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Smartphone app will aid viticulturalists

A team at the University of Adelaide has developed a smartphone app “to characterise temporal and spatial canopy architecture and leaf area index for grapevines”.

It will help growers, irrigators and scientists to improve yield and quality of wine grapes.

The team is led by Dr Sigfredo Fuentes of the Plant Research Centre at the Waite campus in Adelaide.

Read the full paper here.


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Brilliant and bonkers! Adelaide wine graduates impress Jamie Oliver

Crazy, bonkers, mad, brilliant and brave is how celebrity English chef Jamie Oliver described South Australian winery Some Young Punks.

Their wines are stunning, the labels shocking, and their approach to winemaking is minimal intervention, they break the mould and they all studied at the University of Adelaide!

Naked on Roller Skates? Monsters Monsters Attack!? Squid’s Fist? Fierce Allure? Passions Has Red Lips? Yes these are all serious wines with a fun twist. Check out the range of wines at the Some Young Punks website.

Read the full article here

Monsters Monsters Attack! SYP riesling

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Check out the Vineyard of the Future!

Look into the future!!

The Vineyard of the Future is an exciting project across a number of wine-producing countries with the aim of creating a “fully instrumented vineyard using wireless connectivity and automated data gathering and analysis”.

It will also be a test-bed for new technology and a trial site to investigate potential effects of climate change on viticulture in Australia, Chile, the USA and Spain. Universities from each country are collaborating for this unique project.

In Australia the participants are the University of Adelaide, lead by Wine2030’s Professor Steve Tyerman and Dr Roberta De Bei; and the University of Melbourne, with International VoF Leader Dr Sigfredo Fuentes – based at the University of Adelaide.

Check it out here!

Check out Vineyard of the Future activities and news on the VoF blog page.

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Is the shiraz berry the biggest loser? Wine2030 investigates…

Cell death in winegrape berries may be a double-edged sword! It can be correlated with berry shrinkage but also related to flavour and sugar concentration. This article looks at shiraz, chardonnay and sultana berries, in terms of cell death and shrinkage.

Cell death occurs in pre-harvest berries of chardonnay and shiraz but not sultana. However, only shiraz consistently shrinks. This concentrates sugar and can lead to high alcohol wines. Shiraz is shown to be the ‘biggest loser’ in terms of weight loss but the flavour development and sugar concentration aspects are the other side of the double-edged sword.

Read the full article Is the shiraz berry the biggest loser? The double-edged sword of cell death in winegrapes. It may also be found in the August 2012 edition of Grapegrower and Winemaker.

The Wine2030 writers of this article are Professor Steve Tyerman, Dr Sigfredo Fuentes, Dr Cassandra Collins and Dr Sue Bastian.

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Wine2030’s Terry Lee takes over as editor of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research

Terry Lee

The Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research is a publication of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology. It is part of a collection of Australian grape and wine literature that the society has been instrumental in developing since its formation in 1980. In addition to the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research the collection includes the proceedings of the society’s one-day seminars and the proceedings of the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conferences. The journal publishes full-length research articles, short research and technical articles and review articles—the journal has also published the proceedings of conferences and workshops.

To quote the masthead of the journal, “the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research provides a forum for the exchange of information about new and significant research in viticulture, oenology and related fields, and aims to promote these disciplines throughout the world. The journal publishes results from original research in all areas of viticulture and oenology.” It publishes the work of researchers from Australia, New Zealand, USA, France, Italy, Spain and many other countries.

The journal was first published in 1995 and the distinctive look was designed by Adelaide graphic artist John Nowland. The first editor was Dr Peter May, retired from CSIRO and a respected viticulture researcher; Peter gave the journal a sound and highly credible footing. Peter was followed by Dr Paul Kriedemann, also of CSIRO, and Professor Vladimir Jiranek of the University of Adelaide who have all contributed to the journal having currently the highest impact of any grape and wine journal in the world. The current Editor is Dr Terry Lee and Deputy Editor is Associate Professor Gregory Dunn of the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. The Editor and Deputy Editor are supported by 15 Associate Editors and a large number of reviewers of submitted manuscripts. The preparation and publication of the journal is overseen by a Journal Advisory Committee chaired by Dr Paul Petrie of Treasury Wine Estates. The journal is produced by Wiley-Blackwell in Singapore.

Terry Lee retired in 2004 from the positions of Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of E. & J. Gallo Winery, the large family-owned winery based in Modesto, California. Before joining Gallo, Terry was the Director of the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) in Adelaide for 14 years.

Terry holds a BSc and PhD in Food Technology from the University of New South Wales. Terry was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001 and in 2007 was made a Patron of the Australian wine industry and was awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology and the ASVO.

