Dr Pangzhen Zhang

inaugural veski sustainable agricultural fellow

Dr Pangzhen Zhang from the University of Melbourne will work closely with the Victorian viticulture industry to develop a ‘pepper’ map with information on how to maximise the ‘peppery’ flavour, known as Rotundone, found in high quality Victorian Shiraz to increase sustainability and profits for an industry experiencing difficult economic times with increased labour and raw materials costs.

Peppery flavour, climate and an app are key to selling Victorian Shiraz

The veski sustainable agricultural fellowship will support the development of a method to define, quantify and differentiate regional Victorian agricultural products like Shiraz, and develop an app to provide industry with access to relevant data and information including a Victorian-wide rotundone map to help Victorian grape growers estimate their rotundone concentration at each vintage based on climate data in their region.

The project will also provide information for future production by combining the climate-rotundone model and Australian Bureau of Meteorology climate projection to estimate rotundone production over the coming 50 years. Based on this modelling, they will design a specific vineyard management protocol to maximise rotundone production under different climate scenarios. 

The inaugural veski sustainable agricultural fellow is a promising scientist in the field of horticultural and viticulture studies with expertise in climate modelling. Pangzhen has established an excellent working relationship with the Australian Wine Research Institute, CSIRO, Australian Grape and Wine Authority, Wine Victoria, Rathbone Wine Group and Mount Langi Ghiran Winery. 

He also has practical experience in the wine industry, and has worked for the Yering Station Winery as a vintage wine chemist.