Did you know wine enthusiasts can make a career out of their love of wine and earn a wine-related college degree? There are currently six U.S. colleges that offer a degree in wine. Since these are accredited colleges and programs, you can also use a 529 plan to pay for these degrees.
Viticulture and viniculture refer to the study and production of grapes and grapevines. The two terms are often used interchangeably, although viniculture is more focused on the use of grapes in wine production. Degrees in wine and winemaking, however, are more often identified as degrees in viticulture.
California State University, Fresno
To earn a B.S. in Viticulture from California State University, students take courses in winegrape production, vineyard ecology and organic production, and more. “Classes in viticulture and enology are designed to help students incorporate the basic sciences into the production of grapes and wines with numerous opportunities for hands-on learning experiences,” according to their website. The school has 120 acres of table, raisin, and wine grape vineyards, a commercial 10,000 case winery, and a processing facility suitable for small-scale raisin production.
California Polytechnic State University
The goal of a B.S. in Wine and Viticulture is to have a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of wine grape growing, winemaking, and wine business – both domestically and globally. Classes include Wine Law and Compliance, Branded Wine Marketing, Calculus for Business and Economics, and Global Wine and Viticulture.
Cornell students can major in Viticulture and Enology, with courses such as Introduction to Wines and Vines, Growing Grapes and Making Wine, Distillation Principles and Practices, and Winemaking Theory and Practice. “From developing innovative trellis systems, to breeding new varieties, to managing pests and nutrients, to siting vineyards and maximizing ‘terroir,’ to perfecting the art and science of wine making, Cornell’s teaching, research, and extension in viticulture and enology offer unsurpassed opportunities for grape growers and wine makers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students,” according to their website.
Oregon State University
Students can earn a B.S. in Horticulture with a Viticulture & Enology option or a B.S. in Food Science with an option in Enology & Viticulture. “The benefit of a degree from OSU working with faculty in cool and warm climate viticulture and wine production. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about Pinot noir production in one of the top Pinot noir production areas in the world,” according to their website. Students participate in at commercial vineyards and wineries.
Washington State University
There are two undergraduate degrees available at Washington State University – Viticulture and Enology and Wine Business Management. “Multidisciplinary and hands-on: an undergraduate education in viticulture and enology is designed for the future leaders of the wine industry. Students in the Viticulture & Enology Program are passionate about grape growing, winemaking, and the business of wine. And they contribute to critical research that strengthens the wine industry,” according to their website. Junior and senior students study at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center and the Albert Ravenholt research and teaching vineyard on the Tri-Cities campus.
University of California, Davis
For the Bachelors of Science degree, students will take classes including Analysis of Musts and Wines, a Wine Microbiology Lab, Wine Types and Sensory Evaluation, and Wine Production.
Students can even opt for to take Introduction to Winemaking with studying abroad in France, where they’ll learn the basics of wine making while visiting the major French wine regions. “Viticulture and enology graduates frequently take advantage of their research and internship positions to find work in vineyards and wineries,” according to their website. “They may enter careers such as production management, quality control and research. Many go on to graduate-level study in related fields such as food science, horticulture or agricultural and environmental chemistry.”