Terry has always been interested in the dissemination of research and technical information in a clear, positive and unambiguous manner. This interest has been applied through the editing of the theses of his graduate students, the journal Food Technology in Australia, the ASVO one–day seminar proceedings, the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference proceedings, the AWRI Technical Review, and the research and technical papers of his students and staff.

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Groundbreaking wine-related research projects at the University of Adelaide

“Development of a novel canopy architecture-monitoring app for smartphones and tablet computers”

Dr Sigfredo Fuentes and Dr Roberta De Bei

This project aims to produce an accurate and cheap imaging and analysis tool available to grape growers and researchers to assess automatically spatio-temporal canopy architecture parameters using smartphones and tablet computers with high-resolution cameras and GPS capabilities. Therefore, field measurements can be mapped using GIS techniques. These parameters allow monitoring canopy growth and porosity to assess vigour, water requirements and sunlight transmission to the fruit and renewal zone of the canopy, which are important parameters to obtain grape quality attributes. Mapping capabilities will allow the zoning of different parameters to assess spatial differences of the same. This project is based on early research findings from the Vineyard of the Future (VoF) initiative. All revenues from the app will be reinvested in VoF research projects.

The app will be commercially available in late 2012. This app has the advantage that it can be applied not only for grapevines, but also for a range of other crops and trees, such as apple trees, olive trees, forests, etc.

“lnvestigating the potential role of calcium as a crop protection agent in wine grapes”

Brad Hocking, Dr Rachel Burton, Prof. Steve Tyerman and Dr Matthew Gilliham

This project will investigate the relationships between berry cell wall traits and cell vitality, berry softening, and pathogen susceptibility. It will focus on the role of calcium in berry cell walls at harvest maturity. This will be achieved by examining differences in berry development, cell wall morphology, and calcium utilisation between red, white and table grape varieties. A guiding objective of this work is to develop management strategies for application of calcium in the vineyard to maximise berry strength for resistance to pathogens, dehydration and berry shrivel.

Emerging results indicate that varietal differences in skin cell morphology and skin calcium concentration affect skin strength and that maintenance of post-veraison xylem calcium influx into grapes may help maintain cell wall function and cell vitality. Further research will be conducted to investigate varietal differences in cell wall composition and utilisation of calcium in the cell wall space, and growth trials will investigate the effects of a number of calcium treatments on grape physiology and quality traits.

“Simple quantitative assessment of Sauvignon Blanc impact odorants by HPLC-MS/MS”

Dr David Jeffery and Dr Renata Ristic

Analytical methods have provided great insight into the presence and relevance of wine aroma compounds, enabling greater understanding and control of processes and wine quality. One area requiring greater awareness relates to compounds known as polyfunctional thiols, which provide the characteristic tropical and citrus notes that are important to the quality of Sauvignon Blanc wines, among other varieties. These reactive thiols are extremely potent aroma compounds found at ultra-trace concentrations, thereby requiring sensitive and specialised analytical techniques to determine their concentrations in wine.

The aim of the project is to progress the development of an analytical method which is simple, rapid and sensitive enough to quantify the varietal aroma compounds important to the quality of Sauvignon Blanc wines. Sample derivatisation and analytical techniques are being explored in order to choose an appropriate method for routine analysis of polyfunctional thiols in wine at trace levels. This basic research will provide a foundation for more extensive investigations of Sauvignon Blanc aromas in the future. These activities are especially relevant for improving the competitiveness of Australian wines in domestic and global markets.

Note: HPLC = high performance liquid chromatography and MS = mass spectrometry.

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Wine and Astonishment – the new thinkpiece by Andrew Jefford

Let’s make wine strange again! So says Andrew Jefford in this original and well written paper, published as a Working Paper in the University of Adelaide’s Wine Economics Research Centre.

Wine market expert Andrew Jefford gave a rousing and original speech to the Wine Communicators of Australia at the National Wine Centre on 29 May 2012. This article entitled Wine and Astonishment is an edited version of that speech.

Jefford wants us to rethink our attitudes to wine. In recent years he says, wine has become so familiar that we now take it for granted. “There are dangers in that familiarity… The aim is to make wine strange for us again.” Wine he says – “there is no thing like it”.

The worst thing in his eyes is “the failure to be astonished by wine: a wine-worldliness, if you like. This knowingness, this taking –for-granted of the landscape of the wine world, does wine a disservice.”

Jefford delves into the philosophical significance of astonishment, and also examines the ‘being of wine’, as opposed to the existence. Are we so distracted by the ubiquitous existence of wine now, as we are surrounded by it, that we have forgotten the essence of being…

It’s a cracking read, with some delicious philosophical mindbenders, but as Jefford puts it, it is in layman’s terms, clearly explained and leads you through a journey of reflection on the value of wine in our lives.

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