25 February 2022
At Plumpton College, BSc and FdSc students spend most of their first year in the vineyard and progress to practical time in our winery with the winemaker and engage in a range of winemaking operations in their second year. Tom, Travis, and Catherine are currently in their second year studying our BSc in Viticulture & Oenology full time.
I'm originally from Guildford, so I saw many vineyards and wineries in Surrey as they began to pop up. That's probably where the interest started. It has been great fun going into the winery in my second-year at Plumpton College. I find things easier to learn when I see them in action and up close. So, getting real practical experience and seeing all the ups and downs of a commercial winery has been invaluable for taking things from the textbook into the real world. My favourite part has been tasting wines to understand how a wine develops from grape juice to the finished product and how tasting informs winemaking decisions.
I was born in Durban, South Africa but spent most of my time growing up in Cape Town. Working in hospitality after finishing school stimulated my love for winemaking and viticulture. With a challenging harvest and half the semester behind us already, this year's college experience has run smoothly with no interruptions. I have experience of working in other wineries. However, this year has made me feel more settled and reinforced my practical winemaking knowledge and expertise. Our group classes are small, which allows us to have greater one on one time with Deepika, the winemaker, and more chances to learn and operate the equipment. The winery sessions have prepared me for my placement abroad over the summer, and I look forward to what semester 2 offers.
I've spent a lot of my life living in London but spent most of my childhood in North Yorkshire, where my parents live, where I consider home.
The start of second-year has made the theory of first-year an interactive and exciting reality. I enjoy working in my winery group and with our instructor, Deepika, an excellent teacher and very patient with us. I've always done better learning on the job, and it's great to be doing a practical course where we can learn from our mistakes. Having come from a corporate background, the first year was pretty tough on my confidence, particularly in the lab. However, second-year has presented many more opportunities to work with fruit we've pressed and made into wine and take many lab analyses, allowing us to get a complete picture of winemaking. Needless to say, my confidence has improved a lot.
Learn more about our history
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.