Viticulture and wine research

Our viticulture and wine research covers areas from grape physiology and crop protection to topics of microbiology and microbial fermentation.

Wine science students

Plant & Food Research is the primary research provider to the Marlborough Wine Research Centre in Blenheim. Our wine grape research covers vine and berry physiology, environmental and crop protection of grape production, and the relationships between viticulture and wine qualities, including a substantial component of sensory science and metabolomics.

The University has strong expertise in the microbiology of winemaking. We specialize in describing the ecology and population biology of microbes naturally associated with vines and wine in New Zealand, and understanding and harnessing their properties. We examine, test and understand the population biology of microbial fermentation, and the interactions between different microbes in this niche.

Our researchers

University of Auckland staff

Associate Professor David Barker

  • Wine science

Dr Rebecca Deed

  • Wine yeast fermentation
  • Sensory science of wine

Professor Mat Goddard

  • Ecology, especially microbial
  • Evolution
  • Wine science
  • Microbial genetics

Associate Professor Paul Kilmartin

  • Wine maturation processes
  • Harvesting effects on aroma
  • Sensor systems for beverage antioxidants

Dr Sarah Knight

  • Ecology and evolution
  • Population genetics
  • Molecular ecology
  • Phylogenetics

Plant & Food Research staff

Dr Adam Friend


  • Winter chilling in Ribes
  • Bud break of Vitis and Actinidia
  • Yield development in perennial fruit crops
  • Rootstocks for Vitis, Pyrus & Actinidia

Dr Damian Martin


  • Winemaking
  • Grapevine eco-physiology