Wine Australia and CSIRO sign $37 million investment agreement

Wine Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have signed a five-year $37 million co-investment agreement that covers research and development.

The agreement, which will run from 2017 to 2022, aims to benefit the Australian grape and wine sector and consumers, with research into areas such as winegrape quality, climate adaptation and disease resistance.

It reflects a high level of strategic alignment between the partners, allowing for longer term strategic investments that will benefit levy payers and the whole Australian wine sector.

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

Key priorities to be addressed include the development of disease-resistant winegrape varieties; breeding new rootstocks with greater tolerance to pests, salinity, heat and water stress; the production of unique flavours from grape varieties bred for Australian conditions; and developing new strategies to manage harvest timing. New digital technologies will be sought to better estimate yield, crop condition and grape quality, in addition to future proofing Australia’s grapevine germplasm.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the agreement would help to support the profitability of the Australian grape and wine sector.

“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,” he said.

“Growers and winemakers will also benefit from better vineyard management tools, and an ongoing source of excellent planting material for the Australian winegrowing community.’

CSIRO Agriculture and Food Research Director Dr Lynne McIntyre said the research projects would help to secure the productivity and sustainability of Australia’s wine sector for the coming decades.

“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.”