PULLMAN, Wash. – Thomas Henick-Kling, an international leader in wine research and education, is the new director of Washington State University’s viticulture and enology program.
Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, announced the appointment today. Henick-Kling is scheduled to assume his new responsibilities on a full-time basis in March 2009.
“Dr. Henick-Kling is a scientist, educator and advocate of the highest caliber,” Bernardo said. “He has led the development of viticulture and enology programs at Cornell and in Australia, and is therefore the perfect person to take the WSU program and Washington’s burgeoning wine industry to the next level.”
Rick Small, president of the Washington Wine Commission, agreed. “I’m delighted that we have someone of Dr. Henick-Kling’s caliber on board at Washington State University,” he said. “His reputation speaks for itself, and his international expertise will certainly benefit the Washington wine industry and broaden our perspective. Any time you can attract someone with experience from outside – you move the program forward with great strides.”
Henick-Kling currently is professor of enology and director of the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University in Australia. “For a long time, I have admired the Washington wine industry in its vision and enormous potential for quality and growth,” he said. “In the past, WSU has had some outstanding individual scientists, now the WSU viticulture and enology program is a group with much talent that needs to find a common direction. I am excited about the possibility of being able to add strength to the V&E program and support the Washington wine industry.”
Before moving to Australia in 2007, Henick-Kling worked at Cornell University for 20 years. He was instrumental in the establishment of Cornell’s undergraduate program in enology and viticulture.
His research has focused on the development of bacteria starter cultures for malolactic fermentation of wine. Based on his initial research and extension efforts, winemakers now recognize that the yeast strain they use has a major impact on the final wine flavor profile.
He also headed the U.S. education and research effort about stuck fermentations due to a lack of glucose. As a result of that work, most wine laboratories now measure glucose and fructose separately.
Henick-Kling has been honored nationally and internationally for his work. The New York Wine & Grape Foundation awarded Henick-Kling its Wine Industry Research Award in 1994. The International Association of Enology, Winery Management and Wine Marketing made him an honorary life member in 2002.
Henick-Kling has won three “best paper in enology” awards from the American Society for Enology & Viticulture, which also selected him as director of its Technical Projects Committee from 1999 to 2006. He also has served as a member of the ASEV board and as a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Viticulture Consortium East.
Henick-Kling was the first graduate student at the Australian Wine Research Institute at the University of Adelaide where he earned his Ph.D. degree. He earned his master’s in microbiology and food science at Oregon State University.