Media releases

  • Million dollar research program invests in grape and wine industry’s future

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00092 – 26 April 2016

    Canada’s $6.8 billion grape and wine industry faces several multifaceted challenges in order to sustain its economic impact and meet its growth potential.

    To address these challenges, Brock University researchers are leading a five-year, $1.42 million integrated research program to improve grapevine health, wine quality, market competitiveness and the sustainability of the Canadian industry.

    Project lead Debbie Inglis, Director of Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), says many of the challenges the industry faces are due to changing climate conditions that must be addressed by working closely with industry partners.

    “The outcomes of this research program will continue to open new doors for Canadian wine while also increasing Canada’s reputation as a global leader in cool climate oenology and viticulture,” says Inglis.

    CCOVI’s senior scientists Belinda Kemp and Jim Willwerth will be collaborating with Inglis on the program’s various projects which include identifying the best clone and rootstock combinations for Ontario’s climate and soil types, developing vineyard practices tailored to sparkling wine production, and managing tannins in Canadian red wines.

    Grape growers will be able to use the clone and rootstock results to help overcome climate change challenges and the project will also commercialize precise decision-making tools and real-time monitoring technologies for growers and winemakers.  

    To support this research, CCOVI received a $600,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), $345,000 in funding from Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc. and in-kind support from industry partners totaling $484,600.

    “By leveraging funding and support from both government and industry, we are able to address timely, industry-driven research questions that will help sustain the industry’s growth,” says Inglis.

    Industry partners contributing in-kind support to the project include Chateau des Charmes, Constellation Brands Canada, Huebel Grapes Estates, Schenck Farms and Greenhouses, Trius Winery at Hillebrand and Ziraldo Estate Wines.

    Supported Research Projects:
    The funding announced today will be used to support five interrelated research projects based out of CCOVI.
    •    Clone and rootstock combinations for the Canadian climate and terroir.
    •    Grapevine cold hardiness: biochemical and physiological responses and influence of clone, rootstock and environmental interactions.
    •    Cold hardiness predictive systems with automation to mitigate the impact of cold weather events on grapevines.
    •    Impact of leaf removal timing and severity on red and sparkling wine quality.
    •    TanninAlert: an online tannin management tool for Ontario winemakers.

    The impact from CCOVI’s research and activities goes beyond the grape industry. A recently released economic impact study found that in 2014-15 the institute contributed more than $91-million and the equivalent of 307 jobs to Ontario’s economy.

    To learn more about CCOVI’s impact on the grape and wine industry visit:

    For assistance arranging interviews:
    * Kaitlyn Little, Marketing and Communications Officer, Brock University,, 905-688-5550 x4471 or 289-241-9154

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock grad returning from Australia to become new Dean of Graduate Studies

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00091, 25 April 2016

    A Brock alumnus is coming a long way home to become the University’s new Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    Jens Coorssen will leave his position as Chair of Molecular Physiology in the School of Medicine at Australia’s Western Sydney University, and return to his native Niagara to take up the Brock position. The five-year term begins on July 1.

    Coorssen succeeds Michael Plyley, who will step down when his five-year term expires on June 30. Plyley came to Brock in 2001 from the University of Toronto. He has been Dean of Graduate Studies since 2011, and has spent most of his time at Brock helping to expand graduate activity at the University.

    Coorssen is an internationally known scientist whose career led to appointments in Germany, the U.S. and across Canada before he joined Western Sydney University in 2008. His research has spanned disciplines including cell physiology, electrophysiology, proteomics and lipidomics. The work has an impact in a wide range of health concerns, including injuries to the spinal cord and central nervous system, seizure disorders, memory/cognitive deficiencies and pre-term labour.

    No stranger to Brock, Coorssen earned his undergraduate (Honours BSc, ’86) and Master’s (MSc, ’88) here before earning his PhD at McMaster University in 1993. In 2012, he received a Brock University Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Coorssen said he and his family are “thrilled to be coming home.”

    “In particular, I am eager to return ‘home’ to Brock, my alma mater, that gave me a solid career grounding,” he said. “I bring my extensive international experience to the important role of further building and developing Graduate Studies in collaboration with staff and students across Faculties and disciplines.

    “Brock is a model university for the 21st century and I am devoted to working with everyone to make that more clearly recognized, internationally.”

    The appointment was announced Monday by Neil McCartney, Provost and Vice President Academic, who said it is critical for the Faculty of Graduate Studies to be guided by someone with world-class research credentials.

    “Mike Plyley did a tremendous job in raising Brock’s graduate studies profile in Canada,” said McCartney. “It was vital that the job be continued by a leading researcher knowledgeable about global trends and connections, and we are extremely pleased to have found that in Jens Coorssen.”

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University,
    905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases