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Led by journalist, wine writer and author Katie Spain as Master of Ceremonies, the 2024 Australian Cabernet Symposium will showcase a stellar line-up of Australian and international experts who are all passionate about the world of Cabernet Sauvignon.

With experts hailing from France, Hawke’s Bay, the Napa Valley, Scotland, Adelaide, Coonawarra and Margaret River, the 2024 ACS will explore and showcase the latest global developments in Cabernet in the fields of wine research, viticulture and winemaking, focusing on the theme Supporting Cabernet Sauvignon into the Future.

We’re thrilled to have an international keynote speaker join us live at each ACS venue – French fine wines and terroir consultant Rodrigo Laytte who will present from Margaret River HEART; and New Zealand’s Phil Brodie, senior winemaker at Te Mata in Hawke’s Bay, who will be based at Parker Coonawarra Estate. All presentations and masterclasses will be simulcast live to and from both venues.

They are among nine global Cabernet experts who will explore topics ranging from carbon neutral wineries of the future, the latest Cabernet statistics and trends, state of the art vineyard irrigation systems, rootstocks and methoxypyrazines, predicting berry cell death and shrivel; and the past, present and future of Cabernet Sauvignon. All followed by an interactive Q&A session with the live presenters.

The 2024 Australian Cabernet Symposium day one presenters are as follows.


Fine Wines and Terroir Consultant, Bordeaux.

Rodrigo will be presenting live in Margaret River.


Chilean by origin and an agricultural engineer from the Catholic University of Chile, in 2004 Rodrigo arrived in France to complete a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology at the ENSA in Montpellier, in addition to a French Enologist Diploma. He then worked in wineries such as Château Brane-Cantenac and Château Margaux, among others, until he became Technical Director of Château Kirwan, Grand Cru Classé de Margaux.


At the same time, Rodrigo also started working as an international consultant, participating in projects such as the development of a new wine region in Sonora (Mexico), working in the Maipo Valley (Chile) and conducting terroir studies in Nova Scotia (Canada).


These experiences led him to the role of International Technical Director for the Moet-Hennessy wine division, LVMH group, with wineries in seven countries (France, Australia, New Zealand, China, Spain, Argentina, and USA). Following this, he set up his own consulting company, Fine Wines & Terroir, based in Bordeaux, where to this day he consults on terroir, viticulture, enology, and due diligence, in France and other countries, intervening at all stages of wine production, with an integrative and international vision adapted to each reality.


At the ACS: Climate change poses new and increasingly important challenges to red wine production around the world. While this reality is an advantage in colder regions, in warmer regions it has become a major concern for producing quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Vineyard management, adapted to terroir and climate research, with adapted winemaking techniques, always oriented towards a high-quality wine, are imperative. Rodrigo will share his experience of how countries facing these challenges are adapting in order to continue to produce high quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Senior Winemaker, Te Mata Estate, Hawke’s Bay.

Phil will be presenting live in Coonawarra


Phil is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s foremost winemakers due to his outstanding results over more than 31 vintages at Te Mata Estate. He holds degrees in Commerce and Wine Science, with career experience around the world including Bordeaux (Ch Margaux), Burgundy (Clos des Lambrays), California and South Africa. He is also a national senior wine judge.


Phil joined Te Mata’s winemaking team in 1992 and has been instrumental in the company’s winemaking progression ever since. He took full winemaking control in 2018, and immediately established Te Mata’s ongoing R&D program with particular focus on his interests in organic, biodynamic, and regenerative vineyard practices and their contribution to making great wine. A Hawke’s Bay local, Phil was born and raised ‘on the land’ on his family’s sheep and beef farm.


At the ACS: Phil will provide a historical glance on the background of Te Mata Estate from 1892 to the now; and will share the story behind Coleraine, one of New Zealand’s most revered red wines, and its evolution over the last 41 years. He will explore some of the important changes made in viticulture and winemaking including the creation of a Research and Development department in both the vineyard and winery. Then his thoughts, as to the growing importance Cabernet Sauvignon for Te Mata Estate’s future.

George Gollin Professor Emeritus at the University of Adelaide and founding Executive Director of its Wine Economics Research Centre.

Kym will be presenting live in Coonawarra.


Kym is also an Honorary Professor of Economics at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, and Vice-President of the American Association of Wine Economists and Co-Editor of its Journal of Wine Economics. He has worked at the GATT (now WTO) Secretariat in Geneva (1990-92) and at the World Bank as Lead Economist (Trade Policy) during 2004-07. During 2000-05 he served as a non-executive Director on the Board of Australia’s Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (now part of Wine Australia).


Since graduating from the University of Chicago and Stanford University he has published around 50 books and more than 350 academic journal articles or chapters in others’ edited books, plus dozens of articles in wine industry journals. All the University of Adelaide Press books are freely downloadable as ebooks at He is a recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Economics degree from the University of Adelaide and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of New England. In 2015 he became a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), in part for his contribution to the grape and wine industry.


