Studying a Master of Wine Science on Waiheke Island
Nikolai Siimes is researching the perceptions and acceptability of nanotechnology in the New Zealand wine industry.
“This degree takes you on a journey from vine to glass. It has a great balance of practical winemaking and viticulture on-site at Goldwater Wine Science Centre, alongside more science based courses with specialist lecturers from the city. It covers the practical winemaking, laboratory, and vineyard work as well as teaching about business, microbiology, aroma chemistry, and engineering, to name a few. Then if you choose to do the Masters program, you spend an extra semester completing an independent research project.
“The core papers offer a lot of variety. One day you could be in the lab doing spectroscopy, the next pruning in the vineyard, and then studying marketing and strategic planning. The field trips were also a highlight, a great opportunity to understand the diversity of the industry and find companies that fit your vibe.
“I have no doubt that the skills and knowledge gained from this degree will be paramount to my success. I was awarded the Delegat Prize as the highest achieving wine science student for 2021, I hope to complete my Masters in January 2022 and I am considering a PhD at Otago. I have thoroughly enjoyed my research and study at Auckland and would love to continue in that direction.
“My research is focused on the perceptions and acceptability of nanotechnology in the New Zealand wine industry using a qualitative social science research method.
“The great thing about this degree is that you can choose a project in any area related to wine; my supervisors are actually from the School of Environment.
The chance to live and study on Waiheke Island was irresistible! I particularly enjoyed the sun, sea, and range of local wineries. There is plenty of wine related work available, and it is only a 40 minute ferry to downtown Auckland.
“I think practical experience can only take you so far. A lot of the larger employers require a postgraduate qualification for their winemaking, viticulture, and management positions. This degree provided a depth and breadth of knowledge that I would not have acquired while working in industry. In particular, the chemistry and biology behind winemaking and grape growing has been invaluable.
“The wine science program prepares you well for a variety of roles within the wine industry. Off the back of my studies I landed a position at Felton Road focusing on technical viticulture with a bit of time in the cellar. Longer term I want to end up back in a winery, however I think a thorough understanding of the vineyard can only make you a better winemaker.
"The chance to live and study on Waiheke Island was irresistible! I particularly enjoyed the sun, sea, and range of local wineries. There is plenty of wine related work available, and it is only a 40 minute ferry to downtown Auckland.
“I received a Parirau Accommodation Scholarship for Semester 2, which paid for my accommodation at the Goldie Estate Homestead. I really can not recommend living on Waiheke Island enough, it has got to be the most beautiful student digs in the country.
“Neill Culley, Director of the Wine Science program, is a fantastic teacher and mentor with a great deal of real-world experience in the wine industry. Being taught by a winemaker ensures what you learn is grounded, and useful in industry.”