Wine is a universal language with history, geography, science, culture, and politics in each bottle. It’s an icebreaker, a dealmaker, and a way to travel the globe from your armchair. Since ancient Greek and Roman times, wine has been a part of almost every culture.
Three years ago the UBC Wine Research Centre celebrated its 10th anniversary. With support from partners such as the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the BC Knowledge Development Fund, and Western Economic Diversification, the Centre has established one of the most modern and best-equipped viticulture and oenology research facilities in the world. It has attracted leading researchers and graduate students globally, along with more than $17 million in research funding over the decade.
A key focus of the Centre has been to improve wine quality through research in the structure and function of wine yeasts, which are fundamental to the fermenting of grapes and producing the best wine. Researchers have successfully removed potentially harmful compounds in the fermentation process while improving flavour. Along with this work has been research into grapevine biology at the molecular and biochemical levels to produce the best grapes.
To better understand the aging qualities of good wine, the Centre established the UBC Wine Library which houses approximately 22,000 bottles of wine, donated by wineries and wine connoisseurs with a keen interest in advancing a deeper understanding of the characteristics and composition of excellent wines. By studying the characteristics of the world’s best wines, researchers at the Centre can apply this knowledge to improve the longevity and quality of local BC wines.
The Centre is uniquely positioned to draw on its research strength, expertise, and excellent facilities to take the production of outstanding wines in BC to the next level. By creating, promoting, and applying new knowledge on wine yeasts, grape growing, and the qualities of fine wines, the Centre is able to help the BC and global wine industries flourish and thrive.
Our challenge in doing this is to retain and continue to attract the very best wine researchers from around the world. We have the facilities, we have the projects, and we have the fundamental scientific expertise. What we need now is significant financial support to drive the research agenda over the next ten years.
Government support for the cutting-edge research done in the Centre helped us start. Now is the time for wine lovers everywhere to partner with other individuals, industries, and foundations to push the work of the Centre to the next level.
Together, we can raise our glasses and put the UBC Wine Research Centre on the map as an international centre of excellence.