Dr Kerry DeGaris
Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council
Dr DeGaris encompass the values of the ASVO around encouraging, stimulating, supporting and promoting the dissemination of research or technical information. Dr DeGaris is passionate about matching local wine and vineyards issues within the Limestone Coast with the latest research and has been instrumental in coordinating, collaborating and securing funds to implement several major projects in the region.
Completing a Bachelor of Ag Science in 1995, Kerry migrated into the wine industry at a time when the industry was booming in the late 1990’s. Starting off with RFC-IAMA, Renmark, she learnt all about horticultural merchandise before moving to Griffith, NSW, to become an industry technical officer with the Wine Grapes Marketing Board. After three years with the Board she was approached by Doug McWilliam to become a research viticulturist with McWilliams Wines. Implementation of colour measurements and streaming Shiraz into the Hanwood winery were two notable tasks Kerry assisted with during her time there. Kerry also commenced her Masters degree during her time in Griffith through CSU, Wagga Wagga and was investigating manipulating Shiraz quality by altering source sink relationships within a grapevine.
Kerry returned to the Limestone Coast to be closer to family after nearly 8 years in Griffith, where she accepted a role as technical officer with Stonehaven Wines in 2004. This role included grower liaison, providing technical support to company vineyards and assisting with grape intake planning. With the consolidation of the wine industry in the late 2000’s, Kerry’s role within the Hardy’s/Constellation/Accolade realm changed and resulted in her becoming the vineyard manager of their Padthaway vineyard. Also during this time Kerry commenced her PhD, focusing how to manipulate salinity levels in grapevines by altering irrigation techniques.
In 2012, Kerry resigned from Accolade to return to the family cattle and sheep farm at Bool Lagoon where she was able to focus on completing her PhD. During this time she accepted some part time work at Treasury Wine Estates, Coonawarra as well as the AWRI to helpnrun Research to Practice workshops across Australia. 2016 saw the completion of her PhD which enabled her to have more time to commence re-chairing the Technical Sub-Committee of the LSCGWC (she had previously chaired in the mid to late 2000’s). It also allowed her to become a board member of the SENRM and take on a more permanent part-time role with TWE under the guidance of Ben Harris as part of the Technical team that services all the company vineyards.