You are currently viewing Wine Industry Career Paths (Part 2)

Wine Industry Career Paths (Part 2)

As the second part of our wine career series, we put together a list of jobs for a variety of career options in the wine industry. We offer insight into salary expectations and winery job descriptions based on references in Canada.

EXPORT Manager for a Winery

As an export winery sales manager, you will be responsible for export orders and the fulfilment process. Typically you will need experience in sales and marketing, often as a sales rep, before building your way to international sales.

There are standard exportation document requirements before an order for export can occur. Documents like certificate of origin, chemical analysis of the wine, so the sales manager depending on size of the winery might have to undertake all the arrangements and work with laboratories that are accepted by the importing country’s authorities.

Co-operating with freight agents, insurance and logistics, export orders have requirements which differ from country to country and the sales manager needs to be familiar with them.

The export manager will liaise with his cellar manager to ensure packing of the wine into palettes is in the correct order, height and wrapped as requested by client to prevent breakages. Export Managers are generally paid upwards of $100,000 in salary (Canadian reference).

LOCAL Winery Sales Manager

To become a Winery Sales Manager, generally you need to have a sales experience background to get started. Wine training is good to have, but many have been able to learn on the job to gain knowledge and experience.

The sales manager in a smaller operation will perhaps only have himself to deal with sales. As the size increases then the manager will have regional sales representatives and staff that cover restaurants, liquor stores both private and government where applicable.

You are responsible to hit sales targets for your winery; therefore, creating the marketing plan and strategy to achieve these goals. Depending on the size of the team, a sales manager can expect to earn anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 (Canadian reference).

The Wine Tasting Room Manager

You are the eyes, soul, sound and heart of the winery. When guests walk into the winery tasting room, they see the staff and possibly the wine tasting manager behind the counter.

As a manager you will be required to greet, serve and answer questions guests may have. If there is a restaurant of café then you will need to liaise with the kitchen. It will require scheduling of staff and ensuring that the winery has a well-prepared marketing plan to entice guests to come and have weddings, celebrations, dinners and special festivities at the winery. Naturally, you will sell wine at the tasting room counter inside the winery, private tastings and of course, wine tours.

As part of our wine career development program, we recommend that individuals interested in working at a winery tasting room should undertake the online course named, APWASI Wine Tasting Room Specialist Certification. This course covers all the aspects you will need to know so when you are at your interview you can show your skills at understanding the operations of the wine tasting room. Above all having knowledge of today’s marketing methodologies like Instagram, Facebook and Google ad-words is a huge advantage. It is a great advantage to be people- oriented person and not shy to be successful in this position.

The General Distributor/Importer or Buyer

This is an external position outside of the winery. Your goal is to maximise profits and make the selection of wines that will sell, move quickly and have the best profit margin per bottle for your company. Once again you may have a sales team you will be in charge of, while also setting out the marketing plan, executing it and monitoring it.

If you are the General distributor you may have minimum sales requirements by the producers and you in turn will have sub-distributors. This is common in Asia. In the western hemisphere, the distributor specializes in importing wine only, in Asia wine importing could well be one of the products the importing company brings in. You are responsible for trade tastings, wine tasting events and dealing with retailers of the wine.

Supplier of Wine Products to Wineries

In order to make wine, there is a multitude of products the winery uses and requires. In the vineyard they have machinery they need to hire or buy like grass cutters, sprayers, posts, trellis, fertilizers and general maintenance supplies. There is the general up-keep of the property and maintenance of the property so all those products wineries may be purchase and you might carry them as inventory or not. It can range from scissors to paper clips and wine glasses.

Another area would be the chemicals needed to make wine and used by wine-makers, not to forget the fermentation tanks, hoses, press and filtration pads and filtration equipment to mention a short list. You are in fact a sales-clerk specializing in selling wine products to wineries.

Wine Bottle – Supplier

This is a specialized area and generally you are a major or large importer of wine bottles of all sizes, shapes and selling huge volumes. An alternative position would be you are the bottle manufacture’s representative in a particular country or region. Clearly, a wine bottle supplier in France will be massive compared to a wine bottle supplier in British Columbia because the wine volume produced is hugely different in volume.

Distributor/Importer of Wine

Finally, the distributor is similar to the General distributor but on a smaller scale. You may have a specific region and will employ a number of wine representatives who will go and visit the liquor stores, restaurants, hotels and be present at trade shows. You are responsible for marketing and liaising with the producers.


There are many wine jobs available in the local and export market. Experience is an asset for most of the jobs, but passion is the number one criteria when it comes to wines.

To check out the first part of our wine careers post, please visit the link here. Have any wine careers that you are curious about? Let us know in the comment section or email us at