Winemaking Certificate Program instructor Larry Schaffer in vineyard

Instructor Spotlight: Larry Schaffer

Larry Schaffer is the owner and winemaker at tercero wines in Santa Barbara County. After working in sales, marketing and publishing, he decided to pivot. He took on the challenge of learning the science behind winemaking and completed a master's in viticulture and enology from UC Davis. He spent nearly a decade making wine at Fess Parker Winery before branching out on his own. Now, with nearly 20 years in the wine industry, he teaches Wine Production in UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s online Winemaking Certificate Program.

What do you love most about winemaking? 

Winemaking is a blend of science, art and luck/chance/fate, and the longer I make wine, the more I understand this.

Why do you teach?  

Teaching is in my blood—my father was an elementary teacher for over 30 years. To me, teaching is a combination of giving back and learning myself as I go.

How would a student describe your teaching style? 

My teaching style is engaging, interactive and open-minded. I also take real-world experience into account when discussing theoretical information.

What do you want students to take away from your Wine Production course? 

First and foremost, I hope my students take away a greater joy for the subject matter and a broader understanding of the material than when they started—and a desire to learn more.

Interested in the Winemaking Certificate Program?

If you’re considering a career in winemaking and want to learn more about how our Winemaking Certificate Program can help, contact our enrollment coach, Kristy Craig. She can speak with you about the program, answer your questions and ensure it’s the right fit for you. Schedule a one-on-one appointment today!

Why is learning wine production important? 

The material in my course is incredibly important in building a solid base of understanding for all winemaking practices moving forward. It gives students the best possible starting point to delve further into all aspects of both viticulture and enology.

What opportunities are available to those with an education in winemaking? 

The wine industry throughout the world is always looking for individuals who have both practical experience and education. UC Davis has a reputation in this field that is second to none.

What’s trending in winemaking that students should be aware of? 

Currently trending in the industry is winemaking with a more open mind to new (and ancient) styles and methodologies.

What are the necessary skills for someone considering a career (or career advancement) in winemaking?  

Those wishing to enter the wine business should have a solid understanding of the basic science of the winemaking and wine-aging process, be curious and open minded, and be willing to work harder than they imagine, both physically and mentally.

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