February 8 – WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Professional winemakers and wine industry workers who want to expand their knowledge, skills, business and career, as well as serious non-profit winemakers who want to advance to the level of a professional start-up, can gain the technical knowledge they need at Purdue University.
Purdue’s online Wine Making Certificate course is an accessible, compact, yet comprehensive overview of the principles and practices of commercial winemaking. It consists of six progressive modules that cover the journey from grape to glass. Course topics range from a critical overview of winemaking techniques, styles and traditions to recommendations on aging, stabilization, filtration, bottling and shelf life optimization. Some of the curriculum focuses on winemaking in Indiana and the Midwest and Eastern United States, but much of it is applicable to wineries around the world.
The online course is very useful for people working in the wine industry, whether they are beginners or experienced. It teaches people who already produce wine how to make the best wine and how to improve the results of their winery. Participants should have previous or concurrent winemaking experience, and it may be helpful to take introductory winemaking courses, such as Purdue’s “Wine Assessment” series of courses.
“The course is designed for different levels of skill and experience, and all participants will gain new knowledge and refresh their existing knowledge even if they have taken other winemaking courses,” says Christian Butzke, a wine professor at Purdue University who developed and teaches the Certificate in Winemaking course.
Butzke, professor of oenology (the science of wine and winemaking), past president of the American Society of Oenology and Viticulture, and award-winning commercial winemaker and judge at wine competitions. He is the editor of the handbook “Solving Winemaking Problems for Commercial Winemakers” and the author of the popular “Wine Appraisal” handbook.
Butzke has been teaching viticulture for nearly 30 years and was to be a visiting professor in Italy in 2020, until a viral pandemic made travel abroad impossible. He eventually packaged his Italian presentations for online consumption, which led to the idea of developing a new online wine certification course.
“Everything I know about winemaking is in this course,” Butzke said, “which really brings it all together in one complete package.
Each module includes several video lectures and supplemental materials, as well as interaction with the instructor and other students. A comprehensive 100-question exam tests participants’ knowledge at the end, so they can apply what they’ve learned to their own viticulture. Butzke is also available after the course for technical advice.
“If they have a problem, a suggestion or an idea they want to share with other participating winemakers, they can discuss it openly or privately in my class,” Butzke said.
Some can complete all modules in six weeks, but students have one year to complete a stand-alone course and earn the Purdue Wine Making Certificate. The course costs $999 for Indiana residents and $1,250 for out-of-state participants.
Modules include :
Principles of winemaking, restoration techniques, styles and traditions to help students understand the fundamentals of commercial winemaking and the challenges associated with it.
Winemaking issues with best practices, from cellar design to managing a successful winery.
Wine stability, focusing on ways to adjust and ensure the desired composition and quality of the finished wine, including basic stabilization and plating techniques for a cost-effective approach to winemaking.
Filtration, bottling and closure, presenting methods to ensure that the quality of the finished wine is maintained during the final stages of processing and beyond, so that the winemaker can sleep well at night.
Wine Quality, Aging and Shelf Life, covering aspects of the success of fine wines in the marketplace and the global wine industry supply chain that enable winemakers to optimize the health, complexity, aging potential and value of their wines.
Regional Types, Terroir and Climate Change, which addresses the future of viticulture and winemaking and prepares winemakers to adapt as a result of global warming and changing consumer preferences.