WINESCI 201 : Introduction to Wine Science


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to grape growing and wine. Topics covered include history of wine, geography and terroir, grape growing, winemaking technology, microbiology, sensory evaluation, and health considerations of wine. A special emphasis on grape growing and winemaking in New Zealand.

Course Overview

Kia ora koutou! WINESCI 201, Introduction to Wine Science, is designed to introduce students to the dynamic and exciting wine industry in which Aotearoa New Zealand is world-leading. This course will give students a broad overview of the science behind viticulture and winemaking, the latest research in the field of wine science, in-depth knowledge of wine styles, and the skills required for wine tasting and evaluation.
A basic understanding of Wine Science will enhance the knowledge and skill of students majoring in majoring in Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Environmental Science and Food Science. We encourage students with a keen interest in wine to take this course. The skills developed in this are particularly useful for those interested in a career in the wine industry and this course also provides excellent preparation for anyone who is keen to progress to postgraduate study in Wine Science.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: Any 120 points passed

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the basic principles and the science behind different viticultural, winemaking, and processing techniques and explain how they impact on the quality and sensory characteristics of the final wine. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Describe and recall the major wine regions, wine laws, and wine styles of the world as covered in the course content. (Capability 1)
  3. Evaluate different wine styles using the appropriate terminology and effectively communicate these evaluations to fellow tasters. (Capability 4)
  4. Critically evaluate research articles in the field and have the ability to apply the findings to the New Zealand wine industry. (Capability 2, 5 and 6)
  5. Conceive, construct and complete a piece of scholarly work and demonstrate the ability to reference correctly. (Capability 2 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Reading Assignment 5% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Poster Assignment 15% Individual Coursework
Winemaking Plans Assignment 20% Individual Coursework
Sensory Laboratories 20% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Reading Assignment
Final Exam
Poster Assignment
Winemaking Plans Assignment
Sensory Laboratories


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of chemical sciences aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

Tuākana Chemistry runs a range of activities for students enrolled in this class. This includes weekly workshops, social activities, and opportunities to engage with senior students and researchers within the School of Chemical Sciences. Tuākana-eligible students will be added automatically to the Tuākana Chemistry program when they enroll in this course. For more information, please see the Tuākana program website or email

Key Topics

Lecture content:
An introduction to wine.  How Aotearoa New Zealand fits into the global wine industry.

Sensory evaluation of wine - Appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, balance, complexity, and quality.

Growing grapes for winemaking - Life-cycle of the vine, climate, soil, temperature, sunlight, varieties, rootstocks, cultural practices, diseases.  Composition of grapes.  Concept of terroir.

Wine laws and wine labeling - Place vs. variety, appellation, vintage, varieties/cultivars, wine additives, sulfur dioxide, alcohol.

Winemaking and production - Fermentation, the role of yeast and bacteria, malolactic fermentation, spoilage, maceration times, processing, fining, filtration, ageing, the effect of barrel fermentation and ageing, packaging.  Differences in the production methods of white wines, red wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines, and fortified wines.

Composition of wine - Aroma chemistry.

Wine and health - Wine as an alcoholic beverage.

Wine styles - Sparkling wine, table wine styles, fortified wines, and dessert wine.

Wine regions of the world - 'Old World' and 'New World'.

Laboratory content:
Learning how to assess wines by their appearance, aroma, and palate.  Learning how to assess balance, quality, and complexity in wines.
Tasting and evaluating different wine styles, writing tasting notes, and recognizing how different production techniques produce different wine characteristics.  Offshore online students will have alternative assignments to replace the in-person laboratories.

Special Requirements

This course adheres to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and Auckland Local Alcohol Policy.  Any student taking this course must be aged 18 years or older.  Any student under the age of 18 will require the express consent of the parent or guardian in order to attend the in-person laboratory component.  This consent must be submitted in writing to the Course Director.

On-campus students with allergies to sulfur dioxide or alcohol, or who are unable to participate in wine evaluation for personal, medical, or religious reasons, are still welcome to take this course but must contact the Course Director to opt out of the laboratory sessions. Alternative assignments will be provided in these cases.  

An optional field trip to Goldie Vineyard, Waiheke Island, will be held during one weekend day of the semester.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week for each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect two 50-minute lectures per week. Fortnightly sensory evaluation laboratories are included for on-campus students. Where alert levels permit, an optional field trip is offered.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including laboratories to receive credit for components of the course, with the exception of those students who are enrolled in an offshore online stream.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including laboratories will not be available as recordings, with the exception of an introductory video session.
The course will not include live unrecorded online events including group discussions/tutorials.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

To be determined by the individual lecturers depending upon the topic. The textbook for this course is Wine Science (4th Edition) by Ronald S. Jackson (2014) and is available on Canvas under Reading Lists.

Health & Safety

Students are expected to expel wines tasted in sensory laboratories.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

The optional field trip will be retained thanks to positive feedback from students in the SET evaluations. Students are be encouraged to give feedback, both written and verbally, throughout the semester to help shape and improve the course in subsequent semesters.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

This course strives to be a safe, inclusive and equitable space that supports our social and environmental responsibilities.  Please feel free to contact the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor to discuss privately any impairment-related requirements.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2022 09:31 a.m.