The Wine Research Centre’s mission is to conduct pioneering research in enology and viticulture and to develop highly qualified human resources with relevant scientific expertise and enterprise who will promote the technological advancement of the wine industry in Canada. This initiative is based on a concept of collaboration with researchers at the University of British Columbia, at other educational and research institutions and all facets of the wine industry.
Dr. Hennie J.J. van Vuuren as Founding Director established the Wine Research Centre in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC in 1999. In 2001 construction of the Wine Library was completed and it was officially opened in September 2002. Later in 2002, Dr. Steven Lund was recruited as an Assistant Professor to fill the viticulture genomics role. In 2003, Dr. Vivien Measday was recruited as Canada Research Chair in Yeast Genomics/Enology. In 2004, faculty and researchers moved into their newly renovated molecular biology laboratories. Since then the Wine Research Centre has rapidly expanded and 28 scientists now conduct research into molecular genetics of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Vitis vinifera. Graduates experienced in experimental design, genetic, biochemical and molecular technology, fermentation technology and viticulture will be positioned to play a major role in future technological developments and growth of the wine industry in Canada. The Wine Research Centre provides a much-needed focus for expertise in wine research in Canada and represents a unique alliance between the University, industry, government and the community.
The Wine Research Centre has modern and fully equipped molecular biology laboratories and a mass spectrometry laboratory. In addition, the Microarray Facility in the Centre serves as a core DNA Array Facility for scientists on the UBC campus. Researchers in the Wine Research Centre also have full access to the outstanding research facilities in the Michael Smith Laboratories (MSL) which is conveniently located adjacent to the Centre. The MSL has established itself as a force in the global biotechnology research community. Its outstanding research facilities, including the Nucleic Acids and Protein Synthesis (NAPS) unit, the Protein Production Pilot Plant, the Functional Genomics Core Facility and the Centre for Biological Calorimetry, provide a strong foundation for cutting edge research in functional genomics. In addition, the eight hubs of the CFI-funded Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics provide state-of-the-art equipment for characterizing gene products. Large-scale sequencing projects at the Wine Research Centre are done in collaboration with scientists in Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. Quantitative proteomics projects at the Centre are done in collaboration with the University of Victoria – Genome BC Proteomics Centre.