It’s a seriously tasty and exciting business and Scotch College is giving students the chance to dip their toe into the winemaking industry.
As a school dedicated to agriculture, Scotch is leading the way with a progressive approach to learning, designed to ensure students can excel by exploring topics and innovative ways of learning.
Just one of their many hands on agricultural courses, winemaking is capturing the minds of future generations and inspiring them to take a leap into this exciting industry.
Head of Agriculture Ilka Klepper says the course is offered to students in Year 11 when vintage is occurring, using their onsite vineyard to take a holistic approach to the industry.
“The program encourages students to look at how berries are maturing, their ripeness, and making decisions on when to pick, based on the chemistry behind it all. They have to follow through with their decisions based on sugar levels and work to create the wine from there,” Ilka says.
“A big focus is making them capable of critical decisions throughout the process. As we do with all our agricultural courses, we also look at the marketing and sales side of the industry and get a big picture of the whole business as an enterprise model.”
Following two years of white varieties, students made a Shiraz for the first time in 2019. Steven and Danielle Read from Rathmine Vines also supplied Sauvignon Blanc grapes, so the students were able to focus on different stages of the process and the nuances of each variety.
For Year 11 student Mia Osborn, the decision to do winemaking was an easy one — as the youngest daughter of d’Arenberg’s Chester Osborn, she’s been raised among vineyards. The drawcard for Mia to go to Scotch has always been the progressive approach and the extensive facilities to study practical subjects like agriculture.
“I’ve always been surrounded by the wine industry and find Dad’s passion for the industry as a whole so interesting. Being able to formally learn through school has been fascinating — from what happens in the vineyard and making the wine to marketing, sales and stocks.”
But the big feather in the cap for Mia’s oenology class was when Scotch entered a Sauvignon Blanc in the Royal Adelaide Wine Show. It won the TAFE SA Trophy for Best Wine Made by a School. This was followed by Mia herself taking out the CCL Label Solutions Award for Best Wine Label at the show, which the judges described as, “flavoursome, celebratory and very appropriate for the purpose”.
2019 Oenology class with their award-winning Sauvignon Blanc
The best part about the whole course for Mia? “Now when Dad talks about wine, I get the complexities behind it. No matter which part of the industry you want to explore, understanding the actual process behind making the wine is the perfect foundation and makes me even more passionate about pursuing a career in the industry, plus it will be easier to go into uni having that background.”
And for Chester, aside from being a proud Dad, he sees the course as a great introduction to a wider industry that’s significant for Australian tourism.
“There are not many schools that provide courses like this and not many kids who would necessarily consider it as a career, but this sparks their interest and gives them an opportunity to think about it,” he says.
Chester Osborn | Image credit :: d’Arenberg
“South Australia is the food and wine mecca, with 80 percent of Australia’s premium wine originating from here. It’s big business for national and international tourism, and letting our next generation sink their teeth into it from a young age is going to breed a new generation that’s hungry for this vibrant industry.”