Viticulture

Viticulture, grape growing and wine production: A Home study course for vineyard workers, managers, wine growers, hobby farmers, wine makers and enthusiastic amateurs - anyone working or aspiring to work in this industry.

Course Code: BHT220
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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 Learn to Grow Grapes And other Aspects of Viticulture
 
A course for vineyard workers, vineyard managers and wine growers; hobby farmer growers, enthusiastic amateur wine makers, or anyone working or aspiring to work in this industry. 

 

  • Self paced 100 hour course
  • Written and supported by an international team of horticultural professionals
 
Course tutors are skilled professionals who are fully qualified in the various subject areas. In addition, they combine their qualifications with many years of actual practical experience.

 

  • Tutor profiles are disclosed (This often doesn't happen elsewhere)
  • Access to tutors is not restricted (again not always the case elsewhere)
  • Tutors are instructed to above all help you learn (all too often teachers elsewhere are more focussed on assessing you than teaching you)

 

ACS Graduate comment: "[The course] gave me extra knowledge of the industry that I am currently working in. It covered all aspects of the industry. I liked the way you had to work through each lesson/category I received excellent feedback from my tutor. I enjoyed the viticulture course, it has given me extra knowledge that i will use." James McKelvey, Vineyard Manager, Australia, Viticulture course.

 


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Nature and scope of the viticulture industry both locally and world wide
    • Global viticulture
    • Major winegrowing areas around the world
    • The grape; genera and species
    • Rootstocks
    • Classification of grape varieties
    • Table grapes
    • Wine grapes
    • Dried fruit
    • Juice grapes
    • Canned grapes
  2. Climate and Soils
    • Suitable climate and soil conditions for vineyard site establishment
    • Temperature; temperature calculations; latitude-temperature index and degree days
    • Sunlight
    • Rainfall
    • Soil; soil types and wine regions; understanding soils; texture; characteristics; soil structure; chemical characteristics of soils including pH and nutrient levels
    • Understanding plant nutrition
    • Soil water content
    • Simple soil tests; naming the soil
    • Problems with soil; erosion; salinity; structural decline; soil acidification; chemical residues
  3. Selecting Grape Varieties
    • Appropriate grape varieties for different situations.
    • Grape types
    • Selection considerations
    • Matching the variety with the site
    • Varietal characteristics
    • Selecting wine grapes
    • Yeild
    • Reviewing important varieties; chenin blanc; chardonnay; semillion; muscat ottonel; muscadelle; gewurztraminer; cabernet sauvignon; carignan
    • Vitis rotundifolia
    • Wine grapes; raisin grapes; juice grapes
    • Importance of rootstocks
    • Purchasing plants
    • Phylloxera
  4. Vineyard Establishment
    • Procedure to establish a vineyard
    • Vineyard planning
    • Site planning
    • Vineyard layout
    • Site preparation
    • Planting the vines
    • Vine spacing
    • Shelter belts
    • Crop infrastructure
    • Equipment
  5. Grapevine Culture Part A (Training & Pruning)
    • Techniques used in the culture of grape vines
    • Pruning and training vines
    • Shoot spacing
    • Bud numbers
    • Vine spacing
    • How much to prune
    • Machine pruning
    • Summer pruning
    • Combination pruning
    • Pruning sultana vines
    • Trellising
    • Trellis construction
    • Guyot system
    • Geneva double curtain system
    • Head training
    • Cordoning
    • Kniffen systems
    • Umbrella kniffen system
    • Pergola training system
  6. Grapevine Culture Part B (Weeds, Pests & Diseases)
    • Types of weeds
    • Controlling weeds
    • Safety proceedures when using agricultural chemicals
    • Laws and guidelines
    • Types of chemicals
    • Weed management before planting
    • Weed management in new vineyards
    • Weed management in established vineyards
    • Integrated pest management
    • Pest control in vineyards
    • Grape berry moth
    • Grape mealy bug
    • Grape leaffolder
    • Grapevine rust mite
    • Grape blossom midge
    • Flea beetles
    • Birds and arge animals
    • Disease control in vineyards
    • Fungal diseases; rots; mildew; eutypa dieback etc
    • Bacterial diseases
    • Viruses
    • Organic culture of grapes; organic pest and disease control
    • Companion plants
    • Managing environmental problems including air, water, damage, frost, hail, wind and shade
    • Water mangement; runoff; water saving
    • Grape clones and varieties
  7. Grapevine Culture Part C (Irrigation & Feeding)
    • Irrigating and feeding grapes
    • Excessive irrigation
    • Seasonal effects of irrigation
    • Drip irrigation
    • Monitoring and timing
    • Feasibility of irrigation
    • Design considerations
    • Soil and water
    • Measuring water available to plants
    • Calculating permanent wilting point
    • Calculating field capacity of a vineyard
    • Available moisture range
    • Measuring air filled porosity
    • Tensiometer
    • Estimating water
    • Rate of growth
    • Climate
    • Drainage in vineyards; improving subsoil and surface drainage; subsurface drainage
    • Soil fertility; choice of fertilizer; timing of application; fertigation
  8. Improving Grape Quality
    • Ways to ensure or improve grape quality.
    • Plant stock
    • Crop management
    • Post harvest impact on quality
    • Improving flower and fruit set
    • Second set
    • Girdling
    • Berry thinning
  9. Harvesting & Selling
    • Procedure for harvest and post-harvest treatment
    • Harvesting
    • Testing for ripeness
    • Influence of weather
    • Harvesting techniques
    • Selling grapes
    • Vineyard resume
    • Selling grapes
    • Marketing contracts
    • Selling online
    • Developing a marketing plan
    • Advertising
    • Market research
    • Legal considerations with marketing
  10. Wine
    • Basic principles of wine making
    • Overview of winemaking process
    • Production principles
    • Fermentation
    • Making white wine
    • Making red wine
    • Methods

