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Viticulture and Oenology Masters degree

Course Description

Viticulture & Oenology: the science of grapegrowing and winemaking

This masters degree course consists of a curriculum specialising in cool-climate wine production, climate change effects on viticulture, terroir and sparkling wine. It also includes opportunities to visit other wine-producing areas in Europe. The Wine Department staff have considerable international expertise and research experience, and a brand new Wine Research Centre was completed in March 2014. This combination of experienced staff and modern research facilities will enable students to access an outstanding Masters-level education.

Course structure:

The programme aims to enable students to develop a deep and systematic understanding of wine science (oenology) and related disciplines, and then apply this knowledge to make viticultural and oenological decisions in complex circumstances.

Areas of study:

Students will be required to attend a two-week intensive course in vinegrowing and winemaking at the start of the programme.

The first semester comprises of three modules which enable students to gain and apply knowledge and understanding of current research in grapevine physiology, wine chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology.

The second semester focuses on climate & terroir and sparkling wine. Students wishing to complete with the Post-Graduate Diploma in Viticulture & Oenology may elect to complete a dissertation and end their studies at this point. Students who intend to study for the full Masters degree will normally take an in-depth research methods module prior to commencing their Masters project.

The third semester is designed to allow students to complete their Masters project, which can be undertaken in the newly opened UK Wine Research Centre, or in another suitable location.

Career and progression opportunities:

This programme enables students to gain advanced skills and knowledge in vinegrowing and winemaking. It therefore prepares them for careers which require the application of a high level of technical knowledge and the exercise of a considerable degree of responsibility. These positions include Vineyard Manager, Viticultural

Consultant, Winemaker and Wine Quality Controller for the wine trade, and will also give the opportunity to continue post-graduate education. Students can also progress towards the achievement of a Doctor in Philosophy (PhD) qualification in related subjects. There is a high demand for these skills, not just in the UK, but also in emerging wine-producing countries who are seeking staff with a truly international approach to the subject and a strong understanding of the requirements of international markets like the UK.


Semester 1:

The Science & Application of Grapevine Biology
Grape Berry & Wine Composition & Analysis
The Science & Application of Winemaking

Semester 2:

The Science of Sparkling Wine
Climate & Sustainability
Independent Study
Research Methods for Viticulture & Oenology

Semester 3:

Masters Wine Project


- Post-graduate Certificate in Wine Science: completion of 60 credits selected from semesters 1 and 2.
- Post-graduate Certificate in Viticulture & Oenology: completion of the three 20-credit modules from semester 1.
- Post-graduate Diploma in Viticulture & Oenology: completion of the 120-credit modules from semesters 1 and 2.
- Masters Degree in Viticulture & Oenology: completion of 180 credits and successfully conducting the Master project

This course is validated by the University of Brighton and delivered by Plumpton College

Wine Research


Wine Careers


Visit the Viticulture and Oenology Masters degree page on the Plumpton College website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Mark Crumpton

2450.jpg "After working in horticulture for a number of years I developed a strong interest in plant science and enrolled on a Foundation Degree in Horticulture followed by a BSc (Hons) in Bioscience at Bicton College. Living in France for a number of years piqued my interest in wine, so I am now studying for an MSc in Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College. I was impressed with the facilities the college has to offer, as well as its international reputation for quality wine research. The wine industry is such an exciting area to be involved in, particularly with the recent expansion of wine growing in the UK. The course is extremely varied, with a good balance of practical skills and research-based theory, staff are supportive and I feel I am learning a huge amount daily. After completing my MSc at Plumpton, I hope to pursue a career in vine protection.”

(Student Profile)

Elise Lane

4598.jpg I grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, after passing my A-Levels I headed to Jesus College, Oxford to study Chemistry and was awarded a Master of Chemistry (MChem) in 2003. It was at Oxford that I attended a Chemistry of Wine evening that piqued my interest in wine but despite my enjoyment of the evening I limited my interest to enjoying a good bottle with friends when I could and the occasional vineyard visit. It was later, about 3-4 years into a career with a financial services firm in London and having spent most of my holidays in wine making regions, that I decided to take my growing interest more seriously. I studied for my WSET levels 2 and 3 and despite a lot of enjoyment (gin tasting at 9am anyone?!) I knew the tasting/importing/MW type of career was not for me, but I absolutely loved the small section we studied on viticulture and wine making. I realised I had found a passion that I could apply my chemistry background to.

My husband Nick and I had a little boy, Max, in 2014 and about 3 months after I returned to work it became clear to me that if I was going to be away from Max I should be doing something that I loved and was passionate about; I wanted to make wine!

I visited Plumpton College and spoke to Matteo Marangon about the new MSc in Viticulture and Oenology, I was convinced this was the right qualification for me and would give me the skills and insight I needed to help fulfil my dreams. So after 11 rewarding years, I quit my job as an Assistant Director in Corporate Finance and made the leap.


Entry Requirements

Upper second class honours degree (science-related subject) and WSET Level 2

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