Viticulture & Enology Major and Minor

Follow your passion from the lab to the vineyard

Use your curiosity for wine, grapes and science to help advance wine-making in New York and across the globe. Our Viticulture and Enology program prepares you to be a leader in the wine industry, apply scientific knowledge to another industry or career path, or enter graduate school in a number of science fields. Our students don't just hear about science, they practice it every day.

The program includes coursework in chemistry, biology, plant science, communications and statistics as well as winemaking, vineyard development, economics, and management.  You’ll also gain hands-on experience with wine and grape production in the program’s vineyard and teaching lab, which feature 25 different wine grapes, including all of the famous French varietals.

Major in Viticulture and Enology

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Cornell’s Viticulture & Enology major addresses the New York region’s unique challenges—the cool climate, soils, grape varieties, pests, and markets—while also providing a strong grounding in other regions’ growing and winemaking techniques. Students work with a broad variety of grapes and vinification techniques to produce wines in a region with large variability between growing seasons. In New York, great wine comes with great challenges. Which is why our graduates can produce anywhere.

CALS seeks students who maintain a rigorous high school curriculum and demonstrate an outstanding record of academic achievement.

  • 4 Units of English
  • 4 Units of Mathematics* (including pre-calculus)
  • 3 Units of Science (biology, chemistry and physics recommended)
  • Also recommended: an additional unit of science

All students are required to fulfill CALS graduation requirements, in addition to major requirements.

In addition to course requirements, students are required to complete:

  1. Capstone project - capstone form
    The capstone project will demonstrate a student’s synthesis of knowledge across course requirements.  Projects are flexible and will be determined by the student, with input from the project advisor, by the end of the junior year.  Students complete a capstone course in the fall of their senior year to plan and identify resources for their project.  

  2. Internship – internship learning contract
    Students must complete at least one internship before degree completion.  A learning contract between the student, internship supervisor, and the student’s advisor must also be completed prior to beginning the internship. For more information, visit our internships page.

Our curriculum provides a solid grounding in biology and chemistry, while giving students the flexibility to pursue a wider selection of elective courses in business, plant science, food science and other areas of interest. Find a complete list of viticulture and enology courses and descriptions on the Cornell University Courses of Study website. For information on pursuing a minor in business, please see The Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management information regarding minors.

Students who matriculated under the previous curriculums may choose the curriculum to complete for graduation. For reference, you can view those curriculums here: bww57 [at] cornell.edu (subject: Request%20Viticulture%20Undergrad%20Curriculum) (View Viticulture Curriculum pdf)  bww57 [at] cornell.edu (subject: Request%20Enology%20Undergrad%20Curriculum) (View Enology Curriculum pdf)

Internships are an integral part of the program, and with New York’s nearly 1,400 vineyards and wineries, there’s no end to interesting opportunities nearby. Students may also choose to study or intern in other U.S. wine regions or abroad.  Many of our students have completed two or three internships by the time they graduate, gaining valuable skills and industry contacts.

VIEN 3440 Viticulture and Vineyard Management

Course in commercial grape production with an emphasis on the problems of production in cold climates. Students examine the genetics of the vine and learn principles of vineyard establishment, propagation, pruning and training, and conservation. Laboratory exercises and field trips offer hands-on experience.

VIEN 1104 Introduction to Wines and Vines

This course offers students the opportunity to learn about the science of wine flavor and grape growing. Lecture topics include: flavor components in wine; wine evaluations and sensory science; terroir; and the health effects of wine.

VIEN 2204 Principles and Practices of Growing Grapes and Making Wines

Examines the environmental, physiological, and anatomical bases for vineyard management, plus all aspects of winemaking from harvest decisions, to fermentation, to bottling.

Minor in Viticulture and Enology

Through a minor in Viticulture and Enology, you 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. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and are required to complete at least one college-level course in general biology and one course in general chemistry prior to or concurrent with starting the minor coursework.

All courses must be taken as a letter grade and a “C” or better in each class is required.

