EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science has recently added two new fees-free programmes to its portfolio.

“It’s a really exciting time to be getting into the industry,” says head of viticulture and wine science school, Sue Blackmore.

“Not only is the industry still in a growth phase, and there’s a real demand for New Zealand products, and there’s a real need for New Zealanders, in 2021 and probably beyond, to get involved because we’re no longer able to fly in wine-makers. If there was any time to get involved in the industry, it’s now, because there is a skills gap and wineries are very keen to have new employees.”

Blackmore says hectares of vineyards have increased 5% in the last two years which shows the industry is still growing.

“There are opportunities for people to be involved in viticulture and there’s a lot of opportunities coming up in the next few years for people in wineries,” she says.

The Certificate in Viticulture (Level 4) is designed for experienced workers in the viticulture industry who want to get a qualification to match their skills or just have an interest in viticulture. In this 15-month, part-time programme students will get a solid foundation of grape production, grape protection procedures, fruit crop management techniques and many more. It starts in September.

Launching in January 2021, the Certificate in Cellar Operations (Level 3) is an intensive hands-on one semester programme for those who want to gain introductory skills needed to start their first vintage in a cellar and progress. This includes a commercial vintage in collaboration with a Hawke’s Bay winery.

Another great opportunity to upskill fees-free are the year-long EIT Graduate Diplomas available online or on campus. Starting in February 2021, the Graduate Diploma in Oenology (Level 7) is for those who already have a science-related qualification or industry experience and want to fast track towards a future specialising in oenology (wine science).

The Graduate Diploma in Viticulture (Level 7) is a course for people who want to build on knowledge from prior degree study or from significant industry experience to build a career in viticulture.

There are also a number of ways people can study tailored to suit work hours and other commitments, full-time on campus or part-time via distance-learning.