Congratulations to Waite researcher Dr Jacqui McRae from the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), who was announced as the 2018 Researcher / Innovator of the Year in the Australian Women in Wine Awards at an event in Sydney on Friday 16 November.

Jacqui is a Senior Research Scientist in the AWRI’s Wine Texture Team. She attained her PhD in natural products chemistry from Swinburne University, Melbourne, in 2008 after completing a degree in chemistry with first class honours in biotechnology. She joined the AWRI in 2009 as a postdoctoral scientist and worked on projects relating to wine tannins and how their structure relates to astringency.

“I’m really honoured to receive this award. It’s so great that people are interested in my research and the potential benefits to the wine industry,” Jacqui said.

Jacqui’s research focuses on wine macromolecules and their roles in wine clarity and texture. The main outcome of this work been a greater understanding of how protein haze forms in white wines and the development of a shorter heat stability test that can produce more consistent results.

“Protein haze formation is a serious risk for the wine industry as it is deemed a fault by consumers. Wines that develop a haze can collectively cost wine companies millions of dollars in reduced sales and reputation damage.”

“My research has also explored red wine astringency and how it can be influenced by alcohol concentration, oxygen and filtration.”

Congratulations to Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson, also based here at Waite, who was also a finalist in this category.

The Australian Women In Wine Awards are an initiative of The Fabulous Ladies Wine Society to acknowledge and reward the work of women in the Australian wine community, and community leaders who champion equality and fairness for all sexes in the workplace.

The eight awards presented this year were Winemaker of the Year, Viticulturist of the Year, Owner/Operator of the Year, Workplace Champion of Change, Researcher/Innovator of the Year, Cellar Door Person of the Year, Marketer of the Year, and Woman of Inspiration.

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