Subject focus: Wine programmes in Australia and New Zealand

 Curtin UniversityIn this month's subject focus, we look at some of the range of programmes available in Australia and New Zealand for students who would like to work in the wine industry.

Land-based industries are hugely significant for Australia and New Zealand, economically and politically, and as a result academic study and research in these areas is seen as being of key importance.

New Zealand and Australia’s thriving wine industries offer students the chance to study with some of the world’s best wine makers, and get valuable insights into the production, development, and sales and marketing sides of the business – and pick up valuable work placements if they choose.

There are a wide range of career opportunities available in the wine industry, and many of the programmes on offer will provide students with a good cross-section of the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the industry. Graduates of a wine programme could become viticulturists (growing grape vines), oenologists (winemaker), work in business management or marketing, or in a range of roles within the tourism and hospitality industry.

Studying wine in Australia and New Zealand gives students unparallelled access to the industry with many campuses situated in or near the many world-renowned winemaking regions.  Many viticulture and oenology courses are practical and hands-on - students will graduate with plenty of real-world experience of growing and making wine.

What can I study? Animals and Land

Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University, New Zealand

Lincoln University's specialist Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree (BV&O) prepares graduates for a great career in the wine sector. It will also take you places. Our graduates can be found all over the world - from the Gibbston Valley to the Hunter Valley, from Blenheim to Bordeaux.

A solid grounding in basic science as well as advanced viticulture and wine science, pest and disease management, biometrics and wine chemistry gives graduates the knowledge and skills to enter the wine industry ready to add value. You can then tailor the rest of your degree using electives to fit your areas of interest and individual career aspirations. 

Graduates are knowledgeable in the growing and production of wine from cool climate wine varieties, recognise a range of cool climate wine styles and their sensory attributes and confidently perform required routine tasks in a vineyard, winery or laboratory setting. 

They understand the roles of others in the industry and are able to apply their knowledge of the philosophical, scientific and ethical principles underlying research to real world situations. They offer valuable knowledge and skills in microbiology, plant physiology, engineering, plant protection, marketing and chemistry to solve problems in viticulture and oenology. 

The University’s unique core undergraduate courses provides its graduates with exposure to interdisciplinary perspectives on a variety of land-based issues. 


  • Biological Sciences
  • Land, People and Economies
  • Research and Analytical Skills
  • Plant Science I
  • Chemistry IA
  • Soil Science I
  • Introduction to the Winegrowing Industry
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Horticultural Systems
  • Biometrics
  • Viticulture I
  • Principles of Wine Science
  • Viticulture II
  • Wine Quality Assessment

Plus at least two of 

  • Winery Equipment and Structure
  • Vineyard and Winery Management
  • Grape Pest and Disease Management
  • Science of Grapes and Wine
  • Wine Chemistry and Technology

 Students can also choose from elective courses available at Lincoln University. Students should obtain course advice to ensure that course choices form a coherent programme of study.

Practical Work

A period of Practical Work is a requirement of this qualification.

Summary of requirements:

  • 18 weeks in total
  • 6 consecutive weeks in a commercial vineyard 
  • 6 consecutive weeks in a commercial winery
  • 6 consecutive weeks in an allied industry e.g. wine bar or shop, winery laboratory

Programme Details

Duration: 3 years full time

Start Date: Semester one (February) or semester two (July)

Tuition fees (indicative for 2017): NZ$27,000 per year

Lincoln University

Graduate Diploma in Oenology at Curtin University

Curtin University opened the Centre for Wine Excellence at Margaret River in April 2004. The Centre provides excellence in training and research for the Australian Wine Industry. Curtin is presently the leading provider of professional development for viticulturists and winemakers in Western Australia.

Margaret River, one of the world’s emerging premium wine regions, offers a modern, innovative and dynamic wine industry environment for the Centre of Excellence. Since vineyards were first planted in the region only 35 years ago, Margaret River’s grape growers and winemakers have created some of Australia’s leading wine companies and labels. They are characterised by their flair, embrace of new vineyard and winery technology, and pursuit of quality.

