Plumpton college sees student enrolment numbers rise by 20%

UK wine and agricultural education provider Plumpton College has announced that the 2018/2019 student intake was the largest on record, with total candidate numbers up by 20%.

The college has offered wine programmes since 1988 and in May this year launched a Level 3 Diploma (A Level equivalent course) to promote the industry as a viable career path to younger individuals.

Chris Foss, head of Plumpton Wine Division, said: “On top of an outstanding grape harvest in our vineyards, we are delighted to see such good student numbers this year, clearly demonstrating the boom in the English wine industry and Plumpton’s growing worldwide reputation”.

The college boasts 10 wine specialists and in 2006 raised funds for a purpose-built wine centre which includes laboratories, a sensory evaluation room, lecture rooms and the Rathfinny Research Winery.

Plumpton stated that this year applicants for its BA (Hons) International Wine Business degree rose by 40% with the majority of students being female from countries including Spain, Cyprus and Italy.

The gender split for its other undergraduate programmes, the FdSc Wine Production and BSc (Hons) Viticulture and Oenology, however is more even with ages ranging from 18 to 60.

The largest increase in student application numbers was for the MSc Viticulture and Oenology course, with numbers doubling from 10 to 20. The Masters programme has attracted students from England, Wales and Ireland as well as France, Belgium, Portugal, Australia, Brazil and Zimbabwe.

Foss added: “We are delighted to see that some of our new students already have substantial industry experience, but the vast majority are new to wine production and are energised to join the UK’s flourishing wine production industry”.

Students hail from a range of backgrounds including finance, hospitality, fashion and luxury tourism.

18-year-old Gabby Riley, one of two students at Plumpton born in this millennium, commented: “I came on the course as I have always been interested in the idea of how wine is sold around the world. That and my love for traveling and how wine can bring different cultures together. Studying wine business at Plumpton College will equip me with the right skills and knowledge I need to pursue my career to one day hopefully being an international wine buyer”.

Daniel Jackson, a first year student on the MSc Viticulture & Oenology course, added: “For me, it’s been a great start to the course. With a background in chemistry, I’ve really enjoyed the balance between in-depth science involved in winemaking and viticulture, while having the opportunity to be hands-on picking grapes and fermenting wine”.

Plumpton also manages 10 hectares of vineyards which produce around 40,000 bottles a year. In May this year, a first-year student re-designed the college’s entire wine portfolio in collaboration with brand creation specialists Studio Parr.

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