New international wine genomics project launched

    PENTICTON, BC, July 21 /CNW/ - On the occasion of the 9th Annual Enology
& Viticulture Conference and Tradeshow sponsored by the British Columbia Wine
Grape Council, Genome BC is pleased to announce the launch of WineGen, a
unique international wine genomics research and development program with an
investment of $5 million.
    The multi-national project is led by Drs. Hennie van Vuuren and Steve
Lund of the University of British Columbia Wine Research Centre and Drs.
Richard Gardner from the University of Auckland, and Michael Trought of the
Marlborough Wine Research Centre in New Zealand. Other participants include
Dr. Chris Owens from the US Department of Agriculture, Dr. Terrence van
Rooyen, Niagara College in Ontario and BC wineries Calona Vineyards and Poplar
Grove Winery.
    "Genome BC is very pleased to support this new initiative which builds on
knowledge gained in a previous Grape Gen project, which was a collaboration
with Genome Espana. Wine production in BC has expanded significantly over the
last decade and has become one of the province's leading agri-businesses, with
the BC Wine Institute reporting an overall increase in sales of 149% in the
period 1998-2008. We look forward to the results the team will bring forward
that will contribute to overall innovation of viticulture and enology and the
advancement of Canadian wines on the international market," said, Dr. Alan
Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC.
    The three countries represented in the project are growing contributors
to global wine production and by combining this global expertise the team
expects to identify changes at the molecular and biochemical level that effect
three important aspects of wine making: grapevine cultivation, grape
processing and fermentation by yeasts.
    "The process of producing superior wines is a complex process involving
many varying factors such as the inherent characteristics of the grape, the
effects of environmental factors on berry ripening and flavour and the nature
of yeasts as part of the fermentation process. Therefore, we are looking
forward to participating in various aspects of the project and to the
development of new biomarkers that will assist all New World wine growing
areas," said Jeff Del Nin, winemaker at Burrowing Owl Winery in the South
    A unique aspect of the WineGen project is that it will include social
science research, led by Dr. Michael Howlett at Simon Fraser University. The
project will evaluate the existing interactions within the Canadian wine
industry in the context of adopting and regulating innovative technologies and
interactions between industry, science, policy-makers, and the general public.
    Genome BC is a research organization that invests in and manages genomics
and proteomics projects and platforms focused on areas of strategic importance
such as human health, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and the environment. By
working collaboratively with all levels of government, universities and
industry the organization is the catalyst for a vibrant, genomics-driven life
sciences cluster with far reaching social and economic benefits for the
province and Canada.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos accompanying this release are available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Linda Bartz, (604) 637-4373, cell: (604)
787-3813,; Julia White, (604) 637-4378, cell: (604)

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