Since its founding in 1874, Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige, now Fondazione Edmund Mach, has focused its energy on education, training and research in the area of viticulture. The last decades of the 19th century were hard times for the industry both in Trentino and in Europe in general, because farmers had to face new pests like phylloxera, mildew, peronospora. In the course of the 20th century the Istituto grew stronger through the creation of a vocational school, the opening of a technical high school and, most of all, the establishment of a six-year programme in viticulture and oenology. Generations of oenologists trained in San Michele helped disseminate techniques, skills, management strategies, and started businesses all over Italy. At some point, studies in San Michele became a symbol of quality education.
The adoption of law 129 of 10 April 1991 marked a turning point for professional training in the wine industry, as it provided a definition of oenologist describing its tasks and qualifications. Under this law, only a university education gives access to the profession of oenologist. The first university courses are offered within “Scuole dirette a fini speciali”; then two- and three-year programmes leading to the “University diploma” qualification in viticulture are offered. At the end of the 1990s, with the Bologna process, University diplomas were transformed in Bachelor’s degrees in viticulture and oenology.
The Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige went through all these phases, often with a pioneering attitude. The first university-level courses started in the academic year 1991-1992 in agreement with the University of Milan. That year, the first cycle of the “Scuola Diretta a fini speciali” in oenology opened in San Michele all’Adige. Directed by Attilio Scienza, it was the first to award the qualification of oenologist in Italy, but closed in 1993.
A new academic programme in viticulture and oenology started in 1996 thanks to collaboration and an agreement with the Fachhochschule of Wiesbaden in Geisenheim. Students could enrol on a three-year course to earn the title of “Diplom-Ingenieur für Weinbau und Oenologie”. The first oenologists graduated in 1999 after two years of lectures in San Michele and a third year in Geisenheim. The academic programme was delivered thanks to cooperation with the University of Trento, which offered its competences in the basic subjects (chemistry, physics, mathematics, economics), while sector-specific subjects were taught by research and teaching staff from Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige.
In 1998 an agreement between Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige and the University of Udine – Agricultural sciences opened the way for the recognition of the title awarded in Geisenheim: a university diploma in viticulture and oenology from the University of Udine.
In the year 2000 the University of Trento joined in the interuniversity consortium “Iniziative universitarie nei settori agro-alimentare, viti-vinicolo e relative attività industriali” with the University of Udine, Fachhochschule Wiesbaden and Istituto Agrario di San Michele. The establishment of the three-year degree programme in Food industry engineering at the Engineering department of the University of Trento in the academic year 2001-2002 was the first positive result of this collaboration. It included the viticulture and oenology programme with a third year of courses that students could attend in Udine or Geisenheim.
The course was so successful that in the academic year 2011-2012 the universities of Trento and Udine inaugurated the joint degree in viticulture and oenology, based in Udine, with lessons of the first and third year in both cities (Udine and Trento/San Michele) and the second year in Udine. Collaboration with Geisenheim continued for students who wished to attend the third year there and obtain a double degree.
In 2016 the University of Trento, in agreement with Fondazione Edmund Mach, founded the new Center for Agriculture, food, environment (C3A) based in San Michele all’Adige. The purpose of C3A is to enhance and strengthen the well consolidated collaboration between the two institutions in teaching and research in the areas of agriculture, food products and the environment. To carry out advanced research projects, the centre is equipped with state of the art technology and can rely on the laboratories and teaching rooms of Fondazione Edmund Mach. C3A is the academic point of reference for the new degree in viticulture and oenology that the University of Trento launched in the academic year 2017-18 (CL-25). Students must pass an admission test to attend.
After 25 years of hard work, strong determination and perseverance, the new degree programme in Viticulture and oenology represents an achievement for the University. The lectures take place at the Fondazione Edmund Mach campus: a 14-hectare agricultural campus with lecture rooms, greenhouses, laboratories, office space and 70 hectares of green spaces, not far from Trento.
April 1991 | Law 129 regulates the profession of oenologist, describing its tasks and qualifications
1991-92 and 1992-93 | The University of Milan opens the first cycle of the “Scuola Diretta a fini speciali” in Oenology in San Michele all’Adige, the first to award in Italy the title of oenologist
1996 | Agreement between Istituto Agrario and Fachhochschule Wiesbaden in Geisenheim. Start of the three-year course to earn the title of “Diplom-Ingenieur für Weinbau und Oenologie”
1998 | Agreement between Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige and the University of Udine – Agricultural sciences for the recognition of the title awarded in Geisenheim and the award of a University diploma in viticulture and oenology
2000 | The University of Trento joins in the interuniversity consortium “Iniziative universitarie nei settori agro-alimentare, viti-vinicolo e relative attività industriali” with the University of Udine, Fachhochschule Wiesbaden and Istituto Agrario
2001-2002 | Establishment of the three-year degree programme in Food industry engineering at the Engineering department of the University of Trento
2011-2012 | Establishment of the three-year degree programme in Viticulture and oenology involving the University of Trento, the University of Udine and Fondazione Edmund Mach, based in Udine. Students can attend the third year at the Hochschule in Geisenheim and obtain a double degree
2015 | First agreement between the University of Trento and Fondazione Edmund Mach to establish the Center for Agriculture, food, environment (C3A)
2017 | C3A is fully operational
2017-2018 | Opening of the degree programme in viticulture and oenology at the C3A with collaboration from the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
Further information in the download box (in Italian).