Cutting-edge CCOVI research attracts international interns

Brock’s global reputation for world-class wine research is attracting international researchers to its Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI).

Most recently, CCOVI welcomed four summer internship students from top academic institutions in France.

Among them is University of Bordeaux master’s student Yuchan Wang, who was drawn to Brock by the leading-edge Icewine research being conducted in the lab of CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis.

With the goal of continuing her studies at the PhD level and returning to teach in China, Wang said learning the intricacies of producing this delicacy was attractive.

“Icewine is very popular in China,” she said. “Brock was the place I could learn more about the production and making of it.”

Joining Wang for the summer internships are fourth-year food-science and engineering students Matthieu Bodin, Laura Poli and Noëlle Bourdin from AgroSup Dijon, the French national institute for food and agronomic sciences.

CCOVI researcher Andrew Reynolds said international interns have been working at the institute since 1999, playing an important role in CCOVI’s research while developing transferable skills they can take back to their own wine regions.

“These students come in with lots of talent and experience in labs and vineyards,” Reynolds said. “With limited training they can play a huge role in helping us process data and move our research projects forward.”

With an interest in working in viticulture, Bodin, who is working with CCOVI scientist Belinda Kemp, was looking for experience in a cool climate wine region.

“With climate change, northern countries are the vineyards of the future,” Bodin said. “I hope to apply the learnings and techniques from here when I go home.”

While at Brock, he is working on CCOVI’s leaf removal trials, looking into the impact of leaf removal on tannins in both still and sparkling Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc wine as part of CCOVI’s prominent sparkling wine research program.

Poli and Bourdin are working under the supervision of Reynolds and are both hoping to work in oenology after graduation. They are using UAVs and remote sensing to map vineyard variability in vines.

The work can be taken back and applied to vineyards in France, Poli said.

“Researchers in Dijon are using similar technology,” she said. “Precision agriculture could be a great help for growers.”  

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