STUDY VITICULTURE FROM HOME
Ten lessons covering the history of viticulture, the current state of the industry, wine and table grapes, dried grapes, cultural practices (trellising, soils, planting, pruning, irrigation, pests & diseases); vineyard design, improving quality, harvest & post harvest procedures, wine making, marketing and much much more.
To develop an ability to select and cultivate appropriate varieties of grapes in different situations, and provide the knowledge to make informed decisions about the management of a vineyard
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. There are ten lessons as follows:
1. Introduction Describe the nature and scope of the Viticulture industry both locally and world wide.
Includes: global viticulture; major wine growing areas around the world; the grape; genera and species; root stocks; classification of grape varieties; table grapes; wine grapes; dried fruit; juice grapes; canned grapes.
2. Climate & Soils: Identify suitable climate and soil conditions for vineyard site establishment
Includes: 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: Select and evaluate appropriate grape varieties for different situations.
Includes: grape types; selection considerations; what to plant; matching the variety with the site; varietal characteristics; selecting wine grapes; yield; varieties; chenin blanc; chardonnay; semillion; muscat ottonel; muscadelle; gewurztraminer; cabernet sauvignon; carignan; vitis rotundifolia; wine grapes; raisin grapes; juice grapes, the importance of rootstocks; purchasing plants; phylloxera.
4. Vineyard Establishment: Develop a procedure to establish a vineyard.
Includes: establishing a new 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): Specify the techniques used in the culture of grape vines (Training & Pruning Grapevines).
Includes: pruning and training vines, shoot spacing; bud numbers; vine spacing; how much to prune; machine pruning; summer pruning; combination pruning; pruning sultana vines; trellising; 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): Specify the techniques used in the culture of grape vines (Weed, Pest & Disease Control).
Includes: weeds, pest and disease control, weeds in vineyeards; controlling weeds; safety procedures when using agricultural chemicals; laws and guidelines; types of chemicals (14); weed management in vineyards; 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 leaf folder; grapevine rust mite; grape blossom midge; flea beetles; birds; large animals; disease control in vineyards; fungal diseases; rots; mildew; eutypa dieback; bacterial diseases; viruses; organic culture of grapes; organic pest and disease control; companion plants; environmental problems including air, water, damage, frost, hail, wind and shade; water management; runoff; water saving; grape clones and varieties.
7. Grapevine Culture Part C (Irrigation & Feeding): Specify the techniques used in the culture of grape vines (Irrigation & Feeding).
Includes: 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; soil conditions; drainage in vineyards; improving subsoil and surface drainage; subsurface drainage; soil fertility; choice of fertilizer; timing of application; fertigation.
8. Improving Grape Quality: Explain different ways to ensure or improve grape quality.
Includes: plant stock, crop management; post harvest impact on quality; improving flower and fruit set; second set; girdling; berry thinning.
9. Harvesting & Selling : Specify procedure for harvest and post-harvest treatment and formulate market strategy for vineyard products.
Includes: harvesting; testing for ripeness; influence of weather; harvesting techniques; selling grapes; vineyard resume; selling grapes; contracts; selling online; marketing; developing a marketing plan; advertising; market research; legalities.
10 .Wine: Explain the basic principles of wine making.
Includes: basic production; overview of wine making process; basic production principles; fermentation; making white wine, making red wine; methods.
- Choose an appropriate site for a vineyard.
- Simple Soil tests
- Measuring ph
- 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.
: 100 hours
We estimate that most students will complete the course in three to six months. But this will depend on the amount of time you have available for studying.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THIS COURSE
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.
“Want to enter the grape growing industry or start a vineyard? This would have to be one of the most comprehensive courses around. Be prepared to be challenged!”
- Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor
"In the 21st century wines produced from much newer viticultural countries are making a big impact on world markets. Examples include the Napa Valley in the United States as well as southern hemisphere nations such as Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia."
Wine consumption and production went into decline in the UK hundreds of years ago when Henry VIII destroyed the English monasteries; and inadvertently dislocated the monks who knew how to make wine.
England and many former English colonies have been rediscovering wine since World War II; and in doing so, demand for wine in many of these countries has been growing rapidly.
This situation has presented many people with an economic opportunity. Added to this, emerging economies (eg. China) with an increasing disposable income, are also developing a taste for wine.
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
In the UK, the most successful grape growing regions are located in the south and west. However, other regions could produce good crops providing the viticulturist is equipped with suitable knowledge and a strong desire to grow good vines. Possibly, British production has historically been curtailed by the availability of good grapes and excellent wine from ‘The Continent.’ The small commercial viticulturist and informed home enthusiast may find success where others have failed. Inadequate sugar development and disease problems have been stumbling blocks in the past. Appropriate site selection and preparation and good varietal choices can overcome many of these problems.
Indoor vine production is also a viable option in the UK and other areas with similar climates. Well-conditioned and managed soils can alleviate many disease problems and the environmental control offered by glasshouses can extend the opportunity for sufficient ripening. Specific production techniques are required for indoor production, particularly in regards to vine pruning and support. Container-grown vines can give the grower the option of moving plants indoors or outdoors to take advantage of favourable conditions
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