Viticulture And Enology

Few academic courses require mid-day sampling of wine, but majoring in viticulture and enology is an exception to that general rule. From climate considerations to soil quality, grape varieties, pest control, consumer market analysis, and, yes, winemaking and wine tasting, academic programs in viticulture and enology offer a wide range of educational and career opportunities.


Viticulture and enology are interdisciplinary programs that typically combine hands-on laboratory, fieldwork, scientific courses, and business and statistical classes. Viticulture involves the study of wine grape production. Enology incorporates the science of winemaking with the study of business courses that address wine marketing, distribution, and sales. This well-rounded major offers subject matter diversity, and a unique balance of academic and physical demands.


While a bachelor’s degree may not be required to make wine, college programs prepare winemakers to leverage science when deciding how best to care for and harvest grapes. Viticulture involves optimizing the use and curtailing the costs of elements such as pesticides, fertilizers, water, energy, and labor. Enologists analyze wine compositions and monitor bottling control measures to ensure quality products. Related horticulture, botany, and crop and soil science courses help students understand the interaction between grape production and winemaking.


Over the next five years, the employment outlook across this broad field will increase. The wine industry boosted the American economy by $176 billion in 2022. This market is expected to grow annually by 5.85% as wine is produced and sold in all 50 states.


Viticulture and enology are one of the few disciplines that begins with raw materials (grapes), which are made into products (wine) and sold to various consumers (business and marketing). Career opportunities span each of these three broad categories. Graduates may work in a winery, vineyard, a broker or retailer, a distributor or importer, or work in restaurant/hospitality industries.


The scope of a winemaker’s role often depends on the type and size of the business. For example, vineyards are farms where grapes are grown while wineries are dedicated to the process of fermenting, aging, and filtering wine. Many wineries also have vineyards, but many independent vineyards only grow and sell grapes with little or no focus on winemaking. Wineries and vineyards can vary in size from small, family-owned businesses to large corporations. Smaller wineries must handle all aspects of the wine business from grape production to product marketing while larger corporations offer less diversity of roles but more management opportunities.


If you are considering a major in viticulture and enology, this field of study is part art and part science. It requires academic rigor, muscular brawn, and sipping vino during daytime hours.


More information can be found at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/cipdetail.aspx?y=56&cipid=91393 the Institute for Education Services (IES) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).


Career Paths for Viticulture and Enology Majors


Enologists Positions May Include:

  • Cellar Worker
  • Lab Technician
  • Wine Maker
  • Wine Consultant
  • Wine Critic
  • Fermentation Researcher
  • Winery/Distribution Manager


Viticulturist Positions May Include:

  • Field Worker
  • Vineyard Manager
  • Crop Researcher
  • Pest Control Advisor
  • Grower Relations Consultant
  • Fruit Negociant
  • Agricultural Loan Officer
  • Branding, Marketing, & Sales Manager