Required core courses (8 credits):

VIEN 1104 – Wines and Vines Lecture (Fall/Spring, 3 credits)
VIEN 1105 - Wines and Vines Lab (Spring, 2 credits)
VIEN 2204 – Grapes to Wines Lecture (Fall, 3 credits)

A minimum of 6 additional credits chosen from the following courses:

VIEN 2205 – Grapes to Wines Lab (Fall, 2 credits)
VIEN 2310 – The Science and Technology of Beer (Spring, 1 credit)
VIEN 2340 - Cider Production: Apples and Fermented Juice (Spring, 1 credit)
VIEN 2360 – Distillation Principles and Practices Lecture (Spring, 1 credit)
VIEN 2400 – Wines and Grapes: Composition and Analysis (Fall, 3 credits)
VIEN 3200 – Grape Pest Management (Fall, 3 credits)
VIEN 3440 – Viticulture and Vineyard Management (Spring, 2 credits)
VIEN 4310 – The Science and Technology of Beer Laboratory (Spring, 1.5 credits)
VIEN 4340 - Cider Production Laboratory (Spring, 1.5 credits)
VIEN 4360 – Distillation Principles and Practices Laboratory (Spring, 1.5 credits)
VIEN 4400 – Wine and Grape Flavor Chemistry (Spring, 3 credits)
VIEN 4500 – Winemaking Theory and Practice I (Fall, 2 credits)
VIEN 4510 – Winemaking Theory and Practice I Lab (Fall, 1 credit)
VIEN 4650 – Wine Microbiology (Fall, 3 credits)
VIEN 4700 – Winemaking Theory and Practice II (Spring, 2 credits)
VIEN 4710 – Winemaking Theory and Practice II Lab (Spring, 1 credit)

  1. Schedule a meeting with the undergraduate coordinator, to discuss minor requirements.
  2. Complete the Viticulture and Enology Minor Application.  Submit a copy to the undergraduate coordinator and retain a copy for your records. Submitting this application is required for inclusion on the V&E Minor email lists and directory, and students without a submitted application will not be considered pursuing a minor in Viticulture & Enology. We encourage you to complete it as soon as you know you would like to pursue the minor.
  3. Complete the courses required for the Viticulture and Enology minor.
  4. Prior to graduating it is the student’s responsibility to meet with the undergraduate coordinator to confirm completion of the minor prior to the last day of classes in the semester he/she graduates. 

Transfer Student Admissions

Prepare to become a leader in the wine industry. The program includes coursework in winemaking, vineyard development, economics, and management.

Academic Record

  • Strong academic record at the college level. In general, competitive applicants have at least a 3.0 (B) average.
  • CALS Required Coursework should be completed or in-progress with a “B” or better before applying.
  • The most competitive applicants are full-time students who have met the GPA and course requirements.

For transfers entering as sophomores or transfers with two full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application.

Required:

  • One Introductory Biology course with lab
  • General (Inorganic) Chemistry I with lab
  • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking

Strongly encouraged (but not required):

  • Statistics
  • Additional Introductory Biology course
  • Second chemistry course, preferably Organic Chemistry

For transfers entering as juniors or transfers with four full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application.

Required:

  • One full academic year of Introductory Biology; at least one must include a lab
  • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking
  • General (Inorganic) Chemistry I with lab
  • Organic Chemistry

Strongly encouraged (but not required):

  • Microbiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Statistics
  • Soil Science (viticulture concentration)
  • Courses that meet the CALS social science and humanities requirements in Cultural Analysis, Historical Analysis, Knowledge, Cognition and Moral Reasoning, Literature and the Arts, Social and Behavioral Analysis and Foreign Language.

Careers in Viticulture & Enology

Rows of wine bottles stacked.

Agriculture Business

  • Branding, marketing and sales ambassador
  • New product enologist

Farming

  • Hopyard manager
  • Assistant winemaker
  • Vineyard manager
  • Viticulture technician

Food Industry

  • Head brewer
  • Enologist
  • Assistant cider maker
  • Cellar hand
  • Harvest technician
  • Product development specialist
  • Viticulture technician

25

Wine Grape Varieties

Students gain hands-on experience with wine and grape production in the program’s vineyard.

Student bottling liquid from grapes.
Student in lab looking at a variety of bottles.

Explore your opportunities

A CALS education goes beyond the classroom and gives students frequent opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings.