What would a festive meal be without a glass of wine? For almost 2000 years, a good wine has simply been part of a festive occasion. At that time, the Romans introduced viticulture in our latitudes. Today almost 10 million hectoliters of wine are produced per year in Germany alone. Varieties such as Müller-Thurgau, Grüner Silvaner or Riesling are in demand far beyond Germany’s borders. The fact that we can simply buy a bottle of the fine drink in the nearest supermarket is primarily thanks to the winemakers. They plant the vines, harvest the ripe grapes, press the must and accompany the fermentation and maturation process until the wine can finally be bottled and sold to wine merchants and other customers.
Viticulture as a subject
Classically, the training to become a winemaker takes place in a three-year apprenticeship. However, since the cultivation of wine is a true science in itself, universities of applied sciences are now also offering the subject of viticulture and oenology. So that practice is not neglected, dual courses are often offered that combine practical winemaking apprenticeship with a degree.
In the bachelor’s degree courses in viticulture, the first thing on the program is the teaching of the scientific principles for viticulture. That happens in subjects like
- Soil science
- Plant nutrition.
In the higher semesters, students then immerse themselves deeply in the subject of wine production . At the end of their studies they will know exactly:
- how a wine is chemically composed
- how a grapevine can be optimally cultivated and refined
- what cultivation methods there are
In addition to viticulture, the curriculum also includes topics that should prepare the students for the business aspects of their later winemaking activities. These are topics like
- Corporate management
- Human Resources Management
- Marketing .
In internships and practical phases, the students can put what they have learned into practice.
Especially those who wish to qualify for leadership positions, can add a master’s program to connect to the Bachelor. In most master’s courses there is the opportunity to specialize further in a certain topic . These can be economic aspects, for example, but also various viticulture technologies.
Requirements for studying viticulture
If you want to become a winemaker, you should have a preference for the production of beverages. An interest in the natural sciences is also required for the course. The students should also not be completely averse to business management content.
What professions are there for graduates in viticulture?
Most of the graduates with a degree in viticulture later work as winemakers . As university graduates, they often run their own or someone else’s winery. On larger wineries in particular, it is also possible for several winemakers to share the work and specialize in a certain area of work, for example the cultivation and care of the vines or the marketing of the end product.
Anyone who does not work on a winery has the chance of a job in the supplier industry . Wine growers can use their know-how, for example, in the development of pesticides or new machines for viticulture. The specialist knowledge of oenologists is also in demand in the areas of food control, quality management and advice. A career in research is also an option, for example in state and private research laboratories or at universities.
Study viticulture internationally
Anyone who trades in wine is on the international stage. German wines are in demand abroad and wines from Italy, France and Spain are also sold in Germany. One or more semesters abroad offer the opportunity to get to know other types of viticulture . At the same time, students can improve their foreign language skills and make their first contacts abroad.