Wine and dine for a living.


Viticulture means all things grape. Seriously, if a grape is involved in a bank robbery, viticulture covers it. Grapes and wine have been around a really, really long time—like, at least 7,000 years longer than Taco Bell. Probably more.

Grape vines are surprisingly tough—the only continent where they can't grow is Antarctica. On the other end of the spectrum, one of the best places they sprout up is over in California. Lucky for Californians, since some seventy-five million Americans drink wine regularly.

Amazingly, in 2010, Americans drank more wine than the French. It all began in 1976, when two distinctive Californian wines hit the shelves and beat out their French competitors. As you can imagine, it's a great time to dig into the field of viticulture. You'll learn about growing, pest control, working productively with winemakers, arranging wine tastings, and choosing complimentary cheeses. Um, yum.

Grapes are produced for three purposes: eating, making juice, or fermenting into wine. You can delve into all of these, or narrow your studies down to one field, like ecology. Which diseases threaten grapes? How much weight do grape skins add to their fruits? Are grape skins suitable for making faux-leather jackets? These are just a couple of the pressing questions you'll consider.

Although many of the careers in this field are more on the hard-sciencey side, you could also work in wine hospitality/marketing or in wine forecasting. In case you were wondering, that last one involves predicting the quality of new upcoming wines based upon the market and seasonal conditions. It's not getting drunk before presenting the weather.

Famous People who majored in Viticulture

  • Tim Mondavi, owner of the Mondavi Winery
  • Nick Bruer, head winemaker at Jacob's Creek
  • Julio Sáenz, head of enology at La Rioja Alta
  • Johnine Talley, owner of Talley Vineyards
  • Eric Johnson, head winemaker at Talley Vineyards

Percentage of US students who major in Viticulture:

Approximately 0.62% (for biology majors)

Stats obtained from this source.