2018 Presenters profiles




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Fiona Constable
Dr. Fiona Constable (BSc Hons, LTU; PhD, UA) is the Senior Plant Virologist in the Plant Microbiology Group and for Crop Health Services diagnostic service of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), Victoria. Dr. Constable has considerable experience in the epidemiology of virus, viroids and phytoplasma associated diseases and development of rapid and reliable molecular diagnostic tests for these pathogens in various crops, including virus and viroid testing of true solanaceous and cucurbit seed
Vaughn Bell
The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research limited, Havelock North, New Zealand.Vaughn Bell is a Senior Scientist with The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited in Hawke’s Bay. Since 2004, Vaughn’s primary research focus has been on mealybugs, and in particular their biology, ecology, and role as vectors of grapevine leafroll virus.
Jim Pekin
Jim is the CEO of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC), the national industry development organisation for the banana industry. In his six years as CEO, he has led the industry responses to both the Banana Freckle incursion in the Northern Territory and to the Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) incursion in Queensland. The Freckle response is in its final phase after eradicating the pathogen by removing all banana trees from Greater Darwin and other areas. The TR4 fungal pathogen is not eradicable. ABGC is working with Biosecurity Queensland and everyone in north Queensland to contain TR4 so as to buy time until research solutions are developed. ABGC has demonstrated what can be achieved in responding to exotic disease outbreaks. Jim was formerly the Director of Plant Industries in the then Qld DPI.
Barbara Hall
SARDI Barbara Hall is a plant pathologist with over 35 years experience in diseases of Horticultural crops, and currently works as a Senior Research Scientist within the Horticulture Pathology Unit of the South Australian Research and Development Institute.   Barbara manages the Horticultural diagnostic service and the Quarantine unit within SARDI and coordinates and supervises research projects undertaken within the unit.  Her current areas of expertise/interest in Viticulture include diagnostics; management and control of fungal diseases; fungicide resistance; and extending information on disease management to growers.  She has extensive experience in the management of powdery mildew, downy mildew and Botrytis bunch rot.
Paul Petrie

Paul Petrie holds the position of Viticultural Scientist, which is a joint role shared between SARDI and the AWRI. Paul is an integral part of the AWRI’s Industry Development and Support team where he develops content for and presents at AWRI roadshows as well as fielding viticultural questions on the AWRI’s helpdesk. At SARDI Paul is managing research projects investigating the effects winter drought on vine performance, Shiraz terroir and the development of a smart phone app to measure vine water status. Prior to starting in his current position Paul was the National Viticulturist at Treasury Wine Estates. He was responsible for overseeing a range of technical programs including crop forecasting, clone and rootstock selection, and assessing the potential impact of climate change and how it can be mitigated. Paul grew up helping his parents establish a vineyard in Canterbury, New Zealand and before moving to Australia he completed a PhD on Canopy Management at Lincoln University.BAppSc, PGradDip (NRM), BEd, GradDip (Viticulture), PCert (Arb), CPAg, GAICD, ARLF
Liz Riley
Vitbit Pty Ltd
Liz is an independent viticultural consultant based in the Hunter Valley. She owns and operates Vitibit Pty Ltd and has been consulting to small, medium and large vineyards in the region for the last 8 years. Previously she worked for Southcorp Wines in both national and regional viticultural roles, for 7 years.Her area of expertise is pests and disease management and agrochemicals. She also has an interest in the emerging varietals such as the Rhone, Italian and Spanish varieties and their suitability to the warmer regions such as the Hunter.
Mary Retallack
Retallack ViticultureMary is a third generation viticulturist, who has worked in a wide range of practical, extension and consultancy roles in the wine sector over the past two decades and is Managing Director of Retallack Viticulture, which offers a broad range of viticultural consulting services throughout Australia.Mary has tertiary qualifications in conservation and park management, natural resource management, education, arbitration and viticulture and is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide studying the use of native insectary plants to boost predatory arthropod populations in vineyards.Mary is a Director of Wine Australia, member of the Adelaide University Wine Alumni Steering Group, editorial panel member of The Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker Journal and advisory board member of ‘Women of the Vine’ Global Symposium. She is a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, past participant of the Future Leaders Program and a Len Evans Tutorial Scholar.
