Soil & Land

Popping the cork on sparkling wine research

Tasmanian wine producers will sample and provide tasting notes on sparkling wines produced as part of a Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) research project looking at the impact of vineyard treatments on sparkling wine characteristics.

At the Effervescence Technical Day, held at the Tamar Ridge Cellar Door, TIA Research Fellow Dr Fiona Kerslake will pop the cork on 18 sparkling wines produced as part of a 2010 research project.

“The tasting represents almost six years of research which commenced with Tasmanian vineyard trials looking at the impact that isolated viticulture practices such as leaf removal, crop load and pruning techniques have on the characteristics of sparkling wine produced in the State,” Dr Kerslake said.

“Tasmanian wine producers now have the opportunity to taste the sparkling wine produced during this project and will seek to identify and provide tasting notes on the characteristics resulting from different viticulture practices.

“The sparkling wines will then be sent to the Australian Wine Research Institute, Metabolomics Australia and the University of Adelaide for further analysis of the compounds associated with texture, mouth feel, flavour and aroma. These results and the tasting notes from the Technical Day will contribute to the identification of compounds that influence the characteristics of aged sparkling wines.”

Dr Kerslake said most wine producers apply a variety of vineyard treatments during the year which makes it difficult to pinpoint which treatment contributed to a particular characteristic in the sparkling wine.

“By looking at the different treatments in isolation it is hoped that our findings will help wine producers manage their vines to produce the fruit needed to create a particular style of sparkling wine,” Dr Kerslake said.

“The next phase of this project is to investigate technologies to shorten the process of ageing premium sparkling wines whilst maintaining or improving the quality. This aim is to provide an efficiency increase for wine producers by enabling them to get product on the shelves in a shorter period of time while improving quality.”

The current $1.4 million project is funded by Wine Australia with in-kind support from TIA, Hill-Smith Family Vineyards (Jansz/Dalrymple/Yalumba), University of Adelaide, Apogee Tasmania and Josef Chromy.

The original 2010 project, Improving Australian sparkling wine and pinot noir, was funded by AusIndustry in collaboration with Wine Tasmania and a consortium of wine companies.

TIA is a joint venture between the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania.

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