ECON228 Study Tour to South America

The ECON228 Study tour to South America course provides students with the opportunity to travel to Chile and, in some years, to Argentina to learn about the business of producing and selling wine.

ECON228 uses economic thinking to understand many aspects of the wine business, such as the complexities of the demand for wine as an experience, luxury, addictive and investment good, how asymmetric information affects the wine market, the incentive for wineries to engage in horizontal and vertical differentiation, the choice wineries make to vertically integrate the various stages of production vs. outsourcing some and the market structure in the industry.

After learning the theory, students can see how it applies in practice during our winery visits. We visit wineries in Waipara in New Zealand, in the Maipo Valley and the Casablanca Valley in Chile and, in some years, in Mendoza in Argentina. The students also see a variety of other business models in the wine industry, including an online wine subscription business and an urban winery hotel that outsources all of its grape growing.

The study tour allows students to gain first-hand experience in the industry and to learn about the intricacies of viticulture and wine making as well as the cultures and business environments of Chile and Argentina, which is essential for the understanding the business of selling wine. As a happy by-product, students are likely to gain an appreciation for fine wine.

The study tour is open to anyone who has completed a year of study at UC as well as taken ECON104. It is a limited-entry course and the maximum enrolment is 30. Students will be selected on the course based on an online application where emphasis is mostly placed on the student’s motivation for the course, based on the statement of purpose, and previous success in university courses.

The course starts with an orientation week on UC campus during which we do our first winery visits in Waipara Valley.

Being a study tour course, ECON228 involves extra costs associated with travel, accommodation and other study-tour related expenses. While we will do our very best to get funding towards these expenses, students can expect to be responsible for at least some of the costs. Students will have a clear picture of the costs involved in any given year before they need to commit to the course.

If safety allows, the course runs next in the 22SU1 period: it starts in early January 2022 and finishes in mid-February 2022, with the exact dates of the course and study tour to be announced later.

What our students say about their study tour experiences

"I got a huge amount out of the course both academically and experiencing different cultures. It has certainly inspired me to go back to South America again. What I learned about the wine industry is directly applicable here in New Zealand and across other similar industries, and certainly making the content very employable. I have come away learning a lot in the field of economics, having experiences living overseas, made many new friends, both from the UC group and Chilean, and have been motivated to spend more time in Latin America." – Andrew Besuyen (2018 alumni)

 "This experience was invaluable and has opened my eyes to the possibilities that my future career holds. It has highlighted my personal strengths and weaknesses and gave me insight into another culture and way of life. I particularly enjoyed the winery visits and the multiple museum visits in South America." – Alyssa Tomlinson (2018 alumni)

 "The tour was a fantastic and unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Travelling to Chile meant we could see the industry we were studying first-hand, such that our learning experience was much richer and more beneficial than it would have been if we had studied the exact same course topics in a classroom on campus. I also learnt a lot about South American culture (particularly that of Chile) during the tour, as well as a bit more about myself."– Aaron Jones (2018 alumni)

I want to know more. What do I do next?

  • Read through the ECON228-19SU1 information session slides: ECON228 Information Slides 2019
  • Attend the July 2021 information event (date and time tbc).
  • Applications open and close in August 2021.
  • Short-listed candidates will be interviewed during August and decisions made in early September 2021.
  • Selected students need to enrol by the end of September 2021 so that we can make travel bookings (exact date tbc).
  • During October-December 2021, all of the final details about the arrangements will be worked out and confirmed with enrolled students.


  1. ECON228 is a 200-level Economics paper; however, you do not have to be a BCom student to take the paper. The course is open to all students at UC provided you meet the entry requirements. The prerequisite for the course is ECON104.
  2. ECON228 is a limited entry course with only 30 places available for 2022.
  3. See the course information system for programme details.

Contact course coordinator Richard Watt for more information.

Richard Watt

Meremere 426B
Internal Phone: 93736