New irrigation book – valuable resource for wine grape growers

Lucinda Heyns - 24 Aug 2018

The book Handbook for Irrigation of Wine Grapes in South Africa, written by Dr Philip Myburgh, was launched on 15 August. Dr Philip Myburgh (Senior Researcher at ARC Nietvoorbij) has more than 40 years of experience as a researcher in irrigation of vineyards.

First Pinotage planted in the UK

Drinks Business - 11 Jul 2018

Members of the wine trade and press gathered at Leonardslee Gardens in West Sussex for the planting of the first Pinotage vineyard in the UK yesterday, a nod to owner Penny Streeter OBE and the Benguela Collection’s South African connections.

The end to cold stabilisation

Enartis press release - 03 May 2018

The Italian multinational hits a milestone in environmental sustainability with a new product that puts an end to cold stabilisation. The product can save wineries up to 80% of energy and drinking water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90%, an important factor in the drought stricken wine producing areas of the Western Cape.

Smallest wine grape crop since 2005

Bizcommunity - 02 Apr 2018

As wine grape producers and cellars take in the last of the 2018 wine grape harvest, viticulturists and cellars estimate that it will be the smallest crop since 2005, according to SAWIS (SA Wine Industry Information & Systems).

Image: Vinpro

Legalising the black snake

Karien O'Kennedy - 23 Feb 2018

Aussies may legally add water to grape juice to reduce sugar levels to approximately 24°Brix. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approved the addition of water pre-fermentation to assist fermentation.

California's vineyards are coming back from the brink of disaster thanks to the winter rains

Patrick Comiskey - 02 Feb 2018

California’s vineyards — Central Coast vineyards in particular — are coming back from the brink of disaster. Record low rainfall levels, coupled with record average temperatures in an age of global warming, had left viticulture from Monterey to Ventura in a low-grade peril. The five-year drought had been so inexorable in its effects, so disruptive to seasonal cycles, that growers were having a hard time imagining what a return to normal would look like.

Image: Jason Haas

SA making strides in leafroll virus management

Bizcommunity - 31 Jan 2018

Through focused research, trial sites and a formalised Leafroll Control Protocol, the South African wine industry has made great strides to halt the spread of leafroll virus which poses a major threat to wine grape producers as it can shorten the lifespan of vineyards and deteriorate grape and wine quality.

Institute for Grape and Wine Sciences celebrates successes of its first five years

Engela Duvenhage - 31 Jan 2018

To celebrate the IGWS’s fifth anniversary, important role players in the local wine and viticulture industries recently gathered on the wine estate L’Omarins of business leader and Stellenbosch University (SU) chancellor Dr Johann Rupert. The host of the evening, Dr Johann Rupert, and other industry leaders were among the driving forces behind the IGWS’s establishment. These are some of the success stories of Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Grape and Wine Sciences (IGWS). It was founded in 2013 thanks to funding received from the Reinet Foundation, VinPro and Sanlam.

The Basket Press - January 2018

Karien O'Kennedy and Lucinda Heyns - 22 Jan 2018

In this issue

English articles:

  • Legalising the black snake
  • Winter drought and the vine

Afrikaans articles:

  • Oor vere, voëls en tiole
  • Sê totsiens vir kouestabilisasie
  • Rolblaar beïnvloed wynkwaliteit

The Basket Press - August 2017

Karien O'Kennedy and Lucinda Heyns - 10 Aug 2017

In this issue

English articles:

  • Stabilise your wine with seaweed
  • To machine harvest or not to machine harvest

Afrikaans articles:

  • Die effek van bentoniet op aromatiese tiole
  • Lae alkohol giste uiteindelik 'n realiteit
  • Stok by paaltjie werkswinkel - praktiese leerskool


2017 SA Harvest one of the best in many years

Lauren Eads - 15 May 2017

South Africa’s 2017 grape harvest was slightly larger than the previous year, wine industry body VinPro has confirmed, with dry conditions offset by cool nights resulting in healthy vineyards and good grape concentration.

