Course details

Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking
NZQF Level 7

About the course

Gain real-life skills, take part in wine events and build industry connections.

Students are mentored and taught by winemaking professionals and viticulture researchers, gaining skills and experience in a real-world setting. Research projects, field trips, guest speakers and vitally, semester breaks during harvest allowing students to work a paid vintage are essential to learners' growth and connection with industry.

Second and third-year students may take up a cellar hand, viticulture assistant or similar roles during vintage, allowing them to apply their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable work experience.

Years one and two consist mainly of core papers, focussing on plant and soil sciences, viticulture practises, vineyard management, wine production, wine chemistry and analysis. You will enjoy learning to taste wine with the professionals and may even get the opportunity to be a part of local wine awards and competitions.

Students have the flexibility with the programme delivery to base themselves locally or nationally. Whether you are studying in New Zealand's most productive wine region, Marlborough, or other great grape varietal regions, you can be sure of a supportive, interactive and encouraging environment.

Study in the heart of wine country 

The Marlborough region is the country’s largest winegrowing area and is at the forefront of New Zealand’s wine industry growth, producing over 75% of the country's wine and having more than 568 independent growers.

While studying you will be enabled to build close links with the local wineries and vineyards with field trips to experience all stages of wine production. Winemakers, viticulturists and industry specialists also come in as guest speakers.

You will gain an in-depth, professional degree covering both growing grapes (viticulture) and winemaking. It includes a six-week practical vintage, vineyard experience and a final year research project.

Collaboration is key
NMIT student Xiuying (Ava) Liang presented her degree research project findings at the Bragato Research Institute (BRI) winery open day.

The NMIT winery and laboratories are situated within the Marlborough Wine Research Centre, established with support from local and national wine and viticulture industries. The centre is a collaboration between NMIT, universities, Bragato Research Institute, Plant and Food Research, the Marlborough District Council and the owner, the Marlborough Research Centre Trust.

Research skills, communication, and an introduction to primary industry business topics will broaden your knowledge and enhance your understanding. In the final year, students work closely with a mentor and/or industry partners on a research project in their chosen field of interest. You will also study international wine and choose from various elective topics. 

With a supportive network of scientists conducting innovative research in viticulture and winemaking on campus, NMIT students are fortunate to rub shoulders with them, gain knowledge from their lectures and experience working on research projects from time to time. Read Ava's story(external link)

Built for school-leavers and adult learners alike

The Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking is suitable for you whether you are a high school graduate, you are wishing to change careers, or you are currently working in the wine industry and want to gain a qualification while in your existing employment. 

After you successfully graduate you could gain employment as a viticulturist, a research and development technician, vineyard manager or owner, wine marketer or winemaker or assistant winemaker. You could also go on to further study.

Study Primary Industry Business Management

If you are planning a career in viticulture or winegrowing you'll find the New Zealand Diploma in Primary Industry Business Management(external link) the perfect way to increase your management skills. Delivered online with block courses throughout the year (aligned with your study) this programme will offer you the opportunity to: ​

  • Be able to achieve business and career goals faster 
  • Gain the confidence to present accounts and plans to banks, accountants, and other rural professionals in the best way possible 
  • Make decisions based on sound judgement  
  • Work with your own business' statistics. 
  • Gain ideas and inspiration from colleagues 
  • Have a highly respected, industry-recognised qualification 
Viticulture and winemaking scholarships
The 2021 Wine Marlborough scholarship went to two outstanding NMIT students, Finn Horsfield and Sarah Tibbs.

NMIT offers students stellar scholarships from:

Read Finn Horsfield and Sarah Tibbs story.(external link) We also offer a variety of scholarships that may not be based on your academic ability, check out which ones may work best for you.

Entry requirements
If you achieved University Entrance (UE) in 2020, the entry requirements for this programme may differ from those displayed on this page and in printed material due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. To find out about entry requirements for those who achieve UE in 2020 see the NZQA website(external link).

