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The only TAFE campus in Australia with a fully functioning winery where students enjoy hands-on experience in the wine-making process is right on the Hunter Valley’s doorstep, at TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri.
Its local Diploma of Viticulture course is the only one of its kind. Keen students, viticulture acting head teacher Albert Sherry, viticulture teacher Stephen Gell, winemaking teacher Geoff Broadfield and winemaker Jane Hoppe operate the winery, the course and its produce.
They have previously showcased the TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri wares – both the diploma course and the winery’s red and white wines, branded Intuition – at local and national events like the Stomp Festival in Cessnock.
Teacher Albert Sherry said, “It was the first Stomp Festival we had attended and we had fantastic feedback about our wine and our Diploma of Viticulture. Many didn’t realise we offered the course, so it was a good opportunity to raise awareness.”
“With excellent quality and varieties of grapes kindly donated from a range of wineries for students to develop skills around the practices involved in the wine making process. Our award-winning wines use a combination of grapes from the Hunter Valley and the Central West wine regions.
Viticulture students undertake two wine harvest periods during their studies to gain the required practical skills and knowledge needed to be job-ready for the industry.
TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri has been delivering viticulture-related courses for 20 years. The students are taught how to monitor and manage soils for production projects, evaluate wine, diagnose plant health problems, manage staff, develop a grape production plan and chemical use strategy, oversee vineyard practices, manage water systems, operate equipment and machinery, and much more.
Grapes are donated by vineyards during the vintage period each year (January to March) and are crushed, processed, stored and then bottled to make a variety of wines on-site including Sparkling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Verdelho and Shiraz. Some are returned to their origin and some kept for sale through the Hunter Valley Hotel Academy, a hospitality training facility at TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri.
The next Diploma of Viticulture student cohort will commence in October, 2022 with a mix of virtual classroom, on campus and workplace assessments. You can enrol now here Diploma of Viticulture. Alternatively, you can enrol in a Certificate III in Wine Industry Operations and gain valuable skills to specialise in cellar operations, bottling and packaging, cellar door or viticulture.
TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest training provider, offering over 1,200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital. Visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.