At the Eastern Institute of Technology, the needs of students are top priority. Hence, EIT’s online postgraduate programmes are flexible and every bit as impactful as their on-campus equivalent. They are backed by strong support from industry and developed by EIT academics who are experts in their field. Staff are highly knowledgeable and experienced, enabling them to respond at pace to the ever-changing needs of industry and business.
When EIT* asked Postgraduate Lecturer Rory Hill to develop and deliver their new wine business and innovation programmes, Hill saw this as a great opportunity. “Students who wish to become winemakers or vineyard managers have choices within New Zealand’s university and polytechnic* sectors, but to develop further skills in business, marketing, sustainability, management and entrepreneurship, our postgraduate qualifications at EIT are unique,” he says.
Hill’s passion for wine has taken him all over the world. His doctoral thesis is on the topic of “terroir” — the powerful French concept of the role of the environment in giving wine a distinctive taste of place. After postdoctoral work in Paris and Munich, he worked on research that examined how a sense of place is being developed, and local wines promoted, in the North Canterbury and Central Otago regions of the South Island of New Zealand.
Today, he shares his distinctive expertise and love for this dynamic field with students based in Hawke’s Bay — and the rest of the world. International postgraduate students can choose to gain their wine business and innovation qualification fully online (providing the option for part-time study offshore) or full-time on campus (from mid-2023). This enables students to fit study around other commitments such as current employment and family. This brings exciting opportunities, enabling EIT to deliver these programmes to a diverse range of students — both domestic and international — in the same classroom. The programmes available are a Postgraduate Certificate, a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters in Wine Business and Innovation.
Experiential learning is one of EIT’s strong points. “In the ‘Entrepreneurship in Wine Business’ course, students arrange, carry out, and reflect on an interview with a person in the wine industry who they look up to and would like to learn from. The connection that is made in this way can lead to further conversations – and in one recent case, “a job,” he mentions.
That’s the power of an EIT qualification: industry involvement. “The Wine Business and Innovation postgraduate suite of qualifications was developed because the NZ wine industry identified a need for professional development for their management,” says Sue Blackmore, Head of the School of Viticulture and Wine Science.
In consultation with industry, EIT developed the concept of the postgraduate modular suite that builds to a master’s degree. The core courses include topics like Technology and Innovation in the Wine Industry, Sustainability in the Wine Industry, Global Wine Marketing, Entrepreneurship in Wine Businesses, and Current Issues in the Global and Domestic Wine Industry.
“These are built on with elective courses from EIT’s School of Business (e.g. Digital Marketing and Strategic Financial Management), and opportunities for research projects either in conjunction with industry or by scholarly dissertation,” says Blackmore.
What makes Blackmore the perfect person to lead the department at EIT is not just her passion and love for wine, but her wealth of experience. Blackmore brings with her a Bachelor’s in Horticultural Science, a Master in Applied Science (Oenology), a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, and more than 20 years of experience in the field as well as a passion to highlight how important it is “to conserve resources, recycle, and limit waste” in view of extreme climate change.
This is a sentiment shared by Hill, who is the Programme Coordinator for the Wine Business and Innovation postgraduate programme suite. “Research keeps telling us that wine consumers – particularly young ones – value sustainability, and they want to see evidence of it in the products they purchase and consume. Helping wine professionals to understand this, and to tell their own sustainability stories, is therefore important,” he says.
In his classes, Hill discusses the indigenous dimensions of sustainability, for example, and these have led to wider discussions about the New Zealand wine industry and how it might build an inclusive sense of place for New Zealand wine. “There is also much interest in alternative packaging for wine, electric vineyard machines, organics, biodynamics, and most recently regenerative viticulture, and all of these are covered in the programme,” he says.
To study wine business and innovation at postgraduate level in one of New Zealand’s major wine production areas, click here to learn more about the programmes offered at Eastern Institute of Technology.
*EIT is now part of Te Pūkenga. Te Pūkenga brings together New Zealand’s Institutes of Technology, Polytechnics, and nine Industry Training Organisations to build a network of on job, on campus and online learning.