Organic Wine & Spirits Production Residency
August 14 – September 6, 2020
Faculty: Nik de Rachewiltz
Featuring three weeks of onsite coursework at Brunnenburg Castle in the Italian Alps during the early stages of their annual fruit harvest, this onsite experience will be complemented by one month of online preparatory coursework.
Where else could you find a leading-edge expert managing pesticide-free vineyards and organic orchards, a wine and beer cellar, a distillery, and an agricultural museum in a 13th century castle? This rare opportunity offers you the chance to work with Nik de Rachewiltz, who, for the past decade, has been transitioning all fruit production on the Brunnenburg Castle farm to be pesticide-free, primarily through the use of newly-available “fungal resistant varieties” (also known as “PIWI” varieties in German-speaking regions). Using the castle farm and agricultural museum as your cohort’s living laboratory and classroom, Nik will guide you through the lessons learned from several millennia of fruit and grain production in the South Tirol region.While the primary focus will be on grape-derived products, the farm at Brunnenburg Castle is highly diversified and includes a number of fermented and distilled products featuring everything from pears, nuts, quinces, and apples to wildcrafted herbs.
WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR?
This course is designed especially for persons establishing or transitioning to pesticide-free vineyards and orchards as well as beverage-industry professionals. Marketing professionals, sommeliers, distributors, bartenders, culinary professionals, and agritourism specialists will benefit from this in-depth exploration of organic wine and spirits, from soil to bottle.
THE PROGRAM INCLUDES:
In the month prior to your onsite residency, the coursework will begin with online readings, webinars, and cohort-interaction to maximize your on-site experience. Several interactive webinars and an online Beverage Sensory Evaluation will serve as your primer for red wine, white wine, and distilled spirits.
Once on-site, be prepared to roll up your sleeves, as your learning will take place in the vineyards, orchards, cellars, and museum. Sessions include interactive presentations by Nik and other experts, and half-days dedicated to hands-on farmwork sessions designed to transform theory into practical skills and knowledge. Field trips,evening seminars, and ample tastings will ensure a broad perspective on techniques used in the field, cellar, and distillery to produce high-quality wine and spirits from organically-managed farms. All activities are designed to guide you through the opportunities and challenges of producing organic wine and spirits.
“Nik’s hands-on wine education begins with learning about the history of wine-making in this special wine region of the world in the Italian Alps. This is followed by an opportunity to get your hands into the soil, tend to Nik’s disease-resistant vines, and aid in the process of making his award-winning wines. Best of all, tasting the wines allows you to experience the culmination of the deeply caring way that winemaker and farmer Nik de Rachewiltz cares for the land and traditions at Brunnenburg Castle.”
—Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, author, writer, sustainable diets expert
Intermediate to Advanced. This course is suitable for confident home winemakers to those who have experience in commercial wine and spirits. This course is often considered a professional development opportunity to those who work in the wine & spirits industry.
There is no formal prerequisite required for this course. In order to gain the full value of the class, students should come with a general understanding of the biology and chemistry of organic wine & spirits production along with basic algebra. Nik will commonly use metric units and degrees Celsius; please be comfortable with these units of measure before class begins.
- Tuition for this certificate is $7,500.00. This comprehensive fee includes coursework (both online and onsite), hands-on workshops, professional portfolio assessment, lodging during the course, transportation to and from the Munich airport, and all meals.
- Class size is limited to 14. A minimum of 6 enrollments are required for the course to be held.
- A non-refundable deposit may be made in order to reserve your seat in a course at any time until the full tuition due date, at which time full tuition will be due to reserve a seat in the course. See the deposit minimum in the registration portal.
- Tuition is due to be paid in full 60 days before the course start date.
- A late fee of $50 will be applied in the case of payments made past the full tuition due date.
- In the case of course cancellation by the institution, deposits will be returned. Course fees beyond the non-refundable minimum deposit are refundable for cancellations up to 60 days before the course start date. Please contact your course coordinator for cancellations after that date.
Participants must book flights that arrive at the Munich airport no later than 1 pm on August 14, 2020. Your tour leaders will meet you at the airport and transport you to Brunnenburg Castle.
Group transportation from Brunnenburg to the Munich airport on September 6, 2020 will depart at 8:00am, with an estimated arrival at Munich airport 5 hours later (ETA: 1:00pm), depending upon traffic. Return flights should be scheduled for no earlier than 3pm on that day or preferably for the following day. Participants can also opt to be dropped off in Innsbruck.
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