WINESCI 702 : The Science Behind Grape Production


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Develops understanding of the contemporary scientific knowledge and research that is of relevance to grape production for winemaking. The application of traditional and modern molecular methods in plant science and plant pathology will be discussed in relation to the selection, improvement and management of vines and grape attributes. Research issues of national and international relevance to viticulture will also be addressed.

Course Overview

This course combines an understanding of the scientific knowledge and research that is relevant to wine grape production along with practical aspects of vineyard establishment, management and harvest.
Students are allocated a specific vineyard site and variety to use to undertake various assignments.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Evaluate Evaluate different criteria to asses grape ripening to determine harvest date and yield. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  2. Describe Describe the principles and practices of grapevine canopy management. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Evaluate Critically evaluate a research article in grapevine management and apply to the NZ wine industry. (Capability 2, 4 and 5)
  4. Evaluate Evaluate different clones and root stocks and apply to real life viticulture. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Describe Describe the principles and practices involved in vineyard establishment, including the concept of terrior. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Describe Describe the molecular methods in plant science used for grapevine improvement. (Capability 1 and 2)
  7. Understand Understand the vineyard pathogens and diseases that affect NZ vineyards. Detail the management techniques to control these pests and diseases. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 50% Individual Coursework
Presentation 15% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 35% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam

Key Topics

Basic viticulture and history
 An introduction. Grape species, varieties and their origins, clones, rootstocks, hybrids, grafting, history of viticulture, cultural practices.
Harvest decisions/ripening and fruit chemistry
Climate and weather, temperature, sunlight, light spectrum, process of ripening, photosynthesis, physiological ripeness, berry constituents, when to harvest, machine vs. manual harvesting.
Grapevine canopy management
Managing vines, training and trellising, pruning, vine vigour, yield vs. quality, canopy assessment methods (shading indices, sunfleck analysis and point quadrat analysis), methods to improve grape berry exposure to light (hedging, leaf removal).
Terroir and soil management
Site selection, planting, climate classifications, soil composition, soil nutrients, interactions between soil, nutrients and water, biodynamics and organics, concept of terroir, geography and geology, Old World vs. New World.
Vine physiology, vine balance
The vineyard cycle, balancing vegetative and reproductive growth, physiology of the vine.
Water and nutrient balances 
Water and irrigation, precipitation, hazards, nutrients required for grapevine growth, drainage.
Grapevine structure and function 
Grapevine anatomy, structure of roots, leaves, trunks, buds, tendrils, flowers, fruits and stems, cellular components, one year old wood (cane or spur) vs. permanent wood (cordon).
Grapevine pathogens and diseases 
Introduction to pests and diseases of the vine and their management and prevention.
Molecular methods in plant science used for grapevine improvement
Current techniques in molecular biology routinely used to study grapevine genetics and physiology and to develop improved grapevines.

Special Requirements

Students will be allocated specific vineyard sites from which they will collect data. The collection of data will take place during normal business hours, however may include some weekend work. 
Students are required to wear safety boots and a high-visibility vest in the vineyard.

Workload Expectations

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

For this course, you can expect 16 hours of lectures, a 3 hour lab and a 1 hour tutorial, 28 hours of reading and thinking about content and 50 hours of work on assignments/projects.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including including labs to receive credit for components of the course.

Attendance on campus is required for tests and exams.

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. Primary textbook: Wine Science: Principles, Practice, Perception. Ronald S. Jackson. Third Edition (2008). Available at the university library and electronically.

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.

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

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 10/11/2021 10:15 p.m.