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Brock University launches first winemaking course

Course will cover the entire winemaking process, from receiving grapes to packaging the final wine
CCOVI Senior Lab Instructor Steven Trussler, who will be the certified instructor for CCOVI’s new Foundations in Winemaking course, takes a sample of finished wine from a carboy using a wine thief. Photo supplied by Brock University

With a new year on the horizon, wine enthusiasts can look forward to engaging in a new learning opportunity from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI).  

Adding to its slate of successful online continuing education courses, the institute is launching the new Foundations in Winemaking in April.  

It is the first standalone course from an accredited institution that will offer a foundation in winemaking to people of all experience levels and educational backgrounds. It is open to everyone, from those with a general interest in how wine is made, to home winemakers and entry-level or non-production members of the grape and wine industry looking for a solid foundation in winemaking.  

Students who want to know more about winemaking after taking this introductory course can also opt to continue their learning through undergraduate programs such as Brock's Certificate in Grape and Wine Technology (OVEC).  

The course will cover the entire winemaking process, from receiving grapes to packaging the final wine. Students will receive a winemaking kit (with supplies to make their own wine), a faults kit and a wine sensory kit of commercial wines.  

CCOVI’s Outreach and Continuing Education Manager Barb Tatarnic says the course is a natural fit within CCOVI’s portfolio of continuing education.   

“We’re excited that this will be a first of its kind and CCOVI has the expertise to lead the way,” she says. “The course will take a multi-faceted approach, allowing our students to make their own wine, acquire foundational techniques and sensory skills, and learn from top winemakers in the industry as they develop a well-rounded foundation in winemaking.”  

The course is like a “Winemaking 101,” she adds, and utilizes a combination of weekly online sessions, live chats, guest speakers, and hands-on practical applications.  

Steven Trussler, CCOVI Senior Lab Instructor, will be teaching the course. Trussler (BSc ’09) is a graduate of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture program and has also worked as a professional winemaker for six years. That experience, paired with having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Education (BEd ’17, MEd ’19), gives Trussler the unique skill set needed to lead the new course.  

“This course meets a long-standing need and CCOVI has the in-house knowledge and scientific expertise needed to provide a sound understanding of what it takes to make wine at home, or in a small-to-medium-sized winery,” he says. “Winemaking requires a level of hands-on practical instruction that can be difficult to achieve in an online format, but thanks to our past experience, we have adopted pedagogical practices that not only allow us to fulfil that objective, but also open us up to new learning opportunities offered by an online model.”  

The first offering of the course will run online from April 19 to June 28. The course will also be offered in an in-person model when Brock fully returns to in-person learning.

Due to current shipping restrictions, the inaugural session is open to Canadian residents only. Interested U.S. residents are encouraged to contact [email protected] for further information and to be added to a priority wait list.  

For more information and to register, visit CCOVI’s Continuing Education website.