A multi-million dollar expansion and upgrade at Charles Sturt University's (CSU) Ron Potter Centre at Wagga Wagga is set to reinforce its position as a leader in quality wine and food production and education in Australia, according to the Head of the School of Wine & Food Sciences, Professor Geoff Scollary.
The improvements, due for completion by 2002, include a new $2.5 million commercial winery, $1 million experimental winery and $500 000 first-stage expansion of the cheese factory.
"We aim to maintain CSU at the forefront of both the wine and food industries through the quality of its products: wine, cheese and education," Professor Scollary said.
The new facility will allow the processing of up to 500 tonnes in a state-of-the-art complex, setting standards for the Australian wine industry. Work on stage one will begin mid year, with stage two expected to be complete for the 2002 vintage.
A heritage-listed apple packing shed, currently used as a cask hall, will be converted into a new experimental winery in $500 000 stage one improvements set for completion by May.
Professor Scollary said NSW Agriculture, through its partnership with CSU in the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre based on the Wagga Wagga Campus, is committed to the development of the experimental winery.
Cost of stage two works, estimated between $350 000 and $500 000, is anticipated to be met through industry partnerships.
Meanwhile, the cheese factory will double its size in planned stage one improvements, enabling it to increase its range of successful Australian-style farmhouse cheeses and presence in the marketplace.
"From a teaching point of view, CSU will be in an ideal situation with two experimental operations and two state of the art commercial operations, so students can complete their studies but at the same time gain commercial experience and observe industry best practice," Professor Scollary said.