The “mythology” of regenerative agriculture and lack of scientific evidence has prompted two renowned plant scientists to write to Ag Minister Damien O’Connor.
Head of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences, Roland Harrison, says the course is different to other traditional Masters, in that there is no specific research thesis within the programme.
“It will all be done in one calendar year, so it is much more time and financially efficient.”
Harrison says as the wine industry develops there is a need for employees to have the ability to be able to absorb more technical information. In addition, the course will include a business skills component.
“We think as the industry develops it is important for all people working in it to have a real sense of the whole value chain, rather than just their own area of production. We have called it Wine and Viticulture, rather than Viticulture and Wine, because wine is the broader concept and includes everything from the growing of grapes, the making of wine and also the selling of it and understanding the consumer.”
The course will include sensory components, advanced oenology and viticulture, along with the business component. Harrison admits, many already involved in the industry have been wanting a course that would offer more than the current Bachelor degree.
“A number of years ago we reviewed the Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology, and an external panel was involved in that review. I was struck by the fact that people on that external panel, winemakers and growers, felt there was a need for these higher-level professional skills that weren’t just about growing grapes or making wine.”
Harrison is also keen to involve the NZWRC in some of the papers at the end of the course.
“One of the papers is called case studies, and will be designed so students will interact with the industry, looking at some of the problems they are facing and trying to design solutions for them.”
The course which will begin in February 2019, is available to anyone with sufficient background in viticulture and oenology and with a B average in the final year of their undergraduate degree.