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Winemaking Certificate Program

Master the art of winemaking. With unparalleled learning from the finest instructors at your fingertips, pursuing your passion has never been easier. Discover everything you need to know to be a successful winemaker at UC Davis Extension, the source for wine science.

Partnering with UC Davis' world-renowned Department of Viticulture and Enology, our online winemaking program combines academic theory with real-world, commercial application. This unique approach gives you the knowledge, confidence and practical skills to achieve your goals, whether as a talented home winemaker, an industry professional or a wine enthusiast.

As a UC Davis Extension online student, you have one-on-one access to some of the industry's best instructors – seasoned winemakers, each with more than 20 years of professional experience. And the peer interaction is invaluable. You'll exchange ideas and build an extensive network that can support you throughout your career.

UC Davis Extension's Winemaking Certificate Program is designed for aspiring winemakers around the world who cannot attend courses at UC Davis. The program's online format is interactive, convenient and provides an exceptional environment to expand your skills and learn the science behind the art of winemaking.

Applying to the program

  • If you are interested in completing the Winemaking Certificate Program, you must apply for acceptance into the program.
  • Students will be expected to pay a one time, non-refundable certificate fee of $75 when enrolling in course two, Wine Production.
  • Please review Course Fees and Policies and Chemistry Requirements before applying to the program.

About the Program

The certificate consists of five quarter-long (10 week) courses that are taught online. The first class, Introduction to Wine and Winemaking, is an introductory, lower-division class that is taught every quarter. Lectures are provided by faculty in the Department of Viticulture and Enology. The remaining four classes are all equivalent to upper-division science courses and are quite demanding in terms of time and content. The second class is Wine Production. Please note: Due to high demand for the Winemaking Certificate Program, there is a waiting list for this course. The third class is Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking. The fourth class is Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis. The fifth distance class is Viticulture for Winemakers. With the exception of the first course, all courses are limited in enrollment to 40 students to insure sufficient student/instructor interaction. All courses are offered multiple times during the year. Students must receive a grade of "C" or better in each course to earn this certificate.

Wine Production Waiting List

  • There is currently an 3-4 month waiting list for the course Wine Production.
  • Students will be notified when there is space available in the next offering of the course. If you decline that space, you will be contacted once more. However, if you choose to decline a second time, you will be dropped from the certificate program.

Non-degree credit

Although the courses draw heavily on material from the UC Davis curriculum, with the exception of Introduction to Wine and Winemaking, the courses are not duplicates of courses taught in the degree program at Davis. The classes are graded and rigorous, as are the courses within the degree program, but the online classes are somewhat less focused on theory and assume that the student has some practical experience in wine production. When successfully completed, these courses lead to a certificate in winemaking, but cannot be transferred in place of similar courses taught at UC Davis for the Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology.

Quarterly schedule of courses
  UNITS
REQUIRED COURSES Introduction to Wine and Winemaking 3
Wine Production for Distance Learners 4
Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking 4
Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis 4
Viticulture for Winemakers 3.5
F=Fall W=Winter SP=Spring SU=Summer; Schedules subject to change

Required Courses

Introduction to Wine and Winemaking

3 quarter units academic credit, X402.26.

Whether you're interested in a career in the wine industry or are just a devoted oenophile, you can take this unique course from anywhere in the world. Access top-quality, college-level course material in an interactive, web-based environment and gain exposure to an internationally recognized program and instructors, including industry experts and UC Davis faculty.

Learn about topics such as:

  • Wine and wine-growing areas around the world
  • Fundamentals of the winemaking process
  • Wine and health issues
  • Interpreting a wine label
  • Basic wine tasting
  • The history of wine

Lectures are provided by faculty in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.

This course can be taken as a stand-alone course or as the first course in the Winemaking Certificate Program. Learn more about the certificate program or complete an application.

Designed for professionals like you

This program is designed for individuals working in the wine industry and affiliated networks, entry-level winery employees, wine marketing and hospitality workers, distributors, restaurateurs, wine enthusiasts and anyone wanting to explore a career in viticulture and enology at UC Davis.

Refund Policy

Refunds for this course must be requested within two weeks of the start date. The refund-processing fee is $65.

Sections of this course open for enrollment:


Wine Production for Distance Learners

4 quarter units academic credit, X402.21.

Download course outline (85 KB)

This is the second course in the Winemaking Certificate Program. It can be taken as an individual course or as part of the certificate program; however, enrollment priority is given to certificate program students. Please note: Due to high demand for the Winemaking Certificate Program, there is a waiting list of 3-4 months for this course. In order to be added to the waiting list for Wine Production you must first complete and submit an application. If you are accepted, you will be placed on the waiting list and you will be notified via email when there is space available in this course.

The curriculum of this course is closely based on the curriculum of VEN 124 Wine Production, the on-campus course offered by the Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis.

This course presents an overview of all technical aspects of wine production with an emphasis on fermentation management and pre-fermentation processes, options and strategies. You will receive the same lecture material as students in VEN 124 with the addition of online case studies augmented by student reports. The class is limited in size to 40 students to ensure student/instructor interaction.

Unlike Introduction to Wine and Winemaking, this course expects and requires significant interaction with the instructor and fellow students in the form of readings, online discussions and written assignments, which you will submit via the Internet.

Wine Production focuses primarily on pre-fermentation decisions and the management of alcoholic and malolactic fermentations.  To a lesser degree it addresses post-fermentation wine processing, which is covered in much greater detail in Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis.  Topics addressed include: the influence of grape composition and ripening on harvest decision and resulting wine style; grape and must processing (including juice and must treatment and additions); the alcoholic fermentation with emphasis on yeast biology, fermentation management, and understanding and rectifying problem or stuck fermentations; the biology of lactic acid bacteria and the management of the malolactic fermentation; and cellar operations and wine stability, including a review of clarification, filtration, fining, aging and blending of wines.

