New Zealand Certificate in Cellar Operations (Level 3)

If you're already working in a winery, or want to enter the wine industry, this is for you. You will gain practical knowledge to work in commercial wine cellar operations. We cover winemaking, wine management and various other regulatory aspects of the industry in this course.

About the programme

Want to work as a cellar operator in commercial wine cellar operations? 

What better place to learn about wine than in the heart of one of the most-renowned wine making regions of New Zealand?

With work experience, field trips and online learning, you’ll learn all about:

  • the wine industry, wine making processes, and plant and equipment that you’d use as a cellar operator
  • legislation, regulatory, food safety and workplace and personal health and safety requirements
  • how to work effectively in a team when transferring wine to meet production requirements
  • how to complete routine cellar operation tasks. 

Plus, Otago Polytechnic holds an accredited membership status for Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. All our lecturers within this programme are recognised as sustainable practitioners, incorporating best practice in their teaching at all times.

This is an entry-level programme designed for people already working in a winery, or for those who want to enter the wine industry. 


Course name Course overview What will I learn?

Wine and Wine Industry

(10 credits) 

Introduction to the NZ Wine Industry
and the principles of working 
effectively in a cellar team. 
  • NZ wine varieties and styles 
  • NZ wine regions 
  • Basic sensory evaluation of wine 
  • Communication and teamwork skills 
  • Health and Safety 

Wine Processing 

(20 credits)

 Outline red and white winemaking processes and the safe use of the equipment required.  
  • Introduction to winemaking processes (red and white including yeast and malolactic fermentation)
  • Grape chemical makeup (sugars etc.) and appropriate analysis 
  • Winemaking flow into the winery 
  • Cellar hygiene and chemical safety 
  • Additions including yeast rehydration  
  • Awareness of basic wine/juice analysis 
  • Health and Safety protocols 

Cellar Operations 

(20 credits)

 Completion of a range of cellar operations applying correct protocols and safety measures. 
  • Knowledge and application of practical tasks in the winery 
  • Sign off of 'standard' achievement levels in these tasks 
  • Pumps (choice, priming etc.), racking, making additions, venturi, washing, mixing etc.)
  • Intro tasks/workshop
  • Health and safety protocols

Wine Management Post-Fermentation 

(10 credits)

 Introduce the stages of finishing a wine following correct protocols and safety procedures.  
  • An overview of process used to 'finish' wines (e.g. stabilisation, fining, filtration, blending, maturation, barrels, packaging, bottling)
  • Fieldtrips associated with each stage 
  • Health and Safety protocols 

Sustainable Development 

Otago Polytechnic holds an accredited membership status for Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand which is recognised as one of the wine industry's leading sustainability accreditation programmes worldwide.

Lecturers within this programme are recognised as sustainable practitioners, incorporating best practice in their teaching at all times. 

You'll be taught to assess and control the risks of environmental impacts, and health and safety hazards throughout all the courses above.  

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.