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work in the wine industry

How to Work in Wine Industry Jobs

Posted On07/24/2019

ContributorKaila Prins

Career opportunities in the wine industry has long held romantic allure for many individuals. Imagine elaborate lunches with fellow wine professionals or days spent at renowned châteaus, it’s easy to see why. But wine industry jobs or careers, and the roles that make the two successful are as varied and complex as the grapes that are used in the process. The hands-on type often prefers winery or enology work, while those with a liking for sales thrive in distributor roles or the hospitality industry. Take a look as some of the professions in the wine industry and how to land wine industry jobs today:

Winemaking Jobs

With a keen sense of smell and taste, a talent for critically solving problems, and deep respect for wine, winemakers are the individuals behind your favorite brand and those special occasion bottles you’ve been reserving for years. Many winemakers head to university for a degree in wine science, viticulture and enology to grasp the complex theory behind turning grapes to wine. From there, aspiring winemakers seek out internship opportunities or work harvests at different wineries and vineyards around the globe. The key here is diversity. The world of wine is diverse, and to avoid a one-dimensional approach to one’s own wine, it’s beneficial to gain as much varied experience as possible.

Wine Sales Jobs

Wine sales jobs come in all shapes, sizes and opportunities. Sales reps or wine sales representatives are those responsible for getting the wine from the winery or distributor to the restaurant, wine shop, and ultimately to the consumer. Wine reps often work either directly with wineries, a vineyard, or with distributors where they’re tasked with moving large quantities of bottles. For a wine sales job, it’s crucial to have a better-than-average wine knowledge (for example, to know the difference between a California Chardonnay and one from the Mâconnais). The importance is to know more about wine spirits than your client. Which brings up another point: sales chops. Those who are working in wine sales jobs are salespeople first and foremost, and they need to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. Brush up on your wine knowledge and interpersonal skills if you’re hoping to land a wine sales job.

Wine Taster Jobs

Just about every job in the wine business requires some ability to taste and talk about wine. But, there are some roles where this is more prominent. For those blessed with an exceptionally perceptive palate, a professional wine tasting job could be for you. Wine tasters work in a variety of settings to ensure quality control, educate others on the nuances of wine brands, or work as professional sommeliers. Those with the ability to perceive flaws as well as describe characteristics of a wine such as the body, acidity, sweetness, tannin, and alcohol are in demand at multiple steps throughout a wine’s lifecycle. These individuals are needed on location to ensure the desired outcome is being produced. Wine tasters work at wineries during the vinification process. They’re also often on staff to help educate and aid guests who are visiting the winery in uncovering the unique subtleties of the wine produced on-site or in tasting rooms.

Wine Writer Jobs

Have you earned your stripes for years in restaurants talking about and selling wine? Took the WSET or Court of Master Sommeliers tests and passed? Do you have a knack for written communication and want to share your love and knowledge of wine with others? A wine writer’s job may be just for you. Wine writers do everything from write copy to create marketing campaigns to publish journalistic deep dives within the wine world. With experience and years of dedication to the job, some become true leaders who taste and talk about wine publicly, ultimately influencing the production, distribution, and consumption of wine globally.

Wine Production Jobs

Want to get hands-on in the wine industry? While you probably won’t be living your Lucille-Ball-wine-making fantasy, you will gain valuable experience in the wine making production. Wine production jobs include everything from working on the bottling line and running forklifts to maintenance, wine inventory, and shipping and receiving. Production and warehouse roles are essential for ensuring wine is correctly and safely bottled, shipped, and delivered. If you’re organized, efficient, and excited about using your warehouse, back-of-house, shipping and receiving, or related skills to keep the wine industry moving, then these are the roles for you.

Wine season begins in late summer, so now is the time to begin your search. At Nelson, we’ve been hiring top talent across all roles and functions in the wine industry for nearly 50 years. For more information on how Nelson can help you find your next wine role, search our jobs today.