Meet Pat Henderson, the Winemaking Certificate Program’s Newest Instructor
UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Winemaking Certificate Program has a new faculty member. Pat Henderson will be teaching three of the five courses in the program: Wine Production, Quality Control and Wine Stability. Henderson is the owner/proprietor of About Wine Consulting and has a degree in fermentation science from UC Davis.
His initial interest in winemaking began as a teenager, when he helped a family friend with their vineyard and winery. As a student at UC Davis, he began taking classes in winemaking and earned his first internship at a commercial winery as a crush worker. “By the end of my first week of working vintage, I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life,” said Henderson.
“Winemaking is the perfect blend of art, science and mother nature,” he said. “The work is very interesting and you get to use both your analytical and artistic skills.” He enjoys the diversity of the work, from being in the cellar to monitoring the vineyards, as well as the opportunity to travel and interact with people from wine regions around the world.
Henderson is also passionate about teaching. Aside from helping students learn to make better wine and start their career in the industry, he loves interacting with students and learning from their diverse experiences. “Working in education allowed me to gain exposure to aspects of winemaking beyond what I did in my day-to-day job as a winemaker,” he said.
He focuses on teaching practical, real-world winemaking skills so that his students understand the “why” as much as the “how.”
“If you understand the science behind the winemaking techniques used in the cellar, you can be more creative and explore new methods to craft your wine,” he said. “Knowing the fundamentals also allows you to be more adept in solving problems and adapt to changes as they come up.”
If there’s one thing Henderson wants his students to learn, it’s that there is more than one way to make wine. “The stylistic decisions you make as a vintner give you a lot of control over how your wine is going to taste, so you can create a wine that matches your vision.”
As a new faculty member of the Winemaking Certificate Program, Henderson believes that a strong education in winemaking gives you a leg up on the competition when looking for a job in the wine industry. “If you are already in, or considering a career in, the wine business, there is no better preparation for becoming a winemaker than a good education in the principles of winemaking, coupled with real-world experience in the cellar.”