2017 Mildura Presenters

Liz Riley
Owner and operater | Vitibit Pty Ltd

Liz Riley is an independent viticultural consultant based in the Hunter Valley. She owns and operates Vitibit Pty Ltd and has been consulting to small, medium and large vineyards in the region for the last 8 years. Previously she worked for Southcorp Wines in both national and regional viticultural roles, for 7 years.
Her area of expertise is pests and disease management and agrochemicals. She also has an interest in the emerging varietals such as the Rhone, Italian and Spanish varieties and their suitability to the warmer regions such as the Hunter.

Prof Mike Briers AO
CEO | Knowledge Economy Institute

Mike was named in the Knowledge Nation 100 as Australia’s chief evangelist for big data and the internet of things (IoT) and appointed Australia’s first Industry Professor of IoT at UTS. He is currently the CEO of the Knowledge Economy Institute, an IoT innovation hub, and leads the FoodAgility.com consortium to empower Australia’s food industry to grow its comparative advantage through digital transformation.
Mike is a co-founder and Director of the Internet of Things Alliance Australia and Hypercat Australia.
Mike’s pioneering efforts in fintech and e-research led to the global success of SIRCA and the founding of big data company RoZetta, e-research service provider Intersect, and co-founding of Capital Markets CRC and AgTech business, The Yield.

Dr Maria Paz Diago
Research Scientist  | Institute of Grapevine and Wine Sciences (ICVV)

Maria Paz Diago is PhD in Food and Agricultural Sciences (University of La Rioja, Spain) and ‘Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology’ by the University of Davis (California, USA). She also owns a B.S. in Chemistry by the University Ramon Llull (Barcelona, Spain) and worked as a winemaker several years. Nowadays she is lecturer in Viticultural Practices and Precision Viticulture at the University of La Rioja and works as a researcher at the Instituto de Ciencias de la Vid y del Vino (Institute of Grapevine and Wine Sciences), in La Rioja (Spain). Dr. Diago’s research is focused on the use and application of new, non-invasive technologies for plant phenotyping and vineyard monitoring in the context of precision viticulture. She has worked in several European and national research projects on agriculture and food science. Dr. Diago has authored more than 50 publications in SCI journals and participated in more than 35 international and national meetings

Dr Kathy Evans
Senior Research Fellow and Convenor of Industry Development and Extension | Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)

Kathy works across the continuum of research, development and agricultural extension to improve plant disease management and the production of wine grapes and other horticultural crops. Her contribution to theory and practice of weed biological control is recognised nationally and internationally. Kathy also leads internal TIA projects to develop ‘people’ and ‘processes’ for greater impact from TIA’s research, and facilitates knowledge exchanges during participatory research. Kathy co-developed and delivered the inaugural breadth unit Working with Communities.

Dr Kerry De Garis  





Dr Simon Nordestgaard
Senior Engineer | The Australian Wine Research Institute

Simon has worked in wine industry research and development for a bit over a decade. This has included an engineering PhD relating to grape pressing and work on refrigeration, lees management, white wine heat stability, wine transport, grape destemming and sorting, crushing and rapid extraction technologies. He has a passion for wine industry technical innovation and its history.

Mark Skewes
Research Scientist | Loxton Research Centre | SARDI

Mark Skewes joined the then South Australian Department of Agriculture in 1986, and currently works for the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), at the Loxton Research Centre. Mark has many years’ experience in all aspects of irrigation research and extension, particularly in the areas of irrigation scheduling, soil water monitoring and irrigation performance assessment.

Mark has studied the impact of drought and reduced water applications on almonds, citrus and grapevines, and recently revisited long established vine and citrus rootstock trials to evaluate the long term performance of the rootstocks at those sites. He has also been involved in research evaluating evaporative cooling of vineyards.

This range of research led to an interest in measuring and monitoring the development and impacts of water stress in plants. Mark will be reporting on a Wine Australia funded project to develop a Smart Phone App designed to monitor vineyard water stress.

Dr Vinay Pagay
Lecturer | University of Adelaide

Dr Vinay Pagay is a viticulture researcher and educator based at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide. Dr Pagay received my doctorate in 2014 from Cornell University where he worked on developing sensors for measuring plant and soil water status.

Dr Pagay ‘s research is in the area of grapevine ecophysiology with a particular focus on how the environment influences vine performance and productivity. Dr Pagay’s research places considerable emphasis on modeling the interactions between environment, especially water availability, and grapevines to predict their growth and yield under changing climatic conditions. His research also seeks to understand how biotic (e.g. virus infections) and abiotic (e.g. drought) stresses affect grapevine physiological performance and productivity.

Dr Pagay  is also working in the areas of proximal and remote sensing of vineyards, and to use this high spatial and temporal resolution information to improve our ability to manage vineyards using variable rate inputs.

Dr Jo Jones
Research Fellow | University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Dr Joanna Jones is a lecturer and research fellow in the School of Land and Food. Dr Jones’ research interests include the manipulation of perennial horticulture physiology for maximised grape, wine, cider and cherry quality. Joanna contributes to the undergraduate teaching program in the areas of horticulture, viticulture, farm business management and extension, as well as supervises honours, masters and PhD candidates. Dr Jones also coordinates student outreach for the Agriculture discipline within the School of Land and Food.

Ros Harvey
Managing Director | The Yield

Ros Harvey is an entrepreneur and experienced executive in the field of technology, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT), and user-centric design. She is the Managing Director of The Yield – the business she founded in 2014. Ros has a particular commitment to creating public good with private effort through innovative uses of technology, which is reflected throughout her career. She founded the globally-recognised Better Work and Sense-T programs – both which have strong novel technology underpinnings. Ros recently co-founded Food Agility consortium and the Knowledge Economy Institute with Dr Michael Briers.
Ros leads a highly experienced team which brings together world-leading agriculturists, marine scientists and technologists. All these skills work together seamlessly to ensure technology delivers real business outcomes.
Ros is also an Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology’s Institute for Future Environments in Intellisensing

Dr Nick Dookoozlian
VP of Viticulture, Chemistry and Enology | E&J Gallo Winery

Dr. Nick Dokoozlian is the Vice President of Viticulture, Chemistry and Enology at E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, CA.  He also serves as the Research Chair for the National Grape and Wine Initiative, as well as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Viticulture and Enology.  Prior to joining E&J Gallo, Dokoozlian was a member of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, where his research focused on the effects of cultural practices and environmental factors on grape and wine composition.  Dr. Dokoozlian received his PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Davis.

Dr Steve Van Sluyter