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  • That’s Amore! Student’s love of vino sends him to Italy

That’s Amore! Student’s love of vino sends him to Italy

man in grape vine
Mr Sippel, who caught the “wine bug” early, said the trip was every vino lover’s dream.

A University of Southern Queensland wine student is perfecting his “Buongiorno” and preparing his palate, ahead of the Italian trip of a lifetime

Clinton Sippel, who studies the Diploma of Wine through the University, will put his knowledge to the ultimate test when he embarks on a three-month position as assistant winemaker at a Sicilian winery.

While in Italy, Mr Sippel will put his studies into practice and take part in all elements of the harvest – from picking, receiving and crushing the grapes, to starting the yeast inoculation which actually begins the winemaking process.

Mr Sippel, who caught the “wine bug” early, said the trip was every vino lover’s dream.

“Italy has the best wine in the world, in my opinion,” Mr Sippel said.

“The winery I’ll be visiting is a bit of an old school winery. They do wild fermentations and use a lot of amphoras, which are the old clay pots,” he said.

“It'll be a fair bit of physical work, but hopefully a lot of fun."

Mr Sippel credited the University of Southern Queensland for setting him up with the knowledge, practical experience, and confidence to reach out to wineries all over the world for experience.

“I spoke to many, many, many different wineries all over the world and was lucky enough to catch a break and landed one of three spots at this Sicilian winery,” Mr Sippel said.

“When I did the interview, I really knew what I was talking about in wine production. I don't know of many other courses where you're not even a year into the course and you're able to fluently communicate with a winemaker.

“The winemaker I’ll be working with has 11 years’ experience so learning from her will be invaluable.”

While studying at the University, Mr Sippel has gained practical experience caring for the vines at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism (QCWT) in Stanthorpe.

University of Southern Queensland Program Director for Wine Science, Ursula Kennedy, said the QCWT facility was a unique space designed to give students real-world learning experiences.

“Students will learn through books and tutorials, but it’s not until they actually get their hands in there and see a grapevine, or see wine fermenting, that the science really starts to make sense and you see those lightbulbs turn on,” Ms Kennedy said.

Ms Kennedy said the University was proud to be contributing to a thriving wine industry right across Queensland and Australia.

“A lot of these students will have jobs before they even finish the course,” she said.

“A lot of them are working in their own enterprises or starting up their own businesses. I’ve had some students start their own wineries and do really, really well.”

Ms Kennedy said it was a “proud Mum moment” to see students like Mr Sippel go on to have such incredible opportunities and experiences.

And while the idea of staying in Italy forever was tempting for Mr Sippel, he said he had a good reason to come home.

“Lucky I have such a great teacher that I want to come back and finish the course,” he said.

Mr Sippel leaves Australia in early July and will commence at the Sicilian winery in August.

The Diploma of Wine at the University of Southern Queensland covers viticulture and wine production, as well as tasting and sommelier training.

Find out more about studying Wine Science at the University of Southern Queensland.