SAGWRI is an open research institute with a unique multi-/trans-disciplinary approach to Grape and Wine Science. We accept applicants from various relevant academic backgrounds: BSc, BScAgric or BEng degree with relevant disciplines as major subject, e.g. Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Genetics, Physiology, Microbiology, Plant Pathology, Food Science, Viticulture, Oenology, Chemical Engineering, etc. Students that have attained an average of at least 60% in the final year will be considered for admission to the Honours programme. Students with a four year B-degree (e.g. BScAgric or BEng) qualify for an MSc (link to MSc).
Programme composition – General
The Honours programme consists of formal lectures (presented as modules – details below) in relevant subject areas and practical research experience in Grape and Wine Sciences. Practical experience in relevant research topics are introduced throughout the year via experiential learning (learning by doing), collaborative learning (group work) and independent research (project based). Supplementary study or competence, in additional related subjects or specific topics, may be required. Evaluation for all modules are by means of continuous assessment.
The following topics are covered:
- genetic properties and improvement of wine yeasts;
- grape-based beverages;
- alcoholic fermentation;
- chemical compounds of grapes and wine;
- techniques in wine and grapevine biotechnology;
- malolactic fermentation and microbial spoilage;
- enzymes in preparation of wine;
- grapevine structure and functions; and
- grapevine biology, biotechnology and improvement.
DETAILED PROGRAMME CONTENT:
The programme consists of the following modules; each module must be successfully completed to obtain the degree.
771 Research methodology for grapevine and wine biotechnology (30 credits)
The aim of this module is to provide post-graduate students with the requisite knowledge and skills to function competently and independently in a biotechnology research environment. This includes (1) planning, (2) performing and (3) communicating research in Grape and Wine Sciences. Students will receive training in a functioning research environment throughout the year. Students will be expected to function in a group context (via collaborative learning) as well as perform independent work in a laboratory with appropriate supervision from postgraduate students and researchers. Students will be involved in the entire “value chain” of research, including project planning and experimental design, experimentation, troubleshooting, data analysis and presentation, and preparation of a scientific research outputs (written and oral).
Students are required to assimilate and apply relevant knowledge from related core modules. Assessments for the module are based on: (1) a written research report of the results generated in the project, (2) an oral defence of the research results generated, and (3) the technical competency and functioning the student throughout the year.
772 Techniques in Wine and Grape Sciences (20 credits)
This module prepares the post-graduate student for the safe and efficient functioning in a biotechnology research environment. The module will introduce the post-graduate student to the requisite information and techniques for research in Grape- and Wine Sciences, and includes laboratory safety and etiquette, biological calculations, data analysis, and project planning and management. The students will receive training in a number of relevant techniques required for winemaking, microbiology, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and plant tissue culture. Academics and/or senior post-graduate students with the required background, experience and competency in the techniques will be involved in the respective subsections. Subsections will be presented and assessed, separately via flexible assessment.
You must maintain a lab book (provided to you) for all experiments. This must provide an accurate record of all experiments performed and the relevant results.
773 Wine-related Microbes (20 credits)
Isolation, identification and classification of wine-associated yeasts and bacteria. Fermentation biochemistry and kinetics; metabolic end products; nitrogen and sulphur metabolism during fermentation; fermentation problems; ethanol tolerance; fermentation bouquet and other volatile esters. Biotechnology of lactic acid bacteria; malolactic fermentation and microbial spoilage of wines. Techniques and targets for the genetic improvement of wine yeasts; legal, ethical and consumer aspects relating to the use of genetically manipulated wine yeasts. Role of enzymes in vinification.
774 Grapevine Biology and Biotechnology (20 credits)
General viticultural concepts, including the vegetative structure and function; reproductive structure and development as well as integration into the establishment and management of vine balance in the viticultural system. Biotechnological aspects of vine plant diseases; molecular-genetic aspects of plant-pathogen interactions; use of recombinant DNA technology to genetically improve plants; techniques and targets for the genetic improvement of plants.
775 Seminar (10 credits)
Honour’s students will be provided opportunities throughout the year to develop both their written and oral presentation skills. Students will be expected to prepare and present seminars to the academic environment. The use of visual aids (MS PowerPoint, Prezi or equivalent) is therefore a prerequisite.
Oral presentations will occur during scheduled group meetings throughout the year. The students will also prepare a written seminar on a topic related to their research project. The evaluation of the seminar is based on the content, style and ability to select material from the literature.
776 Chemistry and Biochemistry of Grape and Wines (20 credits)
General description of the chemical composition of wine.