Academic requirements

University Entrance: NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 or higher and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) including:

  • 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved* subjects
  • Literacy * :10 credits at Level 2 or above made up of:
  • 5 credits in reading
  • 5 credits in writing
  • Numeracy* : 10 credits at Level 1* or above in (specified achievement standards or unit standards (26623, 26626 and 26627).

*NZQA approved subjects: see link)


Any qualification (New Zealand or overseas) recognised by NZQA as being equivalent to the achievement of NCEA Level 3. If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), NMIT will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.


Any Level 4 qualification in a related field.

English language requirements

If English is not the applicant’s first language they will need to provide evidence of :

An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall academic score of at least 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each band), issued within the last two years


A result from a test or qualification on the NZQA acceptable alternatives English Proficiency Outcomes Table.(external link)


        Achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance requirements

Additional Distance Study Requirements

For distance study, applicants must have the following to be able to utilise the online learning environment and complete practical/vocational aspects of the Programme:

  • Employment in a suitable wine industry workplace,
    Recent relevant experience and access to a suitable wine industry workplace, to undertake an assignment and practical work required for specific courses
  • Ability to attend compulsory residential workshops

Special Entry

In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under the age of 20 years who does not meet the academic entry requirements may be granted entry to the Programme where they supply evidence to satisfy the Academic Committee of their ability to succeed on the Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking.

Applicants who are unable to evidence that they meet Academic Entry Requirements, but who can demonstrate acquired skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience , may be approved for alternate entry. This may include Recognition of Prior Learning.

Contact NMIT for advice.

Programme structure and online delivery

The Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking is a three-year full-time programme of study.

The first year provides a solid foundation in the basics of viticulture and winemaking, the second focuses on further developing and refining technical skills and the third year comprises a mix of higher level viticulture, winemaking and research skills.

The third year has significant components of applied research and practical work experience which allow students to specialise in viticulture, winemaking, industry management or a combination of these that best suits their career aspirations and interests.

Total hours if full time - face to face or online - approximately 40 hours per week, based on 4 courses per semester.

Online learning

If you want to study online, you must be working in industry and need to complete residential schools in Marlborough for 5 courses (4-5 days each) over the degree. 

Online students communicate with tutors via moodle, SKYPE and online forums.

The first two years of the programme (Levels 5 and 6) are compulsory courses. In your last year at level 7, you will have an opportunity to choose electives.

The ideal general electives

Get ready for Kaitiakitanga and Vineyard Bio-protection

If you have a winery background, before you enrol for the course Kaitiakitanga and Vineyard Bio-protection (BVW603)(external link), we recommend that you prepare for it by enrolling in the course Vineyard Crop Protection (HPW505)(external link). 

This will enable you to learn how to plan and manage wine grape crop protection sustainably to meet production goals and standards. This knowledge will set you up well to understand the BVW603 course.

The ideal general electives

Why look elsewhere for general electives that can teach you business skills? The courses within the following two programmes tick all the boxes and offer elective studies specific to the viticulture and winemaking industry.

Connect with your tutor to discuss the best options for you.

Practical and workplace components

Off-site practical and workplace components are designed to provide you with practical experience and involve placement in a wine industry work environment that is actively supervised by competent and experienced workers and directed towards specific educational goals and skills training. 

The Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking programme includes two compulsory Industry Practice courses, which include workplace components (work-based training),

  • BVW506 Industry Practice - Vineyard – 100 hours total spread over peak periods through winter, spring, summer, and autumn.
  • BVW606 Industry Practice  – Winery – 300 hours total spread across Wine Vintage in autumn, which usually is 7-8 weeks depending on the season.
  • BVW706 Applied Industry Project course at Level 7 - 300 hours total which can be spread across a Wine Vintage or other seasonal activity.

You will spend this time working in industry to learn new skills and concepts as well as apply campus-based learning in off-site practical and workplace environments. You may also be conducting research.

Entry requirements

About the provider

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is a Government Institute with campuses in Nelson and Marlborough. 

NMIT is a New Zealand Qualifications Authority Category 1 (the highest) Institute. Our programmes are designed alongside industry to create work-ready graduates that meet local and international job market needs. 

You'll find NMIT tutors care a lot about student success, and classes are small enough that they know you by name.