Wine Australia has signed a four-year agreement with the University of Adelaide to support and encourage strategic research and development (R&D) in the wine industry.

The agreement aims to strengthen the country’s technical capabilities and encourage the educational institution to conduct long-term wine R&D initiatives.

The University of Adelaide will be responsible for delivering tools to measure and understand the relationship between canopy architecture and fruit and wine quality that will enable practitioners to invest in proactive management options.

The research will also provide knowledge on the causes and impact of berry cell death in wine grapes and deliver tools to schedule irrigation based on real-time measurements of vine water status.

“Under our agreement, the University will further strengthen its contribution to wine science and production.”

Wine Australia’s CEO Andreas Clark said: “We see this as an opportunity to secure and further develop the University’s strength in teaching through excellence in research, ensuring the next generation receives a world-class education in all aspects of wine production.”

Clark further explained that the new agreement would give the University greater flexibility to pursue promising research results within an overall agreed framework.

Under the agreement, Wine Australia has offered A$4.1m ($2.9m) cash funding, while the University of Adelaide will provide A$885,000 ($636,722).

Additional investment from other partners is also expected.

The research will answer key questions surrounding under-vine cover crops and improve the wine microbial toolkit available for fermentation.

The University of Adelaide’s research deputy vice-chancellor Mike Brooks said: “This new partnership recognises the leading role the University of Adelaide plays in Australia’s agriculture, food and wine sectors.

“Under our agreement, the University will further strengthen its contribution to wine science and production. Our world-leading expertise, aligned with the needs of industry, will provide innovative solutions for Australian grape growers and winemakers alike.”