Richard has been an active member of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology, including three years as President (1998-2001), 10 years as Chairperson of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research Committee of Management (1998-2008) and being a major contributor, as a member of the Program Planning Committee, to the AWITC programs for 2007, 2010 and 2013. He was active over an extended period, in the development and management of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research (AJGWR) including as its chair during a period of significant change in its publication arrangements, whereby the Journal was published with Wiley International.
He has demonstrated ongoing commitment to industry development notably through his membership and roles on the AWITC program and planning committees and of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia and has particularly influenced industry’s awareness of vine health issues and the potential of GIS, remote sensing and precision viticulture. Richard served for an extended period as a committee member of the National Grapevine Biosecurity Committee and its predecessor the National Vine Health Steering Committee, making substantial contributions to interstate quarantine arrangements and protocols for plant material exchange.
After well over 30 years’ experience in viticulture, across corporate, government and private enterprise roles, Dr Richard Hamilton began his viticulture consultancy, Hamilton Viticulture, in 2010. Although based in South Australia, the business has provided advice across most grapegrowing regions in Australia. Before commencing Hamilton Viticulture, Richard was National Viticulturist for Southcorp Wines and Foster’s Group Limited for more than 12 years, focusing on the strategic application of technical viticulture to optimise grape and wine production to specification. Specialist areas of interest included vine health, plant propagation and the application of spatial technologies.
During this time, Richard also chaired the Phylloxera Technical Reference Group, developing the National Phylloxera Management Protocols for the National Vine Health Steering Committee (NVHSC) and was a member of all the NVHSC technical reference groups (Grapevine Yellows, Grapevine Leaf Rust and Variety Collection and Propagation). Richard graduated from Adelaide University with a PhD in Reproductive Biochemistry and Physiology in 1975.
He commenced his career in the wine industry after completing a Graduate Diploma in Wine from Roseworthy in 1980. In 1981, Richard completed a vintage for Penfolds, followed by a vintage at Hardy’s Padthaway with Geoff Weaver in 1982. Between 1983 and 1984 Richard worked for the Western Australian Department of Agriculture under Dr Tony Devitt, based in Margaret River. In 1985-86, he spent two years working for Wynn’s in Padthaway as their Vineyard Manager. Following this, he accepted a role with the South Australian Government as the Station Manager at the Barossa Viticultural Research Station in Nuriootpa.
Between 1988 and 1998 Richard worked for South Australian Government (PIRSA/SARDI) as Senior Research Officer, Plant Improvement / Virology (1998-1994); as Program Manager, Grapes (1994-1995); and as Principal Consultant, Grapes, Citrus and Plant Health (1995-1998). In 1998, Richard was appointed to the role of National Viticulturist with Treasury Wine Estates (Previously Foster’s Group Limited and Southcorp) which he held until 2010.
Since 2010 Richard has been the Principal Consultant Viticulturist at Hamilton Viticulture based in the Adelaide Hills.
- Chairman, National Phylloxera and Vine Health Technical Reference Group 1998-2001
- Chairperson, Phylloxera Technical Reference Group (2001-2010)
- National Vine Health Steering Committee (2001-2010)
- Grapevine Yellows Technical Reference Group (2001-2005)
- Variety Collection and Propagation Technical Reference Group (2005-2008)
- Scientific Advisory Panel for Grapevine Leaf Rust (2004-2007)
- Ministers appointment (Viticultural Research) Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of SA, (1995-98)
- Chairperson, Wine Grape Outlook Conference, (1995)
- Chairperson, Indicative Prices Process, (1994 1996)
- Tri State working group "Coordinating quarantine strategies for phylloxera", (1993-95)
- Joint leader of the Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture's Australian Grapevine Yellows project