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From champagne to chardonnay: All about our Wine Studies subject

For many of us, there’s nothing more relaxing than unwinding at the end of a long day with our favourite variety of wine. While most wine drinkers are happy to sit back with their shiraz, for some, digging a little deeper to see ‘how the juice is made’ presents an intriguing opportunity.

Wine Studies is a unique subject facilitated by the Bond Business School and is just one of a handful of non-traditional study offerings here at Bond. It’s in good company with the likes of Adventure Tourism, Environmental Field Analysis of Rainforest and Coastal Regions, and Love, Sex and Relationships, all of which blend thought-provoking content with university-level theory – making them perennial favourites amongst our Bondies.

The fundamentals of Wine Studies

A group of students stand in front of a bus smiling
The 231 Wine Studies cohort prepares for a day out at Sirromet Winery

Available as an elective within the business, commerce and entrepreneurship study area, Wine Studies introduces the history and evolution of the wine industry for wine lovers and aficionados alike. During the semester, you’ll study the winemaking process, learn how to identify and distinguish different types of wine, and explore everything from wine distribution laws logistics to storage and handling challenges. Best of all, this subject includes a wine-tasting component, which provides hands-on experience in evaluating wine varieties and the relationships between wine and food.

Your wine expert 

David Stevens-Castro is depicted in a close up shot. He is talking and gesturing with his hands.
Wine Studies lead educator David Stevens-Castro

Who you get to learn from is a crucial part of any university subject, and here at Bond, we’re proud to offer courses taught by stellar academics with real industry experience. Your lead educator for Wine Studies is Teaching Fellow David Stevens-Castro, a wine, beverage, and gastronomy consultant and successful wine influencer. 

David’s experience in the wine industry is widespread and spans agricultural engineering for wine and fruit, wine sales as a rep, marketing and trend forecasting as a wine merchant, and food and wine pairing and knowledge as a senior sommelier. It’s safe to say there’s no one better than David to help guide you through the big, wide world of wine.

Originally from Chile, David says that he was inspired to pursue a career in wine and wine education from a young age.

“I grew up witnessing the growth of Chile’s largest wine laboratory, VINOLAB, owned by my uncle and aunt. My grandfather was involved in winegrowing and used to sell grapes to wineries in the Maule Valley of Chile,” he says. “This gave me great insight into the wine industry and led me to study agricultural engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile, one of the most prestigious institutions in the country.” 

What you’ll get out of honing your wine skills

There are many Rieslings – ahem, reasons – to add Wine Studies to your class schedule next semester. Aside from pursuing a personal passion for wine, this subject provides interesting insight into an ever-growing industry and the many business practices that underpin the successful production and sale of wine.

“Anyone who has an interest in wine can really benefit from taking Wine Studies,” David says. “Wine is about passion, discovery, and enjoyment, so I invite everyone who identifies with those traits to take the subject.” 

Of course, once you’ve completed Wine Studies, your foray into the world of wine doesn’t have to end there. David suggests that because of the breadth of careers available within this industry, many students may identify with one of the sectors explored in the subject – viticulture, winemaking, business, and marketing – and choose to then further explore wine as a career path. “The subject is all about gaining a strong understanding of what goes on in different sectors of the wine industry,” he says. 

Behind the scenes of your semester

If you’re wondering what exactly to expect in a class all about wine, you’ve come to the right place. Wine Studies is a particularly hands-on and practical subject, so you can expect a few exciting excursions throughout the semester, starting with a visit to nearby Sirromet Winery. At Sirromet, you’ll take a tour of their cellars, and learn from wine experts about the types of varieties they produce on site. You’ll also head out to a couple of Dan Murphy’s stores here on the Gold Coast, each of which has a different specialisation, and assess the key differences between their offerings, revenue streams, and business models. Wine Studies also connects students with local wine producers and growers to practically underpin the fundamental winemaking and viticulture theories taught in the classroom. 

A group of around 15 students stand around in a circle watching a presentation at Sirromet Winery
Students learn from the experts at Sirromet Winery as part of their Wine Studies excursion

In the classroom, you’ll attend weekly forums which focus on different elements of the winemaking and production process, including Australian wine history, wine laws, wine and health, and throughout the Wine Studies subject, you’ll be assessed in a couple of ways (and yes, your wine-drinking prowess is one of them). Every 3 weeks, you’ll be tested on the content you’re learning in class or as part of excursions. You’ll also need to maintain a learning log of your sensory evaluations of wine from any practical activities. Finally, for 30% of your end mark, you’ll participate in an in-class masked wine tasting to test your wine recognition and knowledge. 

Whatever it is that you’re hoping to gain from Wine Studies, it’s safe to say that you’ll find it in this immersive, exciting class. Learning from an industry expert with boundless experience across all facets of the wine industry, you’ll enhance your wine knowledge and have a great time doing it, whether you’re interested in a career in wine or simply want to be able to tell your shiraz from your Sangiovese. 

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