Viticulture and Wine Studies

Female student tasting wine and reading a viticulture studies book

Wine and wine tourism are driving economic growth in the Okanagan region. There are emerging opportunities to start new businesses and provide innovative services. To support expansion in the wine industry, there is an increasing need for employees who understand all its aspects, from the essentials of grape growing and the science of winemaking through to wine and winery sales and marketing. 

The Golden Vines® Indigenous Viticulture Scholarship

Up to six $5,000 scholarships are available for Indigenous learners entering Okanagan College’s full-time Viticulture Certificate January to March 2023.  

This hands-on program will help you gain the skills to farm a vineyard or seek employment in wine production. 

In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from knowable and well-connected Indigenous mentors from the industry who will help you develop professional networks.   

The Golden Vines Indigenous Viticulture Scholarship Program is generously funded by the Gérard Basset Foundation. The program is one of 15 worldwide pilot projects to receive funding to increase diversity in the wine industry. 

The Golden Vines® Indigenous Viticulture Scholarship will cover the $3,459 tuition fees of the Viticulture Certificate. The fees will be paid as a tuition credit once registered, rather than directly to the student. The remaining $1,541 will support other costs incurred during the certificate program – for example, registration and enrollment fees, purchase of materials and supplies, personal protective equipment, or other personal expenses like travel or childcare.  

Each Indigenous learner will be connected with an Indigenous mentor who works in the wine industry. The mentor will support the learners through their educational journey and transition to employment. 

The Viticulture Certificate takes places on Okanagan College’s Penticton Campus from January to March 2023.  

The Viticulture program provides individuals with the skills and knowledge to manage a vineyard or seek employment in viticulture. Course work will emphasize the scientific principles underlying grape growing for the purpose of wine production, the various influences on grape quality, terminology, vineyard management including human resource and financial management, vineyard equipment operation and maintenance, and safety. The program consists of 267 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of work experience at a vineyard.

The curriculum draws on Indigenous cultural frameworks 

  • Land-based classes – visiting the different regions with an emphasis on hands-on learning as opposed to lecture based. 
  • Alternative assessments based on talking circles in place of quizzes. 
  • Inclusion of Indigenous names and phrases for plates, the land and techniques 
  • Use of Chap'tk’s (traditional stories) to supplement the course material 
  • Seasonal relations to local Indigenous understandings 
  • The ability to retake final exams without penalty and exam aids 

To be eligible to apply for The Golden Vines® Indigenous Viticulture Scholarship, students will self-declare as having First Nation status/non-status, Métis or Inuit ancestry.  

Requirements* include:  

  • Grade 12 or equivalent.  
  • English 12 with minimum 50% or alternatives. 
  • 19 years or older at the time of admission to the program 

*Supports are in place for participants who do not meet the requirements. These will be addressed on a per case basis with our Admissions and Indigenous Services team. 

The scholarship will cover the $30 registration and $200 deposit fees. Additional supports* to aid in participant success are available.  

For further information and to apply for The Golden Vines® Indigenous Viticulture Scholarship, please contact Kristine Clarkson -

Deadline to apply for the scholarship is Jan 9, 2023.

Explore our programs

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  • Full program offered
  • Partial program offered
  • Credential
  • International students

New Micro-credential

Vineyard Establishment and Sustainability Micro-Credential

Plan, develop, plant and maintain vineyards as part of a viticulture team. Understand the fundamentals of "vine to wine" concept, focusing on canopy establishment, integrated pest management, irrigation and water technology - while learning cutting edge sustainable practices within the commercial vineyards. Part-time online theory is combined with a two-week, experiential viticulture lab.

Meet your instructors

Christine Leroux

Winery Assistant Instructor
Campus: Penticton

Mireille Sauve

Wine 21 Instructor
Campus: Penticton

Mireille Sauve

Lucas Whittall

Wine Sales Instructor
Campus: Penticton

Alison Moyes

Winery Assistant Instructor
Campus: Penticton

winery assistant instructor

Elaine Vickers

Winery Assistant Instructor
Campus: Penticton


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For Viticulture and Wine Studies inquiries

Contact 250-492-4305, ext. 3206 or