Bragato, Romeo

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Dalmatian-born graduate of Italian viticulture studies and employee of the Victorian government in Australia who was invited in 1895 to investigate the prospects for viticulture and winemaking in New Zealand. His report was very favourable, and became an important document encouraging the development of the industry. Bragato found many regions ‘pre-eminently suited’ to viticulture and a surge in plantings resulted.

Bragato identified phylloxera in New Zealand in 1895, and suggested the use of resistant rootstocks, but his advice was initially ignored. Offered the position of government viticulturist in 1902, he immediately began importing and distributing these rootstocks (which were to be used again to fight phylloxera outbreaks of the 1980s). He established a research station at Te Kauwhata with experimental vineyards and a training winery, and also published a handbook Viticulture in New Zealand. Bragato and the fledgling wine industry were, however, not supported by his masters in the Department of Agriculture. In 1908 he lost control of the Te Kauwhata Research Station and in 1909 migrated to Canada in disgust.