Communication with stakeholders
Communication with Australian grape and wine producers is a key priority for the AWRI, with aims including:
- keeping industry up to date with current research
- providing advice to grapegrowers and winemakers
- sharing news, events and ideas
- seeking feedback or interaction.
Content is derived from across the AWRI’s research and extension projects, and delivered through a variety of different channels. The AWRI communicates directly with stakeholders via its eNews, eBulletins, webinars and social media; publishes the bi-monthly Technical Review; and contributes regularly to other industry publications. Activities within this project complement the communication objectives of all AWRI staff – the details of presentations delivered and articles published by AWRI staff in 2015/2016 can be found in the Annual Report.
The AWRI website is a major platform for communicating with stakeholders, students, potential employees and the general public. Approximately 69,000 visitors accessed the AWRI website during the year with more than 353,686 page views (a 27% increase in page views from the previous year). A new version of the website was launched in January 2016. In the lead-up to the launch, a major review of the site’s content and structure was conducted, including new information on the AWRI’s research projects, a re-structure of the winemaking advice section and a complete update of the fact sheet collection.
eBulletins and eNews
Electronic communications are an increasingly important mechanism to reach grape and wine industry producers across Australia. The eBulletin format is used to send out alerts on emerging issues, agrochemical updates and notifications about Technical Review and the webinar program. Eighteen eBulletins were delivered during the year and are shown in Table 5. The eBulletin mailing list included more than 3,370 addresses by the end of the year.
The AWRI’s electronic newsletter, eNews, was distributed bi-monthly to an audience that has grown to 3,627 subscribers. This publication provides an avenue to communicate about upcoming events, brief updates on research projects and a general snapshot of the AWRI’s activities. The distribution of eNews in alternate months to Technical Review means that stakeholders hear from the AWRI on at least a monthly basis.
The AWRI’s Twitter following grew by more than 270 during 2015/2016 to 3,093. Twitter is a popular social media platform within the wine industry and can be an excellent forum for interacting with stakeholders on an informal basis. The AWRI’s Facebook presence also grew by more than 100 likes during the year. While the AWRI’s following on Facebook is much smaller than on Twitter, Facebook still works very well for sharing images and reaching a different audience.
The AWRI webinar series continued during 2015/2016 with 23 webinar sessions and 446 participants. Approximately half of the webinars were presented by AWRI staff, with the remainder delivered by guest presenters from other research organisations and industry partners. Webinars provide a convenient format to reach industry practitioners across the country in a single session. Participants have the opportunity to speak with subject experts, ask questions and share experiences. Recordings of all webinars are available from the AWRI website.
For the past 61 years, the AWRI has produced a printed annual report such as this one, as its formal report to Australian winemakers and grapegrowers. Since 1999, the annual reports have also been made available on the AWRI’s website. The AWRI also publishes a four-page summary of the annual report in the Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker, and offers to deliver an annual presentation to the board or executive of each major state-based winemaking body. This formal activity complements the vast range of presentations and publications undertaken by AWRI staff members throughout the year.
Technical Review publishes abstracts of the latest grape and wine-related technical literature. It also includes technical articles from staff of the AWRI and information about AWRI events. Technical Review is published six times a year, and is available to grape and wine producers via the AWRI website or in hard copy. A total of 749 articles featured in the Technical Review Current Literature section were requested by and provided to readers during the year.
The AWRI contributes regular articles to every edition of the Wine and Viticulture Journal, WBM and Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker, while also contributing other papers to Australian and international industry journals. All articles authored by AWRI staff for non-peer-reviewed publications are edited by the AWRI Communication Manager.
60th birthday commemorative publication
The special issue of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research to mark the AWRI’s 60th birthday was published in December 2015. It contains 18 review articles authored by AWRI staff on topics including greenhouse gas emissions in viticulture, smoke taint, consumer sensory science, effects of elevated storage temperature on wine and trends in Australian wine composition.
The AWRI is regularly approached for comment regarding wine technical matters from national and international media. This provides an excellent opportunity to ensure accurate information is published, and to generate further opportunities to communicate with the AWRI’s stakeholders. Many requests from the media were handled during the year and two media releases were prepared and distributed (Table 6). A media highlight for the year was the participation of two AWRI scientists in an episode of ABC Catalyst about the isolation of yeast from bottles of beer found during the excavation of a shipwreck.