CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUL. 19, 2013
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How to Become a Wine-Maker

Have you ever considered a career in the winemaking industry? Well if you have – you should know that it is not all about wine tasting, getting sloshed at wine events and attending high society parties. In fact, wine making as a business is hard work, long hours and can either make you extremely successful, or bankrupt if the product is not welcomed by the intended target market. If you are following a career as a wine maker because you have a deep interest in the industry, then it is far more likely that you will succeed – provided your expectations are realistic.

An insight into how winemaking began…

The earliest known wine production in Southeast Europe was in Greece in 4500BC, and the industry is as strong as ever today. According to Vinexpo, the global wine industry is worth an estimated $170 billion, and this is expected to increase to $198 billion by 2014. As such, a career as a winemaker is one that has a solid future.

Entry requirements

A degree in winemaking or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) is essential, not only to be qualified, but to be taken seriously by other experts in the industry. In addition to this, the general ethos is that – the more experience you have, the better! So whilst you are studying, be sure to take up an internship at a winemaking business or volunteer at a vineyard. By the time you graduate, you should be skilled in the art of tasting and smelling wines, have complete understanding of the winemaking process, from vineyard to bottling and marketing the product, and understand the chemistry, biology, and microbiology associated with the science of winemaking.

Required skills

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Naturally creative
  • An eye for detail
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Genuine interest in wine and the winemaking industry

According to New Zealand winemaking industry statistics, winemakers typically earn around $100,000 per year, whilst chief winemakers who manage a winemaking team can earn in the region of $155,000 per year (Strategic Pay Ltd 2009).

The job of a winemaker

Being a winemaker is certainly not for the faint hearted. Whilst your friends work a healthy 9-5 job and spend their weekends relaxing, during the winemaking season - you will be working very long hours in a labor-intensive job. According to industry reports, the average working week during harvest is 100 hours per week! But if you have a genuine passion for wine, then the long hours will be worth it when you see the finished bottles of wine in supermarkets.

Typical tasks include:

  • Find the best fruit quality and discuss contracts with grape growers
  • Process grapes to make the wine
  • Create new wine tastes and styles in accordance with ground research you will have previously conducted
  • Control fermentation until wine is exactly as needed by taste
  • Filter, bottle and market the wine

If, after reading this article, you believe that a career in winemaking is still for you, then go for it! It is one of the most interesting and profitable industries to work in so make the most of it.

Fun fact:

Ancient Egyptians avoided red wine because they believed the grape vines were grown from the blood of warriors who had battled with the Gods. 

Everything tastes better with a drop of wine so who couldn't enjoy this as a potential career.

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Making homemade fruit wine with Fresh HarvestTM is simple, enjoyable and requires very little time.

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