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Universities join forces to fuel Chinese wine industry

Published:  09 August, 2018

The University of Adelaide and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University have joined forces to launch a dual masters degree in winemaking and viticulture to help fuel China’s wine industry.

The new two-and-a-half year course will begin in 2019 and will involve students spending the first 12 months in Shanghai, the second year in Adelaide and the final six months back in China working in a winery or vineyard while completing a research project supervised by staff from the universities.

The new course would attract a “slightly different cohort” of students and would therefore not result in a reduction in Chinese students enrolling in other University of Adelaide winemaking courses, said Chris Ford, interim head of agriculture, food and wine at the University of Adelaide, which has one of the world’s leading teaching wineries on the doorstep of Barossa and McLaren Vale.

“The course will provide graduates with the ideal preparation for a career in China’s growing domestic wine industry and is also an opportunity for our students from Australia who’d like to take a period of study in China to do that and graduate with a Masters Degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University as well as the University of Adelaide,” said Ford.

The fact that students had done their placement in China meant they would be “hitting the ground running”, he added.

The partnership follows China overtaking the US to become the biggest buyer of Australian wine in 2016. Exports to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, leaped 51% to $1.04 billion, according to Wine Australia (MAT to March, 2018) driven by wine tariffs having dropped again in January 2018, in line with the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement.

In late 2016, the University of Adelaide unveiled plans to build a new expanded teaching winery, which it said it was “still developing”.