|Wendy Cameron, PhD student with University of Melbourne
What attracted you to your current role
My major current role now is as a full time PhD student with University of Melbourne. I had often flirted with the idea of doing some research within the wine industry and having recently left my long term winemaking job when we decided to move farms, and with the kids largely off our hands, now seemed like the perfect time. I was particularly interested in climate change and the effects on grapes and the work done by Professor Snow Barlow and his teams and am lucky enough to now be doing my thesis with Snow as one of my supervisors, on that very topic.
Tell us about an interesting finding in your current or past research.
It is still early days with my research but I am seeing some quite interesting differences in the way different varieties are responding to the warming seasons.
What inspires you?
People who do unexpected and challenging things and who push the boundaries and limits – like the 82 year old who just finished his PhD in Spanish or my son who did a marathon on crutches to raise money for sarcoma cancer research.
Outside of your work, tell us some interesting facts about yourself
I live on a large, fine wool, sheep farm and love working with my sheepdog Suzi mustering the sheep. I’ve got my AMusA in Flute and I was once in a swimming squad with Shane Gould – my sporting hero – and did manage a bronze medal in the NSW state championships for 100m butterfly.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
My Dad was a winemaker and he basically used to say to “be gentle, interfere as little as possible and let the grapes do the talking”.
What advice or recommendation do you have for student interested in a career in wine science?
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a career in wine science. It’s a really great industry, full of opportunities and terrific, interesting and down to earth people. The industry is so diverse in terms of wine styles, varieties, regions and winemaking philosophies that one can find a home in it almost anywhere, and vineyards are always in beautiful rural settings. All my travel has been to wine regions and it never feels like work and at the end of the day I can enjoy a glass of wine. And to practical matters, particularly for a rural based job, the salary has been very attractive as well.
How long have you been a member of ASVO and why would you recommend ASVO to your colleagues?
I’ve been a member of ASVO for around 25 years and find it’s a really great way to get involved with the industry and keep up to date. The ASVO seminars especially have been terrific over the years – and fantastic value, especially at the discounted member price. I also was an ASVO Board member for a few years which was a great opportunity, where I got to know lots of people and broaden my experience within the industry – and it looks pretty good on the CV as well! The more members, the better the organisation and the more diverse the ideas, so I would strongly recommend that people get involved.