2017 SA Harvest one of the best in many years

Lauren Eads - 15 May 2017

South Africa’s 2017 grape harvest was slightly larger than the previous year, wine industry body VinPro has confirmed, with dry conditions offset by cool nights resulting in healthy vineyards and good grape concentration.

Update: French winemakers weathering worst frost in 25 years

James Molesworth and Suzanne Mustacich in Wine Spectator - 02 May 2017

Vintners are reporting widespread damage in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, with some losing their entire 2017 crop.

Is Snow Good For Vines?

Decanter - 08 Mar 2017

As snow storms hit the UK and parts of Eastern and Southern Europe recover from heavy snowfall, we ask what happens to vines in the snow...

Researchers map out world's winegrape varieties

DailyWineNews - 20 Jan 2017

University of Adelaide researchers have compiled statistics from 44 countries to develop the first database of the world's winegrape varieties and regions.

The Basket Press - December 2016

Karien O'Kennedy - 05 Dec 2016

In this issue:

Musings on the perception of Chenin blanc quality

Rotundone facts

Afrikaans article: Jou spoeg bepaal jou proe

Afrikaans article: Navorsers plaas YAN onder soeklig

Afrikaans article: PVPP en wyn sensoriese kwaliteit

Cape vineyards hit by 'devastating' black frost

eNCA - 21 Oct 2016

A week of unexpectedly cold spring weather resulted in black frost descending on several pockets of vineyards in the Western Cape.

Image: ANA/Breedekloof Wine Valley

Cape vineyards hit by 'devastating' black frost

eNCA - 21 Oct 2016

A week of unexpectedly cold spring weather resulted in black frost descending on several pockets of vineyards in the Western Cape.

Image: ANA/Breedekloof Wine Valley

New book: Understanding Wine Chemistry

John Wiley & Sons - 15 Sep 2016

A new book, Understanding Wine Chemistry, is the result of an international collaboration of faculty from three of the best-known wine programs in the English-speaking world. Dr David Jeffery (the University of Adelaide) and fellow authors, Professor Andrew Waterhouse (University of California Davis) and Associate Professor Gavin Sacks (Cornell University), announced their book at an August 21 release event sponsored by the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, at the 252nd American Chemical Society Meeting in Philadelphia.

New BLUE wine is coming to a bar near you - but would you drink it? - 20 Jun 2016

A new wine has been launched that hopes to lure in new drinkers - and it's bright BLUE. The tipple is a blend of red and white wine, and is aimed at younger non-wine drinkers.

Happy 80th anniversary to 75 French appellations

Britt Karlsson - 16 Jun 2016

In 1936, 80 years ago, the first appellations (AOC, appellation d’origine contrôlée) were awarded to 75 wine regions in France.

IGWS launches a robotics flagship project

IGWS Viticulture Platform - 01 Jun 2016

The Viticulture platform of the Institute for Grape and Wine Science (IGWS) launched an ambitious robotics project with the first demonstration of a vineyard robot prototype. The remote controlled Robot X (also known as “The Dassie”) was introduced to a group of viticulturists in a vineyard used for training at the Stellenbosch University (SU) experimental farm, Welgevallen.

'Catastrophic' hail in Chablis, Cognac and Beaujolais

Yohan Castaing - 01 Jun 2016

Fierce hailstorms have damaged vineyards in parts of Chablis in Burgundy, plus Beaujolais and Cognac, leading the country's farming federation to declare a 'state of catastrophe' in the worst-hit areas.

Image: Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne

World's first synthetic wine

Michelle Dickinson - 23 May 2016

This week San Francisco start-up Ava winery announced its plan to use science to quickly create cheap synthetic wines.


channel news Asia - 20 May 2016

Millennial US winemakers have established what they call the first commercially viable rooftop vineyard in New York, hoping wine harvested from the Brooklyn Naval Yard will hit the market next year.


VinPro press release: 10 May 2016 - 10 May 2016

Challenging conditions led to a reduced wine grape crop for South African producers in 2016, but grapes were healthy and concentrated flavours promise good wines. This according to the viticultural consultants of VinPro, the representative organisation for close to 3500 South African wine producers and cellars.



Karien O'Kennedy - 04 May 2016

In this addition:

Chenin blanc: From shorts to chinos!

