Cart 0 items: $0.00
Laura Pearse
3 May 2024 | Laura Pearse

Navigating the World of Geography: Upper Reach Winery Tours for ATAR Students

Unless you’re a geography teacher, you’ve probably got no idea of how complex the Geography ATAR course is, right? And you may not have heard that part of the Year 11 syllabus dives into agricultural products and how they’re marketed within Australia and overseas unless, of course, you have a Year 11 student in your life who’s studying this subject.

Here’s the deal: about 10 years ago, the syllabus went through a massive overhaul, and that's when the whole "study an agricultural product" thing came into play. So, teachers had to pick something, and some chose wine. And that’s where I come in. Upper Reach was already running vineyard and winery tours for the public, but then I got this call from a school, asking if I could do a tour for their Year 11 class. And I was like, “Sure, why not?” But when they sent me the syllabus, I nearly freaked out. These kids were going to be asking some seriously tough questions!

The regular tours are all about wine tasting and the whole fun, relaxed winery vibe. But this was for school. No pressure, right? The students were around 16 years old, there'd be like 15 to 20 of them, and they had a list of questions as long as my arm! So, I really had to lift my game.

Turns out, the school tours are a huge hit. I've done them for a bunch of schools like PLC, Iona, Perth College, Tranby College, Newman College, and John Forrest. Most of them re-book for the following year, so I guess I must be doing something right!

So, what does this specific geography unit cover? Well, it's all about wine production and marketing in different regions, plus the reasons for and consequences of changes in wine production and consumption. And I make sure to pack a ton of cool info into the Upper Reach tour, like:

  • The different varieties of wine (we're talking reds, whites, and everything in between).
  • The geography of wine, including why certain soil types work better for different grape varieties.
  • The culture of winemaking and grape growing, especially in the South West of Western Australia.
  • The 2017 February floods (which was wild). I use it as a case study to talk about the impact of natural disasters on the winery and how the media covered it.
  • The entire production process of wine at our winery—from vine to bottle.
  • Sustainable production practices and why they matter.
  • Wine marketing—like, how does it work internationally and how do exchange rate fluctuations affect things?
  • Wine tourism and why it’s a big deal for our region.
  • How technology and research are changing the game for winemakers.

And that’s just the first sip from the barrel! The teachers seem to love it, and I know they have a ton of pressure to make geography engaging for their students. It’s a huge subject with so many angles to cover, but taking it out of the classroom and into a vineyard? That’s a win-win in my book.


Commenting has been turned off.