Oenology is the science and study of all aspects of wine and winemaking, except vine-growing and grape-harvesting, which is a field called viticulture. 'Viticulture & Oenology' is a common designation for wine education programs that includes both the outdoor and indoor aspects of wine production. An expert in the field of oenology is known as an oenologist (winemaker). The word oenology is derived from the Greek: 'oinos', 'wine', and 'logos', 'word or speech'.
Traditionally: The men, women, and families of vision, passion, resources, and often of fortuitous heritage, the owners of vineyards and wineries, whom carried out all tasks.
It is an oversimplification to say that only viticulturists are experts in the growing of grapes and other events that occur in the vineyard, an oenologist is also an expert in turning these grapes into great wine. In fact, there are many who wear both hats with confidence (and is still quite common).
A degree in Oenology is becoming increasingly more important when pursuing a career in the wine world. With the advancement of organic, sulphate free, and biodynamic wine making - understanding the 'science of wine' is highly valued. Oenologists across the world are quickly acknowledging the benefits of better farming practices - benefiting the environment, the health of their farms, the flavour and quality of their wines.
It is also possible to learn the craft in the old fashioned way, by being an apprentice to a winemaker. Many oenologists with degrees also take an apprentice position so that they can learn specific winemaking techniques and preserve traditional heritage. One can also decide to train with several different vineyards to study varied winemaking techniques.
Because wineries usually have several vintages laid down at once, the oenologist must be capable of monitoring numerous wines and years simultaneously, and of tracking changes over time, plus being interested in wine maturation, packaging, how wine travels, and related subjects.