World-leading wine research cluster to benefit industry

State-of-the-art laboratories in the Wine Innovation Cluster's new $28 million building. Photo by John Kruger

State-of-the-art laboratories in the Wine Innovation Cluster's new $28 million building. Photo by John Kruger
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Sampling wines at the Wine Innovation Cluster launch: University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Rory McEwen and University Chancellor the Honourable John von Doussa. Photo by John Kruger

Sampling wines at the Wine Innovation Cluster launch: University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Rory McEwen and University Chancellor the Honourable John von Doussa. Photo by John Kruger
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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Adelaide is set to become the centre of wine and grape research in the world, with the launch of the Wine Innovation Cluster and the opening of its new $28 million building at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide today by the Hon Rory McEwen, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

The Cluster brings together the resources of the Australian Wine Research Institute, CSIRO Plant Industry, private research agency Provisor Pty Ltd, South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI) and the University of Adelaide, and is being hailed as the most dynamic mix of grape and wine researchers assembled in one precinct anywhere in the world.

"Investment in state-of-the-art physical facilities like the Wine Innovation Cluster is a symbol of something far more substantial," Minister McEwen says.

"It's a way of ensuring our wine industry remains competitive and sustainable in international markets. This is a vote of confidence in the wine industry and collaborations like this are the way of the future. The $28 million investment maintains the Waite campus as a leading wine centre."

Stuart McNab, Chairman of the Wine Innovation Cluster and Foster's Director of Wine Production in Australia and New Zealand, says Australia's wine scientists will be able to achieve through cooperation and collaboration breakthroughs that would not be possible working as standalone agencies.

"Combined with the world-class education reputation of the University of Adelaide and the location on the famous Waite Campus, the Wine Innovation Cluster is set to achieve its target as the world's premier research, development, extension and education facility servicing the wine industry.

"In the difficult conditions the Australian grape and wine sector presently faces, we look forward with optimism to providing 'out of the square' solutions so that we remain competitive on the world scene.

"Every aspect of wine science and production will be catered for, with research spanning such fields as microbiology, chemistry, sensory science, engineering, oenology and viticulture."

At the Cluster's centre is a new four-level building - the Wine Innovation Central Building - with state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and meeting rooms which is adjacent to the Hickinbotham Roseworthy Wine Science Laboratory, an experimental vineyard and the soon to be constructed Plant Accelerator building. The Central Building houses AWRI, SARDI and the University of Adelaide. To the west of the Central Building a newly refurbished building will house CSIRO, Provisor and SARDI staff to complete the Cluster.

Some of the early projects already benefiting from collaboration include:


  • studies on the effects of climate change on vines by Professor Steve Tyerman (University of Adelaide), Dr Chris Soar (SARDI), and Professor Brian Loveys (CSIRO);
  • the breeding of new yeasts to enhance fermentation by Dr Paul Chambers, (Australian Wine Research Institute) with Associate Professor Vlad Jiranek (University of Adelaide); and
  • research into the remediation of bushfire taint in wine by Dr Kerry Wilkinson (University of Adelaide), Dr Yoji Hayasaka, Gayle Baldock and Con Simos (Australian Wine Research Institute) and partners in Western Australia.

Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide Professor James McWha says the Cluster's research will further enhance the University's already high reputation for research and education.

"Building on the strong international reputation earned by our staff and affiliates at the Waite Campus and the Roseworthy Campus before that, our teaching is informed by the latest in research and innovation, which means our students are exposed to cutting-edge developments in wine that they can take to the industry as graduates," Professor McWha said.

"The international status of the Cluster and the facilities it offers will also attract postgraduate coursework and research students to the University from other wine-producing countries, such as the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and New Zealand."

According to the partners, the Wine Innovation Cluster is a collaborative initiative that will assist Australia to become the world's leader in wine science.

Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Managing Director of The Australian Wine Research Institute Ltd (AWRI), said the WIC buildings will become an engine room for innovation in the grape and wine sector. "Together, the WIC partners become the largest grouping of wine scientists in Australia and one of the most recognised wine research clusters in the world."

Professor Roger Leigh, Head School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, said the combined expertise of the partners in WIC spans the whole research chain from "grape vine to palate". "The range and quality is unique and highlights the opportunities that arise from having diverse research partners located on the Waite Campus."

Dr Pauline Mooney, Acting Executive Director SARDI, said the WIC partnership provides industry with the skills needed to address gaps along the value chain. "This ensures that industry is able to get the answers and technologies that best meet their needs today and into the future."

Dr Simon Robinson, Program Leader, CSIRO Plant Industry, said the WIC will provide state-of-the- art facilities and capabilities for integrated grape and wine research on one site. "By bringing together people with a wide range of skills, the WIC will provide a capability to carry out research and deliver innovation to the wine industry across the whole wine value chain, from grape to wine to consumer."

Dr Darren Oemcke, CEO Provisor Pty Ltd, said the WIC represents a new approach to collaboration bringing diverse organisations, organisational cultures, experience and expertise together to meet the increasingly complex demands of the modern wine industry. "It will increase the efficiency of wine industry R&D and build more effective pathways to the implementation of new knowledge by industry."

 

Contact Details

Stuart McNab
Email: stuart.mcnab@fostersgroup.com
Chairman
Wine Innovation Cluster
Business: +61 8 8301 5517
Mobile: +61 407 805 473


Ms Olivia Jones
Email: olivia.jones@fuller.com.au
Media Contact
FULLER
Business: +61 8 8363 6811
Mobile: 0400 116 668


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084