The foundation of our research strategy is based on collaboration with the Australian Wine Industry through regional commercial vineyards, to advance viticultural production and winemaking systems. We develop projects that study fruit and wine composition with an integrated approach to improve the understanding of how the abiotic and biotic factors interact to affect commercial viticulture, wine production and wine composition and sensory characteristics, and how these can be managed to improve outcomes across the whole of the value chain.
Multiple commercial vineyard partnerships in diverse geographical locations enable the nexus between region, climate and cultivar to be examined in order to better understand wine regionality, typicality, uniqueness and the vine and fruit responses to biotic factors. NWGIC draws on a range of research disciplines, including: climatology, physiology, pathology, chemistry/biochemistry, chemometrics, metabolomics, molecular biology, oenology and sensory sciences and sensory psychology.
Research on pests and diseases of grapevines encompasses a whole-of-system approach with the current focus being pathogen identification, epidemiology and pest & disease management and the impact of diseases on grape and wine composition.
The vine physiology team at the NWGIC researches factors that impact on berry composition and yield including extreme temperatures, water stress, plant nutrition and carbohydrate partitioning. It is also focused on defining sustainable and efficient vineyard management practises and developing automated systems for yield prediction.
Understanding fruit development in relation to geographical and vineyard climate assists in identifying unique and important markers of wine style. NWGIC research on fruit growth and composition targets important markers and helps address the problem of unbalanced and overly alcoholic wines.
An extensive body of work and knowledge has been established by the NWGIC wine oxidation and chemistry group. Researchers are investigating the impact of light on oxidative spoilage of wine, and also the measurement of specific metal forms to better predict wine stability.