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This professional title in viticulture was first recognised in France in 1965. According to the French OIV Institute, an oenologist is "a highly qualified professional who, on the basis of his scientific and technical knowledge, is capable of carrying out tasks of fundamental importance in the field of viticulture and wine production in accordance with current practice and in compliance with the relevant legal provisions". The professional competence thus consists in the management and supervision of the complex processes involved in winemaking. In Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland, oenology (see in detail there) is a field of study at a university with the degree of Diplom-Ingenieur Weinbau und Önologie (also Bachelor or Master). A professional representation in Germany is the BDO (Bund Deutscher Oenologen). See more in the viticulture professions and functions under viticulture education.

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