Wine education at its finest

For those of us interested in wine and its industry, sharing bottles and discussing with friends is typically how we expand our taste and knowledge. Some may even take wine tasting classes (like those held at our partner Willow Park Wines & Spirits) as a way of further developing their understanding of wine.

However, universities such as Brock University in St. Catherine’s Ontario and the University of California – Davis, are providing students with top-notch wine education in Bachelor of Science undergraduate degrees.


Brock University’s cellar, The Canadian Wine Library, holds 43,000 bottles

The Oenology and Viticulture program at Brock happens to be the only University in Canada offering a BSc, with popularity and class sizes doubling since its introduction in 2009. Other Canadian universities such as Vancouver Island University only offer certificates in wine business and appreciation.

Kaitlyn Little of Brock University says that students leave with “comprehensive understanding of both winemaking and viticulture practices.” The program leads the way for graduates to be able to work in wineries with a focus on scientific practices such as biochemistry and plant physiology.


Brock’s fermentation lab is used for student classes. The university sees an employment rate of 97% for viticulture graduates.

Students also learn more about the industry with mandatory classes in wine marketing and the option of taking a business minor so that they may one day own and operate their own vineyard.

The best part about the program is the several internships that must be completed apart from the courses. This gives students hands-on international experience, with jobs in North America, Europe and Eurasia, Little says.

Unlike Canada, the United States has various university programs with UC-Davis being the #1 Agriculture Research and Teaching Institution worldwide, according to QS World University Rankings.


The UC-Davis’ winery is highly recognized for it’s environmentally friendly facility. It was awarded Platinum certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the U.S Green Building Council

Professor Mark Matthews says that with the new building facilities, including an “ultra modern winery,” Viticulture and Enology students have everything necessary to grow grapes, select yeast and bacteria for fermentations and process wine. Although this program does not hold a business requirement, costs and industry considerations are worked into courses like “vineyard design.”

Traditionally, wineries are known for their family influence with vineyards being passed down from generation to generation. While this may seem like a heart-warming intention, the global wine market is expected to generate $292 billion in 2014, according to MarketLine.

We think this leaves plenty of opportunity for more business and new winemakers.