APWASI Blog

Wine Job Opportunities (Part 1)

Are you looking to start a career in wine? Working in a vineyard is not easy work. It is tiring, exhausting and oftentimes frustrating, yet you will also feel exhilarated and rewarded at the end of the day. Here are the most common wine jobs that are available in vineyards:

Vineyard Assistant

If you love the outdoors, then you will love maintaining the vineyard. You are responsible for the condition of the vines, the soil, the posts, and the trellis system. As the cultivator, the next harvest depends on your efforts. The pruning, the harvest, and anything to do with the vineyards is your world. You will take instructions from the vineyard manager. In smaller vineyards, you do everything and taking a course is a must either formally or informally.

Vineyard Manager

You take total responsibility from the spraying program, the cutting, pruning, replanting, maintenance, soil management and pest control. As a vineyard manager your decision is highly regarded, generally, the final say in the vineyard. You must love the outdoors and enjoy working with your hands. Salaries vary in each country.

Wine-Cellar Assistant

This position is also known as the “Cellar Rat”. You are responsible for cleaning tanks and ensuring the production area and maturing area is clean. You maintain the stainless-steel tanks, oak barrels and move wine from the different tanks. During harvest, the preparation of harvest, the wine-cellar assistant ensures there is adequate space for the “must” (“Must” is the grape juice before it is fermented into wine). In essence you are the right-handed person of the wine-maker. A viticulture course is helpful and certainly practical experience is a must.

WineMaker

In a small winery, there is one winemaker or vintner. In larger wineries there are several winemakers and one Chief Winemaker who oversees the entire-wine-making operation. You oversee the entire product, from wine, blend wine and source grapes and juice. There are many courses available that require in person attendance or working under a wine-maker to learn as an apprentice is an option if at all available. This is a practical, requiring a lot of experience, and not solely theoretical profession one can train for.

Winery Owner

Starting a brand-new winery is a heavy investment depending on the style and size. In general, the first few years are intensive from a capital financing point of view, time, planning and vision. After year 4 moving on to year 5, returns start to trickle in and all being well it is then an upward trend. Before embarking on the wine business from the perspective of owning a winery you need to clearly understand why are you doing this. If it is for retirement then think again, many retirement plans have been buried and the owners have to work harder than they care to. Only you, the potential owner will know why?

With all jobs, ensure that you enjoy what you are doing. If you can honestly say that, then the path ahead for you will not be laborious and it will be an adventure.

Read Part 2 of the APWASI Wine Careers here.