NMIT viticulture tutor wins prestigious American award

NMIT viticulture tutor wins prestigious American award

A research paper on how soil temperature affects grapevine growth has earned NMIT viticulture tutor Dr Stewart Field a prestigious award from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture.

Dr Field, and co- authors Jason P. Smith and Bruno P. Holzapfel of Charles Sturt University in Australia, and Erin N. Morrison and R.J. Neil Emery of Trent University in Canada, looked into environmental effects on grapevines and the ‘physiological regulation of acclimation’.

“Basically, it involved thinking about climate change issues we might have to deal with—and the ways we can manage them above vine and below ground.”

“In the NMIT Marlborough vineyard we are doing ground cover trials using mussel shell mulch and weed mat and then measuring the temperatures, but it’s too early to assess the results yet.”

“However, future climate change impacts viticulture industries around the world and everyone is trying to grapple with how it will affect wine quality,” he says.

Dr Field’s research concluded that soil temperature significantly affects grapevine growth.

“Although it was an academic paper it may help viticulturists think about future strategies and lead on to how things might work in the vineyard.”

Dr Field was surprised to receive the award as he says it usually goes to some of the big names in world research rather than a ‘group of guys from New Zealand, Australia and Canada’.

He says it is recognition of the quality research going on in New Zealand.

The paper, Soil Temperature Prior to Veraison Alters Grapevine Carbon Partitioning, Xylem Sap Hormones, and Fruit Set was chosen as the best viticulture paper for 2020 following an evaluation of all research papers published in Volume 71 (2020) of the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture.

Each year, the ASEV Best Paper Awards Committee(external link) evaluates all manuscripts published during the previous year and selects one paper in viticulture and one in enology that reflect outstanding research and a substantial contribution to the field.

The society’s committee considered Dr Field’s paper ‘outstanding in its content’.

The authors receive a plaque and a monetary award and will present their paper during the 2021 Virtual ASEV National Conference, June 21-24 in in Monterey, California, USA.

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