Wine Jobs: An Overview of Careers in Wine

Are you interested in a future in the wine business? Passionate individuals power the wine industry, and there’s always room for talented people. Here’s an overview of the different wine jobs and salaries so you can find your unique fit.

Wine Jobs: An Overview of Careers in Wine

Find the Perfect Wine Job

There are a few different industry sectors within the wine business. Besides the primary jobs that are listed below, there are also numerous supporting roles within each of the following sectors:

  1. Winery
  2. Grower/Vineyard Management
  3. Broker/Retailer
  4. Distributor/Importer
  5. Restaurant/Hospitality

Winery Jobs

Meagan Frank
Meagan Frank, winemaker at Dr. Konstantin Frank in New York. by Rachel Signer
Wineries vary in size from small, family-run businesses to large syndicates. Winery jobs focus on all aspects of the wine industry, from production to marketing. If you work for a winery, your focus will be on a single brand (or group of brands).

Who’s ideal for this job? Winery jobs are ideal for people looking for longterm stable employment and community.

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Jobs and Salaries

Winemaking Team: A job for the few people out there who enjoy both mental and physical activity. Winery jobs are full time and the hours can be somewhat insane during harvest season. It’s all worth it when everything goes right.

  • Winemaking Director ~$150k
  • Winemaker $90k–$125k
  • Assistant Winemaker $55k–$80k
  • Lab Manager $65k–$85k
  • Enologist ~$55k
  • Cellar Master $60k–$80k
  • Cellar Worker $35k–$40k

Sales and Operations: There are a variety of different jobs besides making wine, and the most important ones for growth are sales and marketing.

  • Operations Director $60k–$110k
  • VP of Sales ~$200k
  • Sales Manager $50k–$115k
  • PR Manager – $110k
  • Tasting Room/Wine Club Manager $40k–$56k

Vineyard Jobs

Emilio, the vineyard foreman at Elephant Mountain vineyards (WA). by Sam Kiersey
Emilio, vineyard foreman at Elephant Mountain vineyards. by Andy Schultz

While many wineries have their estate vineyards, many independent vineyards grow and sell grapes and have little focus on making wine.

Who’s ideal for this job?? Vineyard and viticulturist jobs are for the true outdoors person who can work odd/all hours, is deeply interested in agriculture, and wants to live and work in the countryside.

Jobs and Salaries

  • Vineyard Manager $50k–$85k

Retailer and Broker Jobs

Michael at Pike and Western Wine Shop in Seattle, WA
Michael at Pike and Western Wine Shop in Seattle, WA

A great retailer or broker has in-depth knowledge of wines and helps consumers or prosumers acquire great wines based on the customer’s individual tastes. Retail jobs may not seem as highbrow as a restaurant sommelier, but retailers are often the go-to contact for new wine drinkers.

Who’s ideal for this job? This job is perfect for someone who wants a consistent schedule, is warm and welcoming, has a passion for exploring all wines, and can develop lasting relationships directly with wine consumers and business peers.

Jobs and Salaries

  • Retailer $36k–$49k
  • Broker Sales $55k–$75k

Distributor and Importer Jobs

A warehouse technician at Wirtz Beverage in Chicago, Illinois
A warehouse technician at Wirtz Beverage in Chicago, Illinois

Great distributors and importers have a cultivated and concise collection of wines that they offer to other businesses like restaurants, retailers, caterers, and other corporate businesses. This job requires a shrewd understanding of the inner workings of the wine trade, a love of travel (and not always the glamorous kind), and the ability to network with peers.

Who’s ideal for this job? This job is for those who are super self-motivated, humble, persistent and organized.

Jobs and Salaries

  • Top Sales Manager ~$135k
  • Sales Manager $60k–100k
  • Warehouse Manager $60–$90k

Restaurant and Hospitality Jobs

Juliette Pope is the Wine Director at Gramercy Tavern in NYC
Juliette Pope, Wine Director at Gramercy Tavern. by Ellen Silverman

Great wine restaurants don’t have to be fancy, but they do have to offer a wine list that matches perfectly with the food and overall experience of the location. Dining is about experience and ultimately entertainment, so the entire team must sync together in a seemingly improbable manner to deliver a consistent guest experience each and every night.

Who’s ideal for this job? This job is perfect for people who love to be on their feet, don’t mind working late hours with a team, enjoy a little acting, but most importantly: are humble.

Jobs and Salaries

  • Top Ranking Sommelier $150k
  • Sommelier $55k–$70k
  • Restaurant/Bar Manager $40k–$90k
  • Wine Educator $55k–$70k

Want a Job in the Wine Business?

A job in the wine business starts with a solid foundation of knowledge in wine. You can check out our free resource or pick up a copy of the Essential Guide to Wine to get started. You might consider getting an education in viticulture and enology at a college or university. Consider taking your Sommelier accreditation to pursue your track into hospitality or sales.

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Sources:

About Madeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly