Mention trunk fungi or bunch rot to Dion Mundy and you’re likely to start an animated discussion.
With over 15 years experience in viticulture research, Dion is a valuable asset to Viticulture and Winemaking students. “The nice thing about tutoring is that I can take the different levels of information that students already have and share that with the other students. I also make sure they’ve got the theoretical base to be critical thinkers and ask how chemicals work, and what side effects they might have, so it’s a process where I’m helping to upskill the industry.”
Dion grew up in the wine industry, and worked on the family vineyard in Canterbury while he completed his Bachelor and then Master of Science with Honours. Dion is a skilled researcher and has published many scientific papers on grapevine diseases. “We are catering for students who may be working in the industry around New Zealand and who want to get that formal qualification. We have fantastic online forums where the students talk about what they’re actually experiencing in the vineyard.” Dion says his former NMIT students have also proved very useful.“They’ll often get in touch and say things like ‘ You know how you talked about downy mildew? Well we’ve got some this year in Gisborne’ – that’s all field research I can use.”
He’s proud that the grapevine disease information he shares with his NMIT students is the most up-to-date information available in the country.
Dion hopes his personal enthusiasm for the wine industry rubs off on his students. “I can’t help my passion coming through in my teaching and they seem to respond to it.”