From vineyard to glass
By Brad Lister
If the number of wineries has more than doubled in the last five or six years, who is teaching all those new winemakers the a,b,c's of the business?
Professors at Brock University, that's who. As of July 1997 the Oenology and Viticulture Institute began teaching students the fine art of winemaking and grape growing.
Andrew Reynolds, a professor at the institute, says the majority of students enrolled in the program either have an educational background from different areas of biology or have science-related degrees already.
The program is a four-year honours program in biology, says Reynold, but those enrolled will graduate with a special distinction to their degrees.
Currently there are 12 people in their second year and 20 people in their first year of the course. "It's specifically being limited at the moment because even though the industry is growing it is still a small industry," he adds.
The program teaches students all the basics of winemaking so they can try their hand at the process, but it will also give them a background solid enough to enable them to start their own wineries. The program includes an experimental learning component as well, that is not for a credit, where students can get practical experience in field placements.
Right now there are only two full-time faculty members teaching in the program, Reynolds included. There are other professors who have come in to teach courses like a first-year introduction to wine course. Reynolds adds though, "We are looking ahead."
Planning for the future includes recruiting students from all over the world. They also want to be able to provide graduates who would be qualified to work across the globe. "It is a major world industry," says Reynolds.
The first graduates of the new course will be part of the class of the year 2000.