A specialist scientist at the Agricultural Research Council, Professor Kobus “JJ” Hunter, was honoured by the Japanese government for his contribution to the wine industry.
Hunter, who works at ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, received a certificate of commendation from the Embassy of Japan in South Africa during a function earlier this month.
In his 27-year career, Hunter has contributed to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and South Africa through his expertise in the metabolism, cultivation and biochemistry of the grapevine.
He said, “I am truly honoured and humbled by the Japanese foreign minister’s commendation. I have the greatest respect for the Japanese grape growers and winemakers. Their passion, dedication and precision are extraordinary.”
Globally recognised researcher
Among other areas of interest, Hunter currently does research in viticulture, wine grapes, table grapes, oenology, terroir, and abiotic and biotic impact factors on the grapevine. His research focuses on establishing practically applicable principles to increase grape and wine quality and separate different wine styles.
Hunter is currently a professor in vine physiology and viticulture at Stellenbosch University. He is also part of the prestigious European Master of Viticulture and Oenology programme based in Montpellier and Angers, France.
Furthermore, the ARC researcher is visited regularly by European scientists for research sabbaticals, and he also received many rewards and spent various research stages in Europe.
“Despite extremely challenging climatic conditions for the production of grapes and wine, they [the Japanese] are globally competitive. They deserve recognition and praise. I thank the ARC and colleagues for facilitating the generation of knowledge that has worldwide application.”