The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Otago Polytechnic introducing free wine industry programme

Otago Polytechnic has announced its Cromwell Campus will roll out a programme specialising in commercial wine cellar operations early next year.

The New Zealand Certificate in Cellar Operations (Level 3) is designed for people either working in a winery at an entry level, or wanting to enter the wine industry.

Part of the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), which covers tuition fees and student levies, the full-time programme begins on 17 January 2020 and runs for 17 weeks.

Although they will be based at the Central Otago Campus, learners will complete off-site and workplace learning, enabling them to gain important practical skills within a real-world setting.

Work placements will take place in a variety of sustainably-accredited wineries.

Initially offered by Competenz in June 2015, the Level 3 Cellar Operations programme was further developed by Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).

Otago Polytechnic has been collaborating with NMIT since 2020, with the aim of delivering the programme to support the Central Otago wine industry.

Otago Polytechnic Cellar Operations Lecturer Dr Stephanie Lambert says the New Zealand wine industry supports more than 16,500 full-time jobs.

“It can be difficult to recruit the necessary skilled people locally, so it is great that the industry is supporting this initiative to train and upskill in our region,” she says.

“The cellar operations course will give a broad teaching in New Zealand wine varieties, sensory evaluation and practical application, along with health and safety and team dynamics.

“The wine industry is innovative, collaborative and allows for many career pathways.

“In my 25 years in the industry, from research, cellar and lab operations to winemaking, I have been exposed to many different operations, both here in New Zealand and around the world.

“I am excited to use my extensive winemaking experience to teach and guide interested people to start or enhance their careers in this rewarding and varied industry.”

The New Zealand Certificate in Cellar Operations (Level 3) programme covers:

  • The wine industry, wine-making processes, plant and equipment
  • Legislation, regulatory, food safety and workplace and personal health and safety requirements
  • How to work effectively in a team when transferring wine to meet production requirements
  • How to complete routine cellar operation tasks
  • NZ wine varieties, styles and growing regions
  • Basic sensory evaluation of wine
  • Processes used to “finish” wines (stabilisation, fining, filtration, blending, maturation, barrels, packaging, bottling)

For more information on the programme, click here.

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