An exciting new partnership between the Wine Islands Growers Association (WIGA) and Dr. John Volpe from UVIC has been formed to conduct cutting edge research on the production of wine across Vancouver Island. The project has recently been awarded funding from the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia (IAF) and is the first initiative of its kind looking into the molecular properties of grapes.
Great wine starts with great grapes. An exceptional wine is achieved if grapes are harvested when the molecules responsible for aroma and flavor are at their peak. This brief window is called “physiological ripeness” and there is currently no way to directly measure it. Instead growers measure “sugar ripeness,” a process that requires growers to make an educated guess as to when the peak time is to harvest their crop.
Dr. Volpe’s research is aimed at finding appropriate scientific methods for growers to maximize their grape quality. He will be testing an engineered clay that can potentially increase the physiological ripeness of wine grapes and will be identifying markers to pin point peak physiological ripeness. Dr. Volpe will be conducting this research at a number of our local Cowichan wineries over the next few years.