Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Professor Leigh Schmidtke

Professor Leigh Schmidtke

B. App. Sc., (MLS, UTAS), M. App. Sc., (Research, UTAS), PhD -Wine Science, Chemometrics

Leigh is a passionate consumer of wine having been introduced to Australian Shiraz and Chardonnay during the final year of an undergraduate degree of Medical Laboratory Science.  He worked as a research microbiologist for five years at the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries in Tasmania investigating and characterising the role of a range of bacterial species in farmed salmonids.  Part of this work was the development of infection models and the identification of putative vaccination candidates to assist in control of infection disease.

Leigh's work in the Australian wine industry commenced with the role of Microbiologist/Chemist for Southcorp Wines.  He commenced at CSU in late 2001 teaching wine production and microbiology subjects.  His PhD focussed upon the chemical impact of low rate micro oxygenation on oak flavour compounds in Shiraz wine.  The development and application of a range of chemometric models was used to elucidate the impact of experimental factors.  The use of advanced chemometric modelling is now a major focus of Leigh's research activities to investigate abiotic factors that impact vine plant performance; grape berry and wine composition; rapid methods of measurement of composition; analysis of flavour and aroma compounds and metabolomic profiling of wine and viticulture samples.

Leigh was appointed to the role of Director of the NWGIC in 2018 and currently represents CSU on a number of external committees including the National Wine Extension & Innovation Network, National Wine Research Network, and the National Primary Industries Research, Development & Extension (RD&E) Framework Wine Strategy Implementation Committee.

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Specialisation: Wine Chemistry & Chemometrics

Focus area: Wine aroma analysis; rapid methods of quantification; objectives measures of sensory features; metabolomic profiling

Wine contains many hundreds of chemicals that contribute more or less to flavour and enjoyment of the wine during consumption.  Objective measures of wine composition is challenging and determining which of these compounds have the most significant impact for the characterisation of specific wine styles can be incredibly difficult.  The field of chemometrics enables the statistical analysis of vast amounts of information that can be rapidly acquired using sophisticated instrumental analysis.  When aligned with sensory descriptive analysis an objective measure of wine sensory features is possible by the identification of compounds with high correlations to the sensory scores.  Combining multiple instrumental measures of wine composition enables identification of volatile and non-volatile components with aroma and mouth-feel characters of the wine.

The development of rapid analytical measures of grapevine tissue composition using infrared technologies also enables rapid methods for analysis to be development that are robust and easy to use with minimum training.  These methods provide simple and low cost tools for vineyard management decisions regarding nutrient application.

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Recent Publications

Longo, R., Blackman, J. W., Antalick, G., Torley, P. J., Rogiers, S. Y. & Schmidtke, L. M. 01 Jan 2018. Harvesting and blending options for lower alcohol wines: a sensory and chemical investigation.  In: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 98, 1, p. 33-42 10 p.

Grant-Preece, P., Barril, C., Schmidtke, L. M. & Clark, A. C. 15 Mar 2018. Impact of fluorescent lighting on the browning potential of model wine solutions containing organic acids and iron. In: Food Chemistry. 243, p. 239-248 10 p.

Longo, R., Blackman, J., Torley, P., Rogiers, S. & Schmidtke, L. 15 Jan 2017. Changes in volatile composition and sensory attributes of wines during alcohol content reduction. In: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 97, 1, p. 8-16 9 p.

SÅ uklje, K., Antalick, G., Meeks, C., Blackman, J. W., Deloire, A. & Schmidtke, L. M. 30 Nov 2017. Grapes to wine: The nexus between berry ripening, composition and wine style. 10th International Symposium on Grapevine Physiology and Biotechnology. International Society for Horticultural Science, Vol. 1188, p. 43-50 8 p. (Acta Horticulturae; vol. 1188)

Grant-Preece, P., Barril, C., Schmidtke, L. & Clark, A. 2017. Impact of fluorescent lighting on Oxidation of Model wine solutions containing organic acids and iron. In: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. p. 1-11 11 p.

View all Leigh Schmidtke's publications at CRO

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