Degree allows achiever to learn more about wine

Local viticulture study is paving the way to a global wine-making career for one Napier graduate.

Sophie Harris will be amongst 430 graduates getting capped at Napier's Municipal Theatre on Friday, the most ever to receive qualifications from Taradale-based EIT.

The 25-year-old Craggy Range Winery cellar hand studied the Bachelor of Wine Science degree, that allowed a one-month stint in Italian vineyards and recent work experience in the Hunter Valley, Australia.

She hopes her qualification will allow for more travel, and is already lining up the next trip when the season is finished.

"I hope to travel around for the next couple of years to gain experience and see a bit of the world at the same time," she said. In 2011, she spent a month amongst Italian vines as the winner of the Bragato Student Exchange Scholarship through EIT, and said the course has equipped her with the skills to keep travelling.

"It was just a wonderful environment to learn and grow. I liked the small classes at EIT and the way the tutors really knew who you were and your strengths and weaknesses and helped guide you according to these.

"Having the winery on site and with knowledgeable staff to help you along the way to making your very own small batch wines was an incredible learning opportunity and taught me valuable lessons in problem solving."

Sophie's mother and Askerne Winery identity Christine Harris, was also one of the first to complete EIT's Bachelor of Viticulture degree.

However, Sophie said her career choice was not about following in her mother's footsteps. It was working vintages in Marlborough and Hawke's Bay that convinced her wine was what she wanted to do.


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