Wine is a multi-billion industry with many opportunities. And they’re growing by the year, having more than tripled in a decade. If you’re looking for a spot in this thriving sector, you’re in luck.
Read on as we explore the jobs in the wine industry.
How To Find a Job in the Wine Industry
While an average salary of $60K may not seem lucrative to some, the growth opportunities are so varied that you can carve a successful career path.
The first step is to explore the field to see what interests you. The ideal scenario is to pursue a job where you already have experience.
The next step is to earn your stripes. The best way to get your feet wet involves the following:
- Go to wine tastings.
- Work in a vineyard.
- Get a certificate or degree.
More than half of wine professionals have at least a high school diploma.So, you can start early and expand your knowledge without attending university.
The sectors with the most jobs are:
- Sales: 28 percent.
- Manufacturing (wineries): 27 percent.
- Hospitality: 25 percent.
After figuring out your path, it’s time to look for jobs. These sites are good places to start:
Winemaking and Vineyard Jobs
There are many opportunities in the winemaking process. Depending on the job, you may need to work outdoors, in the vineyard, or inside the cellar. Here are the top spots:
Salary: 45K to 107K USD
A viticulturist makes sure the grapes grow high quality and healthy. They supervise the following:
- Pest control
You need a love of the outdoors as you spend most of your time caring for the crops.
Skills and Qualifications
A viticulturist needs a degree in viticulture, horticulture, or a related field. And they must know about the following:
- Plant biology
- Soil science
- Pest management
They also need strong communication skills. That’s because they’ll work with winemakers to ensure quality and consistency.
Viticulturists work for wineries and vineyards. Beginners work as assistants or technicians. But more experienced ones move into management roles. Some viticulturists start their own vineyards or wineries.
Salary: 29K to 115K USD
An enologist oversees the fermentation and bottling processes. They track acidity, sugar levels, flavor, texture, and hygiene.
They may work at a lab or perform on-site inspections at the vineyard to check the grape quality.
Skills and Qualifications
Enologists are wine scientists. So, they may need a university degree in science or viticulture.
They also need a great sense of taste and smell to analyze the quality of wine. Problem-solving skills are handy when deciding on the best path for wine quality.
Many employers emphasize relevant experience instead of a formal degree. So, would-be enologists can start with internships and continue to be lab technicians. They can eventually become lab managers with enough knowledge and experience.
Salary: 30K to 80K USD
A cellar master maintains hygiene in the cellar. While an enologist can take this role, the company may hire a master to optimize cellar conditions.
A cellar master has many duties, such as:
- Oversee operations and logistics.
- Receive grapes.
- Track barrel conditions and aging.
- Maintain equipment.
- Ensure staff’s health and hygiene.
- Keep bottling and storage clean.
Skills and Qualifications
A cellar master may need a university degree and hands-on experience in the cellar. They must know the regulations of winemaking and have technical knowledge of equipment.
If you plan to become a cellar master, working as an assistant is a great place to start. A degree in viticulture or enology can speed up your progress.
Salary: 150K to 250K USD
A winemaking director has these roles:
- Manage the winemaking process.
- Coordinate staff.
- Attract customers.
- Oversee the workplace.
They monitor all winemaking activities, such as fermentation, bottling, and storage. They also work with the vineyard and cellar managers to ensure everything goes as planned.
Skills and Qualifications
A winemaking director needs extensive experience in operations, staffing, and supervision. They should also have a well-trained palate.
They must have great communication and decision-making skills. That’s because the job entails working with staff, setting policies, and controlling processes. You may need a university degree, depending on the company’s requirements.
A winemaking director needs to spend at least ten years in the field. To become a director, you should work in winery positions to earn that experience. A university degree also helps propel your career.
