you complete the process.

    You can also join the "Wine Alumni" group on

  • Files

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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020

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