Kerry Wilkinson

Associate Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide ASVO Member since 31/08/2005 Journal Advisory Committee Deputy Editor

As an Associate Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide, I have the privilege of working as both a wine educator and a wine researcher.

What attracted you to your current role?

I teach into the University’s Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology and Masters of Wine Business programs – introducing students to the principles and practices of grape and wine production, and wine sensory evaluation. I also led the development of Wine101x – an award-winning Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC) offered worldwide via edX. Through my teaching, I get to share my passion and enthusiasm for wine and wine research with my students.

Tell us about an interesting finding in your current or past research.

My primary research interests aim to support the long-term economic viability of the wine industry, by addressing challenges associated with: climate change, e.g. the impact of grapevine exposure to bushfire smoke; increasing production costs, e.g. the improved utility of oak wood for wine maturation; and a continually evolving consumer base, e.g. consumer preferences for different wine styles. However, I am also involved in food-related research, including a recent project that investigated consumer acceptance of insects as food! Insects are surprisingly nutritious and offer lots of environmental benefits relative to farming of traditional livestock, but less surprisingly, most of us aren’t keen on eating them. Our concerns about their appearance and taste tend to put us off, however, research suggests we might be more willing to eat insects if they were incorporated into familiar foods, such as bread and pasta – paired with the right glass of wine, of course!

What inspires you?

There are lots of things that inspire me, both professionally and personally. I’m inspired by problems – and how I might use my skills and knowledge to solve them – but I also find people inspiring – from my family and friends, colleagues and students… to people I encounter randomly – creative people in particular!

What / Whom do you look up to the most and why?

Throughout my career I’ve received valuable advice from a number of colleagues and mentors. There’s no one piece of advice that stands out as being ‘the best’ – although I routinely try to remember to ‘Ask for what you want’. I would strongly encourage students interested in a career in wine science to ‘Absolutely go for it!’. Wine science comprises so many complementary disciplines – e.g. plant physiology, viticulture, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, chemistry, sensory and engineering – there’s something for everyone and the skills and expertise gained through wine related research are readily transferable to other industries/fields.

Outside of your work, tell us some interesting facts about yourself

I live on a 4 acre property in the Adelaide Hills, so outside of work, I enjoy tending to chooks and ducks, my veggie garden, and the orchard that I’m currently attempting to establish! My partner and I celebrated the arrival of Cooper Jack in May last year, so we also spend lots of time toddler-wrangling! And I still ‘take the diamond’ to play softball during the summer months!

How long have you been a member of ASVO and why would you recommend ASVO to your colleagues?

I joined the ASVO in 2005, primarily to network with viticulturists, winemakers and fellow wine researchers. I’ve since presented at and attended several ASVO seminars, but my role as Deputy Editor of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research will be my most significant contribution to the ASVO. I’m also a member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV), the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) – i.e. organisations that connect me with people who share my interests in wine, chemistry, research and education.