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Wine Australia to fund $4m for Shiraz terroir research and development

DBR Staff Writer Published 18 January 2017

Wine Australia has committed to a six-year AUD5.3m ($4m) investment in new research and development (R&D) projects aimed at understanding and refining the expression of Australian Shiraz terroir.

The projects will look to figure out how environmental signals in the country convert into physiological variations in grapevines and end up in altering berry composition, and thereby creating expression of terroir in the Australian wines.

Wine Australia will be setting its focus particularly on Shiraz as this wine variety it says scores over others in the country. The wine institution detailed that the grape variety is the most planted variety in Australian vineyards, constituting 26%.

It further said that the country has the oldest Shiraz vineyards in the world besides adding that 40% of exports with value of over AUD10 ($7.5) per litre FOB by Australia are Shiraz.

Wine Australia deputy chair Dr Brian Croser AO said: “Australia makes wines of exceptional quality and finesse that reflect their provenance and terroir, but they don’t currently receive the international recognition they merit.

“It is these wines that will most quickly elevate the image and reputation of all wines we produce. We are focused on building international recognition for our wines to increase demand and the price paid for all Australian wines.”

Wine Australia stated that the research projects which will be handled by leading research institutions in the world in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC), the Australian Wine Research Institute and the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

One of the projects in this mission will be a sensory-focused one that will identify correlations between the sensory characteristics of a relatively large and diverse range of Australian Shiraz wines, the climatic areas from where their grapes were sourced along with the chemical profiles of the wines.

There will also be a vineyard terroir project to study marker compounds and chemical profiles for Australian Shiraz wines and also to determine response of vines in relation to express terroir.