NMIT student Xiuying (Ava) Liang has just completed a Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking and as was asked to present her degree research project findings to around 80 people (with another 50 watching online) at the Bragato Research Institute (BRI) winery open day.
Ava spoke about her experience and findings from trialling weed mat and mussel shell as an alternative to herbicide weed control in under vine cultivation. The fruit from the trial was made in to research wine and tested to determine if any of the treatments produced better wine outcomes.
NMIT viticulture lecturer Dr Stewart Field set up the vineyard trial in collaboration with BRI and once the vines were growing rapidly Ava took over monitoring progress, collecting the data and writing up the results.
Ava says Stewart helped her prepare for the presentation and gave her lots of advice.
“I was nervous beforehand, but I had practiced in front of him and he was very supportive,” she says, “plus people seemed really interested, they gave feedback and asked a lot of questions— at the end of the day it’s the quality of the product that’s important.”
Ava also acknowledges the support of BRI for setting up the trial and for providing the facilities to make the wine. She also paid tribute to her tutors and the opportunity the degree programme has given her to do research and to work in vineyards around the regions. In the future Ava hopes to continue her wine research with a master’s degree.
Currently Ava is contract crop monitoring to vineyards, and will work for Foley Family wines during vintage.