Winemaker: Career Information and Education Requirements

Sep 20, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a winemaker. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Someone who desires to craft wine might want to look into training as a winemaker, where they will partake in the entire or specific part of the winemaking process. A degree in viticulture or enology, in addition to experience, will help achieve the necessary skills and promote job prospects.

Essential Information

Winemakers oversee all aspects of wine creation, from grape growing to distribution. For instance, they might participate in harvesting, fermentation, bottling and marketing. They might work for small estates and perform a variety of tasks, or they might specialize in a single area at a large winery. Formal education is not always required, but potential winemakers might seek a degree in viticulture or enology.

Required Education Formal education might not be required, but a bachelor's degree in viticulture, enology or a related field could be beneficial
Other Requirements Administrative and marketing skills might be necessary
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% for food scientists and technologists
Median Salary (2018)* $65,300 for food scientists and technologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Winemakers oversee the process of wine creation. Also known as enologists, they direct the growth and harvest of grapes, oversee crushing and fermentation, and ensure quality in the aging, blending and bottling of wine. Winemakers also might aid in the marketing of the wine they produce. They might spend time in tasting rooms or prepare written materials to promote their products.

Duties

Depending on the size and type of facility for which they work, winemakers' job duties might vary. At large wineries, an enologist might only be responsible for a single aspect of winemaking, such as fermentation or bottling. At smaller facilities, winemakers oversee all aspects of wine creation. Prospective winemakers benefit from familiarizing themselves with each step of the winemaking process.

Winemaking starts with grape growing. Enologists test grape samples to determine quality and recommend harvest dates. They then oversee the transport of grapes for crushing and fermentation. According to their research, testing and experience, winemakers oversee the aging, mixing and bottling of their wines.

Winemakers also might be responsible for a number of administrative tasks. They can act as a communication liaison between the vineyard and winery, and they must keep detailed records and track expenses. Winemakers also might participate in marketing efforts, such as producing public relations materials, assisting in tasting rooms or delivering presentations to promote their wines.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

In May 2018, the BLS reported that food scientists and technologists in the 90th percentile or higher earned $118,630 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $39,510 or less per year. The BLS predicted the employment growth to increase as fast as the average from 2018 through 2028 for food scientists and technologists.

Education Requirements

Although a formal education might not be required for all positions, job listings found on WineBusiness.com in 2016 indicated that employers might look for prospective winemakers with previous experience and a bachelor's degree in a field like viticulture, enology or food science. Programs offering a bachelor's degree in these fields are limited but generally offer both classroom and hands-on studies. Coursework is focused in the sciences and includes chemistry, biology and agricultural studies. Prospective winemakers also might benefit from enrolling in marketing and communications courses.

A keen sense of taste and smell is a vital qualification of the winemaker, along with a bachelor's degree in viticulture, food science or a related field. Many winemakers are responsible for record-keeping and financial tasks as well as creating a tasty beverage. Over the next few years, average job growth is predicted for food scientists, including winemakers, and the median salary in that field was nearly $66,000 as of 2018.

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