From vine to wine: GOTAFE Diplomas boosting local wine industry careers.
Australia is home to some of the best wine growing regions across the world - but have you ever stopped to think about how your wine goes from grape to glass?
Victoria is home to 21 wine growing regions and over 700 winemakers. In 2015, the Victorian wine industry directly contributed $7.6b to the Victorian economy, as well as providing jobs for 13,000 people.
Across the industry, interest in and demand for qualified viticulturists and winemakers is at an all-time high.
GOTAFE is the only TAFE in Victoria who offer diplomas in Viticulture (AHC51519) and Wine Technology (10614NAT), both of which are delivered part time and mostly online, making them an idea fit for those wanting to learn while working.
Fiona Wigg is a trainer at GOTAFE delivering the Diploma in Viticulture, and says that the benefits of undertaking one of GOTAFE’s specialist wine courses is huge.
“These courses give students the necessary skills to work in a winery, either as a qualified assistant winemaker or an owner-operator,” Ms Wigg said. “In our wine technology diploma, they are exposed to winemaking practices such as supervising grape intake, barrel work and blending.”
“These courses allow students to network within the wine industry, and exposes them to a range of winemaking practices,” Ms Wigg said.
Wendy Killeen, Managing Director & Brand Ambassador at Stanton and Killeen Wines in Rutherglen, appreciates the importance of understanding the industry and the knowledge behind making great wine. “Classroom study, along with onsite training is an excellent way to learn,” she said.
“There is a shortage of qualified and committed people in the employment pool in the wine industry across the north east of Victoria,” Ms Killeen said. “The importance of cohesion between education organisations and industry requires a stronger focus.”
Winemaker and Vineyard Manager Mark McNamara, who recently completed his Diploma of Viticulture, knows just how important it is to understand what farming practices assist in producing good wine.
Four years ago, Mark and his wife, Kirralee purchased what is now a boutique winery in Coal River Valley, Tasmania. It was during this time that Mark realised he wanted to further explore his passion for all things wine.
“The GOTAFE course really helped me understand what managing the vineyard would require, and filled in some technical gaps in my knowledge,” Mark said. “I certainly found the practical components of the course very useful.”
From grape production to soil and crop management, Mark knew he was equipping himself with the knowledge and by the end, felt that he got a lot out of the course. “It was challenging – but that was what I needed,” he said.
With Mark experiencing “a lot of interest” in the Tasmanian wine industry, he reminisces fondly on the knowledge he has acquired through a range of educational activities, be it lab work or visiting local vineyards.
The wine courses on offer at GOTAFE enable students to delve into the industry and will equip them with the necessary tools for wine production. Enrolments are now open, with both diplomas commencing in September 2021.