Study grape production and viticulture, growing, using and selling grapes. Learn how to grow wine and table grapes for career, business or professional development.

Course Code: BHT220
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Start up a Vineyard or Extend your Career Opportunities in Viticulture Industry

Start any time, study at your own pace.

  • For enthusiasts, vineyard workers, anyone wanting to buy or start a vineyard or to get ahead in this field.

There are still opportunities for newcomers in the viticulture industry - niche wine makers for example still have a very bright future. The viticulture industry is also always on the outlook for people who have the skills and knowledge to work within established vineyards.

This course is comprehensive - it gives you lots of experiential learning - practical as well as theoretical skills.

Ten lessons covering the history of viticulture, the current state of the industry, wine and table grapes, dried grapes, how to determine the suitability of a site to grape growing, how to choose the right grapes to suit a region or a site, cultural practices (trellising, soils, planting, pruning, irrigation, pests & diseases); vineyard design, improving quality, harvest & post harvest procedures, winemaking, marketing and more.

ACS Graduate comment:

"[The course] gave me extra knowledge of the industry that I am currently working in. It covered all aspects of the industry. I liked the way you had to work through each lesson/category i received excellent feedback from my tutor. I enjoyed the viticulture course, it has given me extra knowledge that i will use." James McKelvey, Vineyard Manager, Australia, Viticulture course.

Grapes are one of the most important commercial crops in horticulture for the production of fresh fruit, dried fruit, non alcoholic wine or juice, alcoholic wine, spirits and vinegar. The viticulture industry employs people from sub tropical areas to cool temperate localities; and it can be viable to grow grapes on properties as small as less than an acre, to huge estates of hundreds of acres.

This course provides a starting point for learning about serious grape growing; for anyone from the vineyard worker and hobby farmer to someone considering a serious investment or career change into a field they do not yet have a sure and comprehensive understanding of.


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Nature and scope of the Viticulture industry both locally and world wide
    • Global viticulture
    • Major winegrowing areas around the world
    • The grape; genera and species
    • Rootstocks
    • Classification of grape varieties
    • Table grapes
    • Wine grapes
    • Dried fruit
    • Juice grapes
    • Canned grapes
  2. Climate and Soils
    • Suitable climate and soil conditions for vineyard site establishment
    • Temperature; temperature calculations; latitude-temperature index and degree days
    • Sunlight
    • Rainfall
    • Soil; soil types and wine regions; understanding soils; texture; characteristics; soil structure; chemical characteristics of soils including pH and nutrient levels
    • Understanding plant nutrition
    • Soil water content
    • Simple soil tests; naming the soil
    • Problems with soil; erosion; salinity; structural decline; soil acidification; chemical residues.
  3. Selecting Grape Varieties
    • Appropriate grape varieties for different situations.
    • Grape types
    • Selection considerations
    • Matching the variety with the site
    • Varietal characteristics
    • Selecting wine grapes
    • Yeild
    • Reviewing important varieties; chenin blanc; chardonnay; semillion; muscat ottonel; muscadelle; gewurztraminer; cabernet sauvignon; carignan
    • Vitis rotundifolia
    • Wine grapes; raisin grapes; juice grapes
    • Importance of rootstocks
    • Purchasing plants
    • Phylloxera.
  4. Vineyard Establishment
    • Procedure to establish a vineyard.
    • Vineyard planning
    • Site planning
    • Vineyard layout
    • Site preparation
    • Planting the vines
    • Vine spacing
    • Shelter belts
    • Crop infrastructure
    • Equipment
  5. Grapevine Culture Part A (Training & Pruning)
    • Techniques used in the culture of grape vines
    • Pruning and training vines
    • Shoot spacing
    • Bud numbers
    • Vine spacing
    • How much to prune
    • Machine pruning
    • Summer pruning
    • Combination pruning
    • Pruning sultana vines
    • Trellising
    • Trellis construction
    • Guyot system
    • Geneva double curtain system
    • Head training
    • Cordoning
    • Kniffen systems
    • Umbrella kniffen system
    • Pergola training system.
  6. Grapevine Culture Part B (Weeds, Pests & Diseases)
    • Types of Weeds
    • Controlling weeds
    • Safety proceedures when using agricultural chemicals
    • Laws and guidelines
    • Types of chemicals
    • Weed management before planting
    • Weed management in new vineyards
    • Weed management in established vineyards;
    • Integrated pest management
    • Pest control in vineyards
    • Grape berry moth
    • Grape mealy bug
    • Grape leaffolder
    • Grapevine rust mite
    • Grape blossom midge
    • Flea beetles
    • Birds and arge animals
    • Disease control in vineyards
    • Fungal diseases; rots; mildew; dieback etc
    • Bacterial diseases
    • Viruses
    • Organic culture of grapes; organic pest and disease control
    • Companion plants
    • Managing environmental problems including air, water, damage, frost, hail, wind and shade
    • Water mangement; runoff; water saving
    • Grape clones and varieties.
  7. Grapevine Culture Part C (Irrigation and Feeding)
    • Irrigating and feeding grapes
    • Excessive irrigation
    • Seasonal effects of irrigation
    • Drip irrigation
    • Monitoring and timing
    • Feasibility of irrigation
    • Design considerations
    • Soil and water
    • Measuring water available to plants
    • Calculating permanent wilting point
    • Calculating field capacity of a vineyard
    • Available moisture range
    • Measuring air filled porosity
    • Tensiometer
    • Estimating water
    • Rate of growth
    • Climate
    • Drainage in vineyards; improving subsoil and surface drainage; subsurface drainage
    • Soil fertility; choice of fertilizer; timing of application; fertigation.
  8. Improving Grape Quality
    • Ways to ensure or improve grape quality.
    • Plant stock
    • Crop management
    • Post harvest impact on quality
    • Improving flower and fruit set
    • Second set
    • Girdling
    • Berry thinning.
  9. Harvesting and Selling
    • Procedure for harvest and post-harvest treatment
    • Harvesting
    • Testing for ripeness
    • Influence of weather
    • Harvesting techniques
    • Selling grapes
    • Vineyard resume
    • Selling grapes
    • Marketing contracts
    • Selling online
    • Developing a marketing plan
    • Advertising
    • Market research
    • Legal considerations with marketing
  10. Wine
    • Basic principles of wine making.
    • Overview of winemaking process
    • Production principles
    • Fermentation
    • Making white wine
    • Making red wine
    • Methods


