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Online Winemaking Course from Washington State University
Terry Sullivan

Washington State University online winemaking classThere are several but not many opportunities to learn about wine. I wanted a course that had more content than introductory classes offer. Frequently certificate programs focus on rote memorization of geographic areas and the tasting profiles of the wines produced in those regions and that was not what I wanted. I needed a course that offered a view of specific winemaking concepts. This led me to Washington State University Extension that offers several online courses in both winemaking and grape growing.

Kathy and I are making wine in a barrel at a Virginia winery and another barrel at a Maryland winery as well as in carboys at home. I was interested in taking a course through a university and discovered that WSU offers online courses. I signed up for the winemaking course and began the first couple of lessons during the spring.

One has a year to complete the course. Discovering that the course included a heavy dose of science and some math, I put it off until the fall when I would be in wineries. When the instructor discussed brix, pH and TA, I could measure those in a lab. This made more sense to take the course while you could see and do much of what was discussed in a winery.

Who should take the WSU online winemaking course? This course is geared for someone working in a winery who hasn’t had college level courses in winemaking. Some people who are making wine at a custom crush facility could also benefit from this course, as would some home winemakers. The content is about producing wine at wineries and does not use the supplies or quantity that home winemakers usually use. I wouldn’t suggest this course for wine enthusiasts unless they have a good science and math background. The course makes more sense if you have access to a winery and its lab. Learning how much calcium carbonate to add to your acidic must may not be very interesting to a wine enthusiast.

The course consists of seven lectures. Each lecture includes a presentation that can be downloaded and printed. The instructor narrates while a slide is on screen. If you print all the lectures you will need a 1½” binder to place them into. The lecture topics included:
     Overview of winemaking and determining ripeness
     Preparation of musts and juice
     Secondary fermentation
     Finishing up: barreling, clarification, blending and bottling
     White wines
     Red wines

The course costs $200. I thought it was worth the price. Everyone would need to determine if the content would be a correct match for him or her.

If interested in learning about the specific lectures, read the blog posts at the winemaking.winetrailtraveler site.


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