Pat Conaghan MP

Cassegrain Wines receives a $1M research coup

Cassegrain Winery at Port Macquarie is going to lead a $2.3 million research project to commercially develop new methodologies and strategies for the Australian wine industry to manage taint from grapes exposed to bushfire smoke.

The devastating 2019-20 bushfires caused a lot of grapes to be lost at Cassegrain Winery and about 40,000 tonnes of grapes were lost Australia-wide due to this natural disaster.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan congratulated Cassegrain Wines on their successful Cooperative Research Centres Projects application and said this local business was one of 29 Australian companies being announced as successful by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews today.

“Cassegrain Wines has sought to be innovative and do something positive from what was a horrific bushfire season in our area,” he said.

“Today I can share Cassegrain Wines will receive $950,000 from our Government to research novel ways of managing smoke taint.

“This exciting, collaborative project will draw on the expertise of University of Adelaide Professor of Oenology Kerry Wilkinson and work with grape growers from eight different regions across New South Wales impacted by the bushfires.”

Cassegrain Wines senior winemaker Alex Cassegrain said the project would help to solve the major issue of smoke taint for the wine industry by researching different technologies including molecular imprinted polymers, nanofiltration, activated carbon and enzyme hydrolysis.

“I am very pleased to be working with Australia’s leading wine scientists and using the latest, ground-breaking technologies to develop new ways of mitigating the impacts of smoke taint,” Mr Cassegrain said.

“Cassegrain Wines has a proud winemaking tradition, but we appreciate the importance of new technology in ensuring we produce nothing but the best quality wine, to maintain the future sustainability of the industry.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Federal Government for its support and significant contribution to this project, which recognises the benefits of direct industry involvement in research collaborations.”

Mrs Andrews said the Cooperative Research Centres Project Program had a long history of developing real-world solutions to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.

“Now more than ever it is vital businesses and researchers work together to collaborate on outcomes which will generate opportunities and jobs as the nation continues its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

“The $25 million in support from Round 9 of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects will unlock a further $58 million of cash and in-kind contributions from 52 project partners.”

The Australian wine sector, which includes grape growing, wine making and wine related tourism plays a significant role in the Australian economy. In a 2019 Wine Australia report, it was estimated that the Australian Wine Industry generates $45.5 billion for the Australian economy and creates employment for nearly 165,000 people, much of which benefits Australia’s regional areas.

For more information on the Cooperative Research Centres Project Program visit click here.

Media Contact:
Mrs Andrews – Jennifer Jennings 0435 121 347
Mr Conaghan – Liz Spry 0418 928 744