If you are thinking about what to do with the rest of your life, or advising someone what to study at university, then think about studying wine.
I just handed in my final piece of college work on Monday of this week, a twelve-page analysis on wine sensory evaluation. Last week, after spending many frustrated hours shouting at my computer, I handed in the last of the posters I have had to produce this year, this one was on budburst of UK grown grapevine cultivars. Despite my almost luddite aversion to technology, my poor concentration span and the complete lack of knowledge about plants, soils, vines and wine production, the last two years studying Wine Production at Plumpton College have been absolutely brilliant.
Two years ago, I knew I liked wine. I’d drunk a lot of it, but I had no idea how it was produced, I could barely remember the biology I was taught at school, and chemistry was a very distant memory.
Over the last two years, we have been taught grapevine biology, chemistry and botany and soil science. We have learnt about different wines and spirits of the world, which involved lots of tasting! We spent many days in the college vineyards picking grapes, pruning vines, fixing trellising and planting vines. We learnt about different trellising systems and how to identify the various pests and diseases that affect grapevines. This year we have learnt how to make wine and we spent a day a week in the college winery, pressing grapes, racking and fermenting, fining, filtering, blending and bottling, and recently disgorging, corking and labeling the college wines ready for sale.
Earth filtering in the Plumpton College winery
Plumpton College is the only place in the UK that you can study wine production or wine business and the courses are excellent.
More importantly, if you can learn about wine and wine production YOU could be involved in a whole new emerging wine industry in the UK.
At Rathfinny we will be employing over thirty full time skilled people to work in our vineyards and winery. We need people with the skills necessary to tend the vines, make wine and sell it. We are not alone. There are various other vineyards being established in the South East of England who also require skilled staff.
I expect very strong growth in the English wine industry – there are even some crazy people growing grapes in walled gardens near Sheffield!
The simple facts are that we import over 1.8 billion bottles of wine per annum. We consume nearly 5 million bottles per day. However, we only produce about 5 million bottles per annum in the UK! Our climate has improved and with the right skills we could make more and even better quality wine. In particular we are now making some of the best quality sparkling wine in the world. Last week, Sam Linter at Bolney Vineyard won a ‘Gold Outstanding’ award for their Chardonnay Sparkling in the International Wine and Spirits Competition beating the likes of Moet and Taittinger. In fact English wine producers have won more awards for their sparkling wine than any other country in the world over the last eight years.
So if you want a job, learn about wine. This is a whole new and exciting industry that requires enthusiastic, skilled people.
Link to the Plumpton College website: http://www.plumpton.ac.uk/courselist.aspx?PageClass=Course&DepartmentID=46&DepartmentName=Wine