What is a Master’s of Science in Viticulture?

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A Master's of Science in Viticulture is the start of a path into exciting and diverse career opportunities throughout the grape and wine making industries. With this degree, future professionals gain the advanced knowledge and skills needed to cultivate grapes and grapevines to produce both the fruit and to use in wine making. As the popularity of wine continues to grow around the world, the demand for qualified and trained viticulturists with the right education will also continue to grow.

Preparing for a Master of Science in Viticulture Program

A number of undergraduate courses and types of experiences can benefit a prospective graduate student searching for a viticulture program at the graduate level. Because the viticulture major is closely related to enology and the wine business, an understanding of the wine industry overall is a helpful start.

Courses at the undergraduate level that can be helpful include history of the wine industry, processes in wine making, wine appreciation, and development of the wine industry. Other information that can be helpful include understanding such concepts and processes a grape maturity, cellaring, factors of growing regions, and harvesting.

Curriculum in a Viticulture Graduate Degree Program

To begin a viticulture master's degree, students will also need to have a diverse background in chemistry, botany, genetics, and biology in order to complete the advanced course work within the major. Other beneficial courses include the study of business operations and agricultural processes and techniques.

One of the courses likely to be included in a viticulture graduate program is wine and grape chemistry, which is a study of the biosynthesis of both wine and grapes. Additional courses include studies in grape varieties, topics and research in viticulture, viticulture around the world, table grapes production, wine grape production, raisin production, and topics in mechanized viticulture.

Many programs also include a focus on the operations of the wine business, and these programs are likely to include courses in marketing of wine, vineyard management and planning, winery management, and the business of wine making. Degree programs also typically require students to complete an internship and project seminar.

Enology Course Work

The Master's of Science in Viticulture degree is often offered in conjunction with the enology major. Enology courses focus on wine making. Common courses are likely to include wine evaluation techniques, microbiology of wines, wine analytical methods, and science of fermentation. Combined with the viticulture courses, graduates of these master's of science programs are prepared for a number of careers, including positions in teaching, winery management, and vineyard operations. Additional information on careers in viticulture can be found on the American Society for Enology and Viticulture website.

The combination of topics and various learning formats from the classroom to internships are some of the ways in which a degree program in viticulture is able to prepare graduates for work outside of the school environment and in the vineyard or winery. To prepare for one of these interesting and hands-on careers, future professionals can gain much of the required expertise through completion of a master's of science in viticulture and will find that master's degree is worth the effort.