Vineyard shot

Winemaking Certificate Program

Program at a Glance

  • 18 months-2 years
  • 5 online courses
  • $8,810, plus textbooks
  • Eligible for VA Benefits

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:

  • Predict the impact of winemaking decisions on resulting wine quality and style
  • Use a systematic and scientific approach to the practice of assessing wine qualities
  • Evaluate wine stability and its impact on shelf life
  • Understand the principle mechanisms of sensory perception
  • Apply fundamental principles of analytical chemistry and microbiology
  • Assess the important factors in growing quality wine 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
  • $98,041 average salary for winemakers nationwide (Wine Business Monthly 2022 Salary Survey)
  • More than 11,000 wineries in the U.S. and in all 50 states, with over 4,800 wineries in California alone. (Wine Business Monthly, February 2022)

Prerequisite: One semester of university/college-level chemistry is required before enrolling in course two, Wine Production. Fulfill the requirement with our online Chemistry for Winemakers course. For more information about this prerequisite, see Chemistry Requirements.

About the online format: All five courses are administered entirely online. You will study at your own pace, but must meet deadlines for weekly assignments, quizzes and exams. Some classes may also require scheduled chat sessions. For more information about how the program works, visit the FAQs page.

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 an internationally recognized program and instructors, including industry experts and UC Davis faculty. Designed for individuals working in the wine industry and affiliated networks, as well as wine enthusiasts this course explores such topics as the history of wine, fundamentals of the winemaking process, wine and health issues, basic wine tasting, interpreting a wine label and wine-growing regions around the world.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various sensory, analytical and legal criteria used for classification purposes
  • Identify key factors important for successful wine grape cultivation
  • Understand basic winemaking practices and source of some differences between different wine types
  • Recognize the main varieties and wine types as they relate to different countries of the world
  • Interpret the meaning of wine labels from different countries
  • Evaluate the historical, economic and climatic factors influencing development of the wine industry in the U.S. and the world as a whole
  • Distinguish the various sensory attributes commonly used in evaluating wine

Skills You Will Gain

  • Grape growing and winemaking fundamentals
  • Wine history
  • Wine classification
  • Interpreting a wine label

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 50 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

Along with a knowledge of wine and winemaking fundamentals, winemakers require an understanding of technical wine production. Through an online, interactive learning environment, this course reviews and explains the principles and practices of producing standard types of wines, with particular emphasis on the methods of vinification and their effect on wine style. Other topics include in-depth discussion of the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations and their management, as well as harvest and processing decisions for various styles of wines and common post-fermentation operations. By the end of this course, students will gain an overview of many technical aspects of wine production with an emphasis on fermentation management and pre-fermentation processes, options and strategies, and explore how the many winemaking decisions affect the resulting wine’s style.

Learning Outcomes

  • Comprehend technical reasons behind common winery operations
  • Manage yeast and bacteria in wine production
  • Understand the microbiological basis for problems occurring in wine production
  • Develop plans for treating and correcting problems arising during processing

Skills You Will Gain

  • Harvest criteria and impact on wine style
  • Must and juice processing
  • Yeast and fermentation management
  • Malolactic bacteria and ML fermentation management
  • Post-fermentation cellar operations

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.

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

Designed for current and future winemakers, this course is focused on wine microbiology and wine analysis and quality control. Students will learn 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. Through an online learning environment, you will gain an understanding of the parameters of juice, fermentation, wine aging and bottling and how to use them in problem solving. Aspects of microbial control from grape harvest to bottling of wine will also be presented. By the end of this course, students will gain a competency in the theory and evaluation of wine chemical and microbiological analyses and their role in wine quality controls.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the importance and relevance of ongoing quality control throughout the winemaking process
  • Recognize the main microorganisms in wine production and spoilage
  • Demonstrate how to apply analytical methods used in winemaking
  • Employ correct laboratory and quality assurance techniques
  • Use systematic and scientific approach for assessing wine qualities that influence winemaking or purchasing decisions

