Wine Education in Canada

Niagara College Teaching Winery

135 Tayor Rd.
Niagara-On The-Lake


 Canadian Food and Wine Institute, located on Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, is the College’s centre for food wine and beer education. In addition to Benchmark Restaurant, it features on-campus learning enterprises including the NC Teaching Winery – Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery – and the NC Teaching Brewery – also the first of its kind in Canada. The CFWI is also home to the reigning Junior Culinary Team Canada, comprised of students and recent graduates who, in 2013, won the right to represent Canada at international competitions for three years, up to and including the 2016 World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. The Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) provides students with valuable hands-on experience and academics in all aspects of food, food innovation, wine and beer.

Brock alumna Emma Garner (BSc, ’04), currently one of four winemakers at Thirty Bench winery in Beamsville, is one example of a female graduate of Brock University’s Oenology and Viticulture,who has found career success in the industry since completing the program. Garner, who was last year’s Ontario Winemaker of the Year

The Niagara College Teaching Winery (NCT), Canada’s first commercial teaching winery, is located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus of Niagara College within the Niagara Region of Ontario

In 2000, the Niagara on the Lake campus of Niagara College established the Winery and Viticulture Technician program. The program is the first of its kind in Canada in that the Teaching Winery facilitates the learning enterprise of the program. Presently located amidst 38 acres of College vineyards, the teaching winery allows the students to have immediate access to a hands-on experience in a real-time working environment to produce award winning wines. Furthermore the program allows them to obtain skills in three specialty areas; winemaking, viticulture and sales/marketing, that will provide diverse opportunities upon graduation.

Inception of this program was developed in direct consultation with the local wine industry and under the advisement of a Program Advisory Committee. In 2004, the Winery and Viticulture Technician Program received the Pinnacle Award for best supplier of graduates to the tourism industry, and was also awarded Best Program in Canada 2004 by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

With 38 acres (150,000 m2) of production vineyards plus the Jack Forrer teaching and demonstration vineyard, the winery provides students with practical, hands-on training that prepares them for the workplace.

Completed in April 2007, the wine sensory lab enhances the training of students enrolled in wine and viticulture, sommelier, culinary and hospitality and tourism programs.

Wine Industry Seminars and Workshops Niagara College Teaching Winery hosts various wine industry seminars and workshops. These workshops help to broaden knowledge and give training in related areas.

yes Icewine production is part of a students hands on training.

In the fall of 2008, Niagara College has opened doors to the new post graduate certificate program in Wine Business Management. This intense program uses college science labs, a wine sensory lab, the vineyards, on-site wine equipment, and the Niagara College Teaching Winery Campus Wine Store. This program will provide graduates with a well-rounded business education and a very specialized practical training required for successful operations of future growth in Canadian wine, hospitality and tourism industries. This is the first and only Wine Business Program in Canada. 


The wine industry has worked with Niagara College to develop and fine-tune the following programs so that graduates are highly skilled and ready for their new careers. These intense and unique academic curriculum utilize our science lab, college vineyards, on-site equipment, and work with wine industry educators and professional winemakers.

  • Wine Business Management Graduate Certificate
  • Winery and Viticulture Technician Diploma Program
  • CE Certificates
  • Certified Sommelier
  • Continuing Education Courses

  • Master Taster Certificate

The quality of wines produces is amazing. Gavin Robertson is the winemaker at the NC Teaching Winery,

The Niagara College Teaching Winery has launched its first cider. Named Cider 101 in 2016. They won Gold at the USA open Cider Competition.

Niagara College first opened in 1967. NCT Winery has won more than 60 national and international awards for its VQA wines since its inception

 2016 Awards

U.S. Open Cider Championship
Cider 101 - Gold (New World Cider Category)

Ontario Cider Awards
Cider 101 - Bronze (Traditional Apple Category)

The Royal Wine Competition
2015 Dry Riesling - Bronze

2015 Semi-Dry Riesling - Bronze
2015 Semi-Dry Riesling - Best Value Award
2014 Les Marmitons Pinot Noir - Bronze

2015 Awards

Ontario Wine Awards
2012 Sauvignon Blanc - Silver 

National Wine Awards of Canada 
2013 Balance Pinot Noir Trek Vineyard – Gold
2014 College Rose – Bronze
2014 Balance Pinot Gris – Bronze
2012 Dean's List Merlot – Bronze

The Royal Wine Competition
2012 Dean's List Merlot - Best in Show
2012 Dean's List Merlot - Best in Show Red
2014 Cabernet Franc Rose - Silver

2013 Balance Sauvignon Blanc - Silver
2014 College Rose - Bronze
2013 Balance Pinot Noir - Bronze
2012 Dean's List Merlot - Bronze

