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Vaccination requirement

We require all students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Learn more and read the latest COVID-19 update from NSCC.

Cool Climate Wine and Viticulture

Gain the skills and knowledge to innovate and advance the wine and wine tourism sector of Atlantic Canada.

A man in a black and red plaid shirt harvesting grapes by hand with a small tool.
Start Date:
January
Typical Length:
1 Year
Credential:
Certificate

Apply Now

Overview

Explore the ever-expanding wine industry, from the essentials of growing grapes to the science of wine making to the business of tourism, sales and marketing.

You develop a range of skills and knowledge in the dynamic environment of wine and viticulture, including vineyard management techniques and harvesting, winery equipment operation and maintenance, wine production and sensory evaluation and best marketing and sales practices.

Work experience

  • Work placement is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility.
    • Many employers have a COVID-19 vaccination requirement, which can impact your work experience course. It is your responsibility to understand and be prepared to meet employer vaccination requirements before beginning your placement.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • Kingstec Campus has Atlantic Canada's first and only commercial teaching winery facilities.
  • You learn the theory and practical aspects of the program through our on-site teaching and learning vineyard, winery, wine-analysis lab, student-run restaurant and greenhouse – all located in Nova Scotia's thriving grape-growing industry.
  • You get the chance to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom with industry experts in the grape growing and wine making sectors.
  • You have the opportunity to gain experience by working at special functions held on- and off-campus each year.
  • You're supported by expert faculty who bring strong industry connections and years of experience to the classroom.
  • Small class sizes provide you with one-on-one interaction with faculty, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to apply your learning, ask questions and share knowledge.
  • This program places high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. You participate in a number of introductory safety awareness courses to prepare for employment.

Other info

  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.

2022-23 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

January 2022

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Kingstec Campus Kentville Full time In-class In-classDelivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Waitlist

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details
  • Applicants must be 19 years of age or older before classes begin.

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.
  • Forklift Awareness
  • Pesticide Safety Certification
  • Serve Right, Responsible Beverage Server Training

Tuition

2022-23 tuition will be announced in the late Spring once approved by the government of Nova Scotia. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. Amounts below were for the 2021-22 academic year.

Tuition (Domestic):
$3,620
Tuition (International):
$11,690

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates are sought after in the industry and are qualified to enter positions such as vineyard assistants, wine maker assistants, cellar workers and winery lab technicians.
  • Graduates also enter the sector in retail and experiential tourism roles as tasting bar hosts, wine sales associates, and wine marketing specialists.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you can apply to earn credit. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

BIOL 1025 - Biology for Viticulture
Students will examine fundamental plant functions and processes, anatomy, morphology and physiology of grape vines and will begin to develop their Botanical vocabulary. Hands on activities in the greenhouse will be incorporated in the course including dissection and propagation of plants.

BUSI 1090 - Introduction to the Wine Industry in Nova Scotia
This course provides an introduction to one of the province’s fastest growing industries: the Nova Scotia wine industry. Students engage in both classroom and offsite visits to Nova Scotia wineries to better understand how they operate as businesses in both the wine and tourism industries. Students develop an understanding of the soil and climates that create the distinctive premium-quality grapes in the region. They will also begin to appreciate, identify and distinguish the grape varietals and the award winning wines that are crafted here in the province. Nova Scotia wine organizations, wine tour operators and the wineries themselves are examined in addition to the legislation that governs the provincial wine industry.

COMM 1227 - Communications I
This course provides the student with an overview of the communication skills required by business and industry. Students will learn to apply these communication skills to be successful in their selected workplace setting.

COMM 1228 - Communications II
This course further develops essential communications skills with a focus on basic writing. This course provides the student with the opportunity to develop written work typical of the industry related to their program of study.

HLAN 3006 - Integrated Pest Management
This course introduces the concepts and control methods for a holistic approach to Integrated Pest Management, learning to identify and solve plant health problems. Learners will be introduced to pests and their impacts on the economic and aesthetic value of horticultural and landscape plants.

