The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - ROGER HAN­SON and PA­TRICK GEE

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.

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