The wine industry is often associated with glitz and glamour, more often than not ensconced in French terminology and speaking in a language that many people don’t fully understand. But if you’re interested in a job in the wine industry, what sorts of jobs are realistically possible?
Jobs in wine making
Although the wine industry is thought of as glamorous, ask any vineyard owner if pruning vines and grape picking is in any way glamorous and they’ll laugh in your face. The reality is that wine making is a tough, hands-on challenge that relies on the right weather conditions, lots of patience and a good bit of luck.
Although there are a handful of vineyards in England, the reality is that if you want to get deeply involved in the wine making process you’ll more than likely have to consider working overseas. Some of the worlds best known wine producers are based in France. The wines from Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux are celebrated the world over. That said, new world wines have certainly made their mark in the last decade or two, so if you are prepared to travel, then France, the US, Australia and even South Africa would be good places to look for positions.
No matter which option you choose, you will need to have relevant experience and or qualifications, even at entry level, so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s something just anyone can do.
Wine sales and marketing
Wine sales and marketing is arguably a more accessible job option in the wine industry. If you are considering a job with a wine wholesaler or selling and marketing directly for a vineyard, you should expect to be asked for at least a bachelor’s degree, experience and a real ability to sell. The wine industry is as competitive as any other and making your mark with an employer and then being successful in sales takes tenacity and determination as well as speaking “wine” fluently.
Hospitality and retail
Being able to describe a wine in such a way that it has potential consumers drooling at the mouth without feeling undermined is a real skill and if you have the vocabulary and the personality, there may be opportunities for you in either wine-related hospitality or retail. Jobs such as managing a retail wine store, or simply getting your foot in the door by taking up a shop assistant role might be your route into this industry.
Alternatively, at a significantly higher level you might look at wine waiter or sommelier jobs in fine dining situations, either in hotels or restaurants. Again these jobs are thin on the ground but are great opportunities for the right people to embrace their wine knowledge and enjoy a passionate position.