The Centre of Wine Excellence comprises a teaching winery, chemistry, sensory evaluation, and research laboratories. It also includes a resource centre, computer laboratories, and classrooms.

The Margaret River Centre for Wine Excellence is a significant resource for the industry, offering formal University education, short courses and other less formal training services, extension and advisory services, a resource and information service, pure and applied Oenological research, commercial trial work and consultancy. It's open to members of the industry – a place that invites the industry and is substantial contributor to it.

For students Margaret River is an ideal place to study and grow. Surrounded by the superb natural environment it boasts natural bushland, spectacular underground caves, fresh streams, and gorgeous beaches. The region is one of Western Australia’s fastest growing, with outstanding business, health, sport and cultural services. The Margaret River region is a leading tourist destination and agribusiness centre. Employment opportunities for young people are excellent.

The Curtin university programme in Viticulture and Oenology offers graduates an outstanding opportunity to enter a dynamic aspirational industry. Graduates can expect to develop careers as winemakers, viticulturists, vineyard managers, and winery managers. Employment opportunities are to be found not only in Western Australia, but New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Already many graduates have also travelled worked in New Zealand, United States of America, France, Italy, and Germany.

The diploma provides an understanding of practical wine production, beer production, distillation, sensory evaluation of wines, the principles and practices of viticulture and explores the relationship between grape and wine quality and wine marketing.

A highlight of the diploma is an intensive, 15-week wine production unit at the Margaret River small-scale winery.

Entry requirements

Applicants generally require a bachelor degree or graduate certificate. Applicants employed for a minimum of three years within the wine industry in a management function may apply on the basis of prior learning.

Programme details

Start date: February

Duration: 1 year

Tuition Fees (2017): AU$35,500 per year

Curtin University

Master of Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide

The Master of Viticulture and Oenology is a 2 year postgraduate degree programme taught by the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide, a world-class centre for viticulture and wine education programmes and research.

The programme comprises advanced coursework as well as an option to undertake either a one-semester research project or a one-semester professional experience component in the area of viticulture or oenology. The programme includes courses relating to both viticulture and oenology and qualifies graduates to work as a viticulturist, an oenologist (winemaker) or in related professions such as hospitality and tourism or the food and beverage industry. Graduates will be qualified to manage a vineyard, direct and carry out vineyard operations, direct wine-making operations and manage a winery.

Viticulture is the study of grape vines and their cultivation and includes site selection, vineyard establishment, management of pests and diseases and the informed application of irrigation and fertilizer to optimise vineyard yield and grape quality. The viticulturist typically works closely with the winemaker to achieve the desired winemaking outcome.

The winemaker utilises their training in the science of winemaking (oenology) to process grapes for the production of white, red still and sparkling and fortified wines. The viticulturist/winemaker often contributes to in-house research, sales and promotion of the finished product. Throughout the programme there is an emphasis on the key technical methods and sensory (wine tasting) skills required for a career in viticulture and oenology.

Entry Requirements

The programme is designed for graduates with a Bachelor degree in a Science-related field including (but not restricted to) agriculture, biology, microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry, plant science and engineering.


The Waite campus of the University of Adelaide is located approximately 20 minutes by public transport from the centre of the city of Adelaide. The campus houses the southern hemisphere’s largest collection of expertise in plant genomics, crop improvement, sustainable agriculture, animal science, dryland farming, horticulture, viticulture and oenology. State of the art facilities for viticulture and oenology studies include a vineyard and the Hickinbotham Roseworthy Wine Science laboratory (HRWSL). The HRWSL houses state-of-the-art fermentation and wine making equipment for teaching oenology students and conducting research.

Programme details

This programme has only one intake per year, in July. The application deadline is 30th April each year. Undergraduate studies in viticulture and oenology are also available at the University of Adelaide with the Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology, a four-year degree programme with intakes in February and July each year.

Start date: July

Duration: 2 years

Tuition Fees (2017): AU$37,500 per year

The University of Adelaide

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