Key players from Lincoln University’s vineyard and winery raised their glasses to half a century of growth at a recent double anniversary symposium.
The celebration, which marked 50 years in operation for the on-campus vineyard and 25 years for the winery, began with a look back at the origins of grape-growing and winking at the university.
Several speakers, including former Lincoln wine tutor and grape grower Graeme Steans, referred to pioneer wine researcher Professor David Jackson’s immense contribution to Lincoln’s viticulture and oenology programmes, and to the industry at large.
Before the 1970s, there were no vineyards in Canterbury and only a small number existed elsewhere in the South Island, but the Lincoln professor’s research proved that wine could be produced in cool southern climates.
His work at the university led to the development of the region’s multimillion-dollar wine industry, even though he had been told as a young student that the region was too cold to grow grapes.
Professor Jackson’s research forms the basis of Lincoln’s viticulture and oenology backstory, with the vineyard and winery both providing phenomenal opportunities for generations of students to perfect their craft before taking their skills into the marketplace.
His work also led to Lincoln establishing the first tertiary-level cool climate wine production programme in the English-speaking world.
After a morning of reflecting on the history of the revolutionary grape-growing and winemaking activities at the university, the group spent the afternoon looking ahead to the industry’s future.
Lincoln academics from a range of departments spoke about their research in areas as diverse as soil science, vine health, fire risk as it pertains to grape-growing, resilience winemaking and practising viticulture and oenology in the face of climate change.
The symposium continued into the late afternoon, with ex-Lincoln students and recent graduates discussing their journeys as experts in the industry and showcasing the many opportunities available for qualified professionals.
Wine writer, judge and researcher Dr Jo Burzynska, a frequent guest lecturer at Lincoln, led the group through a sensory wine tasting experience, which sparked plenty of fruitful discussions.
The event concluded with a South American style pit-fire meal at the David Jackson vineyard on campus.
Source: Lincoln University