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Viticulturalists specialise in the management of vineyards and the production of grapes under a wide variety of natural conditions. They provide guidance to wine farmers on manipulation of their vineyards to obtain the best results and provide knowledge in the management of both table and wine grapes.

Viticulturalists use plant science principles and processes, such as sunlight interception, to help with the preparation of the land as well as planting, trellising and pruning. They have to recognise and treat abnormalities in vineyards and determine when grapes are ready to be harvested. The correct handling, packing and transportation of table grapes is another field where the expertise of the viticulturalist can be used.

A viticulturalist can also take on the role of producer, wine-maker, consultant, researcher and marketing agent.

Satisfying Aspects
- working outdoors much of the time
- tasting the results of your labour, either by eating good grapes or tasting good wine
- developing new and better grapes

Demanding aspects
- having to treat abnormalities in vineyards and trying to identify where problems are originating
- research can be time-consuming
- working with obstinate people

A viticulturist should:
- love plants;
- like to work outdoors;
- have a knowledge of Chemistry and Microbiology;
- be willing to work long hours;
- be able to work with people.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Degree: BSc Agriculture: Viticulture and Oenology - US - the recommended qualification for prospective viticulturists. All students are required to work on wine farms for at least one season.

Agricultural Colleges: Diploma in Viticulture

The Agricultural College at Elsenburg in Stellenbosch offers a diploma course in Viticulture and Oenology. After 2 years completion of the higher certificate, students can apply for the diploma in Cellar Technology. Only ten students are selected.

- Agricultural Research Council
- Estate wine farms
- Co-operative wine farms
- Private wine companies

This career offers entrepreneurial opportunities as the viticulturist may act as a consultant or run their own vineyard.

Wines of South Africa
P O Box 987
Stellenbosch, 7599
Tel: (021) 883-3860
Fax: (021) 883-3861

The Chairman
Department of Viticulture and Oenology
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1
Matieland, 7602

Department of Viticulture: Western Cape
Private Bag X1
Elsenburg, 7607