1 September 2020

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Inside our BSc Viticulture and Oenology, from current student Haydon Exter

If you want to find out more on the Uk's centre of excellence for wine education, training and research see our Wine Division Page or follow Plumpton Wine on social media. We have a variety of courses available icluding degree courses, part-time and short courses, plus our viticulture course including horticulture, view them on our Wine Division Page

Tell us about yourself/where you come from/ career to date if any outside of wine/in wine trade...

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but grew up in Hillcrest, Kwazulu Natal (still South Africa) before I moved to England with my family. I grew up playing cricket and rugby, and I’ve always had an interest in the sciences. Before the course, my career experience was mainly in customer assistance and warehouse operation.

How did you become interested in the wine industry?

My family have always liked wine – it was our drink of choice. And naturally, I’ve always liked the idea of working on a vineyard somewhere. However, the idea set in after a family reunion in Cape Town, where I visited my uncle’s vineyard. I’ve also always been keen on history and wine has a long one itself, which I find fascinating.

How did you hear about Plumpton?

After finishing my A-Levels, I took two years to work and travel, and having previously considered a degree in wine, it wasn’t hard to discover all that Plumpton had to offer. It turns out I was on a beach in Thailand wondering about studying wine when I learnt about Plumpton.

What would you say to people looking to do Wine Production...what do you need to understand before coming to make the most of it?

Wine Production has been a very interesting course so far, and full of hands-on approaches which really helps give you a deeper understanding of the industry. The course touches on everything from driving tractors in the vineyard, to carrying out titrations in the Chemistry lab. The level of chemistry knowledge required may seem daunting, but with a decent willingness to learn, the course is easily achievable and will set you up for any area of wine production once you’ve finished. My advice is to be eager to join in and not worry about having sufficient wine knowledge before starting.

After Plumpton what are you hoping to do...career in wine or not and what sort of job? 

As I am only going into my second year, I have not yet fully decided what my plans are after graduating. However, I would like to experience more of the world and perhaps travel to more wine regions before I decide to settle into any career.

Which countries/ regions around the world have you visited and most liked?

Having lived in South Africa and visiting family in Cape Town, I have done many wine tours of the Stellenbosch wine region. On my gap year travels, I went to South East Asia and South America. Of these, Peru really fascinated me with their like of sweet wines and the production of pisco. Although it was in Bolivia, on the Uyuni salt flats, where I was given a bottle of some homemade wine from a Bolivian family, and despite my lack of Spanish to communicate, we all had a great night!   

Which countries/ regions do you most want to go to? 

I’d like to travel to Italy’s wine regions, Australia and California are also high on my list. There are too many to choose!

Any industry figures you look up to/ inspire you? 

Being fairly new to the industry, I have not yet singled out any particular people who have inspired me, although I’m sure with time there will be many.

Your favourite type of wine/ What are you eating with it and where?

This is a hard question for me as I find it similar to picking a favourite song – it depends on my mood and the situation I’m in. However, during this lockdown, I stumbled upon the pairing of a Dessert Wine from Santorini and some peanut butter, which I’d definitely do again. Otherwise I’d currently have to say a 2017 Saint-Aubin Hubert Lamy paired with another glass while sitting in the sun!


Next Steps...

If you want to find out more on the Uk's centre of excellence for wine education, training and research see our Wine Division Page or follow Plumpton Wine on social media. We have a variety of courses available icluding degree courses, part-time and short courses, plus our viticulture course including horticulture, view them on our Wine Division Page

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