As the popularity of wine has grown, so has the number of institutions
offering viticulture and enology programs. These programs are also known as
winemaking and grape growing programs. Enology (sometimes spelled oenology)
and viticulture students learn about winemaking and growing grapes.
"Our program was developed because of the growing industry," says Steve
Gill. He is the manager of at a teaching winery.
There are two-year and four-year degree options for undergrads.
Some programs have general admission standards. That means most applicants
are accepted. Others are more competitive and only accept a small number
of students each year.
"If the goal is to work in the industry soon and get the most out of the
education at a reasonable cost, I would recommend starting in a good program
at a community college," says Alfredo Koch. He is the coordinator and an instructor
of viticulture and enology at Allan Hancock College, in Santa Maria, CA.
He adds that you can transfer to a four-year program from college.
"Our two-year certificate programs are very popular with professionals
who are making a career change and getting into the wine business," says Daniel
J. Bernardo. He is dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural
Resource Sciences at Washington State University.
For young people interested in a career in the industry, Bernardo says
it is important to build a solid foundation. This means students must
understand the science behind viticulture and enology. That includes classes
in chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology and biochemistry.
The wine industry wants training to include a rigorous curriculum. It needs
a continuous stream of educated employees to meet employment demands. Bernardo
says his program delivers just that.
A four-year bachelor's degree provides students with a solid core in science,
in addition to practical and fundamental knowledge about wine and grapes.
"Students who plan to become vineyard managers or winemakers can acquire
the necessary science background and experience by completing the four-year
bachelor's degree in either viticulture or enology," says Robert L. Wample.
He is chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at California State
University at Fresno.
"As a graduate, you will have the background to be an innovator and problem
solver, skills that will enhance your opportunities for professional advancement,"
says E. Brian Grant. He is the coordinator of a co-op program at an enology
and viticulture institute.
Those who have a bachelor of science (BS) degree can choose to pursue graduate
studies. A master of science (MS) degree provides a high level of flexibility.
"Recent Cornell MS students who studied enology are serving as head and
assistant winemakers on both coasts, but several have moved into other positions
in the food industry," says Gavin Sacks. He is a professor of enology at Cornell
A PhD is necessary for students who aspire to be senior scientists or
academic faculty at a university.
In high school, studying science and math is important. Mechanical skills
for fixing pumps and leaks will come in handy. Winemakers must have a good
palate, so try out cooking clubs or classes.
"Making wine is hard work and requires long hours, so being in good shape
and being willing to forgo sleep during harvest is essential. Fear of heights
or confined spaces is incompatible with winemaking," warns Sacks.
A keen interest in the grape and wine business is important for future
"Unfortunately, being of high school age does impose certain restrictions
on developing these interests. You should take advantage of any opportunity
to work in a vineyard or winery, as a winery tour guide, help family or friends
with their home winemaking or, if your high school has a co-op program, do
a work term at a local winery," says Grant.
Textbooks will be an additional cost. You may pay extra for wine tasting
or laboratory fees.
"In some programs there may be travel costs associated with visits to vineyards
and wineries that demonstrate specific technologies or management strategies,"
Occupational Outlook HandbookFor more information related to this field of study, see: Agricultural
and Food Scientists
For more information related to Enology and Viticulture Programs,
see: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
American Society for Enology and ViticultureFind out more about their scholarship program
Wines and Vines MagazineRead some industry news