Career Definition of Wine Consultants
A wine consultant is a unique career that offers you flexibility and varied job duties. In this career, you will be introducing people to wines and helping them select choices that best fit their taste and budget. You can work for a winery, a distribution company, a wine marketing company, a store, a direct-sales company, or you may be self-employed. As a wine consultant, you can choose to work either a full-time or part-time schedule.
Your job responsibilities as a wine consultant will depend on where you work. Those who work for wineries often work in the tasting room. Their job will entail learning about wine, teaching tasting participants about wine, selling wine and stocking inventory. Those who work for distribution companies are involved in making and increasing sales to retailers and/or restaurants. Wine marketing companies also work with retailers, restaurants and other wine-selling organizations, but also with consumers; their wine consultants might hold tastings either at their own company or a client location in order to generate sales.
Like their winery counterparts, wine consultants who work in retail stores or for direct-sales companies will work directly with the consumer via wine tastings. While both will be expected to generate sales, the wine retailer employee would additionally be responsible for marketing many types of wine, such as through in-store signage, product displays and social media. You would also establish relationships with wine vendors. The direct-sales wine consultant holds his or her tastings in clients' homes.
Some organizations require their wine consultants to take classes or participate in other training, not only to learn more about wine, but also to keep abreast of current trends.
Those who choose to become self-employed wine consultants might advise any business along the chain, from the vineyard or winery to the restaurant or bar. As such, job responsibilities might include advising clients on product development, marketing, selling and good hospitality practices. Additionally, entrepreneurs will need to be proficient in client acquisition and retention, contracts and billing.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma|
|Job Skills||Excellent knowledge of wines, superior interpersonal communication skills, and strong organizational abilities|
|Median Salary (2020)*||$50,633|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)**||6% (Business Operations Specialists, All Other)|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The educational requirements to work as a wine consultant vary depending on the type of organization you work for. You should have at least a high school diploma, with some positions requiring more formal training. Some employers offer free, mandatory classes, or you could pursue individual courses, a certificate or a degree in such topics as viticulture (the growing of wine grapes), winemaking, wine marketing, wine sales, hospitality, wine tasting and more.
As a wine consultant, you should have an excellent knowledge of wines, whether acquired through personal experience or formal training. You will need to understand a wide variety of wines in order to be a successful consultant. Another requirement for a successful consultant is superior interpersonal communication skills. A wine consultant is a client-facing role, so you will need strong customer service and sales skills in order to promote your wine brands. You should also have strong organizational abilities, as you may be tasked with planning wine tastings or managing other events.
Career Outlook and Salary
PayScale.com reports that wine consultants earned a median yearly wage of $50,633 in May of 2020. This non-traditional career is not covered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Instead, a wine consultant would be included in the career group of 'business operations specialists, all other.' The BLS lists a 6% job growth for this group for the time frame of 2018-2028, which is considered average growth.
If you want to turn your passion for wine into a career, there are other options besides a wine consultant. You may want to consider one of the below alternatives, such as a winemaker.