Here’s a rundown of vinery jobs, skill sets, and salaries.
|Winemaking Director||150K to 250K USD||Communication
|Viticulturist||45K to 107K USD||Growing grapes
Love of outdoors
|Enologist||29K to 115K USD||Wine qualities
Strong taste and smell
|Cellar Master||30K to 80K USD||Technical and regulatory knowledge
Retail Jobs in the Wine Industry
After the wine is produced and bottled, the second part of the supply chain comes into play. Here, the goal is to put the products in the hands of the end consumer.
The jobs in this sector need another expertise besides wine. You may need a degree in sales and marketing and a low-level wine certificate.
Here are some of the roles:
Salary: 47K to 60K USD
A wine sales rep helps wineries sell products. Their territory can be a small area in a city or several countries.
An entry-level wine sales rep won’t need extensive wine experience. They may get their foot in the door if they have prior work in merchandising or retail.
But they need to educate their palates. Successful sales reps become sales managers as they expand their network, knowledge, and experience.
Salary: 96K to 168K USD
A marketing manager develops marketing strategies for wineries to maximize sales and profits. For example, they conduct winery tours or wine tastings to attract new customers.
They identify target markets, set competitive pricing, and design marketing and promotional initiatives. Most companies ask candidates to have a marketing degree or MBA and an industry certificate.
Salary: 46K to 62K USD
A wine consultant can be a wine shop owner or a salesperson. They have an in-depth knowledge of everything related to wine, including:
- Types of wines.
- Food pairings.
- Grape varieties
- Growing conditions.
- Winemaking processes.
A wine consultant can design wine menus at restaurants or recruit sommeliers. High-profile wine consultants help private wine collectors grow their collections. That’s why they have a long career path from vineyards to wine tastings, restaurants, and bars.
Salary: 63K to 83K USD
A wine distributor connects the winery to restaurants, shops, bars, and hotels. They travel to wineries, learn about grape and wine varieties, and build a network of customers.
Hospitality Jobs in the Wine Industry
If you got interested in wine by watching sommeliers, you have many opportunities in hospitality.
Salary: 48K to 77K USD
Sommeliers are some of the highest-paid professionals in the wine industry. The job requires a deep understanding of wines and their origins. You need to taste different types of wine and pair them with the food in your restaurant.
You should work with your head chef to learn about items on the menu and tap into your wine knowledge to do the pairing.
A university degree in hospitality or a sommelier certificate sets you apart. But you can make up for a lack of degree with hands-on experience. And if you don’t have any experience on the floor, you can start as a junior sommelier.
Check out this video for a description of a sommelier’s career path.
Other Hospitality Jobs
- Bar Manager. A bar manager creates the wine menu, prices the wines, and helps customers choose the best product. They also train the bar staff to follow etiquette.
- A bartender has a wider range of duties. You should work long hours, serve multiple customers at a time, and make cocktails. So, you must be a true oenophile to excel at this role.
- Besides serving guests and taking orders, a waiter is in charge of helping customers select their wine/spirits. They also fill the spot if a restaurant doesn’t have a sommelier.
|Sales rep||47K to 60K USD||
|Marketing Manager||96K to 168K USD||
|Wine Consultant||46K to 62K USD||
|Wine Distributor||63K to 83K USD||
|Sommelier||48K to 77K USD||
|Bar Manager||33K to 81K USD||
|Waiter||26K to 44K USD||
|Bartender||17K to 29K USD||
Wine Degrees and Certificates
Below are some of the best sommelier programs:
- Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET). This global organization offers a four-level program. They teach the basics of how to make, taste, and store wine. They have online and classroom studies with written tests and research assignments.
- Institute of Masters of Wine. IMW’s international program has three stages. And each one consists of several seminars on theories and practical wine tasting.
- Wine Scholar Guild. Wine Scholar Guild is a global company for wine education. They have distance and classroom learning with many courses on winemaking. They also cover regions like Loire, Champagne, and Bordeaux and offer study trips to Italy, France, and Spain.
Jobs in the wine industry fall into three sectors: winemaking, sales, and hospitality. These jobs may need a wine or hospitality degree. But many candidates get high salaries after acquiring hands-on experience in vineries or restaurants.