Winemaking at Plumpton College

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Having spent the morning at the Sedlescombe Vineyard, we thought we’d make the whole day about wine and go west a bit to Plumpton College to find out what courses are on offer for anyone wishing to learn about winemaking.

Nestled alongside the South Downs near Lewes, Plumpton specialises in land-based courses and is the only establishment in the UK to offer a comprehensive vineyard management and winemaking degree, where the students learn everything from tractor driving to wine microbiology.

Winemaking at Plumpton College

Emma, Lucy and college winemaker, Peter Morgan

We had asked to go along and see their snazzy new winery, where we met Peter Morgan the winemaker. When we mentioned that we’d quite like to get our hands dirty, he took us at our word and got us cleaning out one of the tanks!  When he said that in order to do it properly one of us actually needed to get in the tank, we looked at the tiny little entrance and thought he was joking. He insisted that he wasn’t and, never one to turn down a challenge, Lucy managed to squeeze in (just) and, whilst it was a bit easier to clean from the inside, we’re still not entirely sure he wasn’t joking!

Winemaking at Plumpton College

Whilst we were there, we met some of the second-year students studying for a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology (that’s grape growing and winemaking to the likes of us), who all said how brilliant the course was. For many of them, the dream job would be to manage a vineyard and, owing to the uniqueness of the course, they had come from far and wide to study at Plumpton.

For anyone interested in turning to vinegrowing/winemaking as more of a hobby, there are also a number of shorter part-time courses available. Typically, they involve spending about 7 days at Plumpton (one day a week) and cost about £400.

For more information about their Wine Studies courses, contact Chris Foss (Head of Wine Studies) on 01273 890454 or at There are also hundreds of other full- and part-time courses to suit muddy people – we were really quite jealous of all the things on offer, so anyone wondering what to do with their lives or considering a career change should check out their website and see if they can be inspired!