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Choose an appropriate site for a vineyard
  • Simple Soil tests
  • Measure pH
  • Determine water content of soil
  • Choose appropriate grape varieties for different situations
  • Develop criteria to be considered when selecting which grape varieties to grow
  • Devise a procedure to establish a vineyard
  • Specify the techniques used in the culture of grape vines
  • Specify a procedure for harvest and post-harvest treatment of grapes
  • Formulate marketing strategies for vineyard products
  • Explain the basic principles of wine making

Where Can Grapes be Grown?

 
 
Suitable regions for good quality grape production are determined more by climatic similarities than geographic location. Regions that have mean annual temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius are the most conducive for quality wine production. World distribution of viticulture is bounded by the 50° line of latitude, both north and south of the equator. However, even within these general parameters, grape vines are not suited to places where leaves do not fall from the vines over winter (due to warmth) or where winters are severe and summers are short.

Assessing regional suitability to grape production is not absolute. Variations in local climate caused by topographical characteristics can greatly affect the feasibility of production. For example, elevated areas in warm climate regions may yield the cooler temperatures required to produce good quality wine making grapes.

Several parameters are commonly used for assessing growing conditions. Degree Days and Latitude-Temperature Index (LTI) are two such measures. A region with a higher latitude may have cooler mid-summer temperatures but may not be inhibited from good production when offset by a long growing season. The Bordeaux region of France and areas of Washington state in the USA may fall into this category
 

What to Use Grapes for?
Grapes can be classified based according to their use:

Table grapes
These are grapes which are sold and used fresh. These varieties must look and taste good, and resist bruising or other damage when handled.

Preferred qualities are:

  •  large berries                                              
  • even-sized berries
  • strong skin                                     
  • strong stems
  • good shelf life                                
  • seedless (in some markets)
  • bunches which are neither sparse nor dense

Some varieties used as table grapes include Cardinal, Black Muscat, White Muscat, Waltham Cross, Purple Cornichon, Flame Seedless and Marroo Seedless. 

Wine grapes
These grapes are crushed and fermented to produce wine. Red or rosé wines are produced by fermenting after crushing while the grape skins are still present. For white wines, the skins are removed before fermentation. Some varieties have skins which add more colour to the wine, others less.

Grapes with high acid content and low sugar will produce dry wines. Grapes with high sugar and lower acid produce sweeter wines. The amount of acid and sugar in a grape depends upon the variety of grape, plant culture, and the stage at which it is picked.

Mechanically harvested wine grapes should have berries which detach easily from the stems and have thick skins which don't damage readily. Thin-skinned grapes must be harvested more carefully.

  • Varieties commonly used for high quality red wine include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.
  • Pinot Noir is often used for rosé.
  • Varieties often used for quality white wine include Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer.

Dried fruit
Virtually any grapes can be dried, but the varieties used commercially are generally seedless types which ripen fast and at a dry time of year. They must not get moist and split near to harvest. The texture should be soft, and the fruit shouldn't stick together too much in storage. Sultanas (a white seedless variety) are particularly valuable, producing large dried fruits. Raisins may be produced from a range of different varieties, often smaller fruits, including Thomson Seedless, Muscat of Alexandria and Black Corinth.

Juice grapes
Unfermented grape juice has gained increased popularity in recent times. Processes (eg. pasteurisation) used to preserve the juice can have a detrimental effect on the flavour with some varieties of grape, while others are not dramatically altered. Several varieties may be blended to produce juice.

Canned grapes
Seedless grapes are sometimes canned, either alone or with other fruit as fruit salad. Thompson Seedless is commonly used for this purpose in the
USA.

 
 

AFTER YOU GRADUATE

  Some graduates will establish or buy a vineyard, small or large. Others may find employment in the viticulture industry, and yet others may continue their studies, formally or informally, to learn more about horticultural crop production.
 
The options for graduates from this course are diverse and in today's world, changing as fast as it is, unforeseen opportunities are likely to emerge between now and when you complete your studies.

Our expert horticulturists stand ready to support you, discussing possibilities after you finish your course. We are here to help, not only while you are studying, but afterwards, as well.

 

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Leading horticultural expert in Australia.
Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Kerry Claydon

BA-BSc (Psychology, Computer Science, Aquaculture), BSc (Hons Microbiology), PhD (Microbiology), Diploma in Brewing Science

Kerry has over 20 years’ experience in various fields of microbiology including aquatic microbiology, medical microbiology, agricultural microbiology, and brewing microbiology. Kerry has been the Director of several health programs within Australian and Asia and is a passionate teacher and tutor

Parita Shah

M.Sc Horticulture, B.Sc Horticulture, Cert in Greenhouse management

Parita has a Masters Degree in Horticulture specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic crops and Organic farming. She has worked as a freelance consultant, and in an Avocado nursery in NSW as grafting and preparing avocado clones.

Mitchell Skiller

Assoc. Dip. In Horticulture, Cert IV in Training and Assessment.

Mitchell has had over 25 year’s experience in the Horticultural Industry. He has held positions as a supervising horticulturist, landscaper, consultant, and a business owner growing cut flowers, specialising in tropicals.

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