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NMIT Launches New Degree in Viticulture and Winemaking

12 December 2014

NMIT Launches New Degree in Viticulture and Winemaking

A new viticulture and winemaking degree with a strong focus on practical and applied training will be launched at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) next year.

The new Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking will begin in 2015 at NMIT’s Marlborough campus. NMIT has offered viticulture and wine education for the past 23 years and previously, NMIT’s Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production graduates were able to pathway into the Lincoln University Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology which could be studied at NMIT’s Marlborough campus.

NMIT Chief Executive Tony Gray said it made sense for a tertiary institute based in a region that produced 75 percent of the country’s grape harvest, to offer its own degree in the subject.

“The possibility of developing our own degree is something that we’ve been looking at for some time and it’s an idea that’s strongly supported by industry. We’ve been involved in viticulture and wine education for over two decades now, so this is a natural progression,” he said.

Rob Agnew, the Chair of NMIT’s Viticulture and Wine Industry Advisory committee, said the committee believed the strong emphasis on practical and applied training in the new degree was a real advantage for potential employers.

“Delivering the degree in Marlborough should also make it much easier to draw on specialist personnel working in the Marlborough wine industry for guest lecturing and for placement of students for practical work based training,” he said.

NMIT Wine Tutor David Hayward said the first year of the degree would provide students with a solid foundation in the basics of viticulture and winemaking, the second year would focus on further developing and refining technical skills, and the third year would comprise a mix of higher level viticulture, winemaking and research skills and offer students a chance to specialise in areas of interest. One of the key features of the new degree will be a strong applied research component - which will equip students with the skills to carry out research once they get into industry. The degree will offer both part-time and online/distance options.

“We want to be sure that when our students go out and work, they will have strong practical skills in both the vineyard and winery. They’ll understand the science behind their duties so they can make decisions, but they’ll also know how to apply themselves to hands-on tasks,” he said.

NMIT’s current viticulture and wine diploma has 30 students studying on campus with another 40 students enrolled in the online/distance option. Almost half of the first year diploma students come from overseas. Graduates who have completed the diploma will be able to pathway into the new degree programme in future.

Facilities within the NMIT Campus and Marlborough Research Centre are already world class. Currently there is a large teaching laboratory, a wine sensory room, micro vinification unit, research vineyard plus a technology transfer theatre. On top of that, the Plant & Food Research scientists are also based on-site - providing a network of experts available for lectures.

ENDS

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