Studies & Degrees in Viniculture
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Viticulture, from the Latin word for ‘wine’ is in fact a science involved with the study and production of grapes. When grapes are used for the production of wine, it is called ‘viniculture’, which is a branch of the science of horticulture.
Viticulturists normally monitor the growth of grapes by carrying out various tests, ensuring the quality and the correct time for harvesting. They are responsible for the fertilization of grapes, as well as weed and pest control, by organizing and directing these activities. They also organize the process of crushing and pressing the grapes in order to prepare the fermentation material. Moreover, viticulturists take care of the maintenance of the vineyard during off-season, organize other workers during the production and harvesting of grapes, and give guided tours to visitors, giving advice on different aspects of wine and grapes. Some viticulturists also concentrate on the research and development of grape varieties.
Wine production is not a simple process, and if you are drawn to science, this can be a good choice for you. You should have in mind that the profession involves a lot of outdoor activities in the vineyard, together with the necessary laboratory research, so you will have to be comfortable with both. A list of other qualities includes:
- An overall interest in horticulture
- Good analytical and problem-solving skills
- Excellent organizational qualities
- Accuracy in observations
- Free from plant allergies and hay fever
If you wish to become a viticulturist, a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in horticulture or viticulture would be a good option. Most importantly, with a master’s degree in one of these disciplines, you might even be able to get a management position without having had a great deal of experience.
Such a degree would most likely be science-based and hands-on. In this respect, the profession of viniculturist would definitely require of you some work on the field, which means that you should be looking for a university that provides technical, scientific, and practical experience to gain the skills that are crucial for producing high quality grapes and wines.
Another possibility for you would be to undertake a degree in Wine Business Management, which has also risen in popularity in the recent years. Such a course would equip you with leadership qualities within the wine business and related areas.
Viticulturists can work in laboratories, offices, or grape processing facilities. Usually, you will start your career by undertaking a role in a grape processing facility, supporting the management process of the production of grapes and wine. You would probably have to take several different jobs in order to get a well-rounded view of the whole process, including the financial matters of running the facility. You would also have to learn the responsibility of coordinating vineyard activities and schedules together with the manager or owner of the facility.
As discussed earlier, you can also work in a laboratory, exploring new sorts of grapes and wines.