Richard Leask, from McLaren Vale South Australia, has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Wine Australia to research best-practice regenerative farming systems across the wine sector.
Leask’s research aims to understand how to successfully transition to regenerative farming from more chemically intensive models.
He will explore the key drivers that initiated transitions, the role and availability of education and training, and any associated impacts on farm management and resourcing requirements.
“Increasingly, we are seeing a shift towards more sustainable and less chemically-reliant systems in wine production in Australia and internationally,” Leask said.
“Sustainable practices benefit the wine sector in many ways, including reduced chemical use and providing a deeper understanding of vineyards, plants and soils and an exciting, authentic story to take to Australian and international markets.
“In these times of change, it’s important that we find and implement the best systems and approaches to transition that we can,” he said.
Leask owns and operates a 75-hectare family vineyard in McLaren Vale. He also provides viticultural management services to a number of wine brands and is co-owner of Hither and Yon, a dynamic wine label that produces around 10,000 cases per year.
Leask will visit leading wineries and agricultural businesses around Australia and New Zealand, as well as the United States of America and France as he conducts his research.
His scholarship was announced at the Nuffield National Conference Awards Dinner in Melbourne on Tuesday 18 September, and he will receive a $30,000 bursary towards his research.
Wine Australia invests in the Nuffield Australia program as part of its policy of investing in sector leadership. In the same vein, Wine Australia supports the Future Leadership program, travel bursaries for researchers and post graduate scholarships.