PhD candidate Yanina Giordano received the ASVO “Best Innovation and Science” prize at the Crush 2023 conference in Adelaide.

PhD candidate, Yanina Giordano, receiving her award at the Crush Symposium. 

A few weeks have passed since my unforgettable experience at Crush 2023, the grape and wine science symposium and I still can’t believe it wasn’t just a dream. I was both inspired and humbled as an early career researcher when I received the “Best Innovation and Science Prize”. This unexpected recognition has reignited my passion for research and revitalized my motivation during my PhD journey.

My journey in the wine industry began as a winemaker, where I had the privilege of traveling to various wine regions and gaining extensive experience in different winemaking processes. Throughout my experiences, I became acutely aware of a shared concern among winemakers worldwide—an enduring problem yet to find a comprehensive solution: Brettanomyces spoilage in wine.

Since embarking on my PhD, I have been fully dedicated to studying the physiology of Brettanomyces and seeking alternative approaches to control this spoilage yeast. While there is still much work to be done, the recognition I received at Crush 2023 has provided me with the motivation to continue pushing forward. During my presentation, I made a commitment not to conclude my PhD without offering the wine industry an effective methodology to manage Brettanomyces spoilage. It’s a promise I am determined to fulfill.

Crush 2023 was not just an opportunity for me to present my research; it was a chance to network and engage with industry peers. It was my first time submitting an abstract and presenting at a conference, and the experience was truly remarkable. I had the privilege of sharing my research and discussing insights with fellow researchers. A notable outcome of this recognition has been the influx of messages from students pursuing winemaking degrees, who were previously unaware of the research career possibilities within the wine industry. Knowing that my experience can ignite their aspirations and encourage them to consider the research pathway is both priceless and a reminder of the impact we can have on others. 

As I reflect on my time at Crush 2023, I am filled with renewed purpose and determination to continue my PhD journey. Though significant challenges lie ahead, this infusion of motivation will propel me forward, ensuring that I make a meaningful contribution to the field.

Coordinated by the Wine Innovation Cluster, Crush is an extraordinary event that provides researchers, technical staff, academics, and students with an unparalleled opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise in grape and wine science within Australia. The symposium fosters networking and collaboration, shaping the future of the wine industry. I am immensely grateful for being a part of this event, where innovation and knowledge intersect, driving progress forward.

I am filled with immense gratitude towards all the individuals who have supported me throughout my research journey and played a crucial role in shaping my career. I want to express my sincere appreciation to my supervisors, whose guidance and support have been invaluable to me: Associate Professor Paul Grbin, Dr Anthony Borneman, and Dr Jean Macintyre. I would also like to acknowledge the significant contribution of my mentors, Dr Mark Krstic and Dr Tony Robinson, who have played an instrumental role in shaping my career path. I am also deeply thankful to my industry partners: AWRI, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, VAF Memstar, the University of Adelaide, ARC TC for Innovative wine production, and Wine Australia, and my family, my partner, and my friends for their unwavering support.

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