Prerequisites:

Introduction to Wine and Winemaking, (3 units of academic credit) or possible substitution of winery work experience. This is the second course in the Winemaking Certificate Program and you must successfully complete (with a grade of c or better) the prerequisite in order to take this course. Also successful completion of college level courses in chemistry is required and biology recommended. Call Kaddie Kandola at (530)757-8552.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking

4 quarter units academic credit, X402.22.

This is the third course in the Winemaking Certificate Program. This course can only be taken as part of the complete certificate program.

The curriculum of this course is based on a combination of topics covered in two UC Davis graduate courses in the Department of Viticulture and Enology: VEN 123 Analysis of Musts and Wines and VEN 128 Wine Microbiology.

Receive an introduction to the principal chemical and microbiological factors and analyses that influence wine production, and the effects of these processes on wine production. Developed with specific winemaking stages in mind, you will explore combined theory and practical winemaking analytical methods, the applications of which are important at various times and critical decision-making moments during winemaking. You'll receive information for understanding the parameters of juice, fermentation, wine ageing and conservation, problem solving, bottling and legal issues. Aspects of microbial control from grape harvest to bottling of wine will also be presented. These practical winery analyses will demonstrate various physical, chemical, biochemical, and microbiological methods. Emphasis will be given to competency in the theory and calculations of wine chemical and microbiological analyses toward wine quality controls.

Prerequisites:

Introduction to Winemaking, Wine Production for Distance Learners, This is the third course in the Winemaking Certificate Program and you MUST successfully complete (with a grade of "C" or better) all prerequisites in order to take this course.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis

4 quarter units academic credit, X402.23.

This is the fourth course in the Winemaking Certificate Program.

The curriculum of this course is based on a combination of topics from two UC Davis graduate courses offered by the Department of Viticulture and Enology: VEN 125 Wine Types and Sensory Evaluation and VEN 126 Wine Stability.

This is an introduction to the principal physical, chemical and microbiological factors and analyses that influence the stages of wine production from the end of fermentation to bottling as they apply to controlling wine stability and conservation. The focus will be on equipment and procedures suitable for smaller wineries.

This course will explore various methods for testing and controlling wine stability including: filtration, bentonite fining; metal stability, copper ion fining, protein and PVPP fining agents, blue fining; potassium bitartrate stability; ion-exchange processes, and oxidative and hydrolytic enzymes.

This course will include lessons on the basic anatomy and physiology of human organoleptic senses as they influence our interaction with wine. Basic sensory science analyses such as component recognitions tests, discrimination tests, paired comparisons, and triangular tests will be introduced, however, the emphasis will be on wine appreciation, not statistical analysis (UC Davis Extension offers a sensory science certificate course).

Developed with specific winemaking stages in mind, this course explores combined theory and practical winemaking methods, the applications of which are important at various times and critical decision-making moments during winemaking. They provide information for understanding wine ageing and conservation, problem solving, bottling and legal issues. These practical winery analyses will demonstrate various physical, chemical, biochemical, and sensory analysis methods. Emphasis will be given to competency in the theory and calculations of wine analyses and additions toward wine quality controls.

Learn how to:

  • Clarify wine in an appropriate manner.
  • Evaluate the stability of wine and suggest remedial action for problem wines.
  • Use a systematic and scientific approach to the practice of assessing wine qualities that influence winemaking or purchasing decisions.
  • Understand the principal mechanisms of sensory perception.
  • Identify the major and minor components of wine and understand the importance of balance among components.
  • Recognize major faults in wine such as imbalance, oxidation, microbial spoilage, and hazes.
  • Apply fundamental principles of analytical chemistry and microbiology.
  • Gain theoretical experience with some specific analytical methods and treatments used in winemaking.
  • Evaluate the limits, advantages, and applications of a variety of analytical techniques in order to choose methods most appropriate for a given situation.
  • Identify appropriate literature sources for analytical information.
  • Appreciate the importance and relevance of ongoing quality control throughout the winemaking process.

Prerequisites:

Introduction to Winemaking, Wine Production for Distance Learners, Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking, This is the fourth course in the Winemaking Certificate Program and you MUST successfully complete (with a grade of "C" or better) all prerequisites in order to take this course.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Viticulture for Winemakers

3.5 quarter units academic credit, X402.25.

Through web-based lectures, supplemental readings and group web discussions, this course reviews how basic viticulture relates to wine production and quality. It will provide winemakers and enologists with an understanding of how winegrapes are grown, along with biological, environmental and management factors that influence fruit and wine quality. Students will also develop a hypothetical vineyard to meet their winemaking objectives.

This course is not currently scheduled.


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Course Fees and Policies

Chemistry Requirements

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Unified Video Testimonials

See what some of our recent Winemaking Certificate grads are saying about the program.


Peter Kitchak Testimonial

Watch a video testimonial from Winemaking Certificate graduate Peter Kitchak.

testimonials


"We specialize in arcane varietal wines. This opens the door for wine education that most consumers never even knew they could be exposed to. With offering a unique portfolio, however, comes great responsibility, and as we debut these new varieties we are their ambassadors. If we don't showcase our wines in the best possible way we threaten the ability for these grape varieties to get a foothold in an otherwise cluttered marketplace. This is why I chose the UC Davis Extension Winemaking program. It helped me hone and polish what I had already learned and also dispel some of the myths. As a 28-year-old winemaker, I also gained little more credibility in a moreover mature workforce."

Eric Harris, TWO-EEs Winery, Huntington, Ind.