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Winemaking Certificate Program

Learn the Science Behind the Art of Winemaking

UC Davis Extension's internationally acclaimed online Winemaking Certificate Program gives you the knowledge, confidence and practical skills to pursue your passion for winemaking. Whether you live in Napa, New Zealand or anywhere in between, you’ll have convenient digital access to the finest instructors and learn the scientific framework for successful winemaking.

As a collaboration with UC Davis' world-renowned Department of Viticulture and Enology, our Winemaking Certificate Program combines academic theory with real-world, commercial application. From soil analysis to filtration techniques, this unique approach gives you the comprehensive winemaking knowledge to achieve your goals, whether as an industry professional, talented home winemaker or wine enthusiast.

The program features:

  • World-Class Wine Instructors—As a UC Davis Extension online student, you have one-on-one access to some of the industry's best instructors—seasoned winemakers, UC Davis faculty and industry experts, each with more than 20 years of professional experience
  • Online Convenience—The program's online format is interactive, convenient and provides an exceptional environment to expand your skills
  • Exceptional Networking Opportunities—Make critical connections with the instructors and winemakers who can support you throughout your career
  • Learn it Today, Use it Tomorrow—Each lesson provides practical skills and techniques that can be used immediately in the vineyard and winery

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 class is Viticulture for Winemakers. Courses three, four and five may also be subject to wait lists due to demand.

With the exception of the first course, all courses are limited in enrollment to 40 students to ensure 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. Due to the popularity of the certificate, students should expect to complete the program in 18 months to two years.

Although courses in this program 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.

Estimated Cost:

  • Enrollment fees for Wine Production, Quality Control, Wine Stability and Viticulture for Winemakers are $2,000 each.
  • Introduction to Wine and Winemaking has a fee of $685.
  • There is a non-refundable certificate fee of $75 which will be paid when enrolling in Wine Production.

How to Apply:

  • 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.

Program Requirements:

One semester of university/college-level chemistry is required as a prerequisite for acceptance into the Winemaking Certificate Program. The best general preparation is likely to be found in an introductory chemistry class for science or allied health science majors that will cover such topics as:

  • Scientific measurement and conversions
  • Atomic and molecular structure
  • Chemical reactions
  • Chemical bonding
  • Thermodynamics
  • Gas laws
  • Solutions
  • Acid and base chemistry

For those who desire a more solid foundation or may be looking to make a career as a professional winemaker, a two-semester sequence of introductory chemistry for science majors is recommended.

Please contact Pradeep Kandola at pkkandola@ucdavis.edu after completion of the chemistry course so she can update your records.

Quarterly schedule of courses

  Course Units F W SP SU
Introduction to Wine and Winemaking 3.0 O O O O
Wine Production 4.0 O O O  
Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis 4.0   O   O
Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking 4.0   O O  
Viticulture for Winemakers 3.5 O O O  
F=Fall W=Winter SP=Spring SU=Summer; Schedules subject to change.
O = Online C = Classroom OC = Online and Classroom H = Hybrid


Required Courses

3.0 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.

4.0 quarter units academic credit X402.21

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.

Gain an overview of all technical aspects of wine production with an emphasis on fermentation management and pre-fermentation processes, options and strategies. Explore how the many winemaking decisions affect the resulting wine’s style. Focusing primarily on pre-fermentation decisions and the management of alcoholic and malolactic fermentations, the course also 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
  • Cellar operations and wine stability, including a review of clarification, filtration, fining, aging and blending of wines

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

4.0 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'll 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 aging 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.

3.5 quarter units academic credit X402.25

Review how basic viticulture relates to wine production. Learn how wine grapes are grown, and study the biological, environmental and management factors that influence fruit and wine quality. You will develop a hypothetical vineyard to meet specific winemaking objectives during the course.


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.

Gain an introduction to the principle 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 course will focus on equipment and procedures suitable for smaller wineries.

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.

Learn basic anatomy and physiology of the human organoleptic senses as they influence our interaction with wine in addition to basic sensory science analyses, such as component recognitions tests, discrimination tests, paired comparisons and triangular tests. The emphasis will be on wine appreciation, not statistical analysis (UC Davis Extension offers a certificate in Applied Sensory and Consumer Science).

Developed with specific winemaking stages in mind, this course combines 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 aging 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 principle 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 appropriate for a given situation
  • Identify appropriate literature sources for analytical information
  • Understand the importance and relevance of ongoing quality control throughout the winemaking process
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"Without the winemaking program at UC Davis Extension, we wouldn't be here...Our tasting room, our winery, our vineyards—it's all a very direct result. It just simply wouldn't have happened without that program."

Peter Kitchak, proprietor, Kitchak Cellars, Napa, Calif.

"If you are like me, with the desire to jump into the industry with both feet, this program will give you all the confidence you need to take that first step."

Molly Pullen-Hudson, ViewPoint Wines, Boulder, Colo.

"I want to thank UC Davis Extension for providing such an amazingly informative online program. My 17-year-old son is very proud of me for completing such an extensive program from my kitchen counter and that I will be making wine someday! I also appreciate the knowledge I gained from the OIV program in relation to the certificate. I came into this with zero experience in the wine industry. Now, I am eager and confident to go out there and get my hands wet!"

D. Pace, Temecula Valley Wine Country, Calif., Winemaking Certificate Program and OIV Wine Marketing Program student

"The reason I chose UC Davis Extension is because as somebody that wanted to get into a new career, I really needed a way to actually get the knowledge, get the techniques and do it in a timely fashion. The online program was perfect for me."

Pedro Vargas, Vino Vargas, San Jose, Calif.

"This program 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.

"This program helped me transition toward my goals through some of the connections I've made in the program. I think there's a large pool of alumni out there in the wine industry, and I find those people very willing to help and provide some very good advice."

Ira Kreft