Mary was the RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year in 2012, included in 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness in 2014 and was inducted into the Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
Andrew Hewitt
University of QueenslandDr Andrew Hewitt serves under a joint appointment as a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Queensland, Australia and a Full Professor (Research) at The University of Nebraska, USA, as well as an Adjunct Professorship at Lincoln University, New Zealand. His research is focused on application optimization and the management and modeling of chemical exposure to humans and the environment from agrichemical use in row, tree and vine crops as well as migrant pest and vector control such as locusts and mosquitoes. More recently he returned to UQ and The University of Nebraska to conduct research and modeling into spray drift management including developing new drift reduction technology schemes for the USA and Australia. His ongoing research and modeling in this area with other colleagues and PhD students in both countries is supporting the risk assessment and management needs of both government and industry in several countries
Ollie Powrie
Villa Maria Estate LtdOllie Powrie joined Villa Maria Estate as the Company Viticulturist in 2007. He oversees fruit supply from over 2000 hectares of producing vineyards in Marlborough, Nelson, Waipara, Martinborough, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Auckland, and for every new vintage there is a lot to organise.Based in the Hawkes Bay, Ollie heads a team of Regional Viticulturists, Vineyard Managers and Grower Liaison Officers throughout the country. He believes he is lucky to work alongside such a passionate, highly qualified group of viticulturists and winemakers. It is a dynamic role which sees him often visiting several wine regions in a week. “When I first started with Villa Maria, I was astonished at the diversity and quality of vineyard sites both owned and leased by the company. Now, 10 vintages on, I know the vineyards well and still feel excited every day I visit them”.Ollie graduated first with a BSc in Ecology in 1996 and later with a Bachelor of Viticulture from E.I.T. in 2002. He began his career managing  40 hectares of established vineyards and developing 20 hectares of bare land, both in the Gimblett Gravels region: “To be part of the development of the Gimblett Gravels relatively early on in its establishment was a fantastic opportunity,” explains Ollie. “Just a few decades ago this area was merely the stony remnants of the old riverbed and now it is one of the most exciting viticultural areas in New Zealand. The grapes grown in the Gimblett Gravels are producing outstanding wine of world class calibre and it’s great to feel I’ve played a part in that.”In 2003 Ollie decided to broaden his skills and experience by accepting a position with a produce in the Rhone Valley, France.  The role was multifaceted with responsibilities in both the winery and the vineyard. This opportunity saw Ollie gain a wide variety of experience in vineyards from the Languedoc to Chateauneuf du Pape. “I was completely immersed in the French way of life and work culture”. He worked in vineyards with 80 year old vines with no trellising or irrigation and replanted uneconomic vineyards using modern management techniques. It was a very interesting time and although the wine industry in France is highly regulated, he learnt a lot.“I now see viticulture through two lenses, based on my experiences with Villa Maria in New Zealand and my time in France”. Ollie is obsessed with wine quality and sees a hugely exciting time ahead for Villa Maria. He is passionate about growing grapes in the most sustainable way that enhances the land and local environment.  A big part of this is the movement towards organic vineyard management, enhancing the biodiversity of the vineyards and managing the vineyards to have less reliance on irrigation. “Watch this space” says Ollie.Ollie, his wife Rebecca and daughters Sophia and India, live in sunny Napier, Hawkes Bay.
Peter Godden
Peter graduated from Roseworthy College in 1991, and has worked as a winemaker in Australia, Italy and France. He has diverse experience as a wine educator, vineyard and brand owner, and is a former Vice President of the ASVO. Peter joined the AWRI in 1997 to manage Roadshows, the Helpdesk, and the Advanced Wine Assessment Course, and in his current role as Manager of Industry Engagement of Application, he is involved in industry-based winemaking trials.
