How to become a Winemaker

Winemakers plan, supervise and coordinate the production of wine or spirits from selected varieties of grapes.

Personal requirements of a Winemaker

  • Excellent sense of smell and taste
  • Able to analyse and solve problems
  • Able to make accurate observations
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills

Education & Training for a Winemaker

To become a winemaker you usually have to complete a degree in viticulture and oenology, wine science, wine chemistry or wine evaluation. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics and chemistry are normally required. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Winemaker

Winemakers may perform the following tasks:

  • liaise with viticulturists who manage planting programs and the cultivation and production of grapes
  • conduct various laboratory tests to monitor the progress of grapes to ensure their quality and to determine the correct time for harvest
  • organise the crushing and pressing of grapes, the settling of juice and the fermentation of grape material
  • direct the filtering of wine to remove remaining solids
  • conduct laboratory tests and monitor quality of wine
  • place filtered wine in casks or tanks for storage and maturation
  • prepare plans for bottling wine once it has matured and make sure that quality is maintained when the wine is bottled
  • supervise cellar personnel involved in the production of wine
  • supervise the maintenance of the vineyard and winery during the off-season
  • liaise with sales and marketing staff to make sure that the type, style and quality of wines produced will meet market demands
  • organise and supervise local and export wine sales
  • conduct technical in-service training for cellar staff
  • give guided tours, conduct tastings and advise visitors about various aspects of wine.

Working conditions for a Winemaker

Winemakers working in large wineries are in charge of the technical side of the business. Those working in small wineries may be responsible for the whole winemaking process, from the growing of the grapes to the bottling and marketing of the finished wine.

Employment Opportunities for a Winemaker

The majority of positions for winemakers are in NSW, SA and Victoria, although there are also employment opportunities in WA. Smaller wine industries are present in Queensland and Tasmania. You can gain experience by obtaining temporary or seasonal positions in a variety of winemaking regions and countries. Winemakers with considerable experience can work as consultants to different wineries, although the majority of wineries prefer to have their own winemaker. Wineries vary in size from small operations (perhaps family-owned) to large companies employing many people. Winemakers may be involved in all aspects of winemaking. They may also specialise in a particular area, depending on the size and type of winery.

Additional Information
Graduates are eligible to join the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology and state wine industry associations.
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