The drinking culture: a Master's Degree in wine and spirits

of Nicola Perullo 5 ottobre 2023

Training communication professionals who know how to best promote the culture of drinking: introducing the Wine & Spirits Master's Degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo.

The world of quality beverages has a long, complex and fascinating history of global exchange and international trade. A history where culture, the intertwining of natural environments and people as well as economy, communication, conviviality and taste play a key role. 

Within this multifaceted, complex world, wine and spirits have always had a central role - this is why these two products are the focus of the Wine & Spirits Master's Degree offered by the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo. 

Wine is probably the most symbolism-laden 'odorous liquid' with a millennia-long history and a truly planet-wide consumption. On the other hand, spirits – whisky, rum, liqueurs, bitters, grappa, and many others – reflect a potentially endless geographical and human diversity which today spills onto the global market through new conviviality cultures - mixology being just one example. However, all these realities are still largely ignored, misunderstood and trivialized. This Master's Degree is designed to bridge that gap. Providing in-depth, robust expertise in wine and spirits, it aims to train future professionals working in digital and corporate communication, marketing, wine promotion and sommellerie and possessing a strong knowledge base, essential to fully understand all of the many facets of these two worlds. 

Experiential learning

By alternating lessons with tastings, winery visits, educational trips as well as frequent contacts with the university of Pollenzo, the Slow Food world, Terra Madre and the hundreds of producers revolving around it, students have the opportunity to benefit from a unique, full-time, truly immersive educational experience unlike any other. It involves an intensive, complex in-person study course lasting 9 months, completely in English, designed for Italian and global students who set no boundaries to their professional goals. There are about 500 hours of theoretical and practical lessons, tastings, guest lectures and meetings with leading production and distribution companies (in cooperation with the Pollenzo Wine Bank and Slow Wine). The course also includes three educational trips in Italy and abroad to explore top-notch winemaking regions and producers, plus the opportunity to take the WSET level 3 exam. Lastly, a final internship chosen by the student based on their attitudes and aspirations in cooperation with the University's Career Center. 

Earning the WSET International Certificate

The world of wine and spirits is constantly evolving. This is why at Pollenzo we joined forces with leading professionals in the industry like Velier, to keep up-to-speed on market demands, secure the direct involvement of professionals in the field as well as the WSET, a global wine education provider and an icon of knowledge in wine and spirits. As Pollenzo is a WSET Programme Provider, during their Master's Degree students will also have the chance to obtain a level 3 certificate thanks to our University's highly qualified teachers and close partnership with the WSET, offering future beverage professionals an impressive curriculum and one of the most in-demand certifications in the industry. 

the wine world

About 350 hours of the program are devoted to wine, with basic modules on viticulture and winemaking, wine history and anthropology, sensory analysis as well as innovative approaches to taste through natural wines, legislation and journalism. Completing this part of the course are two ‘streams’ students can choose from - one focusing on marketing and entrepreneurship and the other on the language of wine description and evaluation. This means our students can choose a study course tailored to their personal ambitions and aspirations.

the spirits world

About 150 hours are devoted to the world of spirits, during which students will be learning the basics of ingredients, fermentation, distillation and aging, as well as marketing and communication and new market trends - mixology being just one of many examples. This involves modules on general tasting techniques as well as specific sessions on the main spirits directly involving leading global producers, in order to learn more about them and explore the different philosophies behind each product. This enables the students to connect with a large number of producers, expanding both their knowledge and their network. 

Learning from renowned industry professionals

One of the strengths of the program is having high-quality professors, many of whom are global authorities in their field, teaching both introductory courses and specific in-depth modules. 


Maurizio Gily Comparative Viticulture:
models, features, innovation
Ian Tattersall e Robert Desalle Wine and Spirits Natural History
Armando Castagno History of Art in Wine-Producing Areas Website
Giampaolo Gravina Wine Languages and Writing Bio
Jamie Goode Wine, Brain and Languages
Nicola Perullo Haptic Approach to Wine Tasting Bio
Luisa Torri Sensory Analysis of Wine Bio


Luca Gargano The World of Spirits:
Raw material, fermentation, distillation, aging
Luca Gargano The World of Rhum
Salvatore Mannino The World of Whisky
Cyrill Mald Tasting Techniques Bio / Book
Angelo Canessa Mixology Bio
Riccardo Molinero Liquers, Bitters and Gin
Pierpaolo Catucci Marketing of Spirits Linkedin


A unique Master's Degree

Entirely focused on Wine & Spirits, in English and attended by students from all around the world, the UNISG Master's Degree is structured into modules ranging from short 12-hour to 24-hour courses held in the Pollenzo classrooms or the Wine Bank tasting room. This venue also hosts presentations from producers and companies, which students can participate in to build further connections and relations for their professional future. 

The average student age is 27, i.e., young professionals wishing to boost their career, acquire new skills, take on new challenges and connect with a multicultural community.


Wine Spirits

• Comparative Viticulture: models, features, innovation
• Basics of Enology
• Sensory Analysis of Wine
• Epistenology: a New Approach to Wine Tasting
• History of Art in Wine-Producing Areas
• Wine and Spirits Natural History
• Anthropology of Wine
• Sociology of Food and Wine Consumption
• Wine and Spirits Legislation: GIs and Labeling
• Eno-Journalism and Wine Blogging
• Wine Journalism and Guides
• Seminars with Piedmontese producers
• Seminars with Italian producers
• Tasting Workshop organized by the Wine Bank
• WSET III RD Level Certification

Stream 1

• Marketing, Competitive Strategy and Entrepreneurship
• Wine Marketing
• World Wine Market Statistics

Stream 2

• Wine Languages
• Wine Writing
• Wine, Brain and Languages

• Introduction: Raw material, fermentation, distillation, aging
• The World of Whisky
• The World of Rum
• Liqueurs and Bitter
• Gin and Vodka
• The World of Grappa
• Tasting Techniques
• Marketing and Communication
• Legislation
• Mixology
• Seminars with Italian and International producers

For more informations visit the course web site ➔

Photo credits: Eleonora Mazzola, Kunal Chandra e archivio UNISG