Considering the vast history of Italian wine, it should come as no surprise that a number of universities, both domestically and throughout the world, carry classes dedicated to this wonderful drink. In some cases, there are entire courses that revolve around Italian and international wines, allowing you to develop an in-depth knowledge about the industry that produces the wines that you love the most.
Of course, for the novice student it can often be a little difficult to determine exactly what such courses have to offer. After all, it is easy to figure out what you are going to be taught if you take a Math or Biology class, but it may be a little more difficult for the inexperienced to get their heads around what they may be taught when studying wine at university.
Here we will take a look at some of the subjects that you are likely to study as part of the course, or that may be available as individual classes that you can take in addition to your major focus.
You simply cannot talk about the Italian winemaking industry without paying homage to the great and storied history that has helped to build it into the behemoth that it is today. From the days of the Renaissance, when many winemakers were also extremely important movers and shakers in the regions that they called home, through to more modern times, where you will cover issues like the Barolo Wars and the rise of the Super Tuscans, the history of winemaking is packed with interesting events that you will be able to explore.
A good course may show you some of the most important events in the historical development of the industry. It will cover everything from the days of the early vineyards that were introduced into the country by the Greeks and Etruscans, through to the founding of some of the winemakers that have grown to legendary status in the modern day, right through to modern history and the emergence of many more producers. There is simply so much ground to cover and you could spend days of classes learning about it all.
Vineyards, Growing and Harvesting
Moving away from the historical, many wine courses also place a focus on the more practical aspects of the industry, allowing you to get an inside view of what goes into the growing and harvesting of the grapes that are used to make the wines that you love. For people with an interest in agriculture, or simply those who want to find out who the whole process works, this can make for extremely interesting lessons.
You will learn about different types of grapes, when it is best to harvest them and why. You may also learn about more complex subjects, such as purposefully allowing the grape to grow past the point of ideal ripeness, so that it can be used to add more texture and complexity to a bottle of wine. Finally, you will find out about the effects that the terrain and the local weather have on the growth of a grape and why it is that certain regions only used certain grape varieties. Italian wine as an industry is so popular, in part, because of the enormous amount of variety that it offers and this part of a course will show you just how big a part grapes have to play in this.
The Business Side
Of course, the Italian wine industry would not be where it is today without winemakers developing solid business strategies to ensure that their wines get out there and attain the popularity that creates the demand that allows them to stay in business. At the end of the day, Italian wine is a business and it is one that has been vitally important to the Italian economy for centuries.
As part of your course you may start to learn a little bit about the business of Italian wine and the methods that many of the great producers have used, both in the past and the present, to ensure the success of their productions. After all, you can have the greatest wine in the world but it won’t mean much if you aren’t able to develop an audience for it. You will learn how the industry adjusts to international tastes, particular after the internet allowed Italian wine to be accessible to everybody, and how modern trends are going to shape the industry for a number of years to come.
The Things That Make a Wine Great
You may have heard of the term ‘sommelier’ before and may even be aware that many of these men and women run courses of their own. Simply put, they are experts in the industry of wine and are the go-to people when you want to find out what makes a wine tick, why it is of a high quality and what work has been put into its composition that allows it to stand out against the competition.
Simply put, they are experts when it comes to tasting and appreciating wine, which is a job description that most people here would love to have. Of course, that also oversimplifies things, as sommeliers will also have vast amounts of knowledge about the history of the industry and the state of the current environment, but a grounding in identifying what makes a wine, such as the initial notes in the scent through to those found when the wine is tasted, is extremely important. During your course you may start to learn a little bit more about this aspect of wine tasting, allowing you to identify what has gone into the wine’s creation and ensuring you understand a little more about the science behind the industry.
The Final Word
University courses related to wine are becoming increasingly popular. There are already a number of places in Italy where you can go and study about various aspects of the industry, and that trend seems to be spreading internationally. They are the perfect starting point for people who want to gain a foothold in the industry but don’t know where to start.