Media Release

Cellar-brating Australian wine R&D

7 March 2014

Every dollar invested in research to improve the performance of yeasts in wine generates $7.40 back in returns to wine makers, according to an independent assessment commissioned by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC).

The independent report conducted a cost-benefit analysis of GWRDC's research effort to develop new yeast strains and new techniques to manage yeasts during fermentation. Yeasts play an essential role in wine production that goes way beyond alcoholic fermentation – it helps give wine its character, aroma, flavour and mouthfeel.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said research and development (R&D) in the rural sector had a long history of delivering impressive returns.

"It is important to measure the outcomes of R&D investment to ensure precious dollars benefit levy payers and the Australian community through tangible results that increase productivity and, in turn profitability," Minister Joyce said.

"This cost-benefit analysis of seven GWRDC funded projects shows the crucial role well targeted R&D can deliver for our rural industries.

"These seven projects cost about $15 million over seven years and are expected to deliver a net value of more than $475 million in the next 30 years to those who adopt the technologies."

The cost benefit analysis looked at seven projects funded by the GWRDC including some that were breeding new yeast strains to allow winemakers to enhance natural fruity or savoury flavours in their wines and others to better manage challenging ferments.

The key areas of R&D investment for GWRDC include grapevine and yeast breeding, biosecurity, vineyard profitability, process efficiency and consumer insights.

"Each year, Australian grape growers and winemakers pay levies that are matched by the government and then invested by the GWRDC in research, development and extension," Minister Joyce said.

"This independent report shows their effort is well targeted and has the potential to make a real difference when adopted by wine makers."

From 1 July R&D functions along with marketing and export functions will be delivered by the new Australian Grape and Wine Authority. Minister Joyce, said the new Authority will be tasked to continue the excellent work of its predecessors and in so doing create real returns to the farmgate and cellar door.

"This government is committed to boosting Australia's R&D investment in rural research and development corporations (RDCs) by $100 million so our primary producers can continue to generate quality produce and products – as well as expand and increase their productivity and profitability," Minister Joyce said.

"The additional $100 million investment will start from 2014-15 and is on top of around $250 million the government already provides each year to Australia's 15 rural research and development corporations through matched funding."

For more information on the work of the GWRDC visit