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 employment of advanced chemometric modelling is now a major focus of Leigh's research activities.
His research areas are the development of rapid methods of analysis using spectroscopic measurements, analysis of flavour and aroma compounds and metabolomic profiling of wine and viticulture samples.
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.