Charles Sturt University (CSU) is a dynamic and progressive university whose innovative approach to education has earned it an international reputation for excellence. By working together as education partners with industry, CSU offers students the best advantage: a great start to their career. The knowledge and industry experience students gain at CSU are keenly sought by employers - a fact reflected in our high graduate employment rate. A recent survey found 87% of CSU graduates were in full-time employment at the end of their studies.
A growing industry
As the Australian wine industry continues to strengthen in the international market, so too does the demand for qualified professional winemakers and viticulturists. CSU has contributed to the industry since 1975 by developing courses that offer a unique blend of science and practical training. With access to a commercial winery and vineyard on campus, and teaching staff who are experienced professionals in the field, our students graduate with the knowledge and hands-on experience that gives them the edge in the wine industry.
CSU's presence in the wine industry is significant, with over 1800 graduates of our wine courses now occupying positions in the Australian and international wine industry. Some graduates find employment as winemakers in corporate businesses while others operate highly successful small to medium businesses - a diversity of opportunity that reflects the comprehensive foundation of knowledge and skills provided at CSU.
Courses available at CSU
The School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences at Charles Sturt University offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in wine science and viticulture that have been developed with industry input to ensure they are relevant to market needs. The undergraduate courses are offered on a full-time and distance education basis, allowing students to choose the study method to suit their situation.
The Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine Science) course develops knowledge and skills in winemaking by identifying its underlying science base. Students also engage in studies which may lead to employment worldwide as winemakers in the fields of applied wine sciences, wine appraisal and viticulture, quality control; and in research and development in the wine, brewing and food processing industries. Students enrolled in the Wine Science degree may alternate between on campus study and work by interchanging full-time study with distance education.
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The Bachelor of Applied Science (Viticulture) degree explores both the theory and practice of all aspects of viticulture, including wine physiology, plant protection and soil and water management. Flexibility is built into the course, with students able to pursue individual interests through the choice of electives such as marketing, management communication, wine production and evaluation.
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The Bachelor or Applied Science (Wine Science)/Bachelor or Applied Science (Viticulture) double degree was developed in response to the wine industry's rapid expansion. The program combines subjects from the wine science degree and the viticulture degree over four years of full-time study.
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The Associate Degree in Applied Science (Winegrowing) program provides a general introduction to the viticulture and wine industries. The course is designed to educate vineyard managers and those establishing small vineyards and wineries by providing skills in vineyard establishment and a framework for understanding winemaking and the relationship between grape and wine quality. Offered only by distance education, this course allows students to gain professional training whilst maintaining employment in the industry.
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Bachelor of Wine Business
The Bachelor of Wine Business (BWineBus) degree builds on the highly successful Associate Degree of Winegrowing. An additional suite of business subjects, including wine business, has been added to provide a full three-year degree program.
The BWineBus degree contains studies in the basic sciences to provide the necessary underpinnings to the wine industry oriented subjects in viticulture, wine production, wine science and sensory science. Business subjects address issues in accounting, marketing and buyer behaviour. A research project that will allow students to explore in depth a business proposition related to their employment or career development is included.
The BWineBus degree will be offered as full-time on-campus (three years) or the distance education mode, requiring six years of part-time study to complete the degree.
The course structure has 12 compulsory winegrowing subjects and 6 compulsory business subjects. The balance of the 24 subjects is made up from electives. Students may elect to concentrate on either winegrowing or business electives, depending on their individual interests and aspirations.
The BWineBus degree is suitable for
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- Owners or employees of small to medium wine business enterprises
- Employees of larger companies, especially those who wish to develop a career in management
- Representatives of companies who are suppliers to the wine industry
- People involved in the marketing of wine
An Honours year is available after the successful completion of the Bachelor degree. The course allows the development of an advanced level of knowledge in the area of specialisation. It also develops verbal and written skills relevant to research and further studies. Postgraduate courses available include a Doctor of Philosophy.
To make sure students graduate with experience using equipment and techniques found in commercial Australian wineries, facilities in the School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences include modern laboratory facilities with state-of-the-art equipment. Students have access to an experimental winery and a fully operational modern commercial winery with 12 hectares of vineyard that processes about 300 tonnes of fruit per annum. The CSU Winery is at the forefront of viticultural practices and winemaking techniques and produces medal and trophy-winning wines.
CSU encourages professionalism through its courses by raising student awareness of the Australian wine industry's accrediting body, the Australian Society for Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO), and its role in the Australian wine industry. Students in CSU's wine science courses are able to apply for student membership of the ASVO and on graduation, are eligible to be associate members. With five years' appropriate industry experience, graduates may proceed to professional membership of the ASVO.
Over 50 wine companies donate wine for the tasting and wine appraisal elements of CSU's courses and presenters from the Australian wine industry actively participate in the programs to provide students with direct links to potential employers.
Through the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC), CSU is at the leading-edge of research in the Australian wine industry. An initiative between NSW Department of Primary Industries, the NSW Wine Industry Association, Deakin University and CSU, the NWGIC has established a reputation for providing quality higher education that addresses the specific needs of the Australian wine industry. Research themes from vine to wine have a 'whole of industry' focus and are based on environmental and sustainable viticulture, carbohydrate reserve management, vine health and wine quality.
The combined resources of the four partners contribute to the growing international standing of the Australian wine industry through innovative research, education, training and extension.
Industry scholarships provide both financial assistance and an opportunity for students to make contacts in the industry. The A & G Scholarship and the Jacob's Creek Scholarship are just two of many endorsements available to students which recognise academic achievement and awareness of the Australian wine industry. Other generous prizes are donated by companies and organisations, including Fine Wine Partners, Domaine Chandon, Felco Australia, Westend Estate Wines, the Australian Hotel Association and the Winery Engineering Association of Australia.
Studying by distance education
At CSU we recognise the importance of flexibility with workplace study. Distance education (DE) allows students who are partially qualified or working in isolated environments to complete the course from their home or workplace. DE students in the Wine Science and Viticulture courses must have access to a fully developed vineyard and winery in order to complete the practical requirements of the course, and are required to attend residential schools at the University that provide intensive teaching on the practical aspects of the course. Generally, the schools take three or four days per subject.
What our graduates say
"I have been working as a winemaker in New York States Finger Lakes since 1990. My CSU Wine Science degree was just what I needed to get a senior winemaking position here.
Not only was the degree itself a foot in the door, but more importantly, the actual training I got while at CSU has been vitally important in my career".