New winemaking course to be trialled
‘‘At this stage we are very keen to pilot this and see how it goes even with a small number [of students].’’
Thinking about wine while studying is acceptable, if not expected, in Blenheim. Well, at one course anyway. The Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is trialling a new course next year and it’s all about making wine.
NMIT deputy head of department for primary industries Sue Blackmore said the six-month entry level course was designed to give students a taste of the wine industry.
‘‘Basically it’s a chance for them to understand the basics of winemaking,’’ she said.
Students would learn how to process grapes, manage vintage operations, carry out wine production and the procedures to follow during a harvest.
Students would earn a certificate in cellar operations for completing the programme.
The course was recognised as a level 3 qualification.
‘‘The whole idea is to try and facilitate a way in [to the industry] for new people,’’ she said.
The course was being trialled as a pilot course in 2018 and would provide students with the opportunity to develop their teamwork skills.
‘‘At this stage we are very keen to pilot this and see how it goes even with a small number [of students],’’ Blackmore said.
‘‘We’re not looking for huge classes. We wouldn’t be taking any more than 10 or 12 [students] initially.’’
Blackmore said the low unemployment rate in Marlborough would mean students entering the winemaking industry would face good prospects.
‘‘There is zero unemployment virtually in Marlborough at the moment,’’ Blackmore said.
Marlborough was going through near record low unemployment and there was nobody to fill the jobs in the wine industry.
The unemployment rate for Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough/ West Coast was 2.2 per cent in the September 2017 quarter.
The only time the region recorded a lower unemployment rate was September 2004, when it was 1.9 per cent.
The course would involve theory and practical cellar preparation as well as practical work and could lead to further study.
It will start on January 22 and run until July.
NMIT deputy head of department for primary industries Sue Blackmore says the entry level course will offer students a new way into the wine industry.