Wine Australia and CSIRO sign $37m agreement

15 December, 2017 by Andy Young

Wine Australia and the CSIRO have signed a five-year, $37m co-investment agreement which will bring research into areas such as winegrape quality, climate adaptation and disease resistance under the microscope.

Wine Australia said that the deal covers research and development activities that reflect a high level of strategic alignment between the two parties.

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Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said: “This strategic agreement with the CSIRO will help to support the profitability of the Australian grape and wine sector and deliver timely, relevant and valuable outcomes for Australia’s grape and wine community.

“We are delighted to continue our long-term partnership with Australia’s internationally renowned research organisation and we eagerly anticipate the benefits for the Australian grape and wine community from robust new varieties with greater pest and disease resistance that make wines with unique flavours. Growers and winemakers will also benefit from better vineyard management tools, and an ongoing source of excellent planting material for the Australian winegrowing community.”

Key grape and wine sector priorities to be addressed under this agreement include:

  • developing and evaluating new winegrape varieties with robust disease resistance
  • breeding new rootstocks with greater tolerance to pests, salinity, heat and water stress
  • producing wines with unique flavours from grape varieties bred specifically for Australian conditions
  • developing new strategies to manage harvest timing and alleviate compressed ripening and harvest windows caused by climate change
  • new digital technologies to better estimate yield, crop condition and grape quality, and
  • future proofing Australia’s grapevine germplasm.

Under the strategic partnership agreement, Wine Australia will contribute $19 million and CSIRO $18 million towards the priorities.

CSIRO Agriculture and Food Research Director Dr Lynne McIntyre said: “These research projects will help to secure the productivity and sustainability of Australia’s wine sector for the coming decades, and provide even better products for Australian and international consumers.

“CSIRO has worked with Wine Australia since its inception to deliver solutions to problems facing the Australian grape and wine community. This new co-funded collaborative agreement recognises the importance of developing innovative solutions to the economic and environmental challenges facing the Australian wine sector over the next 30 years, and will build on past achievements, as well as utilising exciting new technologies.”