Wine Australia and Australia’s National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) have signed a AUD 9 million ($6.6 million) agreement to develop new technologies and provide information for growers and winemakers to increase profitability and competitiveness, as well as improve environmental sustainability.
The project will explore the potential for controlling berry acidity in the vineyard through the addition of minerals such as calcium and magnesium in fertilisers to decrease additional intervention in managing acidity when making wine.
It also aims to develop a decision support tool and a field-tested smartphone app for assessing fruit volume and predicting optimal harvest date.
NWGIC is an alliance between Charles Sturt University, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and the New South Wales Wine Industry Association.
The partnership will also fund research projects that align with Wine Australia’s research and development priorities, and have been developed in consultation with the wine sector in New South Wales.
Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre to deliver some outstanding practical tools and outcomes for our sector over the next five years.
‘This agreement with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre reflects our united commitment to finding effective solutions to improving the competitiveness of Australia’s grape and wine community.”
NWGIC director Leigh Schmidtke said: “This research is based on meeting the needs of industry and aims to deliver practical information and innovation to make Australia’s wine industry more profitable and sustainable to support thriving rural communities.”
This agreement is the fourth in a series of bilateral partnerships between Wine Australia and major research institutions under a new research and development funding framework.
Last year the Australian government unveiled a AUD 50 million ($39.5 million) investment to promote the country’s wine exports and wine tourism offer.
The plan consists of four programmes that aim to transform the sector by enhancing and showcasing the nation’s wine tourism offering while driving further demand for Australia’s growing wine exports.
The value of Australian wine exports increased by AUD 201 million ($159 million) in 2016-17 to reach $1.83 billion, thanks to strong growth in China and the US.
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