Lockdown inspires student to follow passion for winemaking

Lockdown inspires student to follow passion for winemaking

NMIT student Tash Politakis found inspiration during lockdown to follow her passion for wine thanks to NMIT’s decision to run an unscheduled online viticulture and winemaking programme.
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Tash decided to do some online research about skill shortages in New Zealand and noticed a need for people in the winemaking industry.

“I looked online about skill shortages and winemaking in certain parts of New Zealand and those factors came together for me,” says Tash.

“Wine had always been a little bit of a hobby too. I always wanted to learn more about where it came from and the processes behind it.”

Based on the high level of interest in the Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking(external link) going into lockdown, NMIT made the unusual decision to run an additional intake.

“I got really lucky starting this study through Covid,” says Tash,

“there was so much interest during lockdown, NMIT started a course mid-semester for about six of us to study online.”

Tash says studying online was hassle-free due to the easy-to-follow online learning format and ongoing tutor support.

“The tutors were really easy to get in touch with. We learnt through an online program called Moodle where all of the topics and information were uploaded,” says Tash.

The first residential school held at NMIT’s Blenheim Campus was a welcome opportunity after lockdown for Tash to put her online learning into practice.

“We all came to Blenheim and went through the practical parts of the course which provided motivation and really cemented what we'd learnt online.”

Tash says the experiences she had as part of her studies have been inspiring.

“NMIT very graciously gave us a two-month semester break in early 2021 to give us an opportunity to work on a vintage, which wouldn't normally happen.”

“And then because of Covid, workers in wineries and vineyards were hard to come by, so NMIT released their students to go and do the harvest.”

Tash secured a place working at Butterworth Estate in the Wairarapa which was close to where she lived in Wellington.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to work one-on-one with the winemaker and put into practice all the information and skills we'd been learning in class.”

Tash now plans to start a small boutique vineyard with her partner in the future.

“When we do start our own vineyard, we'll have the knowledge going into it as to how best to make a great wine.”

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