For Dr Armando Corsi, wine is so much more than just the product itself.
‘It is a social gatherer. It is the custodian of traditions. It is a time capsule of 365 days of sun, rain, snow, and wind.’
It is that passion that drives Dr Corsi – Associate Professor in Wine Business at the University of Adelaide – to do all that he can to protect wine as a product and help it grow.
Dr Corsi’s key area of research is the analysis of consumer behaviour, particularly towards wine and other premium foods and beverages. He has led a number of projects examining the effects of non-price promotions in store, tracking the Chinese wine market, improving techniques to describe wines to Asian consumers, and exploring the most effective ways to teach them about wine.
More recently, Dr Corsi completed another two projects about the perceptions of Australian wines and its key competitors by trade, key influencers and suppliers in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
‘My job is to encourage and lead an environment of creativity and innovation, building capacity in wine business research and expertise across the University of Adelaide, and engaging with the broader academic, professional and industry community to support the sustainable growth of the wine sector.’
Growing up, Dr Corsi was more interested in food and agriculture than he was in wine.
‘I was born in the city of Macerata, located on the east coast of Italy between Rome and Florence. Like any good Italian boy, I was raised with bread and football (soccer), but my real passion was – and still is – basketball. I was also a boy scout from age 10 to age 25 but, as Lord Baden Powell said “once a scout, always a scout!”’
With two of his uncles as winemakers, and his grandfather a farm manager, Dr Corsi started to learn about the world of wine from a young age. However, his dream was to work for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
‘So I did a bachelor degree in Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florence and eventually began an internship at FAO. However, I found myself reading about wine and consumer psychology any spare moment I had. This made me realise that understanding more about the business of wine was really what I wanted to do in my life.’
Dr Corsi did a three-point turn, instead completing his Masters in Wine Economics and later a PhD in wine marketing.
‘In the first year of the PhD program I was lucky enough to be both a student and a chauffeur of Professor Larry Lockshin (Professor of Wine Marketing at the University of South Australia) while he ran a series of seminars in Italy.’
Dr Corsi later visited Professor Lockshin in Adelaide and ended up staying for six months. When a lecturing position came up at the University of South Australia, he applied for it and was successful. Dr Corsi went on to become a senior lecturer and then an Associate Professor and Associate Dean: Research Education until July 2020, when the University of Adelaide opened a position to lead the wine business area.
Leadership has been a key focus for Dr Corsi throughout his career. He graduated from Wine Australia’s Future Leaders program in 2019 and said what he had learnt during the program had been ‘lifechanging’ for him.
‘It has helped me understand the importance of putting people at the centre of the goals you want to achieve’, he said.
‘Whether these people are your loved ones at home, your colleagues, your collaborators, or yourself, do everything you can to put them in the condition to thrive. Do that, and results will come.’
Applications for the 2021 Wine Australia Future Leaders Program close on 15 March 2021. Visit winefutureleaders.com to apply.