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Time to harvest info on wine industry education
Okanagan College Media Release

People whose appetite for a career in the wine and grape growing industries have been whetted by the Okanagan’s Fall Wine Festival or the growth in the industry may want to add another date to their calendars: Oct. 11.

Okanagan College is holding an information session from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. that will focus on its wine and viticulture programs: everything ranging from winemaker’s assistant certificate to wine sales and a degree partnership with Brock University for would-be winemakers. The session will be held in Rm. PC 204 of the Penticton campus.

“There is a tremendous interest in these fields and we have a variety of programs that will benefit those who have career plans centred around the industry,” explains Jennifer Gorman, Associate Director of Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department.

“We attract students from throughout B.C. and as far away as, Quebec, California, Washington, England and instructors from Australia,” Gorman said. “You can find graduates of our programs in many of the province’s wineries, in a variety of roles, including winemakers and proprietors.”

To register online for the information night, call 250-492-4305 or email

Details about programs offered by Okanagan College:

Students in the Winery Assistant Certificate program develop both theoretical skills and in-depth technical knowledge of the wine industry. The program is comprised of 258 hours of classroom instruction and 50 hours of practicum in a winery. Course work emphasizes:

•    Scientific principles underlying grape and wine production
•    Influences on wine quality
•    Terminology
•    Winery equipment operation and maintenance
•    Harvest and crush
•    Sanitation and safety
•    Sensory evaluation of wines
•    Marketing and sales practices
•    50-hour practicum at a winery

Students in the Viticulture Assistant Certificate program develop theoretical skills in class that are applied through hands-on practical training in a variety of vineyards in the area.  The program is comprised of 276 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of work experience in a vineyard.  Course work emphasizes:

    Scientific principles underlying grape growing and the purpose of wine production
•    The various influences on grape quality
    Vineyard management including human resource and financial management
    Vineyard equipment operation, maintenance and safety
    40 hour practicum in a vineyard

The Wine Sales Certificate program prepares students for work in wine shops and as sales agents for estate, commercial and farm wineries. The program is comprised of 147 hours of coursework and 30 hours of practicum in the industry. Course work emphasizes:

•    An introduction to grape growing and winemaking
•    An overview of legal regulations and standards within the industry
•    Marketing and sales strategy
•    Knowledge of wine shop management
•    Winery promotions
•    30 hour practicum in the industry