Courses of Study 2015-2016 
    Jan 23, 2019  
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Viticulture and Enology

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .


Course Offerings  

The juice and wine grape industry is expanding rapidly in New York State, creating opportunities for experts in grape-growing (viticulture), wine-making (enology), wine marketing, and other related scientific fields. In recent years there has been a shortage of qualified personnel to manage vineyards and wineries.

Cornell’s Viticulture and Enology major is creating the next generation of leaders for the wine-grape industry in New York, nationally, and internationally. Its primary focus is on cool climate grapes and wines, addressing the unique challenges of climates, soils, new and traditional grape varieties, and marketing estate-grown wines. The major offers two concentrations: (1) the Viticulture concentration is for those primarily interested in grape growing, and (2) the Enology concentration emphasizes wine production. The curriculum for both concentrations includes many courses in common, and the major provides a strong foundation in the physical and biological sciences. College distribution requirements ensure a broad educational background for all students. For students with an interest in wine business, there is the option to take additional business courses or to complete a minor.

The Viticulture and Enology Program maintains extensive research/teaching vineyards near the Ithaca campus, providing students with hands-on experience producing grapes for juice or fermentation in the enology courses. The teaching winery is located on the Ithaca campus in Stocking Hall, enabling students to learn grape processing, wine-making, and chemical analysis of grapes and wines. The program’s vineyards include more than 30 wine and table grape varieties, including native American grapes, French-American hybrid grapes, and most of the major European vinifera-type grapes.

The major is closely linked with New York wineries throughout the state, and student internships at these vineyards and wineries are an integral part of the curriculum. Most classes have fewer than 20 students, providing ample opportunities for student/faculty interactions and involvement of undergraduate students in faculty research and outreach programs. In addition, students have access to extension and research activities in viticulture and enology at several research stations, academic departments, and facilities at Cornell University.

Special highlights of this major include:

  • Regional focus on the special challenges and opportunities of viticulture and enology in New York and cool-climate areas worldwide
  • Hands-on teaching vineyards and a student winery at the Ithaca campus
  • Flexibility to add electives from Applied Economics and Management, the School of Hotel Administration, and other Cornell colleges and units
  • The program draws on the resources of Cornell’s Geneva Campus at the New York State Agriculture Experiment Station. The station includes the USDA-ARS germplasm repository for cool-climate grapes and Cornell’s state-of-the-art vinification and brewing technology laboratory.

For more information, visit:


K. Arnink, D. Bershaw, A. Landers, G. English-Loeb, T. Martinson, G. Sacks, J. Vanden Heuvel, W. Wilcox

Foundation Courses:

This component of the major provides a strong foundation in the basic life sciences. Many of these courses (listed below) will also contribute to completion of CALS distribution requirements.

  • General inorganic and organic chemistry with lab
  • Two semester of biology with lab
  • Microbiology
  • Introductory botany
  • Plant function and growth
  • Food analysis
  • Statistics

Core Viticulture and Enology Courses:

All students are required to complete at least one internship in the wine or grape industry and are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research programs on campus. In New York State alone, more than 270 wineries and 1,100 vineyards are enthusiastic about working with students and hosting interns.

Several Viticulture and Enology major courses include:

The Minor:

Through a minor in Viticulture and Enology, students will learn the essential natural history and biology of wine grapes, systems, and technologies of grape and wine production, as well as the basic chemistry of grape and wine analysis. Those interested in pursuing a minor in Viticulture and Enology need to complete at least 14 credits.