Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career related to grapes and wine production may be interested in enrolling in a master's degree program in viticulture and enology. While these programs are not widely offered in the United States, there are several options from which to choose. We will discuss these programs in greater detail below so that students can make an informed decision when selecting which program is right for them.
Information About Master's Degrees in Viticulture and Enology
Master's degrees in viticulture and enology are generally offered as Master of Science degrees and generally take about two years to complete. These programs may be housed in a university's department of horticulture or food science, while others may be more interdisciplinary in nature and draw from both departments, in addition to biology, soil science, plant science and pathology. Some schools have separate programs for viticulture and horticulture, while others combine them. Below, we will look at some courses that are commonly found in viticulture and enology master's degree programs.
Programs in viticulture and enology will likely require that students take one or more courses covering the general process of wine production. Students will explore the differences between producing red and white wine, the differences amongst different grape varieties, and how those differences affect the production process, while following the grape from the vineyard to the bottle.
In a wine microbiology course, students will look at the various microbiotic factors that are part of the wine making process. Topics like physiology, yeast development, fermentation, and bacteria will be discussed in reference to their roles in wine production. In addition, students will learn how to spot the signs of wine spoilage in order to prevent wastage.
A course in sensory evaluation is another standard class offered in viticulture and enology master's programs. Students will learn how to evaluate wine using the senses of sight, smell, taste, and mouthfeel in order to be able to properly identify wine characteristics. They will also learn about different factors that can affect these qualities in wine and how they can be used to properly identify wines.
Disease and Pest Management
In this course, students will learn about different types of diseases and pests that affect grapes and vineyards. Students will study the biology of plants in order to better understand how they are vulnerable to various diseases. In addition, this class will likely focus on being able to identify diseases, how to properly use pesticides if necessary, and what steps to take in the case of a diseased vineyard.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Horticultural Science
- Plant Breeding
- Plant Pest Management
- Range Science
A course in wine technology will focus on the various types of technologies, equipment, and systems that are used when managing a modern vineyard. Some of the technologies students might look at include sprayers, cleaning equipment, grape processing equipment, and other tools to use in a vineyard or fermentation system.
Differences Between Master's Degrees in Viticulture and Enology
While closely related, it is important to remember that the fields of viticulture and enology are distinct. Enology is focused specifically on wine and process of wine making itself while viticulture is focused more on the science of the grape growing process. Because of this difference, individuals who are interested in studying the entire wine making process from beginning to end may want to consider enrolling in a program that focuses on both viticulture and enology. Master's programs that focus more exclusively on either enology or viticulture may be a better choice for individuals who are able to distinguish which part of the wine and grape growing industry interests them most.
Admission Requirements for Master's Degree Programs in Viticulture and Enology
In order to gain admission into a master's degree program in viticulture and enology, there are a number of requirements that students must meet. While these programs may not require that applicants have completed an undergraduate degree in a closely related field to viticulture and enology, like food science, it is often required that students have completed a number of prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, and math, among other subjects. In addition, some programs may require or strongly encourage students to have gained some experience in the wine and grape growing industry by working a harvest. These programs also typically require students to submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and results from the GRE examination in order to be considered for admission.
In summary, students have several options when looking for a viticulture and enology master's degree program, though they may be required to focus on one field over the other if their desired school doesn't offer them combined. These programs will prepare students for careers in the wine production industry.