While some may believe that wine tasting is simply an enjoyable hobby, an after-work indulgence, or a unique cultural phenomenon, the art of wine is truly much more. Today, as the interest in wine continues to grow, students across the country are now pursuing this art as the main focus of their college studies. In community colleges across the country, students can study the art of wine tasting, making, and product distribution, which leads to an array of related careers.
Even amidst stressful and uncertain economic times, the wine industry is proving to stand strong, according to MSNBC. Recession-proof careers in the wine industry are continuing to grow. With myriad options and stable job security, the art of wine can open up incredible new pastures for today’s community college students.
Viticulture and Enology
One of the primary careers in the wine industry begins right at wine’s roots. Viticulture and Enology involve the study of grape growing and winemaking. Available at many regionally specific community colleges (especially in areas conducive to growing grapes), students can earn their degrees by learning about the complex details of wine harvesting. From Napa Valley College in California to Piedmont Community College in Virginia, students are preparing for a lucrative career at the core of the wine industry.
This video describes the winemaking program at Napa Valley College.
For example, students attending Surry Community College (SCC), located in Dobson, North Carolina, are able to explore the many facets of wine production. As Surry Community College explains, “The Viticulture & Enology curriculum is designed to prepare individuals for various careers in the grape growing and wine making industry.”
While engaging in the various courses of Viticulture and Enology at SCC, students learn from classroom instruction, lab exercises, fieldwork, and additional activities. Progressing through the program, students also learn details about soil, propagation, vine nutrition, pest management, and the complex workings of planning, layout economics, and vineyard management. Even adding to all of these realms of study, students attending SCC also engage in courses in microbiology, fermentation, sensory analysis, and winery economics.
This video describes the Viticulture and Enology program at Surry Community College.
With an array of topics and opportunities to gain hands-on experiences, graduates of SCC’s Viticulture and Enology program are qualified to work in “Positions in vineyards, wineries, and in related areas of sales and services.” Additionally, this program graduates also earn certification from North Carolina’s Private Pesticide Applicators.
Regional Learning – The Study of Local and State Wide Study of Wines
In addition to the core vineyard and winery courses available for students attending Surry Community College, other community colleges in the country are providing students with specific degrees that focus on regional and local wines. As MSNBC reports, Tompkins Cortland Community College (TCCC) is one of the many innovative schools offering unique wine-based programs. Located in Dryden, New York, TCCC has been successful in introducing its new Wine Marketing Degree program, as local Dryden and New York residents are surrounded by 250 popular wineries. This newly designed two-year program strives to focus on teaching students about marketing, pricing, advertising, and other business ins and outs of the wine industry.
With the local winery industry remaining stable even during economic struggles, students attending TCCC can take advantage of a unique program while learning skills that provide stable employment after graduation. As MSNBC further explains, “Professors in charge of the program say the wine industry is one business that hasn't been hurt too bad by the recession.” Adding to this benefit of stability, experts also assert that some popular wine-tasting jobs even offer salaries that begin at around $150,000 per year! While other schools across the country also offer unique and specialized wine-tasting programs, New York’s innovative attempt may satiate the palates of community college students thirsty for stable and high-paying jobs!
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