France uncorks university diploma for wine-lovers

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STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - University students may be well known for prodigious drinking, but at one French university it is a skill that could earn you a serious qualification.

France’s first university diploma in wine studies has been launched in Strasbourg: a one-year course in wine-tasting, pedology - or soil science - and the neuroscience behind good wine.

“The ground it comes from is living stuff, where all kinds of things - physical, biological, chemical - are going on,” said geography professor Dominique Schwarz, who will teach the course that aims to increase the understanding of local characteristics of wine, rather than how to churn out industrial quantities.

Jean-Michel Deiss, who runs his own 27-hectare vineyard nearby and has sponsored the course, said students would learn to distinguish between wines “with the energy that makes you salivate” and those that do not.

Students will pay 4,950 euros ($6,100), a high price compared to many basic course that are free in French universities, but less than some wine-tasting classes that do not lead to a university-stamped qualification.

Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Robin Pomeroy