The clink of glass on the bottling line will mark the beginning of a new era of winemaking at Charles Sturt University (CSU) this week.
Chardonnay will be one of the first of the new wines produced under CSU's boutique brand to be bottled on Thursday 23 February.
CSU Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science Professor Tim Wess said, "For more than 40 years Charles Sturt University has produced wine science and viticulture graduates with the skills required by industry.
"The production of the boutique brand is making use of that expertise, working with growers and winemakers who are Alumni or current students, along with those who have a long-standing relationship with the University.
"The labels for the new brand feature artwork by CSU PhD graduate and award-winning artist Dr Tony Curran."
The 2016 boutique vintage of 550 cases includes Chardonnay, Shiraz, Rose, Tempranillo and Nebbiolo wines.
CSU winemaker, Mr Campbell Meeks said the new brand will also showcase the unique characteristics of premium NSW winegrowing regions.
"We aim to make the most of the unique varietal characteristics, flavours and aromas in producing a quality boutique wine," Mr Meeks said.
"This fits with the University's current research focusing on Australian wine terroirs, or how the environment factors of growing regions influences the characteristics of the grapes and ultimately the wine produced."
In the boutique winery at CSU in Wagga Wagga, Mr Meeks, a CSU Alumni himself, is excited to be involved in shaping the next chapter in the University's proud tradition of winemaking.
"Two Chardonnay wines from the premium cool climate regions of Orange and Tumbarumba have been made in 2016.
"The state-of-the-art equipment in the recently refurbished boutique winery, combined with some careful winemaking, have enabled the production of wines which are complex but still retain the fruit characteristics typical of the respective regional styles.
"On a personal note, it's exciting to be making with soul, to be able to use top quality grapes and make the most of its unique characteristics to really express the fruit styles.
"Bottling is a significant milestone, it's the time I can relax knowing that all the care in crafting the wine has been worthwhile. Now I can sit back and breathe."
Although he won't be relaxing for long as the next vintage is just around the corner.
"Harvest is expected to start in a few weeks and growers are anticipating a longer ripening period this year," Mr Meeks said. "We can expect fruit with more complex flavours and aromas, as winemaker that means plenty of opportunity."
CSU's new boutique brand of wine, to be officially launched in March 2017, is a move away from large-scale commercial production and the product will be for sale to staff, students, Alumni, the CSU wine club, online as well as through the Cellar Door at CSU in Wagga Wagga. It will also feature at University functions.
Media contact: Ms Fiona Halloran and Ms Emily Malone, (02) 6933 2207
Media are invited to interview CSU Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science Professor Tim Wess and CSU winemaker Mr Campbell Meeks, and get footage and images of the bottling at 11:30am on Thursday 23 February at the CSU boutique winery. Meet at the CSU Cellar Door, building 413, near car park 55 off Mambarra Drive, CSU in Wagga Wagga.
Read more about artist Dr Tony Curran on CSU News here.