NC Graduates as Winemakers

Niagara College Teaching Winery   Winemaker Gavin Robertson
Tarara Estates (USA)               Winemaker Jordan Harris
16 Mile Cellars                         Winemaker Regan Kapach
Adamo Estates                         Winemaker Shauna White        
Flat Rock Cellars                      Winemaker Jay Johnson   ~ Assistant Winemaker Allison Finlay
GreenLane Estate                     Winemaker Diane Smith
Harwood Estates                      Winemaker Karlee Moore
Lundy’s Manor                         Winemaker Adam Kern
Ravine Vineyards                     Winemaker Martin Werner     Associate Winemaker Ben Minaker
Rockway Vineyards                  Winemaker David Stasiuk
Rosewood                                Winemaker, Manager and  Beekeeper  William Roman
Mike Wier and Stoney Ridge    Winemaker Jeff Hudertmark
Tawse                                      Winemaker Paul Pender   ~  Assistant Winemaker Augusta Westerhof
Two Sisters Vineyards              Winemaker Adam Pearce
Cooper’s Hawk                        Winemaker Adam Graham
Luckett’s                                  Winemaker Michael Mainguy  

NC Graduates as Assistant Winemakers

Creekside Estate                       Yvonne Irvine
Fielding Estates                        Assistant Winemaker Clark Tyler
Megalomaniac                         Assistant Winemaker Chris Frey
Vineland Estates                      Assistant Winemaker Jessica Reese
Inniskillin Niagara Estate          Assistant Winemaker Nicholas Gizuk
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Assistant Winemaker Casey Kulczyk
Strewn Winery                         Assistant Winemaker Tyler Bartelds
Coyotes Run                            Assistant Winemaker Chris Protonentis
Henry of Pelham                      Assistant Winemaker  Shantal Silverthorne
Summerhill Pyramid Winery     Assistant Winemaker Michael Alexander
Church and State Winery         Assistant Winemaker Christian Scagnetti

Brock University

Brock's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) has established itself as a successful, internationally recognized research institute on cool climate viticulture, oenology, wine business and wine culture.

Program Description:
The four-year Honours Co-op program is designed to meet the growing needs of the grape and wine industries of cool climate regions. This degree program is the only one of its kind in Canada. The aim of the program is to provide a comprehensive scientific education combined with both hands-on and industrial experience in oenology and viticulture, along with exposure to marketing, tourism and wine appreciation. Since ‘wine begins in the field and ends in the glass,’ our graduates will be trained to work in the vineyard and the winery or may become owners and operators of vineyards and wineries. The program encompasses the scientific disciplines pertaining to the grape and wine industry including: sensory science, biochemistry, biotechnology, chemistry, microbiology, genetics, cell and molecular biology, plant physiology and environmental biology. Our graduates may pursue higher education in any of these disciplines. 

Certificate in Grape and Wine Technology

The Certificate in Grape and Wine Technology provides the opportunity for individuals with an existing science degree to gain the training necessary to enter the grape and wine industry or for industry personnel to upgrade their knowledge. All courses meeting Certificate requirements would be directly transferable to the Degree Program.

Brock University St. Catharines, ON, since 1964

 Okanagan College

Located in Penticton, BC has developed three certificate programs and a number of weekend short courses in the areas of Viticulture, Winery Assistant and Wine Sales. For certificate programs students must fulfill the admission requirements and co-requisites. All students must be at least 19 years of age. 

Okanagan College Continuing Studies Viticulture and Wine Studies programminwas developed in conjunction with wine industry experts and is specifically designed to serve the needs of the wine industry. Instructors are experienced and respected practitioners, and students learn in the heart of B.C. wine country with opportunities to gain hands-on skills at local vineyards and award-winning wineries throughout the region. 

Certificate Programs

  • Viticulture Certificate part-time or full-time
  • New Viticulture Technician Diploma starts Fall 2017.

  • Wine Sales Certificate  part-time with the option of in-class and online learning to improve access for students outside the Okanagan region  
  • Winery Assistant Certificate part-time

B.C. Wine Information Society Sensory Centre

Located in the heart of Okanagan wine country, the B.C. Wine Information Society Sensory Centre at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is the region’s first educational facility of its kind.

The facility, which opened its doors in 2014, was created specifically for the sensory discovery and evaluation of wine and food.

The College offers a variety of courses and programs through the Sensory Centre for students and professionals looking to expand their knowledge in the growing wine and viticulture industries. Starting 2017 a new profram witha winemaking diploma

University of British Columbia


The UBC Wine Research Centre uses innovative technology to advance the wine industry in Canada.

The Wine Research Centre’s mission is to conduct pioneering research in Enology and viticulture and to develop highly qualified human resources with relevant scientific expertise and enterprise who will promote the technological advancement of the wine industry in Canada. This initiative is based on a concept of collaboration with researchers at the University of British Columbia, at other educational and research institutions and all facets of the wine industry.

To establish which grape varietals will do best in which micro-climatic areas in BC, the BC Chapter of the Canadian Wine Library was established during 2002. The library can house 22,000 bottles of wine. The Wine Library operates under the auspices of a board of Directors who are knowledgeable about wines.

Fine Vintage

Fine Vintage is the leading provider of wine education in North America. We offer the WSET courses, which are professional qualifications in wine with international recognition. Fine Vintage is a family-owned company, operated by James Cluer. As a Master of Wine, James is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on wine. 

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) was established in London in 1969 and currently offers their prestigious wine courses in over 60 countries and 18 languages.  James Cluer works out of Vancouver. Courses are offered in Kelowna, Victoria, Penticton,Edmonton, Regina Calgary and Toronto

Additional information is welcome


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