VEN 2, Introduction to Viticulture, covers the fundamental principles of biology and culture of the grapevine. The class is taught during the Fall Quarter by Professor Dario Cantu.
In general terms, the class explores what grapevines are, how they function, how they interact with the environment, and how we can manage them to optimize their productivity. The class begins with lectures covering taxonomy, which includes discussion of species, cultivars and clones. The next topic covered is grapevine anatomy, with lectures covering the shoot system, the root system and then the leaves, flowers and fruits. The next subject is grapevine phenology, which covers the grapevine annual cycle. Other, more specific, topics include fruit-set, seed development, fruit growth and ripening, fruit composition and maturity.
The next part of the class covers how grapevines function. Dr. Cantu lectures about photosynthesis, soils, water and mineral nutrition, the role of climate and environment, and pests and diseases. In the next section of the class, Dr. Cantu talks about how to manage the grapevines to optimize productivity. He covers grapevine propagation, vineyard establishment, vineyard (vine) management, irrigation, fertilization, and the principles and techniques involved in precision viticulture. The class ends with a comparison of grape production in California, the United States, and the rest of the world.