MKTG 1150 - Wine Marketing and Sales
Learners will be introduced to concepts of sales and marketing and their application in the wine industry. Wineshop and direct sales strategies will be investigated. Learners will develop marketing plans directed towards wines made at the Teaching Winery.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1020 - Introduction to Confined Space
The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with confined spaces. The definition and associated hazards of confined space are discussed as well as methods of confined space rescue. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1022 - Introduction to Fall Arrest and Protection
The learner is introduced to fall protection, fall prevention and fall arrest concepts and responsibilities at the workplace. Guardrails, travel restraints, roof work, fall arrest components will be discussed and the learner will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the use of selected equipment. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

VITI 1005 - Planning and Establishing the Vineyard
This course introduces learners to essential concepts of planning and setting up a vineyard in Atlantic Canada. Students will also begin to develop essential skills in early vineyard preparation, such as site preparation, planting, trellis installation and maintenance, and basic pruning techniques. The course delivery will include a site design and evaluation project and observation of the characteristics of local vineyards, including the College’s teaching vineyard. Discussion and research will develop an appreciation of organic versus conventional approaches. Skills will be developed through hands-on practice in early season vineyard maintenance tasks and pruning methods.

VITI 1105 - Canopy and Vineyard Health Management
This course introduces canopy management, pest and disease control and vineyard nutrition. With intentional consideration to the growing season in Atlantic Canada, learners will perform vineyard tasks in a precise and timely manner to ensure production of premium quality grapes. Knowledge and skill development will involve a combination of theoretical and practical lessons focused on early- to mid-season vineyard maintenance and operation. Students will be prepared to critically assess and implement conventional and organic practices.

VITI 1205 - Vineyard Harvest and Post Harvest Maintenance
This course completes the introduction to unique cool climate viticulture practices in Atlantic Canada. Topics discussed will include wildlife management, grape harvest, and vineyard winterization. Learners will build on previously acquired knowledge and skills of vineyard maintenance as applied during the final stages of the growing season. Continued exploration of viticulture theory and hands-on practice in the teaching vineyard will develop knowledge and skills for grape monitoring, harvest decisions, and post-harvest tasks. Upon completion of this course, the learner will be encouraged to reflect on the complete growing cycle.

VITI 1960 - Viticulture Practicum I
This is the first of three practicum placements within the program. Work-integrated learning provides the learner with an opportunity to apply skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the occupation. During this three-week placement, learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

VITI 1965 - Viticulture Practicum II
This is the second of three practicum placements within the program. Work-integrated learning provides the learner with an opportunity to apply skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the occupation. During this five-week placement, learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

VITI 1969 - Viticulture Practicum III
This is the final placement of three within the program. Work-integrated learning provides the learner with an opportunity to apply skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the occupation. During this six-week placement, learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

WINE 1010 - Cellar Operations
This course introduces learners to the NSCC Teaching Winery and familiarizes them with safe equipment operation. Learners will investigate cellar and laboratory operations used in a modern winery. The class will make final wine blends from a bulk wine inventory including sensory evaluation, stabilization and lab analysis. The class will also learn how to make an Icewine from grapes frozen on the vines of the NSCC Educational Vineyard. Learners will develop their sensory evaluation skills by assessing wine faults.

WINE 1110 - Aging and Bottling Wine
Learners will develop an understanding of wine aging and its effects on wine quality. The class will bottle several styles of wine made at the NSCC Teaching Winery including traditional method sparkling and they will develop label content. The class will evaluate and disgorge tiraged sparkling wines.

WINE 1210 - Grape Processing and Fermentation
This course provides detailed knowledge of harvest, grape processing and fermentation. The class will make several styles of wines from grapes from the NSCC Educational Vineyard and learners will complete an individual small lot wine project.

In addition to required courses, learners are required to complete prescribed electives for a total of 60 hours (1 unit).

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