The University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor Susan Bastian has invited Dilmah Tea Chairman Dilhan C. Fernando to Adelaide to share insights into the terroir properties of Australian and Barossa wines and Dilmah Ceylon teas.

Alongside collaborators from Barossa Australia, the duo is hosting Wine & Tea: Terroir and Taste, during which Associate Professor Bastian, an oenology and sensory studies academic, will show guests the ways local climate, and site-specific soil and cultural practices can impact a wine’s aroma and flavour.

Although terroir is strongly associated with wine, Associate Professor Bastian said some consumers also seek products of place within the categories of coffee, chocolate, and tea, among others.

“There is considerable active terroir research across many product categories, because the food and beverage industries are aware they can link their products to regions renowned for quality and a consistent product, expressive of its terroir,” said Associate Professor Bastian, from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

Dilmah Chairman Dilhan C Fernando and University of Adelaide Associate Professor of Oenology and Sensory Studies Susan Bastian. Credit: Kelly Barnes

It’s a guarantee for consumers that the products are genuine, because if they’re displaying those typical sensory properties that come from those terroirs, the customer can be assured that they are purchasing a product from that region.”

Mr Fernando hopes the event will promote the discussion of tea as a cultural and agricultural product.

“Both beverages are deeply rooted in tradition and culture, and they are both affected by the environment in which they are produced. We believe that this event will help raise awareness of the importance of terroir and sustainability in both wine and tea production,” he said.

The University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine has a long history of research excellence in the wine and food sectors as well as deep connections with industry.

Associate Professor Bastian first co-hosted a tea and wine tasting during the 2023 Tasting Australia festival, alongside food-media personality Lyndey Milan.

“When I did that initial work with Lyndey, I thought tea was complex, but I always thought wine was more complex – but I was wrong, actually. Tea is very, very complex. I was very surprised, and I just want to learn more,” she said.

Associate Professor Bastian and her co-host Mr Fernando will also discuss ideas such as novel wine and tea products; promoting the flavours of tea and wine to encourage consumer exploration of both products; sharing sustainability initiatives of both sectors to reduce the environmental mark of both industries; the health benefits of wine and tea; and online global education events to promote a community of learning with industry professionals, researchers, students and consumers.

Beyond this event, Associate Professor Bastian is excited to explore the opportunities this flourishing relationship with Dilmah Tea could afford to University of Adelaide students.

“Doing research that is also applicable and has impact is so important, and that means universities and industry should work closely together. It’s beneficial for students, who can go out into the real world and have opportunities with these companies to re-enforce their classroom learnings and increase their professional networks,” Associate Professor Bastian said.

“This relationship with Dilmah could also offer some of our students the chance to visit Sri Lanka to undertake their renowned WorldChefs certified Dilmah School of Tea. I believe that this is the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship.”

This article was originally published by the University of Adelaide Newsroom on August 30 2023. 

Media contacts

Associate Professor Susan Bastian, Oenology and Sensory Studies, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61 (0)414 582 343, Email:

Johnny von Einem, Media Coordinator, The University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61 (0)430 476 300,

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