Improving wine filterability - with yeasts

Chenin blanc research in the spotlight

New product for tartrate stabilisation

Old vines


Brian Wallheimer, - 28 Apr 2016

Researchers at the University of California, Davis (UC-Davis) have found the vector that seems to be spreading grapevine red blotch, a major step toward controlling the disease.




A South African team of neuromarketers and neuroscientists have announced the launch of the world’s first ever NeuroWine, a wine that was developed by taking the tools and technologies that are traditionally used in neuroscience and applying them to the art of wine-making.



Heatwave shrivelling French wine production

- 05 Apr 2016

Coming to your white wines soon!

Karien O'Kennedy - 05 Apr 2016

Two products that are in the final stages of OIV approval for use in winemaking are pure glutathione (an anti-oxident) and Proctase, the new solution for preventing protein instability in white wines.

Potato protein now legal for use in South African wine production

Karien O'Kennedy - 05 Apr 2016

On 21 August 2015 the Wine and Spirit Board published that specific potato and pea proteins are now legal for use in juice and wine fining

The Basket Press - August 2015

Karien O'Kennedy - 05 Apr 2016

Welcome to the first addition of The Basket Press Newspaper! This first addition comes available to you electronically as well as in print, because we respect the traditionalists amongst you. Dedicated to wine science communication we aim to bring you the latest news on the academic front in bite size, easy to understand and last but not the least, in an entertaining and pleasing on the eye format. We hope you enjoy it!

Stellenbosch University Oenology lecturer recognised for excellence in teaching

by Engela Duvenage, Faculty of AgriSciences, Stellenbosch University - 05 Apr 2016

Marianne McKay, who teaches Oenology at Stellenbosch University (SU), has been recognised for her engaged teaching strategies. This lecturer, who works in the Department of Viticulture and Oenology (DVO), is to receive the 2015 National Excellence in Teaching Award. It is awarded annually by the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) in recognition of excellent teaching at South African universities.


by Karien O'Kennedy - 05 Apr 2016

STELLENBOSCH - Dr Evodia Setati and her team at the Institute for Wine Biotechnology, Stellenbosch University, have found distinct differences in the diversity of yeast populations in three neighbouring Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards cultivated using different agronomic practices. The researchers found that some of these yeast species may occur in relatively large populations during fermentation and may consequently make a significant contribution to the wine’s eventual sensorial quality.

Dry season might result in smaller wine grape harvest

VinPro - 05 Apr 2016

The South African wine industry can expect a smaller wine grape harvest in 2016, should the dry seasonal conditions persist in November. This is the message from the regional viticulturists of VinPro, the representative organisation for some 3 500 wine producers and cellars.

Scientists make a chance discovery in frost grape vines

by Steve Tarter in Journal Star - 03 Feb 2016

A chance discovery of gum oozing out of a vine found all around central Illinois by USDA Ag Lab scientists has led to to what may be a new source for a thickening agent that is used in all manner of foods and cosmetics.

Potassium polyaspartate - a new tool for tartrate stabilisation

Gianni Triulzi - 08 Dec 2015

Potassium POLYASPARTATE is a new additive overcoming all the technical limits of present tartrate stabilisation alternatives and joining to these positive characteristics an excellent level of economic and environmental sustainability. It is a stable polymer of L-aspartic acid, able to totally inhibit the formation of tartrate crystals even in highly unstable wines, without color loses and without effect on wine filterability.

H2S and mercaptans: New discoveries

Oenoppia press release on - 26 Nov 2015

Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that H2S and mercaptans in wine are not only present in volatile (odorous) form. They also exist in odourless complexes (with other other molecules) and are hence undetectable. Wine contains many sulphur compounds that may be released throughout its life span in bottles since these combinations are reversible. 

Change is coming

by Andrew Jefford in Decanter Magazine - 24 Nov 2015

What does climate change mean for winemaking? Andrew Jefford discusses the issue in his latest column, ahead of the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris.

