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Story #Alumni#International Wine Business

Like father, like daughter – wine’s new succession story

Barbara Kollwentz is one of many top young female winemakers in Austria who are following in their fathers’ footsteps – and are graduates of the International Wine Business bachelor degree programme at IMC Krems. She has been looking after the family-owned winery’s website and its social media presence since summer 2020. And that’s where completing a degree taught entirely in English comes in particularly useful.

Barbara Kollwentz vor ihrem Weingut

Barbara Kollwentz Tip to future International Wine Business students:"Gain as much knowledge and experience as you can, you don't know what else you can use it for."

Born in Burgenland, the ambitious young winemaker talks about her professional goals and how she wants to raise the winery’s profile in Austria and abroad using the know-how she gained during her studies.

Starting young – valuable practical experience

After finishing commercial college in Eisenstadt, I started studying on the International Wine Business bachelor programme at IMC Krems that autumn. When I was younger, I’d work at our winery during the holidays.

After commercial college I wanted to build up my wine expertise and get my English up to scratch

I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, and most of the time it came easy to me. So I knew that I would do a degree after getting my school leaving qualifications. The International Wine Business degree programme caught my eye straight away. It combines business modules with courses on winegrowing and viniculture, it’s taught entirely in English and has a strong international focus. It was a way for me to supplement the things I learned at commercial college with wine-related know-how in English, and to gain expert insights into the world of wine so that I could play a part at my parents’ winery. The fact that all the courses were held in English was a big help, because I often need specialist English vocabulary for our website and social media channels.

I benefited a lot from the many different guest lecturers from the wine industry

I’ll always have fond memories of my compulsory internship at wine merchant Döllerer. We also had lots of great lectures with guest speakers who work in the industry and shared their experience and know-how with us.

Now I fully understand what goes on in the wine cellar

Before my degree, all I knew about wine, vineyards and wine production was the things that I had picked up at home. But after going to courses like Viticulture and Wine Processing, now I have a proper understanding of what’s happening in our cellar and vineyards.

Winemaking dynasty upholds the winery’s ideals in their purest form

We have 25 hectares of vineyards in the Leithaberg hills. It’s split 50-50 between red and white varieties – three-quarters of the vineyards are reserved for Blaufränkisch and Chardonnay. We only cultivate our own vineyards, harvest our own grapes – we don’t buy any in – and we make our own wines in our cellars. Soil cultivation and vegetation management are vital for ensuring balanced growth in the vines. And labour-intensive manual work on the vines is the key to quality wines. We only hand-pick selected, fully ripe, healthy grapes.  

I want our winery to profit from my education

I’d like to make use of my knowledge and ideas in the family business so we can take it to the next level. I want our winery to profit from my education. And it would be great to play a part in making us even more well-known and successful at home and abroad.

My tip for prospective students:

“Pick up as much knowledge and experience as possible; you never know where you’ll be able to put it to good use.”

Tip from Degree Programme Director Albert Stöckl:

“I’m proud of our graduates and the careers they’ve made for themselves. Even if your family doesn’t have a business of its own, there are still a host of very good job opportunities out there.”

MORE ABOUT THE WINERY Kollwentz

MORE ABOUT THE BACHELOR DEGREE PROGRAMME "International Wine Business"