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Exploring Italian “natural” wines: an unconventional approach to unconventional wines

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Course Information


Term 3 (Thursday, 7-9pm)

Please note: if you select the staff or student price option, you must use an online store account that has been set up with your University email address and fill out your University staff or student ID number when prompted as part of the questionnaire data section.

Unfortunately, you can only select the staff or student price option if you are a full time/ part time student of the University or staff member. This discount is not available if you have taken a Lifelong Learning evening course before.

Course Code


Course Dates

26th April 2018 – 31st May 2018

Places Available


Course Leader

Clelia Viecelli
Course Description

Course overview

This course will approach the study of Italian “natural” wines through an original perspective which will employ theoretical, visual and sensorial dimensions.


During the course you will be introduced to the world of “natural” wines through some basic theoretical notions of viticulture and winemaking. The focus will be on how these wines are different from conventional ones, looking at the way their producers work “naturally” both in the vineyard and in the cellar.


In each session of the course you will be presented with a few key words which will guide you through the understanding of Italian terroir, the historical and cultural traditions attached to it and current debates revolving around this concept.


The relationship between terroir and “natural” winegrowers will be highlighted through watching a few recent documentaries which present some of these winegrowers’ personal life stories. In that way, a visual dimension will enrich the lectures, providing a more intimate perspective on “natural” winegrowers’ everyday efforts and pleasures.


In addition, a wine tasting session will be offered which will enable participants to get a sensory understanding of the wines being studied.



Aims and learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will:


  • Be able to locate “natural” wines and their production within the current Italian wine panorama.
  • Acquire a basic knowledge of viticulture and winemaking,
  • Develop your understanding of Italian terroir including its socio-cultural and historical dimensions.
  • Be able to contextualise the work of these “natural” wine producers, their relationship with nature and the main problems they face on an everyday basis
  • Begin to develop skills in understanding the sensory profile of “natural” wines and their peculiar organoleptic characteristics.


Summary of teaching and learning methods

This course will comprise the following teaching and learning methods:

  • Introduction to a topic either in the form of a short presentation or screening of a short film/documentary
  • Group discussion of the topic
  • Wine tasting sessions
  • Sharing of personal responses to tasting the wines.

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