New grapevine virus detected in California

by Ted Rieger in - 17 Nov 2015

A grapevine virus formally recognized in 2012 by Italian researchers as grapevine Pinot Gris virus (GPGV) and associated with disease symptoms in Pinot Gris/Grigio in Italy since 2003, was recently detected in California grapevines in Napa Valley.

App to help manage grapevines - 26 Oct 2015

A new, free phone app developed by University of Adelaide researchers will help grapegrowers and viticulturists manage their vines by giving a quick measure of vine canopy size and density. The iPad and iPhone app 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.

The development of the app – called VitiCanopy – has been supported by Wine Australia as part of a wider project investigating the relationships between vine balance and wine quality.

Read more at:


The great Brettanomyces taste test

by Robert Joseph - 16 Oct 2015

What would the result be if Brett-spiked wines were given to an international panel of experienced palates? "The largest segment of the 214 attendees chose the most heavily spiked wine, with almost as many picking the ‘threshold’ version."


Why it’s difficult to sell wine in China (part I)

LI Demei - Decanter - 14 Oct 2015

Why it’s difficult to sell wine in China (part I). "However, the actual sales of wine are not in proportion to the amount of exposure it gets. It seems everyone is talking about wine, but in fact wines are not selling as well as you would expect."


New study strengthens case against soil-based minerality

by Darren Smith in the Drinks business - 14 Oct 2015

A new study has provided further evidence that the perception of minerality in wine is not linked to soil. The findings emerged from the second part of a two-year research project, titled ‘Minerality in Wines‘, conducted by Spanish wine analysis company Excell Ibérica and Outlook Wine.

Image: Wikipedia

South African wine board approves regulatory reforms

by Darren Smith in the Drinks Business - 03 Oct 2015

The South African Wine and Spirit Board (WSB) made amendments to its wine regulations last month following extensive lobbying from the Swartland Independent group of winemakers. 

The regulatory amendments include the introduction of six new classes of wine – “skin-macerated white”, “extended barrel-aged white/gris”, “natural pale/non-fortified pale”, “methode ancestrale”, “alternative white/red” and “sun wine”.


Climate change threatens European wine production

by Aline Robert, translated by Samuel White - 26 Sep 2015

The EU is the world's biggest wine producer, but a recent publication has revealed the extent to which the sector is under threat from climate change. EurActiv France reports

The harvest is already over for many Beaujolais wine makers. Early harvests have also taken producers in many other French regions by surprise. Some wine makers were concerned by the unusually hot summer, but the resulting high sugar content in this year's grapes, which guarantees a high level of alcohol in the finished product, is seen by many as a good thing. But the authors of the book Threats to wine. The challenges of climate change, Valery Laramée de Tannenberg and Yves Leers, fear the celebrations could be short lived.

French winemakers hunt for climate change-resistant grape

by BDLive / Image REUTERS - 17 Sep 2015

LIERGUES — Amid the bustle of a busy harvest in France’s famed Beaujolais wine-making region, a quiet effort is under way to counter one of the industry’s biggest potential threats: climate change.

Bordeaux winemaker death inquiry to focus on pesticides

Jane Anson - Decanter - 18 Jul 2015

A potentially groundbreaking criminal investigation is set to be launched in France over claims that the death of a Bordeaux winemaker was caused by exposure to pesticides. The first steps towards a criminal prosecution came after Valerie Murat filed legal action over the the death of her father, claiming ‘involuntary homicide’. James-Bernard Murat, a winemaker in Pujols in the Entre deux Mers region of Bordeaux, died of lung cancer in 2012. He believed the disease was caused by his use of a pesticide to protect against vine trunk disease esca for more than 40 years.

Little Fly, Big Problem for Wine

Neville Galvin - 17 Mar 2015

Last year was difficult enough for vintners in many of Europe's leading wine regions, thanks to a gray, wet summer that slowed grape ripening and encouraged mildew. But they also had to grapple with a new pest during the 2014 harvest: a foreign fruit fly. Drosophila suzukii, commonly known as the spotted wing drosophila, was first spotted in Europe in 2008. And last year's weather encouraged a population swell that left grapegrowers wrestling with an unfamiliar pest. They're worried this year could bring more flies—and trouble.


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