Looking back at the past three years, I would have to say that my own personal watershed moment came in the second semester when we focused on “orange and natural wines” in the Wine Processing and Viticulture courses. It wasn’t until I had sampled 50 orange wines that I finally developed a taste for it. Orange wines are white wines that are produced using the same principles and methods as reds – i.e. fermented with the skins and seeds. I currently have my hands full producing a Riesling and Traminer because crafting an orange wine with these grapes takes some getting used to. You need to learn to spot the imperfections in the wine if you are going to stay on the right track. Otherwise you might end up with a “special” wine, but it just isn’t going to be marketable.
The business side of things is crucial for in the wine industry
As you might have guessed, I have really immersed myself in the subject. During my studies I came to realise just what a critical role that sales, marketing and exports play – and not just the production side of things.
A chance to get to know the greats of the industy
Collaboration with the wine estates was one of the degree programme’s real assets. Sitting down with the greats of the Austrian wine industry and having the chance to discuss the industry with them is definitely something out of the ordinary.
New ideas for the family business
After graduation I took over the family business and really started to sharpen the focus on wine marketing – I am also keeping a close eye on the financial side of things to help me with the management of the company. When I was in Australia, I witnessed first hand just how important professional management of social media channels was – in Austria we still have a very long way to go. But I am going to take a different approach thanks to the insights I gained during my degree programme: in my case I am going to use Facebook and Instagram to open up new markets and appeal to a young target audience that understands wine.
Get as much practical experience as possible, make the most of all the opportunities open to you on the degree programme – such as involvement in great wine events such as the Falstaff Gala Forum Vini or forging personal contacts with leading wine estates.