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Improving international supply chains for wine
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The Wine Supply Chain Council (WSCC) meeting on 13–16 January includes 25 industry leaders, academics and researchers from the US, Argentina, South Africa, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. Australian representatives at the workshop include researchers from CSIRO and Monash University and senior managers from some of Australia’s leading wine companies including Yalumba and Orlando Wines. Australia has a strong interest in wine supply chains with a winegrape crush of 1.8 million tonnes in 2008 and wine exports worth a total of A$2.46B. CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences research leader, Dr Simon Dunstall, says one of the major issues for discussion will be how to reduce the environmental impacts of the wine and grape juice industry’s transport task. “Transport is a significant consideration in Australia, particularly the carbon footprint involved in moving wine over long distances,” he says. The meeting follows one held in South Africa last year and will set the cooperative research agenda for the next 3–5 years to benefit wine producers across the globe. Georgia Tech’s (US) Prof John Bartholdi will be discussing how to reduce time from purchase order placement to receipt of merchandise. Other topics include: planning harvest, winery and packaging programs; and the future of wine supply chains with changing climate and consumer preferences. Topics the Council has discussed in the past include: tracking temperature changes of wine as it is shipped around the world; improving order management processes; and, exploring the finding that 99 per cent of US wine was made in states that helped elect Barack Obama. WSCC representatives will also go on a fact-finding tour to facilities like wineries and packaging plants. A highlight will be visiting the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne’s Docklands where they will hear about the Bureau’s climate services for agriculture. CSIRO has been involved in the Wine Supply Chain Council since its formation in 2006. Dr Dunstall’s team uses a branch of mathematics called 'operations research' to simulate and optimise supply chains in a range of industries. The team recently developed a grape maturity forecasting system which is being used in Australia and New Zealand to estimate when grapes are ready to harvest.