So you like to drink wine and your hobby is wine tasting, but does that mean you should become a winemaker?
Being a winemaker is "more than just making the wine."
Winemakers are in the field during growing and harvest seasons taking care of the grapes that turn into wine. This can include watering, pruning, and training the plants, plus keeping pests away. Don't forget about knowing what varieties of grapes grow best in which soil and climate.
The Actual Job
Winemakers are often responsible for:
Working with viniculturists to discuss grape growing
Coordinate between the vineyard and winery
Perform lab tests to check grapes quality and when to harvest
Supervise the crushing of grapes and the creation of wine
Test wine to check for quality
Give advice on how to maintain vineyards and wineries
Determine the type and style of wine to meet the demands of the market
Offer guided tours and wine-tasting sessions
Write descriptions and tasting notes of the wines produced
What would a winemaker NOT do for their job?
So What Do I Need to Become a Winemaker?
A bachelor's degree: usually majoring in viticulture, enology, horticulture, food science, or wine science
Experience in the wine industry: become an apprentice, do an internship, or get an entry-level or seasonal job
Networking: connect with wineries and join tasting groups or clubs
Develop business skills: consider taking online courses or reaching out to professionals for advice
Have a look at the TikTok below for inspiration from Marisa Sergi, a winemaker who shadowed wine sales reps at the age of 19 before studying winemaking in college. She then started her wine label and pitched it to retailers. After 8 years of working and using her savings, she bought a winery!
Where Can You Find Work as a Winemaker?
Winemakers normally work:
At wineries, where they check the grapes, manage the fermentation process, and craft wine blends
In vineyards, where they "choose which grapes to grow" to make sure they're healthy and oversee the harvesting process
In wine cellars, where they "check temperature and humidity for proper grape aging and storage"
In tasting rooms, where they endorse new wines and make connections to gain support for their business
But Will It Pay the Bills?
The annual salary for a winemaker in the US ranges $80K-$142K/year USD.
The annual salary for a winemaker in Canada ranges $40K-$77K/year CAD.
You'll Love It If...
You're passionate about art and science.
You don't mind getting your hands dirty and have physical strength.
You're patient — the process takes time.
Look For Another Career Path If...
Science courses and chemistry aren't your jam.
You don't want to do sales and marketing.
You want a typical 9-5 sit-at-a-desk job.
Pick The Future Wine Maker
Pretty shy, enjoys working from home
Loves music and art
Loves multitasking and working with his hands
Enjoys testing chemical reactions
Enjoys happy hour beers with friends on weeknights after work
Loves working in an office building with a small team
Who does it sound like wine making is the best career path for?
Does it sound like winemaking is the career path for you?