Toasting WSU Viticulture & Enology achievements, August 2015
Zachary Cartwright, a doctoral student in the school of food science, recently shared with Voice of the Vine how the Margaret Nicholson Graduate Fellowship has supported his studies focused on wine.
“The Margaret Nicholson Graduate Fellowship has helped me meet the financial demands of school. It has also allowed me to purchase supplies for my ongoing research in wine microbiology.
“Specifically, I used some of the funds to support a research project on understanding how wine oak barrels stay infected with the spoilage yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis, or simply Brett. Since Brett is often quoted as the number one spoilage microbe in red wines, understanding how to control and limit its spread is very important to the Washington State wine industry.
“My research will uncover how far Brett can penetrate into different types of wine oak barrels, and investigate the physiological and structural changes Brett cells undergo to persist in oak. Oak barrels are a common vector of Brett into wine, so our research has potential to improve the wine industry’s protection from this yeast. This is especially vital because once a Brett infection occurs, aromas described as barnyard, band-aids and horse-sweat take over the wine’s aroma.
“The Nicholson fellowship has allowed me to meet the financial demands related to my education. It supports me and makes my job as a student easier because I am less worried about living paycheck to paycheck. Instead I can focus on my studies, advance my wine microbiology research, participate in food science clubs and activities, and lead several food product development teams. Without the fellowship, I would not be able to have so many outside interests beyond my research lab. This is greatly helping me build my knowledge and skills as I work towards my PhD.”
Do you know a WSU student, faculty member or alumnus who deserves a cheer? Submit their achievements to Voice of the Vine Editor Erika Holmes!