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NEW Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) yesterday announced the 2014 recipient of the Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship.

The successful candidate Arnaud Blouin is a senior staff member at Plant & Food Research at Mount Albert, Auckland.

Blouin’s doctoral research will focus on a survey of grapevine viruses present in New Zealand vineyards and study the virus population dynamics in the rootstock and scion of grafted vines.

Blouin has a wealth of experience in plant virology, including the development of laboratory diagnostic tests to detect plant diseases.

One aspect of his research involves the detection and characterisation of new viruses.

The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship is offered to one recipient for the duration of his or her study and research program.

The scholarship honours Dr Roderick Bonfiglioli, a former member of the NZW Research Committee who led industry efforts to stop the spread of Leafroll 3 virus in New Zealand vineyards.

The scholarship provides recipients with a stipend of $30,000 for conducting PhD studies plus $10,000 expenses for fees and research costs per year.

It is open to candidates from any country, provided the individual is eligible under New Zealand immigration laws to enrol in a PhD program.

In related news, the 2014 recipient for the New Zealand Winegrowers/Romeo Bragato Trust Postgraduate Scholarship has also been selected.

The successful doctoral candidate Matias Kinzurik will explore the pathway of volatile sulphur compounds in wine yeast and look to develop methods to quantify the concentrations of key sulphur precursors present in grape juices.

Kinzurik, originally from Argentina, received a master’s degree in chemistry from Rice University in Texas and his research is directed toward the production of novel compounds through metabolic engineering.

The Bragato Trust was formed in memory of Romeo Bragato who was a government viticulturist from 1902 to 1909.

Bragato is today widely recognised as the ‘father’ of New Zealand viticulture.

Like the Bonfiglioli scholarship, the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato Trust scholarship is funded with the same amount and is offered to one recipient for the duration of his or her research towards a PhD.

Both doctoral scholars are affiliated with the University of Auckland.

New Zealand Winegrowers general manager research Dr Simon Hooker said the organisation is delighted to support these candidates.

“Our research program aims to provide and promote a technological basis for the production of premium quality wines, and the work undertaken by Arnaud and Matias will help to support that goal in both the vineyard and the winery.”

Contact: Simon Hooker. Phone: 61 9 306 5556. Email: simon@nzwine.com.