COURSE CURSOR – In good spirits

A course in winemaking and viticulture combines the theoretical knowledge of fields such as chemistry, biology and agricultural studies with applied research

A rapidly growing winemaking and viticulture industry means the need to recruit qualified professionals. To cater to the demand, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) has launched a Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking, on its Marlborough campus in New Zealand.

The three-year, full-time programme takes a realistic approach to viticulture and winemaking to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in this industry.

“The course, spread over six semesters, is suitable for students with a range of experience, from high school graduates to mature people who wish to retrain or gain academic recognition in their current employment,” informs Tony Gray, chief executive, NMIT. Applicants under 20 years of age are required to complete the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level III (60 credits at level III or higher and 20 credits at level II or higher). Apart from this, applicants must have a standard of English sufficient to be able to study at this level. Candidates whose first language is not English must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall academic score of at least 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each band), issued within the past two years. Students will also need at least a secondary-level chemistry background.

With 30 seats, the course is meant to train students in wine analysis, wine science, viticulture ractice, wine production, vineyard bio-protection, economics, project plan ning and management, research methods, and other areas. Students will be able to take up short-term, paid unpaid internships during the course.

Gray elaborates, “The first year provides a solid foundation in the basics of viticulture and winemaking, while the second focuses on further developing and refining one’s technical skills. The third year consists of a mix of higher level viticulture, winemaking and research skills and has significant components of applied research and work experience which allow students to specialise in viticul ture, winemaking, industry management or a combination of these which suits their career aspirations and interests.”

Assessment will cover a mix of ongoing in-course work, through assignments, problem-solving and case studies as well as practical projects. Examinations would be conducted at the end of each semester. The overall balance between in-course assessment and examinations is set at 60:40.

Students who complete the course can make a career as a viticulturists, research and development technicians, vineyard managers or owners, wine marketers and winemakers, etc.

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