New Faculty Profile: Jay Martiniuk
Growing up on his family’s vineyard in the Okanagan, and working as a cellar master and winemaker at B.C. wineries, Jay Martiniuk brings wine-making insights from industry to the classroom. He is excited to share this knowledge with his students as a Lecturer in wine science and fermentation.
To Martiniuk, the subdued wonders of wine science lie in its interdisciplinary nature. “Wine is amazingly complex, and wine science is wonderful in that it includes so many of the sciences. There’s chemistry, microbiology, engineering, plant science. You get a really good cross section in wine science and for me that’s very appealing.” “Also, I would like to build on the success that the previous instructor David McArthur had — he’s built a very successful course — and I plan to continue that, bringing in some of my experience in yeast research and winemaking.”
Martiniuk earned his BSc in Food Science in Land and Food Systems. He also completed an MSc in Food Science at the UBC Wine Research Centre in 2021 under the supervision of Associate Professor Vivien Measday, where he looked at yeast populations in the vineyards and wineries of B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.
In his research, Martiniuk looked at different vineyard sites, profiling the fungal organisms in populations in the Okanagan Valley.
“We found that there is quite a difference between the strains of yeast that you find, for example, in Kelowna versus in the South Okanagan.”
He further explains that discovering a greater variety of yeast species is significant as it may help contribute to the sensory qualities of wine. “If we can explore the diversity of those yeasts in wine growing regions, we can maybe take advantage of those and use them to create wines that are more expressive of terroir.”
Towards the end of Martiniuk’s masters degree, he taught as both a Sessional Lecturer and guest Lecturer in the Faculty. In between his academic endeavors, he also worked as an Associate Director at Willow Biosciences, assessing yeast growth conditions and production of small molecules in fermentation, and implementing systems for ensuring product quality.