Winemaking Certificate Program

vineyard shot
Program at-a-Glance
18 months-2 years
5 online classes
$8,810

Learn the Science Behind the Art of Winemaking

Our internationally acclaimed Winemaking Certificate Program gives you the knowledge, confidence and practical insight to pursue your passion for winemaking. Learn the scientific framework for successful winemaking, and schedule your learning around your lifestyle with our convenient online access. Although the program is designed for those in production winemaking, its combination of academic knowledge and real-world, commercial application will be useful to anyone serious about a career in the wine industry.

What You’ll Learn

The primary goal of the program is to provide a scientific and technical framework for production winemaking, with an emphasis on understanding the chemical and microbiological processes of winemaking. You will learn how to:

  • Use a systematic and scientific approach to the practice of assessing wine qualities
  • Evaluate the stability of wine
  • Understand the principle mechanisms of sensory perception
  • Apply fundamental principles of analytical chemistry and microbiology
  • Understand the important factors in growing quality grapes

How You’ll Benefit

The program features:

  • Online convenience
  • One-on-one access to world-class instructors
  • Exceptional networking opportunities with instructors and peers
  • Practical knowledge and techniques that can be used immediately in the vineyard and winery
  • $85,601 average salary for winemakers (Glassdoor)
  • The Winery Job Index rose 10% from July 2017 to July 2018. Demand for vineyard positions rose 113%, followed by sales and marketing (up 36%) and finance (up 21%). (Wines & Vines)
  • Employment in wineries is up 153% from 2001 to 2017 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    • Top five states for winery employment: California, Washington, Oregon, New York and Virginia. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Prerequisite: One semester of university/college-level chemistry is required before enrolling in course two, Wine Production. See Chemistry Requirements.

Required Courses

Introduction to Wine and Winemaking
Quarter Academic Credit
3 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 internationally recognized instructors, including industry experts and UC Davis faculty.

This course 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.

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. Enroll in the course.

Note: The following four classes are limited in size to 40 students to ensure student/instructor interaction.

Unlike Introduction to Wine and Winemaking, these courses expect and require 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
Quarter Academic Credit
4 X402.21

Please note: Due to high demand for the Winemaking Certificate Program, there is a waiting list of 3-6 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 fermentation management
  • The management of the malolactic fermentation
  • An overview of cellar operations and wine stability (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.

Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking
Quarter Academic Credit
4 X402.22

The curriculum of this course is focused on wine microbiology and wine analysis and quality control. Explore both the theory and practice of winemaking analytical methods, when they should be used and how they impact the critical decision-making moments during winemaking. Gain an understanding of 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.

Topics include:

  • Laboratory design
  • Microorganisms important to winemaking and wine spoilage
  • Microbiological techniques and controls
  • Basic quality control analyses theory and application
  • How and when analytical results are important to winemaking
Viticulture for Winemakers
Quarter Academic Credit
3.5 X402.25

It is true that great winemaking begins in the vineyard. Review how basic viticulture relates to wine production and wine quality. Learn the science behind how wine grapes are grown, and study the biological, environmental and managerial factors that influence fruit quality. Your weekly exercise will be to develop a hypothetical vineyard to meet specific winemaking objectives during the course. Topics to be covered include:

  • The importance of quality plant material
  • Soils and cover crops
  • Grapevine viruses, diseases and pests
  • Vineyard development, pruning and water relations
  • Nutrition and vine balance
Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis
Quarter Academic Credit
4 X402.23

This course combines the two important topics of wine stability and sensory evaluation. Gain an introduction to the science involved in controlling wine stability in bottled wines. Explore various methods for testing and controlling wine stability including: filtration, bitartrate stability, protein instability, metal stability, fining agents 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.

Topics include:

  • Sensory physiology and basic sensory testing methods
  • Clarification, fining and filtration
  • Potassium bitartrate instability and control
  • Protein instability and prevention
  • Volatile sulfur compounds and remediation
  • Red wine color stability
  • Microbial stability and bottling

Required Courses

Required Courses Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
Introduction to Wine and Winemaking 3 Online Online Online Online
Wine Production 4 Online Online Online
Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis 4 Online Online
Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking 4 Online Online
Viticulture for Winemakers 3.5 Online Online Online
  • Enrollment fees for Wine Production, Quality Control, Wine Stability and Viticulture for Winemakers (courses two-five) are $2,000 each.
  • Introduction to Wine and Winemaking (course one) has a fee of $685.
  • Students will be expected to pay a one-time, non-refundable certificate fee of $125 when enrolling in course two, Wine Production.
  • Please review Course Fees and Policies before applying to the program.

For information about financing your education, please click here.

Ready to master the art of winemaking?

  • Apply to the certificate programComplete the application to get started.
    • You can apply at any time.
    • You will get an email from the program assistant within a week to let you know of your acceptance into the program and next steps.
  • Sign up for a free information session Learn more about the program by enrolling in a free info sessionIf an information session for this program is not currently open for enrollment, click on “notify me,” and we’ll contact you when the next one becomes available.

Questions? We’re here to help. If you’ve got a question, email us or call (530) 757-8899.