  • Develop skills to select and cultivate appropriate varieties of grapes in different situations, and provide the knowledge to make informed decisions about the management of a vineyard.
  • Choose an appropriate site for a vineyard.
  • Simple Soil tests
  • Measuring ph
  • Water content of soil.
  • Choose appropriate grape varieties for different situations.
  • Develop criteria to be considered when selecting which grape varieties to grow.
  • Devise a procedure to establish a vineyard.
  • Specify the techniques used in the culture of grape vines.
  • Specify a procedure for harvest and post-harvest treatment of grapes.
  • Formulate marketing strategies for vineyard products.
  • Explain the basic principles of wine making.

Where Can You Grow Grapes?

Suitable regions for good quality grape production are determined more by climatic similarities than geographic location. Regions that have mean annual temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius are the most conducive for quality wine production.
World distribution of viticulture is bounded by the 50° line of latitude, both north and south of the equator. However, even within these general parameters, grape vines are not suited to places where leaves do not fall from the vines over winter (due to warmth) or where winters are severe and summers are short.
Assessing regional suitability to grape production is not absolute. Variations in local climate caused by topographical characteristics can greatly affect the feasibility of production. For example, elevated areas in warm climate regions may yield the cooler temperatures required to produce good quality wine making grapes. Several parameters are commonly used for assessing growing conditions. Degree Days and Latitude-Temperature Index (LTI) are two such measures. 
A region with higher latitude may have cooler mid-summer temperatures but may not be inhibited from good production when offset by a long growing season. The Bordeaux region of France and areas of Washington State in the USA may fall into this category. 
Even though it is believed that viticulture began in Asia, the Mediterranean region has probably had the most influence on the structure of modern vine growing and wine production. Early Greek growers used the single post method of vine training in contrast to trellising. With colonisation of the ‘New World’ came the spread of viticulture to the Americas, South Pacific and even southern Africa.

Warmer climates are more suitable for producing dried fruit than high quality wines. The best quality wines are generally from cooler climates. While not totally understood, it is thought that slower ripening and production of sugars in a cooler climate is a significant factor. If a region is afflicted by cold temperatures, the vines may be damaged by frosts and freezes. Additionally, shortened summers give insufficient time for grapes to develop a full complement of sugars and flavours. Conversely, the rapid ripening of fruit in hot climates may also lead to undeveloped, inferior grapes not suitable for quality wine production.  



At ACS our tutors are all horticultural professionals with diverse skills and knowledge. Our tutors are not just there to mark your papers - we mentor our students. Many of our students undertake this course in order to set up a vineyard - this course gives you the opportunity to learn how to choose the right site, how to choose the right grapes, how to professionally grow grapes. It also gives you the opportunity to tap into the  expertise of your tutor. If you are looking to set up a vineyard this sort of help is invaluable - it can save you money as well as giving you insights into what is and isn't possible. If you are working in the industry already then this course will give you those sound underpinning knowledge and skills you need to get ahead.

If you are truly passionate about viticulture then this is the right course for you!

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Marie Beerman

Marie has over 10 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants".
Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M.Hort. Dip. Bus. Cert. Lds

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Rosemary trained in Horticulture at Melbourne Universities Burnley campus; studying all aspects of horticulture -vegetable and fruit production, landscaping, amenity, turf, aboriculture and the horticultural sciences.
Initially she worked with the Depart

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves.
In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certif

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