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How to Become a Winemaker

winemaker, winetaster

The winemaker processes and blends grapes to make wine and must understand the winemaking process as well as appreciate wine. This would be a dream job for many and is a popular career choice especially within the new world wine regions where demand for winemakers is high, especially in South America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. It is a demanding job, especially during harvest and requires a great deal of knowledge and skill.

What is the Role of the winemaker?

The main duties of a winemaker are:

  • To develop new styles of wine
  • To grow and process the grapes
  • To improve the quality of the wine
  • To control fermentation of the grapes and wine
  • To filter and bottle the wine
  • To maintain winemaking equipment
  • To maintain legal standards and specifications

Some tasks that you may be required to do are:

  • Discuss the quality of the fruit with viticulturalists
  • To record the procedures taken and the blends
  • To market and sell the wine
  • Any duties concerning grape growing and harvest

Basic Requirements and Qualifications

  • A good high school education with Maths, Chemistry and Biology
  • Experience of working in a vineyard
  • Bachelor’s degree in Science and a winemaking qualification
  • Experience of working in a laboratory in a dairy or brewery
  • Experience in the sales of wine, wine tasting and wine service
  •  Knowledge of viticulture.

Good qualities and skills that a Winemaker should have are:

  • Good sense of smell and taste
  • Creativity
  • Practical
  • Work under pressure
  • Good eye for detail
  • Good communication
  • Business skills

How to Apply

To find a job as a winemaker you may find jobs advertised locally or online at specialised wine or vineyard websites. It is a good idea to work as an Assistant winemaker or be an apprentice when starting out to gain essential experience and knowledge. Some vineyards are also family run, so occasionally the job in inherited.

Hours, Salary and Benefits

You will work an average 40 hour week as a winemaker but during harvest this will extend up to 100 hours. Work is both inside and outside and can be physically demanding.

Salary is variable, depending on training and experience.


Minimum per year


Maximum per year




Assistant Winemaker

$45,000 USD


$60,000 USD

Experienced Winemaker

$80,000 USD


$95,000 USD

For a winemaker, benefits may include accommodation and meals depending on the establishment. Training costs may also be covered.


Winemaking is an art form and a precise science and there are not enough qualified winemakers to meet the demand, especially in the new world regions. A highly trained and educated winemaker will always be needed more so than someone who has the experience but not the formal education, as they tend to have inherited the role through family and produce only their heritage brand rather than create a new wine type. New winemakers will be aware of the high standards they need to achieve, have the scientific background to create new produce and know the regulations they are required to meet.

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