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27/04/2015

AWRI celebrates 60 years

The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) celebrates its 60th birthday today – 60 years of world class research and technical support for Australia’s wine industry.

Based at the Waite Research Precinct in Urrbrae, SA, the AWRI is an independent national organisation, serving growers and winemakers across all of Australia’s wine regions. From just a handful of employees in 1955, the AWRI now employs 115 scientists, winemakers, viticulturists and technical staff all working for the benefit of the Australian grape and wine producers.

The AWRI has supported the Australian wine industry through a period of enormous change and growth. In 1955 Australia crushed around 127,000 tonnes of grapes, a high percentage of which were made into fortified wines. Now the Australian industry crushes around 1.7 million tonnes, and makes wines across a wide range of varieties and styles.

Commenting on the milestone, Dr Dan Johnson, AWRI Managing Director, said the AWRI was proud of the scientific achievements that have underpinned the Australian wine industry’s success over the past 60 years.

“It’s no accident that Australian wine has a global reputation for excellence and innovation,” Johnson said. “In the end all of the science comes down to supporting our wine community to make wines that consumers want to buy and enjoy drinking.”

Andreas Clark, Australian Wine and Grape Authority (AGWA) chief executive officer, said AWRI has been a valued research partner of AGWA and GWRDC before that for more than 20 years.

“It has consistently undertaken research and delivered outcomes that have contributed to the profitability and sustainability of the grape and wine sector,” Clark said. “AWRI and the work it does in research and development outcomes, technical support through helpdesks and the extension program is one of the reasons why Australia is seen as a world leader in grape and wine R&D.

“Congratulations to AWRI on its 60th anniversary, we look forward to continuing to work closely together."

In its 60 year history, the AWRI has a long list of achievements including breakthroughs in understanding the measuring red wine colour and tannin as well as world-first research on wine closures that led to the widespread adoption of screwcaps.

Johnson said many people and organisations have contributed to the AWRI’s 60-year history.

“I’d like to thank past and present staff and directors, our funding bodies (in particular AGWA) and our scientific collaborators across the world,” he said. “Most importantly, I thank the grapegrowers and winemakers of Australia and their representative bodies for their continuing support. We look forward to working with them on the next 60 years of scientific breakthroughs.”

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