Martin Gransden, from Orange NSW, has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship, supported by Wine Australia, to research alternative wine grape varieties that can be introduced to the Australian wine sector, which currently relies largely on traditional varieties from France.
Martin believes that while these varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are important to the sector, there is potential to develop and cultivate alternatives that may be better suited to the Australian environment and consumer.
Martin is employed as a company viticulturist for Cumulus Vineyards Pty Ltd near Orange in the Central West of NSW. Here, he manages 506 hectares of cool climate vineyard. His tasks include irrigation management, pest and disease management, yield estimation, nutrition and canopy management, quality management, grafting, harvest scheduling as well as operational and capital budgeting.
Martin is of the firm view that cultivating alternative varieties of wine grapes will help increase Australia’s competitiveness in the sector.“I think that giving wine grape growers knowledge about alternative varieties can help them deliver offerings to their consumers that they may normally look for from other countries, thus increasing the demand for Australian wine,” he said.
“If the Australian wine sector continues to rely solely on traditional wine grape varieties it risks losing market interest and share to other countries that are offering the consumer something new and different.”
For his study tour, Martin will travel to wine regions in Portugal, Spain, Italy, North America and other growers throughout Australia.
Wine Australia invests in the Nuffield Australia program as part of its policy of investing in sector leadership. In the same vein, Wine Australia supports the Future Leadership program, travel bursaries for researchers and post graduate scholarships.