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The Wine Appreciation class will allow you to easily learn about wine from a true wine scientist and winemaker without intimidation and prerequisites. Unofficially labeled as one of Purdue's coolest classes, Wine Appreciation is now open to the public and 100% online. It is now available as a certificate or as individual mini-tours of notable wine regions. Both can be purchased as a gift.

Wine Appreciation Certificate

You will take a virtual trip around the world of wine to learn about various wine production techniques, with guided sensory evaluations of more than 40 recommended regional wine styles, all the way from sparkling wines to dessert wines. You’ll study the history of global winegrowing, universal winemaking principles, and the economic and political impact of the wine industry as part of modern agriculture. You will visit notable wine regions from around the globe, including the U.S. West Coast, Indiana, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Topics Covered:

  • Wine History
  • Wine Sensory Evaluation
  • Wine & Health
  • Grape growing
  • Winemaking
  • Wine Etiquette
Register for the Certificate

Home to Purdue and a thriving local wine industry. Visit the state where the very first vineyards in the United States were planted and learn about the Indiana’s main growing areas, grape varieties and wine styles.

The U.S. West Coast, where many great American wines are crafted. Tour from the Central Valley to Napa and from the Willamette Valley to Walla-Walla, get a picture of why and how this region produces such a great variety of wines and come away with suggestions for tasting many of them.

Where wine has been produced for 3,000 years (Ancient Greece called it Œnotria, the land of vines). Travel to the foothills of the Alps, to the Piedmont, to Tuscany and more, and learn about some of Italia's “vini famosi” along the way – and why Italy is such an ideal place to make wine.

Champagne, Burgundy and Beaujolais. Learn about the historic appellations where the classic sparkling wine is produced along with some of the world's greatest white and red wines, including the unique winemaking style (carbonic maceration) for a special French winegrowing region, the Beaujolais in southern Burgundy.

Bordeaux and Alsace. Join the wine professor in exploring Bordeaux, perhaps the largest, most famous and most intimidating of all wine regions, as well as one of Europe's most distinguished cool-climate winegrowing areas (and France’s northernmost winegrowing outpost), the Alsace.

Europe's northernmost major winegrowing region, planted to vines since Roman times. Drift down the Rhine and up the Mosel rivers to explore Riesling's original home and explore the grape varieties, wine styles and other features of Germany’s wine-producing areas.

From the country with the most vineyards, Spain, to the home of Port wine, Portugal. Explore the vast Iberian Peninsula and some its most outstanding wine regions, including the Douro Valley in Portugal’s northern provinces, exclusive producer of authentic Port.

A trip to the Southern Hemisphere to two of the modern wine world's most influential regions. Discover the impact of climate change on global viticulture and find out what together makes these two the newest and most successful wine-producing countries in the “New World.”

A tour of Chile, Argentina and Peru, home to the oldest vineyards in the Americas. Follow that with a jump across the ocean to yet another vinous continent, Africa, featuring some of the most amazing scenery among winegrowing regions. Learn about the role ocean current plays for Chilean viticulture, the elevation differences in Argentina, the differences in the grape harvest in the Southern Hemisphere and the grape varieties unique to South America.

These self-paced courses take an “intimidation-free” approach to wine, which is to say the discussions revolve around gradually discovering aromas and flavors people can relate to – that hint of roses, black cherries, coconut or perhaps peaches – without taking away from the artisan, holistic approach many winemakers take when crafting their wines. Learners will purchase their own wines, suggested by a curated list, to better understand the different regions, varieties, styles, and production methods discussed in the class. The required textbook is Wine Appreciation by C.E. Butzke.

About the Instructor

Christian Butzke

Professor of Enology
Department of Food Science

Dr. Butzke is a past-president of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, an award-winning commercial winemaker, and has been chief judge of the Indy International, the largest scientifically organized wine competition in the U.S.

He is the editor of the technical book “Winemaking Problems Solved” for commercial winemakers, and author of the textbook “Wine Appreciation,” written for the over 6,500 students he has taught over the years, and of dozens of scientific and popular publications on wine production and quality.

Get to know Professor Butzke by his Wine Wednesdays with the Wine Professor YouTube channel.

Course At A Glance

Modality: Self-paced
Access: 6 months

  • Wine Appreciation Certificate (Visit all nine regions): $99

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Gift the world of wine with a Wine Appreciation gift certificate

Purchase a gift certificate from Purdue and you are gifting a virtual mini-tour(s) of the notable wine regions around the world. Without leaving their home, your recipient will meet winemakers and learn about the history, science and business of wine making and wine drinking in their chosen region. After your purchase, you will receive a gift certificate with the necessary information for your recipient to choose their destination.