In a country that has been fermenting grape juice since biblical times, one university hopes to create a global hub for winemaking research and innovation.
Responding to the increasing worldwide demand for outstanding wines, as well as Israel's own blossoming wine industry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will soon be launching an international MSc program in viticulture and enology. The first of its kind in Israel, the program aims to provide professional training in the growth, production, analysis and management of wine, the university said.
The four-semester program will begin at the university's Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment campus in Rehovot, on March 2, 2017.
"Following the success of Israel's wine industry, I'm excited to open a program that puts Israeli research and academia on the international map of winemaking," said Prof. Zohar Kerem, who will head the program and chair its academic committee.
Kerem, whose name in Hebrew happens to mean "vineyard," is an associate professor at the university, with expertise in food chemistry, wine quality and olive oil.
"The program covers topics of a spectrum similar to programs around the world, and has been tailored to fit Israel's dry conditions," Kerem said. "The program is innovative and unique, and the participants will receive training and guidance from leading academics and professionals." Students who take part in the program will gain knowledge at a level consistent with other such programs in France, the United States and Australia, according to program information provided by the university.
Specifically, over the 18-month course, participants will end two full days of classes on Thursdays and Fridays, studying subjects such as vineyard planning and cultivation, wine production, grape juice and wine analysis and wine industry economics, management and marketing. The students will also have access to a wine-tasting room on the Rehovot campus, intern at the Soreq Winery and attend a workshop in Italy or France.
Candidates for the program must have a BSc degree in a relevant field, such as biology, chemistry or agriculture, the university said. Early registration is until September 15, while the last day to apply is October 5.
"The program will provide students from around the world an opportunity to obtain a practical master's of science degree, in a fascinating industry that started here 5,000 years ago, from one of the world's top 100 universities," Kerem said. "This will be a great opportunity to meet people from around the world, to form an international network, and to taste and produce some delicious wines."
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