Gladstones Dr John

Gladstones, Dr John is, in the view of many, Australia’s foremost viticultural research scientist, even though his professional background was in lupins, and he has not chosen to become a viticultural consultant for individuals. His book Viticulture and Environment (Winetitles, Adelaide, 2002) is the most detailed and comprehensive study of the climate and soil of Australia either presently or prospectively planted with vines. He has in publication a book looking at viticulture in the 21st century, with particular reference to climate change; it will challenge some commonly accepted views and conclusions. His importance as a viticultural researcher was recognised in 2008 when he received the Maurice O’Shea Award for outstanding contribution to the wine industry. A particular area of interest for Gladstones has been the Margaret River region, and it was a paper he wrote in the mid-1960s which said: Being virtually frost-free, and having a much lower ripening period, cloudiness, rainfall and hail risk than Manjimup and Mount Barker, it has distinct advantages over both those areas, and indeed over all other Australian vine districts with comparable temperature summations … Not only should excellent quality be obtainable with choice grape varieties, but the district might also be very suitable because of its equable climate for higher-yielding, but still good quality varieties, such as shiraz and semillon. The report was read by Perth heart specialist Dr Tom Cullity, and led directly to his establishment of Vasse Felix in 1967. In August 1999 Gladstones proposed six subregions for Margaret River, based purely on distinguishing climate and soil characteristics, not on satisfying the requirements of the Geographic Indications legislation. The names chosen were Yallingup, Carbunup, Wilyabrup, Treeton, Wallcliffe and Karridale (on a north to south progression). Notwithstanding this focus, Gladstones’ interest in and knowledge of regions as far afield as the east coast of Tasmania and southern Queensland is second to none.

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