Wine Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

There are but a few schools that teach the art of grape production and winemaking. Selecting the best school will depend on the student's ultimate career goals. Students can focus on viticulture, enology or the business side of the wine industry.

Selecting a Wine School

There are only a handful of schools that offer degree programs for viticulture (growing grapes) and enology (making wine) and even fewer that combine both into a single department and degree. Most schools offer interdisciplinary bachelor's degrees in their Food Science, Plant Science, Horticulture or Agriculture departments with an emphasis on enology or viticulture; and there is only one university in the United States that offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in the wine business. So, the first thing students must do when selecting a wine school is to determine personal career and education goals.

Students who would like to focus on the study of wine and prepare for a career in winemaking might want to choose a school that offers a B.S. in Food Science, Horticulture or Agriculture with an emphasis in enology. In addition to molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics and math, students study grapes and wines of the world, principles of wine production, food and wine analysis, fermenting technologies and food chemistry.

Those who would prefer to study wine-grape growing with the intention of entering the growing industry should choose a school that offers B.S. in Plant Science, Horticulture or Agriculture with an emphasis in viticulture. Courses in viticulture include plant biology and physiology, grape physiology, soil and climate science, plant biogenetics and sustainable production.

There are also schools that offer the interdisciplinary B.S. with an emphasis in both enology and viticulture, for students who want a complete education in both wine-grape growing and winemaking. Additionally, there are a couple of schools that offer a B.S. in Viticulture and Enology, as well as Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs.

Students who would like to enter the wine industry on the business side can get a B.S. in Economics and Management or a B.S. in Hotel Administration. Bachelor of Science or Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Wine Business programs are also available. In addition to basic business courses, such as business statistics, economics, accounting, marketing and management, students also study the wine industry, production, operation and distribution, wine marketing and sales, retail management and human resource management.

There are additional things to consider when choosing a school. For example, the region and location of the school will dictate the type of grape and wine that students will primarily work with. Also consider whether the school has the proper growing and winemaking facilities to provide the most up-to-date technological information. Finally, each school has a different approach and intended outcome for their viticulture and enology programs. It is a good idea to speak with faculty at each school to find the proper fit.

Largest Wine Colleges by Student Enrollment

College/UniversityStudent Population Institution Type
University of California - Davis 30,568 4-year, Public
University of Missouri30,1304-year, Public
Washington State University25,3524-year, Public
California State University - Fresno22,6134-year, Public
Oregon State University20,305 4-year, Public
Cornell University20,2734-year, Private not-for-profit
Sonoma State University8,921 4-year, Public

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