Respect the past, lead the present, secure the futureThe day began with an energetic presentation from Prof. Sakkie Pretorius, from Macquarie University, Australia, entitled, ‘What can Synthetic Biology do for the wine industry?’ His own words, ‘Respect the past, lead the present, secure the future,’ was an echoing theme throughout the day – and an important yet sensitive way to bring new and exciting insights into an industry full of tradition.
The morning and afternoon programs were built around sessions where the PhD students introduced the audience to their specific projects. The morning’s projects focused on the biodiversity of the vine ecosystem, but covered themes as varied as soil microbes and plant health to using archaeological grape material to understand grape lice. The students that presented during the afternoon turned their attention to the function of microorganisms in wine and bio-informatic methods. The student sessions were supported by a host of exciting presentations from industry experts, ranging from how microbes drive sustainability in the wine industry to discovering the ancient origins of winemaking through genomics.