Some schools present this 4-year degree as an interdisciplinary program, through food science and nutrition or horticulture departments. This allows students to focus on either the technical and scientific elements of grape production and wine making or the horticultural and agricultural elements. Regardless of the track chosen, these programs are heavy on science courses and labs. Some schools also offer their viticulture students minors in business and entrepreneurship or chemistry.
Applicants for these 4-year programs need a high school diploma or GED. Classes that have corresponding labs or classwork that includes activities like wine tasting may require that students be 21 years old to participate.
Bachelor's Degree in Viticulture
The bachelor's degree program in viticulture generally requires courses in chemistry, biology, and mathematics in addition to the core viticulture, horticulture, and food science courses. Some specific courses a student may enroll in include:
- Principles and practices of viticulture
- Raisin and table grape production, processing, and marketing
- Viticulture machinery and technology
- Sensory science and wine
- Botanical study and taxonomy of the grapevine
- Vineyard operations
Popular Career Options
The grape and wine business is an international industry with many possible career paths. Enologists tend to focus on the production, research, critique, and management of wine and wineries, while viticulturists work more closely with grapes, vineyards, and grapevine agriculture. Some specific positions attainable to people with a bachelor's degree in viticulture include:
- Viticulture or enology researcher
- Pest management consultant
- Winery manager
- Wine critic
- Agricultural lending officer
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that horticultural specialty farmers and managers who helped grow the fruit made for wine were classified as farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers. These professionals could expect an employment decline of 1% from 2018-2028. Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers earned an average annual salary of $79,940 in May 2018. If you're looking at selling wine, the BLS reported that beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers made an average yearly salary of $115,770 as of May 2018.
Students with a background in viticulture, enology, or a closely related field like food science or agricultural chemistry may enroll in a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology program. Career advancement may be gained by obtaining experience in performing advanced studies and detailed research in a wide variety of grape and wine-related topics. The master's degree program typically allows for specialization in topics like fermentation, plant pathology, pest control, the biochemistry of wine and winemaking, vine cultivation, management and output, the genetics and chemistry of grapes themselves, or sensory science.
A bachelor's degree in viticulture focuses on developing students' math, technology and science skills to prepare for careers as enologists or viticulturists. Graduates can pursue a master's degree in the field if they choose.