Marcel Essling
Marcel Essling is a Senior Viticulturist at The Australian Wine Research Institute, and provides viticulture and technical advice to the Australian wine sector as well as coordinating activities associated with the provision of information related to agrochemicals. He holds a BAgSc in Viticulture from The University of Adelaide and a BBus from Victoria University of Technology.
Inca Pearce
Vinehealth Australia
Inca currently leads Vinehealth Australia. Inca has extensive experience in the wine industry having working for over 17 years for global wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard Winemakers in senior roles across the supply chain; from viticulture and winery operations, research and development, marketing, corporate social responsibility to corporate communications. The core focus of these roles was to drive new product development, improve process efficiencies and ensure brand integrity through innovative leadership, agility and connection with the consumer. It is with this strong industry perspective, customer focus and value ethos that Inca drives Vinehealth’s operations to ensure outstanding biosecurity outcomes for grape growers, winemakers and other key wine industry and government stakeholders.
Catherine Clarke
Grape phylloxera is a notorious pest of grape vines, Vitis spp. worldwide. In Australia, quarantine regulations are in place to restrict movement of potential “carriers” from infested areas. Carriers include vineyard personnel, grape products, grapevine material, machinery and equipment. Several strains of phylloxera have been detected in Australian Phylloxera Infested Zones and the strains have been shown to differ in their virulence characteristics, and response to chemical and heat disinfestation treatments. This study will highlight the significance of phylloxera genetic strains in the current management strategies. Latest findings on the relative sensitivity of genetically diverse phylloxera strains to chemical and heat disinfestation treatments will be presented
Andy Clarke
Yering Station
Chief Viticulturist since 2011, overseeing all of the Yering family of vines, Andy has developed a strong connection to the vines and is at the heart of the great fruit we produce. Along with his small yet enthusiastic team, he ensures constant communication and interaction with the winery, as the wines we make are a product of both environments working together in synergy.Andy’s knowledge of each micro climate of vines, effective canopy management techniques & connection to the land gives the winemaker the ability to produce the best possible wines.
Cath Kidman
Wynns Coonawarra Estate
Dr Cath Kidman has been a part of the Viticultural team at Wynns Coonawarra Estate since 2011.Her primary role is to implement the research and development directions for the company vineyards.
As a custodian of heritage vineyards in Coonawarra, understanding the complexities of the vineyard environment is a key focus of her research, with a particular attention around flowering and fruitset, yield, rootstocks, and water stress with respect to better understanding wine quality and vine longevity.
Cath is motivated by the challenges that the season, soil types, and varieties present and is humbled to be a part of a renowned and exciting viticultural and winemaking team that strives to maximize the quality potential of the vineyard and grow premium fruit that contribute to some of the world’s most exceptional wines.
Nick Dry
Nick studied viticulture at Adelaide University and after graduation in 2001 spent time with Pernod Ricard in the Riverland and then the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board working as the Rootstock Project Manager.  For the last 10 years he has managed the Yalumba Nursery and during this time has developed an intimate understanding of the processes related to vine propagation and vine improvement. Nick is passionate in his belief that ‘Quality begins in the nursery through the selection of the most appropriate variety, clone and rootstock and by using high quality planting material’.  Nick’s other passions are his three daughters, his wife Clare and dragging his aching body around the hockey field.
Gerhard Rossouw
National Wine and Grape Industry Centre, Charles Sturt University

Gerhard completed his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in viticulture at Stellenbosch University and subsequently worked in the wine industry for several years. Gerhard then completed his PhD studies at the NWGIC at Charles Sturt University in 2017 focussing on grapevine carbohydrate and nitrogen utilisation. After completing his studies, Gerhard was employed as a lecturer and researcher at CSU and recently joined the disease resistant variety project at CSIRO in Adelaide.
Brian McCornack
Kansas State University Insect Ecology, Ecosystem Services (native pollinators and natural enemies), Integrated Pest Management (sampling, bioeconomics), Remote Sensing and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Invasive Species, Web-Based Decision Support Systems, and Digital Delivery