Food Drink

Dilmah joins forces with University of Adelaide expert to refine tea and wine production

Dilhan C. Fernando, Dilmah Tea’s Chairman, is in Adelaide to explore the synergies and opportunities between South Australian wine, and Sri Lankan Tea.

In a pioneering venture that fuses the world of tea and wine, Dilmah, a globally-renowned tea brand, is collaborating with Associate Professor in Oenology and Sensory Studies Sue Bastian from the University of Adelaide. Their shared mission? To hone and perfect the way Sri Lankan tea and South Australian wine are crafted, emphasising the profound impact of climate, soil, and geography on their distinctive flavours.

On Wednesday, August 30, the Barossa Valley played host to an exclusive tasting event where Dilhan C. Fernando, Dilmah Tea’s Chairman, joined with Professor Bastian. Both brought to the table decades of expertise and delved deep into how the natural environment shapes the essence of tea and wine.

But who exactly is Dilmah, and why is this collaboration turning heads in the beverage industry?

Established in the 1980s by Merrill J. Fernando, Dilmah has made a mark for itself in the global tea landscape. Hailing from Sri Lanka, a nation with a rich tea heritage, Dilmah has been a family-owned enterprise, with its roots spanning over 38 years. Committed to quality and authenticity, Dilmah’s ethos revolves around offering tea that is ethically produced and sold directly from origin to consumers. This unique single-origin tea brand ensures that their teas retain their freshness and authentic character. Over the years, Dilmah has also undertaken significant initiatives in sustainability and community welfare through their MJF Charitable Foundation.

At the event, Dilhan C. Fernando, representing the legacy of Dilmah, shed light on the intricate dynamics of Sri Lanka’s geography – from its topography and soil to its distinctive climate and the influence of surrounding flora – all of which contribute to the unmistakable taste profile of Dilmah tea.

Complementing this was Associate Professor Bastian’s insights, drawn from her extensive 20-year research focusing on the intricacies of ‘terroir’ in the Australian context, especially in the Barossa Valley. Terroir, a term often used in the world of wine, refers to the complete natural environment in which wine is produced, encompassing factors like soil, topography, and climate. Bastian’s work has significantly informed the wine industry, guiding viticulturists in areas like varietal selection, drought management, and refining wine flavors to elevate the consumer experience.

Moreover, her recent efforts delve into the adaptation strategies in response to the pressing challenges posed by climate change, exploring the potential of alternative grape varieties.

This joint venture between Dilmah and the University of Adelaide marks a refreshing union of two worlds. With tea and wine being beverages deeply rooted in culture and tradition, this collaboration promises to be an exploration of shared knowledge, passion, and the age-old dance between nature and nurture.

The synergy between the two experts and their respective domains is anticipated to pave the way for more collaborative endeavours. Both institutions are eager to continue working together, with the goal of refining growing and production methodologies, ensuring that connoisseurs across the globe continue to relish the impeccable flavours of Sri Lankan tea and South Australian wine.

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