TASMANIAN wine researcher Dr Fiona Kerslake is heading a project that could boost returns to Tasmanian winemakers by getting bottles to market faster without compromising on quality.
Dr Kerslake, a fermentation scientist at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture who grew up in the Derwent Valley, is driving a project that aims to capture the quality characteristics of an 18-month-old sparkling wine aged only nine months to a year.
She and PhD candidate Gail Gnoinski are seeking a better understanding of what happens to the yeast during a wine maturation period.
“We are speeding up the maturation process to get wines on the shelves quicker,” Dr Kerslake said.
“This could have a big financial effect on industry.”
Dr Kerslake enlisted the help of an expert winemaker panel to run taste tests.
“We are getting our intended outcome of quicker processes, but an unintended, and very interesting, outcome is that some treatments appear to slow down maturation.”
Dr Kerslake said that with relatively little research into sparkling, there were not many methods to analyse the wine — and none of them were fast.
“We have been developing a new, rapid, objective measure of sparkling wine quality that could also be used on white wines.”
Dr Kerslake’s work in agricultural saw her selected as one of 30 Superstars of STEM by science and Technology Australia last year.
Dr Kerslake said growing up on a sheep farm between Ouse and Hamilton she had no clear career path in mind, but the agricultural sciences provided a vast variety of career pathways.