2020 ASVO Viticulturist of the year – Dr Mark Krstic

Mark Krstic is the Managing Director of the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). Mark has more than 23 years of experience in viticulture research, R&D leadership and executive management. He holds undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Agricultural Science from the University of Tasmania and an MBA from Mt Eliza/Queensland University. Mark commenced his career in viticulture R&D at CSIRO, Merbein, where he conducted research on grapevine physiology, crop development and yield estimation. Since that time he has worked in key viticulture roles at the Victorian Government’s Department of Primary Industries, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (now Wine Australia) and the Australian Wine Research Institute, leading a range of R&D initiatives. Mark currently chairs the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference Inc., is a past President of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) and graduate of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Wine Industry Future Leaders Program (2010). He has played a key role in smoke taint research and emergency response since 2006 and recently co-authored a book on soil health Healthy soils for healthy vines (CSIRO Publishing) with Professor Bob White. He is extremely passionate about the grape and wine sector and the outcomes science can deliver.

“I’ve always been fascinated by all aspects of innovation in the viticulture and how that can influence what we are able to taste in the glass. I am honoured to be nominated by my peers as an ASVO viticulturist of the year finalist” said Dr Krstic.

Dr Krstic's involvement in the leadership and management of smoke taint is an example of an innovative area or practice where he has been at the forefront of efforts supporting the industry. Nationally since 2003, smoke taint has cost the Australian wine industry more than $600M in lost revenue. Dr Krstic and the team at the AWRI have been very much front and centre in responding to these smoke taint industry emergencies. This has been particularly evident over the past five years with major fires in 2015, 2019 and 2020. Dr Krstic has been intimately involved in smoke taint research, development and extension since 2006, and has authored a number of research reports, reviews and fact sheets on this topic. Dr Krstic has been involved in delivering extension and outreach activities and ensuring that the best practice information is quickly making it out to the Australian wine sector. Dr Krstic has also driven improved engagement with public land management agencies that conduct controlled burns and broadacre famers that undertake stubble burns at the interfaces with grape production. This has made these agencies and individuals more aware of the consequences of their activities and improved communication to ensure win-win outcomes.