Skills You Will Gain

  • Wine analysis and quality control
  • Chemical and microbiological analysis
  • Grape sampling and pre-fermentation analysis
  • Color and phenolic measures
  • Winery sanitation and monitoring
  • Viticulture for Winemakers
    Quarter Academic Credit
    3.5 X402.25

    All winemakers and winery owners know that great winemaking begins in the vineyard. This course is designed for winemakers to 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. During the course, you will develop a hypothetical vineyard to meet specific winemaking objectives. Course topics include the importance of quality plant material, soils and cover crops, grapevine diseases and pests, vineyard development and vine nutrition. By the end of the course, you will have an understanding of growing season influences and practices, vineyard design and economic analysis.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Understand basic botany and vine physiology and how it relates to fruit production, winemaking and wine quality
    • Recognize the seasonal vine growing cycle and environmental and management factors that influence grape quality
    • Compare management practices and their impact on vineyards and fruit quality while incorporating economic input

    Skills You Will Gain

  • Wine grape botany and physiology
  • Irrigation concepts and goals
  • Vineyard design
  • Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis
    Quarter Academic Credit
    4 X402.23

    Combining the two key topics of wine stability and sensory evaluation, this course provides current and future winemakers with 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 the basic anatomy and physiology of the human organoleptic senses as they influence our interaction with wine. In addition, you will be introduced to basic sensory science analyses, such as component recognitions tests, discrimination tests, paired comparisons and triangular tests. By the end of this course, students will have an effective competency in the theory and practice of wine analyses and processes to produce q stable wine product for the marketplace.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Evaluate the stability of wine and suggest remedial action for problem wines
    • Understand and identify the principle mechanisms of sensory perception
    • Recognize major faults in wine such as imbalance, oxidation, microbial spoilage and hazes
    • Identify the main sensory testing methodology used in the wine industry

    Skills You Will Gain

  • Sensory perception and testing methodology
  • Juice conditioning
  • Filtration, absorption and ion exchange principles
  • Fining of wines
  • Wine oxidation and browning reactions
  • Membrane filtration and preparation for 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 Online
    Wine Stability and Sensory Analysis 4 Online Online Online Online
    Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking 4 Online Online Online Online
    Viticulture for Winemakers 3.5 Online Online Online Online

    The cost of the Winemaking Certificate Program is $8,810 (includes certificate registration fee), plus textbooks. It is eligible for VA Benefits and other funding options may be available. For information about financing your education, please click here.

    Please review Course Fees and Policies before applying to the program. 

    Ready to master the art of winemaking?

    • Apply to the certificate programComplete the application to get started. You can apply at any time as long as you meet the following application requirements:
      • You must have completed Basic Chemistry for Winemakers or have at least one semester of college level chemistry (subject to approval)
      • You must have completed the Introduction to Wine and Winemaking course or have taken a similar class elsewhere, have a Sommelier certificate, WSET diploma or have 3-5 years of winery work experience (for example, made wine in a commercial winery; subject to approval)
      • You will be asked to pay a one-time, non-refundable, $125 certificate registration fee
      • If the above application requirements are not met your application will not be approved and you will not be permitted to enroll in the second course of the certificate, Wine Production.
      • Once submitted, you will get an email from the Program Education Specialist within 7-10 days 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.

    Contact our Enrollment Coach, Kristy Craig, if you would like to schedule an appointment. She can speak with you about our program, answer your questions and help ensure it’s the right fit for your goals. Schedule your 30-minute conversation with Kristy.

    You can also email us or call (530) 757-8777.

    Access free career resources. Our students have free access to tools for career planning, resume writing, interview practice and more. 

    vineyard at sunset

    Winemaking Free Sample Lesson

    Sign up for a free sample lesson on sparkling wine from course one of the Winemaking Certificate Program.

    Meet our Faculty

    Get to know the Winemaking Certificate Program faculty. Check out our instructor bios, spotlights and more.