August 17, 2016 — In recent years Israel has experienced significant maturation in its wine industry and a surging local and international demand for its outstanding wines. In response to the growing need for skills and professionalism in the industry, the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has opened Israel’s first academic degree program in wine: the International M.S. in Viticulture and Enology. The four-semester M.S. program begins on March 2, 2017.

purple red wine grapes

Students will gain knowledge and skills at an academic level, consistent with leading programs in other wine-producing countries such as France, the United States and Australia, with special emphasis on the Israeli industry. Upon completion, the students will earn a world-recognized M.S. degree from Hebrew University. This is the first M.S. level degree in viticulture and enology to be approved by the National Council for Higher Education (CHE) in Israel.

Program leader Professor Zohar Kerem said: “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. The program covers topics of a spectrum similar to programs around the world and has been tailored to fit Israel’s dry conditions. The program is innovative and unique, and the participants will receive training and guidance from leading academics and professionals.”

“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 5000 years ago, from one of the world’s top 100 universities. 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,” added Professor Kerem.

Professor Zohar Kerem

Professor Zohar Kerem

FACULTY: Heading the program, and chairman of its academic committee, is Professor Zohar Kerem, an Associate Professor at the Robert H. Smith Faculty and a world-renowned researcher in food chemistry, wine quality and olive oil. The program’s professional coordinator is Mr. Yotam Sharon, a postgraduate with honors in Enology from the University of Montpellier in France, an M.S. graduate of the Smith Faculty, and a leading winemaker at one of Israel’s premier wineries. Other distinguished members of the teaching staff are Professor Ben-Ami Bravdo, Professor Oded Shoseyov and Dr. Ron Shapira. Esteemed guest lecturers from abroad will teach various topics.

CURRICULUM: The M.S. is an 18-month academic program that spans four semesters, with classes held two full days per week on Thursdays and Fridays. The program includes theory; practice in a wine-tasting room on the Smith Faculty campus; an internship in cooperation with Soreq Winery, one of Israel’s leading wine producers; and a workshop to be held in Italy or France. Study subjects include:

—The Vineyard: Planning and cultivating; design; grapevine stocks and types; plot preparation; propagation; planting; trellising; pruning; irrigation; fertilization; mechanization; grape quality treatments.

—Wine Production: Equipment and winery management; micro-vinification; chemistry and stability; microbiology; distillation technology; fermentation science.

—Analysis of grape juice and wine: Biosynthesis of taste and odor factors; sensory evaluation of types of wine and defects in wine; sensory evaluation of wines from Israel and the world.

—Additional Courses: Economics, management and marketing in the wine industry; wine workshop and reading seminar in grapevine and wine production (to be conducted abroad).

ELIGIBILITY: Candidates must have a full B.S. degree from a recognized institution in a related field, such as biology, chemistry or agriculture. Candidates whose background is lacking in specific subjects will be required to complete an individualized Preparatory Program either before or in conjunction with the beginning of the Enology program.

REGISTRATION: Early registration until September 15, 2016. The last date to apply for the Rehovot preparatory studies is October 5, 2016. Beginning of Preparatory Program in Rehovot is November 3, 2016. The four-semester M.S. program begins on March 2, 2017. The program will hold a Launch Event on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.