CCOVI’s research — and industry impact — highlighted at Ontario convention

Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) plays a vital role in not only conducting industry-leading research, but also getting it into the hands of those who need it most: producers and farmers.

As part of the CCOVI’s commitment to education and outreach, Brock scientists, instructors, alumni and students were at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention this week to ensure the best-in-class research is accessible to advance the grape and wine industry in the province and beyond.

Featured in the two-day event’s lecture seminar series was Sudarsana Poojari, CCOVI Principal Scientist in Grapevine Virology, who presented his latest research into the “Advances in Understanding Grapevine Pinot gris and Grapevine Red Blotch Viruses” for grape growers and winemakers alike.

Sudarsana Poojari speaks from behind a laptop with a projector highlighting the key points of the talk he is giving. The foreground has the back of the heads of at least 10 individuals.

Sudarsana Poojari, Principal Scientist in Grapevine Virology with Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, presents his research to a packed audience at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, held Feb. 21 and 22 in Niagara Falls.

With the local Niagara region celebrated internationally for its viticulture and wine production, CCOVI Oenology Scientist Jennifer Kelly chaired the convention’s oenology session.

Beyond scientists and program instructors, CCOVI’s research and direct application was well-represented with both alumni and students contributing to the community and knowledge outreach by sharing the latest research and experiences with horticultural producers, government, industry associations and other event attendees.

Brock Applied Grape and Wine Science (formerly OEVI) alumnus Shiraz Mottiar (BSc ’00), of the Malivore Wine Company, presented a lecture on “A Sustainable Winegrower’s Dilemma,” touching on issues such as the impact of climate change to cost management.

The convention also featured a fruit and vegetable research display and student poster competition, which saw Brock and CCOVI students share their research findings with attendees.

  • Neuroscience undergraduate student Lucy Teminski, alongside Poojari, shared research on the deployment of a family of DNA sequences (Cas13a) as a powerful diagnostic tool to detect grapevine leafroll, which impacts grapevines and their producers.
  • Gene Biotechnology master’s student Nadine Ott-Peon, alongside CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis, shared research into Aldehyde Dehydrogenase enzyme genes — responsible for an increase in acetic acid production — in Icewine fermentation as a response to hyperosmotic stress.
  • Cell and Molecular Biology master’s student Daniel Phillipow, alongside Kelly and Inglis, discussed research on the isolation of a local yeast strain to mitigate the negative effects of Botrytis — a fungi group that causes plant diseases such noble rot in grapes — as well as sour rot in white wine production.

Phillipow earned second place in the competition among 20 entries for his research, that revealed the role of a localized yeast strain and how that strain performed far better results than the application of commercially available yeasts in mitigating the negative impacts of the diseases.

Jennifer Kelly stands behind a podium while a projector screen invites questions from the audience, which is partially shown in the foreground.

Jennifer Kelly, Scientist in Oenology with Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, co-chairs a seminar on oenology at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention.

From analytical services and virus testing to the Preharvest Monitoring Program and workshops and symposiums for grape and wine producers in Ontario and across Canada, Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute is the forefront of cool climate grape and wine production, connecting the community to industry-led research.

To learn more about CCOVI’s ongoing research, programs for cool climate grape and wine producers or educational opportunities for full-time students or professional and continuing studies, visit

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