Vinous Voyages: A Journey through Europe’s Wine Capitals

written by Yanina Giordano

With the objective of receiving feedback to shape my research project and gain a comprehensive perspective from diverse wine regions and winery sizes, I embarked on a transformative journey. Supported by the Great Wine Capitals Outbound Knowledge Exchange Bursary 2023, the Adelaide Graduate Centre Travel Grant, and the unwavering support of the ARC TC for Innovative Wine Production, my expedition unfolded as a tapestry of knowledge and connections across Spain and Italy.

Embarking on a Transformative Expedition

Between 5th November and 21st December 2023, my exploration delved into the heart of Europe’s renowned wine regions. It was more than a physical journey; it was a commitment to collaboration and immersion in industry perspectives. My focus was on advancing my PhD research, which pioneers alternatives to sulfur dioxide for combating Brettanomyces spoilage in wine—a critical concern in the dynamic landscape of the wine industry.

Rioja and Vitoria-Gasteiz: A Tapestry of Knowledge and Connections

The expedition commenced in La Rioja, Spain, where I had the privilege of participating in the International Congress on Grapevine and Wine Sciences (2ICGWS) in La Rioja. This event not only provided a platform for showcasing my work but also garnered invaluable feedback from experts in the field. A seminar at the Institute of Grapevine and Wine Sciences (ICVV), thanks to the invitation Dr María Pilar Sáenz Navajas and Dr Pablo Carbonell, opened doors to potential collaborations with leading scholars.

Connecting with industry partners and stakeholders such as Lallemand Spain, Pernod Ricard Winemakers Campo Viejo, and Faustino Winery offered insights into cutting-edge methodologies for detecting Brettanomyces. Visits to Bodega Torres and a sensory analysis laboratory at the University of the Basque Country (Vitoria-Gasteiz) expanded my understanding of innovative sensory evaluation methodologies for wines and food and current technologies for NoLo wine production and wine preservation.

Naples: A Scholarly Sojourn in the Campania Wine Region

As a visiting PhD student at the Grape and Wine Division of the University of Naples Federico II, I delivered seminars, engaged in workshops on the Amalfi Coast, and explored renowned wineries like Marisa Cuomo, Quintodecimo, and Mastrobernardino. Prof. Angelita Gambuti, Dr. Maria Tiziana Lisanti, Prof. Giuseppe Blaiotta, and Prof. Luigi Moio provided invaluable feedback, deepening my understanding of winemaking practices and sculpting my science communication skills. My heartfelt thanks also extend to other academics, students, and Assoenologi Campania for their support.

Verona: Crafting Sustainable Futures in the Heart of Great Wine Capitals

In Verona, I achieved my primary objective—seeking feedback from experienced winemakers and gaining insights into sustainable practices. Engaging with cutting-edge research labs, exploring the University of Verona Experimental Winery, and attending classes by Professor Maurizio Ugliano provided invaluable perspectives. Presenting at the Wine Science and Innovation Meeting and exploring the International Conference on Wine Museum added depth to my experience. The journey also included visits to the Valpolicella wine region and the Trentino wine region.

Padova, Conegliano, Puglia, Piacenza: A Culmination of Insights and Collaboration

The final leg of my journey involved delivering seminars at the University of Padova in Conegliano and Legnaro, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, exploring the Prosecco DOCG wine region, and conducting seminars for winemakers, wine students, and industry professionals. Special thanks to Prof. Stefano Poni, Dr Viviana Corich, Dr Matteo Marangon, Dr Simone Vincenzi, and Assoenologi Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria.

Gratitude and Integration of Experiences

My sincere gratitude goes out to all the institutions, wineries, and individuals who made this journey possible. The experiences gained have not only shaped the trajectory of my research but have also elevated my science communication skills in English, Spanish, and Italian. Special thanks to Instituto Ciencias de la Vid y el Vino, Lallemand Spain, Pernod Ricard Winemakers-Bodega Campo Viejo, University of Basque Country, Bodegas Torres, Bodegas Faustino, University of Naples Federico II, Assoenologi Italia, University of Verona, University of Padova, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Quintodecimo Winery, Mastrobernardino Winery, Great Wine Capitals Verona, Marisa Cuomo Winery, Mezzacorona Winery, Massaro Winery, Domini Veneti Winery, Roccat Winery, and all others for their hospitality and the opportunity to present my research.

Looking Forward: A Vision for Transformative Impact

The wealth of knowledge and profound connections forged throughout this extraordinary expedition are not mere waypoints; they are the seeds of transformation for the next chapters of my research journey. With unbridled enthusiasm, I anticipate playing a pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of sustainable winemaking practices and elevating the Australian wine industry to new heights.

My commitment to collaboration and the diverse insights garnered during this transformative journey fuel my anticipation for future endeavours. I eagerly look forward to ongoing collaborations and the exchange of knowledge that will amplify the impact of my work. The foundation laid in Europe, thanks to the support of esteemed institutions and passionate individuals, propels me into an exciting phase of innovation.

Being a witness to the indelible mark left by the European wine industry on my research has fortified my resolve to address the global challenge of Brettanomyces spoilage. There’s a shared global interest in uncovering innovative solutions to this persistent problem, underscoring the interconnectedness of the wine world.

As I envision the future, I am reminded of the profound importance of immersing myself in diverse wine realities. This immersion has not only refined my methodology for controlling Brettanomyces spoilage but has also nurtured personal and professional growth. Stepping outside my comfort zone, pushing boundaries, and embracing adaptability have sculpted me into a more resilient and versatile individual. This journey has not only advanced my career but has also expanded the horizons of my personal development.

In conclusion, the tapestry woven by this expedition extends beyond the realm of academia and the wine industry; it encompasses holistic growth as a researcher and an individual. The amalgamation of experiences, challenges, and triumphs has laid the groundwork for a future where innovation, collaboration, and adaptability will be the driving forces propelling me toward new horizons of achievement and excellence.

Yanina and the other Great Wine Capitals bursary recipients will present their findings and experiences on Wednesday May 29. You can get a ticket to this free event here.

Great Wine Capitals is also offering an International Research Grant to promote excellence and innovation in wine tourism research. Read more about this grant here

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