How to Get a Wine Education
Depending on the job, you may be required to begin your wine career by getting a wine education. Some positions require a bachelors, some an associates, and others simply require a certification course. Regardless, let’s start with the schools that offer bachelor programs.
If you are a newcomer to the wine industry, you may wonder what a four year program in “wine concepts” may look like. Well, sorry to disappoint, but that will not be the title of your Bachelor’s degree. Instead, it will most likely be “Viticulture” or “Enology”, with both essentially meaning the science of wine and winemaking. Further, these programs are often times intense and grueling academic programs with a focus on science classes. In other words, this Bachelor’s degree is not to be taken lightly. The Viticulture/Enology degree focuses on core science classes, such as genetics, chemistry and botany. It will of course vary by school, but be prepared to work hard for any wine education. Further, an internship will typically be required to graduate. The other option for a Bachelor’s degree is a business degree with a concentration on Wine Business. If you don’t plan on being involved in the harvest and see yourself running the winery in other ways, this degree may be the way to go for you.
For those positions that do not require a Bachelor’s degree but require a certain level of knowledge on wine and the winemaking process, the Certificate process may be the avenue for you. The certificate programs offered will vary, but range in topics from viticulture, enology, winemaking, sales and marketing, and wine business. They range in length from one to two years.
To gain strictly a wine focused knowledge, sommelier school may be the right choice for your future job. This schooling will teach you limited knowledge about the winemaking process (really what in the process affects the overall flavor) and then teach you about the different types of wine and how to pair with food. Essentially, a sommelier refers to a wine expert.
Unfortunately, getting a Bachelor’s in Viticulture or another related field, a certificate focused on wine and even going to sommelier school isn’t cheap. Utilize the links provided in the next section to research tuition costs, financial aid and scholarships offered to assist paying for your school.