Charles Sturt PhD student Julia Gouot has had a life-long passion for wine, one which only grew with time and deepened over the course of her studies at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre in Wagga Wagga
Growing up in France, Julia Gouot’s childhood holidays were what shaped her desire to become a winemaker.
She learned about the taste and culture of wine and grape growing at an early age, but it was not until she was older that she became curious about the science behind it.
Ms Gouot’s journey from France to Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga features in the second instalment of the ‘Have You Met?’ digital series.
“When I was 12, I actually didn’t know much about the science behind wine,” she said.
“And when I went to university I decided to try and understand a bit more about what was going on, especially with the chemistry and the microbiology of the wine.
“I like brain games, challenges, puzzles and questions that will need several steps to reach the answer. That’s why I love science because especially with wine, nothing is easy and I am constantly learning.”
Ms Gouot came to the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) at Charles Sturt in 2015 for a six-month internship on a project that was looking to improve grape composition in the vineyard.
At the end of the six months she was offered the chance to stay and keep working on the project.
During this time, Ms Gouot applied for the PhD scholarship for international students at Charles Sturt and commenced study in July 2016.
Her research at the NWGIC is studying the effect of high and extremely high temperatures on Shiraz grape composition, under the supervision of Dr Celia Barril.
Ms Gouot’s days consist of spending time in the glasshouses in spring and summer, making wine in autumn and completing elaborate laboratory work and chemical analysis in the winter.
“I would like to keep doing research because it’s really stimulating and it gives me the opportunity to answer a question that we need the answer to in order to be able to improve the wine quality,” she said.
“But longer term I will still try to keep some of my tradition and probably go back to my home region, which is Burgundy.”
Ms Gouot said she received a different education in Wagga Wagga than she would have in Paris, with access to a vineyard and the ability to experiment freely.
“Charles Sturt is a very interesting location … it doesn’t feel like being at university,” she said.
“It was a very nice environment and I didn’t have the stress compared to Paris being in the middle of the city.
“We’ve got a small winery (in Wagga Wagga) where we can actually put our hands into the wine.
"I would like to thank my supervisors Dr Jason Smith and Dr Bruno Holzapfel and especially Dr Celia Barril for giving me the opportunity to work and study at Charles Sturt University and for believing in my potential and pushing me to give the best of myself."
The episode of ‘Have You Met?’ with Ms Gouot is available to watch on Charles Sturt’s YouTube account.