At the ACS: With the recent shrinking of the red-dominant China market and the consumer drift away from red wine globally, plus the longer-term impacts of climate change, what is the future for Cabernet, particularly in the regions where that variety dominates, most notably Coonawarra and also Margaret River?


Kym’s presentation will highlight key aspects of the evolution of Cabernet Sauvignon’s place in the Australian wine industry using a comprehensive new annual dataset that covers the past 23 vintages.

Chief Winemaker and Managing Director at Cullen Wines, Margaret River.

Vanya will be presenting live in Margaret River.


At the helm of one of Margaret River’s founding wineries, Vanya Cullen’s passion and innovation are driving the winery – and the region – into the future. Having begun winemaking at Cullen Wines in 1983, since taking the reins as Chief Winemaker in 1989 and Managing Director in 1999, Vanya has transformed the family business into one of Australia’s best boutique wineries and most environmentally sustainable vineyards. She’s a pioneer of biodynamic grape-growing, an award-winning winemaker and respected wine show judge on both the national and international stage.


Thanks to Vanya, Cullen Wines is organic and biodynamic certified and was the first winery in Australia to be certified 100% carbon neutral. Her deep respect of the land brings these holistic principles into the winery too, gently handling hand-harvested fruit, fermenting using wild yeast and religiously following the biodynamic calendar.


Vanya has been named Winemaker of the Year by Qantas/The Wine Magazine as well as Woman of the Year and Green Personality of the Year by UK Drinks Business Magazine. In 2015, she was inducted into the Australian Business Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 2021 Vanya received Halliday’s 2022 Wine Companion Inaugural Viticulturist of the Year Award, as well as being named ‘Outstanding Viticulturist’ at the 2021 Delicious Magazine/ Harvey Norman Produce Awards. In 2023, Vanya joined the ranks of her mother and father, by also being a recipient of the Order of Australia for her services to viticulture and oenology.


At the ACS: The process of biodynamics at Cullen Wines has led to the production of better quality fruit through vine balance and hence a change in viticulture and winemaking to enable a pure expression of site in an authentic way. The vineyard site was chosen in Wilyabrup, Margaret River, by Dr Kevin John and Diana Madeline Cullen for its potential to produce great Cabernet Sauvignon, and the vines were planted in 1971. Initially minimal chemical, then certified organic, biodynamic, the 21 years of organic, biodynamic, farming has driven shifts in the winery and wine style.


With climate change at large, there is a priority to reduce emissions at Cullen in alignment with the Paris agreement, grow in the vineyard and property carbon neutral offsets, by carbon farming projects to produce ACCUs, in order to provide a sustainable way forward for winegrowing.  Vanya will share the Cullen story, key learnings for Cabernet Sauvignon, and how they are preparing for the future.

Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide and Co-Founder of Athena IR-Tech.

Vinay will be presenting live in Coonawarra.


Vinay Pagay is a Senior Lecturer in Viticulture at The University of Adelaide, Australia. Vinay received his doctorate at Cornell University (USA) in 2014 where he worked on the development of novel tools for plant water sensing.


Vinay also holds a degree in computer engineering from McGill University (Canada). His basic and applied research lie at the intersection of grapevine ecophysiology and vineyard technology. His current applied research is looking into the use of proximal and remote sensing tools to obtain high spatial and temporal resolution data of both biotic and abiotic stresses in vineyards, as well as for precision irrigation scheduling in vineyards. Vinay is a co-inventor of the microtensiometer (commercialized by FloraPulse) and has co-founded Athena IR-Tech, a startup company out of the University of Adelaide that develops proximal crop water status sensors.


At the ACS: Vinay will present on how the challenges of vineyard irrigation motivated the development of Athena IR-Tech’s TranspIR irrigation scheduling sensors. The sensors employ proximal infrared technology to continuously measure canopy temperature and, together with ancillary environmental data, provide a daily index of vine water status.


Vinay will show how this index simplifies irrigation decision-making and scheduling and in both premium and commercial vineyards in a diverse range of climates and with contrasting production goals. He will also provide a glimpse into the future of irrigation management in vineyards using continuous vine-based sensors and show how these can optimise irrigation applications to simultaneously increase water use efficiency and grape/wine quality. He will share his findings from Coonawarra and various trials around South Australia.

PhD candidate, School of Agriculture Food & Wine, University of Adelaide.

Lishi will be presenting live in Coonawarra


Lishi Cai is a passionate researcher who recently completed her Ph.D. in viticulture at the University of Adelaide. Her doctoral research continues to explore the causes of late-season berry shrinkage, which is a pertinent problem for winegrowers, especially for certain varieties (e.g., Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon). Comparisons were made between less and more susceptible varieties to infer metabolic control. Temperature was investigated as a primary abiotic variable, along with interactions with the degree of ripening on the incidence and severity of cell death. Hypoxia and ethanol production were investigated as physiological symptoms or precursors to cell death. She also explores possible agronomic treatments (such as anti-transpirants) that would be hypothesized to ameliorate this shrinkage.


