This project underpins and enables the AWRI’s research, development and extension activities, through the provision of a range of cost-effective essential supporting services and efficient access to critical infrastructure. Specialist capabilities such as those of synthetic organic chemistry, expert instrumental equipment expertise or sensory science, including an available pool of screened, trained and qualified sensory assessors, are critically important for advances in wine science.
A total of 22 major sensory studies were completed, mainly using quantitative sensory descriptive analysis but with some studies involving the more rapid projective mapping methodology. These included assessment of wines made from Shiraz and Chardonnay vines treated with foliar sulfur and nitrogen sprays; a study investigating the effect of whole bunch fermentation on Pinot Noir and Shiraz; a study exploring non-Saccharomyces yeast strain effects on Cabernet Sauvignon wines; a water addition study on Chardonnay; and closure and packaging studies. These studies used the AWRI’s highly trained and experienced dedicated sensory panel. In 2018/2019 five new members of the panel were recruited and trained, following sensory screening tests.
Twenty-nine triangle test sessions were completed for a range of projects, including a sooty mould study. Thirty-eight technical quality panel sessions were completed, predominantly for helpdesk investigations.
Tablet computers using the sensory data acquisition software Compusense were used exclusively, allowing the discontinuation of expensive hardware. The tablets were used in all sensory sessions, including preliminary bench tastings, eliminating use of paper ballots and manual data entry/transcribing of notes. The ability to complete projective mapping and Pivot© Profile sensory tests was also expanded using the tablets.
Synthetic organic chemistry
A stocktake of reference compounds was completed and plans for a dedicated storage facility in the AWRI building were developed. Purification of some flavour compounds was completed, with sample purity confirmed.
Aroma compound analysis
A new gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry instrument was purchased and commissioned to expand capabilities for quantitative volatile analyses.
Two aspergillopepsin enzymes were sourced from overseas suppliers, and are being screened for regulatory compliance. Ongoing support in experimental design and analysis is being provided to PhD projects in the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production.