The award includes a $19,000 grant to investigate the effectiveness of pre-fermentative cold maceration on a number of red wine varieties, including some from the Swan Valley, in the 2013 vintage.
Terry Hill, the department’s executive director (irrigated agriculture) said Mr Fennessy’s research over the next 12 months would target popular varieties.
‘Pre-fermentative cold maceration, commonly termed ‘cold soak’, is practised regularly in making premium red wines but we have little understanding of the relation and merit of this technique based on specific climates and varieties,’ Mr Hill said.
Mr Fennessy said Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot grapes from the warm climate in the Swan Valley and the cooler Great Southern were being processed at the department’s small lot winemaking laboratory at Bunbury.
‘After bottling, chemical analysis will be complemented by a sensory panel of local winemakers to assess and compare the wines and identify differences between the treatments,’ he said. ‘The aim is to provide winemakers with information on the merit of this technique .’
The report will be completed early in 2014.