Roberta is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and Cassandra is a Senior Lecturer in Viticulture at the University of Adelaide here at Waite. Together they have been working on a project to develop innovative techniques for vineyard management and to unveil the link between canopy size, yield and grape and wine quality.
Through this project they co-developed the VitiCanopy smartphone App, which enables users to measure grapevine canopy architecture and leaf area in the vineyard using only their mobile. This can then be associated with final yield and grape quality.
“VitiCanopy uses the devices’ camera and GPS capability to calculate the size and density of the vine canopy and its location in the vineyard. The aim is to help users monitor their vines and manage the required balance between vegetative growth and fruit production,” Cassandra said of the project.
“The award is an initiative of ‘The Fabulous Ladies wine society” to (as stated in their website) 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,” Roberta said.
“We were nominated for the “researcher of the year” category because of the contribution we have made towards helping the Australian wine industry in managing their vineyards using the VitiCanopy App.”
Prizes were awarded in six categories: Winemaker of the Year, Viticulturist of the Year, Owner/ Operator of the Year, Workplace Champion of Change, Researcher of the Year and Cellar Door Person of the Year.
Congratulations to the other finalists in this category – Dr Dimitra Capone and Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson – who are also based here at Waite!
The development of the app has been supported by Wine Australia, the Waite Research Institute and many producers in the wine industry as part of a wider collaborative project with Dr Sigfredo Fuentes, A/Prof Matthew Gilliham and Prof Stephen Tyerman investigating the relationships between vine balance and wine quality.