The new boss at Bragato has long been “a closet science geek”.
He will be working with the institute’s research partners to manage two of the industry’s key research programmes – Vineyard Ecosystems, examining how vineyard management practices can enhance biodiversity and improve grapevine performance, and a programme looking at Pinot Noir quality and productivity.
David completed a PhD in plant genetics and breeding at the University of Queensland. He then followed his passion for growing fruit crops and developed physiology and research programme management experience across a broad range of horticultural crops from lucerne to mangoes, avocados to kiwifruit.
In 2015, David moved to New Zealand and spent four years in the innovation team at Zespri, leading programmes that included pest management for market access, new growing systems, and digital counting technologies. Following this, David started a research and development consulting business to focus on the delivery of science into growers’ and post-harvest operations.
David says he relishes the theoretical and practical challenges of delivering higher yield, quality, taste, and reduced environmental impact in horticultural crops. “BRI offers the opportunity to apply my skills and passion in the wine industry, broaching similar challenges in viticulture from new angles.”
BRI research winery
The BRI's research winery undertook more than 65 trial ferments for commercial customers during the challenging 2020 vintage, says Business Development Manager Augusta van Wijk.
She says the new facility provides independent, commercial-level trials, designed in collaboration with customers.
"These are run under scientifically rigorous conditions in BRI's world-class facility, allowing wineries to get on with their main job of bringing in harvest."