At the ACS: Berry shrivel at full sugar content is becoming increasingly common in Australia and also in Europe for certain varieties. It can result in yield loss of up to 30% and high sugar concentration in juice. Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are particularly prone to this phenomenon.


Lishi will explore predictors of cell death and berry shrivel and how an innovative “berry breathalyser” that monitors ethanol production in berries can indicate cell death before shrivel. Key learnings for Cabernet producers will be uncovered.



Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Enology and Chemical Engineering Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis.


Roger has been involved in teaching and research related to grape and wine composition, scientific winemaking and sensor and measurement systems at the University of California, Davis for more than 40 years. He led the design and development teams associated with the world’s first LEED Platinum Winery constructed at UC Davis in 2010. He is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology and works as an advisor to innovative grape and wine organizations throughout the world.


He received his B.Eng. and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Melbourne and spent most of his professional career in the Departments of Viticulture and Enology, and of Chemical Engineering, at the University of California, Davis, CA, USA. He is known as the primary author of the Principles and Practices of Winemaking, which was awarded the OIV Prize in Oenology in 1998, translated into three languages, and which continues to be used and referenced more than 25 years later. He is known to many winemakers and researchers due to teaching short courses throughout the world and presentations at international conferences. He is a member of the Jurade de Saint Emilion.


At the ACS: Roger will present on the self-sustainable, zero-carbon, LEED Platinum Research Winery at UC Davis and what it means for precision in research winemaking and the future of Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery was conceived to overcome limitations in small scale winemaking processes typically experienced in scientific experiments. 152 identical fermenters were designed, capable of precise control of juice and skin temperature, and reproducible automated pump overs for mixing of 1/2 tonne grape lots. When utilised for replicated, reproducible regional grape-to-wine research, as many as 50 individual vineyard lots can be fermented at a time.


Today, juice density, temperature, redox potential and model characterisation and prediction of all fermentations, can be viewed on a phone in front of each fermenter and anywhere in the world, in real time. Examples of Malbec and Pinot noir studies across large geographical distances will be presented and their importance for future studies with Cabernet Sauvignon will be discussed.


General Manager and Senior Winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard, Napa Valley


Trevor grew up in Sonoma County, at the heart of Northern California’s wine country. Having studied Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, in 2003 he completed a harvest internship at Russian River Valley-based Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, followed by two sparkling wine harvests for Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma’s Carneros District. In late 2005, he joined Moon Mountain Vineyard, a small, well-regarded organic vineyard in Sonoma Valley.

In March of 2010, Trevor joined Provenance Vineyards and Hewitt Vineyard in Napa Valley as assistant winemaker, where the 2010 Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon achieved Wine Spectator’s 2013 #4 Wine of the Year. In early 2015, Trevor became lead winemaker; and in 2017 he was named senior winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard.


Trevor presides as only the fifth senior winemaker in Beaulieu’s more than one-hundred-year history to craft the winery’s pinnacle bottling—Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2022, the 2019 vintage of this wine received a perfect 100-point score from – the first 100-point score in the winery’s history. In February 2023, Wine Spectator named the 2019 Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon its 2022 Wine Value of the Year.


At the ACS: As one of Napa Valley’s founding wineries, Beaulieu Vineyard has kept research and development front of mind ever since first opening its doors back in 1900.  Trevor will walk through a brief history of this iconic property before diving into the notion of “Rutherford Dust,” Beaulieu’s unique terroir and how his team is battling climate change through modified viticulture and winemaking practices.


Research Scientist – KTP Associate, Diageo and Heriot-Watt University, Scotland


Ross obtained a BSc (Hons) in 2016 from the University of Adelaide (UofA) and after working as a technical officer at SA Water, began employment with UofA as a Research Assistant in 2017, working on a project in collaboration with the AWRI. In February 2019, Ross started an industry PhD at UofA in conjunction with CSIRO and Wynns Coonawarra Estate as the industry partner. Ross’ PhD involved an investigation of the effect of rootstock on grape rachis composition, specifically in relation to methoxypyrazines.

In 2022, Ross was awarded a Nicolas Baudin internship in France with the University of Bordeaux where he explored the impact of oxygen on the chemical composition of wine under bottle and barrel aging conditions. After completing his PhD in February 2023, Ross relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is currently employed as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate with Heriot-Watt University and Diageo Scotland ltd. In this role, Ross is exploring how American Standard Barrel (ASB) rejuvenation parameters impact oak stave chemistry, and the implications for the sensory and chemical profile of Scotch Whisky.


At the ACS: Methoxypyrazines (MPs) are readily extracted from grape berry and rachis during fermentation and can impart “green” and “herbaceous” sensory attributes to red wine.  3-Isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IBMP) is the main contributor, but 3-isopropyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IPMP) and 3-sec-butyl-2-methoxypyrazine (SBMP) can also be present.


The concentration of MPs in both grape and rachis matrices is influenced by grafting of common Vitis vinifera scions to emerging rootstocks varieties. Ross will share the findings of his research into the contribution of rootstock, vine vigour, and sunlight to the concentration of methoxypyrazines (MPs)in Cabernet Sauvignon rachis and berries.



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