Can An Advanced Degree Advance Your Winemaking?

Emily Hodson, Winemaker for Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Virginia, possesses a Master’s Degree in Enology from Virginia Tech.

Hodson, who said she studied under Dr. Bruce Zoeckline, was already working in wine when she pursued the course of study, and said she loved the opportunity to study and work at the same time, applying her studies to her winemaking in real time.

But did getting a Master’s improve her winemaking?

“I am not sure the degree specifically changed my approach to making wine, but it certainly allowed me to understand the practical and chemical side of winemaking,” Hodson told Vintner Magazine. “When you are comfortable with running labs and analyzing results, it makes the creative winemaking side a lot more fun because you have a good understanding of the basic chemistry and stability of wine — basically the strong points and weak points of what you’re working on.”

READ MORE: How This Infectious Disease Expert Became An Expert Winemaker

Hodson was already of a scientific mindset and says she accidentally fell into the craft. She was taking a year off from working in the public health field in infectious diseases, and her parents were preparing to plant a vineyard. She started helping them and fell in love with the process.

“It was a wonderful wormhole of science married with the beauty of actually creating something from crop that you spend most of the year tending to,” she said.

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