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La Salle COllege
Year 11 science students in their freshly planted micro-vineyard with Nikola Estate vineyard manager Matty Trent and science teacher Chris Dunne.

The science of wine

By Melissa Sheil

A HIGH school in the heart of Swan Valley has started a new science curriculum related to one of the area’s finest pursuits.

La Salle College in Middle Swan began a viticulture course for its Year 11 students earlier this year, even going to the trouble of creating its own micro-vineyard on the school’s grounds last month.

Science teacher Neil Collins said he hoped the vineyard sparked students into pursuing alternative careers and continuing the century old tradition of the area.

“Our new College micro-vineyard was planted earlier in the term and is providing our Integrated Science Course students with a hands-on learning experience,” he said.

“Having the micro-vineyard at the College will help students kindle a passion for the industry and see viticulture or wine making as a potential career path in the future.

“Many of our current and alumni families are involved in vineyards and wine production and this provides the College with a unique learning experience – connecting students to the community and tapping into local producers and the working family experience.”

The vineyard was planted with the help of Nikola Estate Winery vineyard manager Matty Trent, who donated the plants.

Throughout the course, students learn about the logistics and chemistry of winemaking and what goes into cultivating the perfect wine grapes.

Year 11 student Frederick said he had enjoyed learning the details of what goes into the craft.

“I have learnt to nurture and care for vines and the process of grafting to ensure growth of the plant,” he said.

“The ability to nurture something like a vine helps show patience and growth within a person.

“I enjoyed planting the vines and will continue to anticipate new growth of the vines for years to come.”

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