UWA joins chardonnay set

THE Federal Government’s Australian Research Council has backed WA wine producer Evans & Tate’s ambitious five-year project to develop Australia’s best chardonnay, providing $500,000 in funding through the University of Western Australia.

Evans & Tate said the grant would allow, among other things, funding for three postgraduate students to work on the project.

The proposal is to identify the specific plant, soil, growing and production variables to produce Australia’s best chardonnay from Margaret River.

The ARC provided almost $50 million for more than 260 projects nationwide, including the $500,000 which will be provided for the chardonnay project over three years.

Research started before the funding was announced, allowing data from 11 Margaret River vineyards to be collected during the most recent vintage.

Evans & Tate announced the project in November last year, saying it had been buoyed by international awards for its shiraz and wanted to receive accolades for its chardonnay.

Evans & Tate general manager strategy and communications Andy Wagstaff said the chardonnay project was important for the long-term marketing of its wine.

“From our perspective this is all about branding,” Mr Wagstaff said. “It is certainly repositioning the industry benchmark on what can be achieved with chardonnay from Margaret River.”

He said the company now operated in four Australian wine regions and each regional team was focussed on developing products to suit the area.

Of the ARC grants announced recently, Murdoch University was the biggest WA winner, earning almost $3 million in grants over the next five years.

Cultural heritage, mining and agricultural productivity, and animal health were areas focused on by Murdoch projects that won finding from the ARC’s Linkage Project grants.

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