Tara Southey – Post-doctoral Researcher

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A Karoo farm girl at her roots. Tara studied a BSc degree in Viticulture and Oenology graduating in 2007, during her internship work she became aware of the importance and impact of terroir on the quality of wine and subsequently enrolled in her MSc degree in viticulture. Focusing on the impact of soil type, irrigation and climate on wine quality, specially focusing on the anthocyanin and tannin structure in Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines. In 2010 she was employed at Department of Viticulture and Oenology as a viticulture technical officer, managing research projects, as well as lecturing under & postgraduate students in viticulture.

In 2012 she enrolled in her PhD, focusing on climate change in the wine industry, using the grapevine as an environmental probe over an extension of study sites. During this time she took part in various exchange collaborations with climate and GIS groups in the north of Italy and France, gleaning skills from experts in GIS, Remote Sensing, Open source tools and climate analysis, expanding her field of interest and desire for international collaboration. Tara’s current focus as a Post-Doctoral researcher is to better understand the unique climate dynamics in the Western Cape in the context of agricultural production. She is involved in building an integrated climate, GIS, Remote Sensing and Grapevine database, to provide farmers with decision making tools to aid adaption and mitigation strategies in the context of climate change and market shifts.

She is Passionate about building links between researchers, consultants and farmers in order to improve research transfer and implementation, to synergise their effectivity and ensure continued local and international collaborations.

When not doing research Tara loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, gardening and expresses her creativity in playing with floral arrangements for events. Tara obviously has great passion for wine and food.

Research Interests

  • Climate modelling in the Western Cape
  • Building a sound climate database for the Western Cape
  • Climate & Grapevine modelling in the context of climate change for adaption and mitigation
  • Water resource management
  • Integration of data sources (climate, remote sensing, terrain, plant) for improved infield decision making
  • Machine Learning classification: integrated data sources
  • Multi-temporal earth observation techniques for agricultural application
  • Technical Transfer of research to wine industry


  • BSc Viticulture & Oenology, 2007, Stellenbosch University
  • MSc Viticulture, 2010, Stellenbosch University
  • PhD Viticulture, 2016, Stellenbosch University


For a full list of Tara’s publications please contact her directly.

Contact info

+27 82 889 0896
+27 21 808 3129