Grad student receives international grape and wine society’s top scholarship

A combination of leading research on an emerging Ontario wine style, academic excellence and involvement in the local wine industry has yielded a Brock University PhD student top honours at a recent industry conference.

The American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) named Jennifer Kelly the 2018 recipient of ASEV Presidents’ Award for Scholarship in Enology, the highest award for a student studying in her field. The international organization is a consortium of researchers, students, professionals and suppliers looking to advance the grape and wine industry around the world.

“I hold ASEV in high regard, so for the committee to select me is extremely humbling,” Kelly said. “They are the gold standard for information in both the oenology and viticulture sector.”

Working under the supervision of Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute Director Debbie Inglis and CCOVI Researcher Gary Pickering, Kelly is examining how yeast choice impacts wine quality and consumer preference in appassimento-style wine made in Ontario.

The $16,000 award also included attending the organization’s annual conference and having the opportunity to meet and address the board in Monterey, California from June 18 to 21.

Kristen Barnhisel, Chair of ASEV’s scholarship committee and winemaker at J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines in San Jose, Calif., said it’s only the top level of students who apply for the Presidents’ Award and it’s always a thin margin that separates the candidates.

“We’re looking for the next generation of leaders in the industry and hopefully future ASEV board members,” Barnhisel said. “What set Jennifer apart was how articulate she was and her ability to describe her research.”

At the conference, ASEV also announced 35 traditional scholarships. Brock MSc students Andrea Barker and Briann Dorin were acknowledged along with students from 18 other schools including Cornell University, Texas A&M University, University of California and the University of British Columbia.

“For Brock to have three graduate students recognized by ASEV in the same year is outstanding,” Inglis said. “It speaks to the student’s stellar academic achievements, high-quality research and community involvement that has positioned these students to be future leaders in our industry.”

Barker, who is co-supervised by Inglis and CCOVI Senior Scientist Jim Willwerth, received a scholarship valued at more than $3,900. Her research looks at identifying the most suitable clones and rootstocks for Ontario grape growers by examining the vineyard performance, fruit quality and winemaking potential for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling grapes.

Dorin received a $2,500 scholarship.  Her research looks at the effectiveness of remote sensing technologies in detecting vineyard variation in Riesling vineyards, which can lead to healthier and more uniform vineyards.

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