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SAGWRI MSc students project proposal presentations

The South African Grape and Wine Research Institute (SAGWRI) currently has 80 postgraduate students enrolled, including 22 PhD, 47 MSc, and 11 BScHons students. On 25th and 26th April, the new MSc students (18 of the 47 enrolled) presented their project proposals to an audience of academics, researchers, postgraduate students, and industry partners. The projects are funded by various local and international organisations, including the Department of Science and Innovation, the National Research Foundation, the Water Research Commission, Lallemand, Oenobrands, Fermentis, South Africa Wine, Heineken Beverages (formerly Distell) South Africa, and the South African Table Grape Industry.

The presentations covered various topics across SAGWRI’s core disciplines: viticulture, oenology, biotechnology, sensory and consumer science, and chemistry. Some projects receive support from the Chenin Blanc Association and the Pinotage Association. The proposals showcased the diversity of research topics addressing industry-relevant questions around wine premiumisation, authentication methods, grape performance improvement, and wine quality improvement. An integration of basic microbiology, molecular biology, and -omics technologies, along with classical winemaking techniques, digital viticulture, spectroscopy, chromatography, and mass spectrometry, was evident in the various projects.

The MSc students' projects will utilise SAGWRI and DVO facilities, such as model vineyards, experimental cellars, sensory, and chemical analytical laboratories. The presentations stimulated vibrant and enriching discussions both in the room and during networking opportunities during breaks.

New MSc students at SAGWRI: From left to right, Front row (Chrissade Farao, Stehan Malherbe, Dominnique Plaatjes); Middle row (Theo Jacobs, Julian Pietersen, Rianca Lotter, Inneke Heroldt , Saskia Bubberman, Nokwethemba Mthalane, Sindiswa Zandile); Back row (Donnathea van der Watt, Gustav Smook, Terri-Lynn Naidoo, Ndivhuho Simali, Zahn Truter, Godfrey Singo). Missing in the photo: Manja Strever and Anriënka Vlok van Zyl

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