Cayuga Lake Winery

Viticulture Specialization

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Program Overview

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell is home to one of the top viticulture and enology programs in the world and is internationally recognized for its expertise in breeding table, juice and wine grapes adapted to cool climate growing regions. Cornell’s ideal location, in the Finger Lakes region, is home to nearly 10,000 acres of vineyards.

Viticulture is the science, production and study of grapes, and at Cornell University, our researchers have had an impact on nearly every part of the grape growing and winemaking process for decades.

Cornell scientists have been transforming how grapes are bred and grown, as well as how wine is crafted, which has helped the New York grape and wine industries to flourish: New York is the largest producer of grapes in the eastern U.S., and the third largest in the country.

Offered through the field of Horticulture, the Viticulture specialization for the MPS degree program emphasizes knowledge development and hands-on experience. 

Careers in Viticulture

Student observing grape vine in winery

Careers in viticulture include: Winemaker, Vineyard Manager, Viticulturist, Enologist, Vineyard Ranch Manager, Project Manager, Teaching/Research and entrepreneurial opportunities in the wine business.

The MPS is an accredited, one-year, course-based master’s degree program that prepares individuals for the 21st-century workplace through knowledge development and career skillset refinement.  The specialized, course-based instruction led by world-class faculty broadens expertise and expands versatility.

The CALS MPS degree program in SIPS has two main components:

  1. Coursework: The suggested SIPS MPS curriculum includes a balance of courses to build both professional and disciplinary competencies. Students work with a faculty advisor to customize their course of study based on their area(s) of interest.  While the majority of the courses will be in CALS, students have the flexibility to take electives across Cornell.
  2. Capstone project: With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students work on solving a real-world problem, building project management and team leadership skills sought by employers.

MPS students are part of a cohort of CALS professional master’s students specializing in diverse fields of study. The program is fast-paced and rigorous. Professional master’s students have a dedicated support organization, offering career guidance and professional skill development.

Read the MPS degree requirements

Viticulture Sample Curriculum

Fall

course

title
VIEN 5204 Principles and Practices of Growing Grapes and Making Wine (Lecture) 
VIEN 5205 Growing Grapes and Making Wines Graduate Laboratory
VIEN 5400 Wines and Grapes: Composition and Analysis
VIEN 5610 Fall Vineyard Practicum
VIEN 5200 Grape Pest Management
ALS 5211 Career Readiness for CALS Professional Master's Students
PLSCI 5900   MPS Project

Spring

COURSE TITLE
VIEN 4700 Winemaking Theory and Practice II (Lecture)                                               
VIEN 4710 Winemaking Theory and Practice II Laboratory
VIEN 4460 Advanced Viticulture Topics
LEAD 5100 Leadership Skills for Graduate Students
PLSCI 5940 Skills for Public Engagement 
COMM 4660 Public Communication of Science and Technology
PLSCI 5900 MPS Project

Faculty Spotlight

Justine Vanden Heuvel with drone in winery

Justine Vanden Heuvel, is one of the nation’s leaders in viticulture. Her research has four main goals: optimizing wine grape production using computational tools, determining how ecophysiological factors affect grape flavors and aromas, enhancing economic sustainability of winegrape production, and improving environmental sustainability of winegrape production. Her holistic approach to viticulture provides students with a hands-on, immersive experience.

Admissions Requirements

The ideal candidate will demonstrate a passion for grapes and winemaking, competency in undergraduate science coursework, and interest in applying knowledge gained in a professional career.

Admission requirements include:

  • Common undergraduate courses taken: Biology, Botany, Physics, Math, Chemistry, Ecology
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required but may be submitted to strengthen candidacy
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL for non-native English speakers

Connect with us to discuss the admissions process

Learn more about all the Masters of Professional Studies specializations offered in the School of Integrative Plant Science