Research from vineyard to bottle at NWGIC

Connections are important at the National Wine and Grape industry Centre (NWGIC) at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga.

The connection between the quality of the fruit in the vineyard to the wine in your glass, the connection with industry to ensure impactful research, and the connection between science and education to ensure research outcomes are adopted.

NWGICThe Centre is an alliance between CSU, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the NSW Wine Industry Association.

NWGIC Director Professor Leigh Schmidtke said since its foundation in 1997 the Centre has been a leader in innovation in the Australian wine industry.

“Our research aims to improve the value chain from grape growing, wine production and consumer profiling to increase profitability and sustainability along all aspects of the value chain,” Professor Schmidtke said.

“We focus on delivering impactful research outcomes by targeting regional issues that have a global significance.

“One of those areas is improving our understanding of how viticultural management practices, climate and abiotic factors impact grape composition which in turn influence the biotransformation of grapes by yeast into wine with defined sensory outcomes.

“The pathology team is delivering world class research to develop better management practises for control of vine trunk diseases in vineyards; rapid detection of fungal bunch rots in grapes prior to harvest; determination of maximum threshold limits for grapes contaminated with fungal bunch rots and remediation approached for tainted grapes.

“The wine sensory team is focused on defining the sensory adjectives and spaces that define Australian Shiraz wines of high esteem from a broad range of geographies and climates to develop better understanding of the terroir concept.

The NWGIC works collaboratively with research partners at the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and the Australian Wine Research Institute, supported by Wine Australia.

Professor Schmidtke said another important connection is with the CSU Winery.

“Charles Sturt University has a proud history of wine production, vineyard management and award winning wines, so it’s also an added asset for the Centre to have the CSU Winery located on campus in Wagga Wagga and working alongside us and supporting our efforts to promote not only CSU wine, but the Australian wine industry more broadly,” Professor Schmidtke said.

CSU Winery set to build on success

Care and craftsmanship characterise the winemaking at the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Winery.

Campbell MeeksAs grapes from the 2018 harvest arrive at the boutique winery at CSU in Wagga Wagga, winemaker Campbell Meeks is impressed with the quality of the fruit and excited about the prospect of making more great wine.

“Vintage is always a busy time and it’s wonderful to be working with a dedicated group of growers who are producing quality fruit,” Mr Meeks said.

This is the third vintage for the new-look winery, focusing on producing wines showcasing grapes sourced in premium growing regions.

The winery has won high praise for its boutique range of Chardonnay, Shiraz, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo and Tempranillo Rose, with every wine picking up a medal at the 2017 Australian and New Zealand Boutique Wine Show.

The range has also been well received by wine critics, with the 2016 Tumbarumba Chardonnay and 2016 Canberra District Shiraz scoring 95 and 93 points respectively in the 2018 Halliday Wine Companion.

The Winery is pleased to be adding another wines, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Prosecco.

​“We’re excited to be making Pinot Noir this year,” Mr Meeks said. “We are sourcing the fruit from Geelong in Victoria and coming from a cool climate, the generous and complex flavours make it perfectly suited to the style of wine we aim to make.

“A Pinot Gris from the NSW Hilltops region will be added to the boutique range, while a Prosecco will also be made for our Alumni range.”

The Winery draws on expertise and research from CSUs School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences and is at the forefront of viticultural practices and wine making techniques.

The Boutique wines are made from grapes sourced from premium growing regions and are complex but still retain the fruit characteristics typical of the respective regional styles.

The Alumni wines, are at a lower price point and made by winemakers who are CSU alumni or current students.

The wines are sold online and are available through the Cellar Door at CSU in Wagga Wagga.

Cover: National Wine and Grape Industry Centre Director, Professor Leigh Schmidtke

Inset: CSU Winemaker, Mr Campbell Meeks